A N A L Y T I C A L C H E M I S T R Y 2 5 6
R O L E - P L A Y I N G L A B

1998-1999 Academic Year
©Prof. John P. Walters
St. Olaf College
Northfield, MN 55057

Introduction to Role-Playing and Laboratory Computing
Defining the Kinds of Role-Playing Responsibilities
Round-Robin Certification of Laboratory Glassware
Production Quality Control Lead Analysis
Statistical/Chemical Evaluation of Lead Data
Semi-Automated Weak Acid Titration
Graphical Analysis of Weak Acid Titration
Designing a Mock Robot Experiment
Executing the Mock Robot Experiment
The Incredible Edible Easter Egg Grass Advertising Dilemma

The Downsizing Dilemma

The Broken Pill Coating Machine Assembly Line Shutdown Dilemma
The Instrument Purchase Payment Release Dilemma


Manager: Deciding if a robotic method can compensate for firing yourself.
Chemist: Preparing all the standard solutions for manual and robotic use.
Software: Preparing a robot while using a data analysis spreadsheet
Hardware: Running two spectrophotometers and a robot at the same time


Word has come that you, as Manager, are about to be downsized out of the Company. Left will be a group of technicians who will have to do all of the colorimetric water analysis for trace amounts of iron required by the EPA and OSHA. To protect your income and fringe benefits while looking for another job, you talk Upper Management into hiring you as a short term employee to supervise the changeover from the old manual methods of doing the water analysis to an automated, robotic method. Your argument is that you can get the robot to compensate for your being fired. It remains to be seen if this is in fact true. If it is, then you get full salary and three years extended fringe benefits (such as hospitalization) for the time you have been working on the project. If not, you are paid 35% of what you would get otherwise, and your fringe benefits are canceled. <



Upper Management wants to know if the robotic method that you have been contracted to develop to replace yourself as a group leader will really replace you, and do all of the future water analyses that EPA requires, or will just be another drain on resources you leave behind. Since the decisions all hinge on the validity of the new method compared to the old, the quality of your data will be scrutinized, especially with regard to your determining the unknown "control" concentrations by both traditional and your proposed robotic method. A key issue will be if the robot can operate in your group with only technicians to tend it, and if other Managers in equivalent situations at other company locations can be downsized in favor of a robot. You also have to decide, and communicate, your feelings about being a "traitor" to your own peer group in the Company.

downsizing spectra