Monitor Technology: Pat Tallon

4 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009

See all articles by Sherwood C. Frey

Sherwood C. Frey

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


Pat Tallon is the corporate attorney for Monitor Technology's parent company and has been asked to mediate a job-performance conflict between Chris Kerns, the manager of MT Engineering, and Shannon Allen, an engineering-support technician who works for Kerns.



Monitor Technology: Pat Tallon

The phone call from Sidney Hall, director of Human Resources for New River Engineering (NRE), the parent company of Monitor Technology (MT), came as a surprise. Pat Tallon, corporate attorney for NRE, thought the day was going to be devoted completely to ironing out the details of the new employee compensation package. With Hall's phone call came the request for Tallon to mediate a job performance conflict between Chris Kerns, the manager of MT Engineering, and Shannon Allen, an engineering support technician who worked for Kerns. Tallon had served in that capacity on several previous occasions. The antagonists' names in this particular conflict were familiar to Tallon, but Tallon had had no direct interaction with either party. At least the meeting had been scheduled for four in the afternoon, so attention to the compensation package would not be interrupted.

Monitor Technology

MT worked closely with the electric power industry to design, develop, and manufacture specialized test equipment for diagnosing service complaints from both residential and commercial customers. The principal elements of the MT product line were current and voltage recorders that attached inconspicuously to the customer's meter just behind the glass-encased usage dials or that connected with clamps directly to specific electric lines. The monitors recorded and stored more than a year's worth of readings on voltage, current, power, phase angle, and energy usage. In addition, software was provided that presented a variety of graphs and reports, including histograms, time-series charts, abnormal-neutral reports, flicker reports, average daily profiles, and current out-of-limits reports. MT was currently conducting research for the development of a communications system over existing distribution power lines, for use by the utility companies and their customers.

Dranetz, the most recognized name in the industry, was one of MT's two key competitors. MT products were differentiated from Dranetz by being specifically tailored to the application with just the needed functionality, by containing state-of-the-art research and development (R&D), and by being less expensive than their counterparts. Dranetz products tended to be generic in nature and, as a result, had more functions than were required by a specific application. MT's other key competitor was Power Monitors, Inc. (PMI). PMI competed in much the same way as MT. It produced tailored products with state-of-the-art R&D at low cost.

. . .

Keywords: Conflict management, negotiation

Suggested Citation

Frey, Sherwood C., Monitor Technology: Pat Tallon. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0571, Available at SSRN:

Sherwood C. Frey (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


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