Question 1
Hank Krendle, account manager for Craven Marketing, believes that Jason Krueger is a great candidate for promotion—Jason has consistently met the expectations set for his position, has initiated cost-saving procedures, and is a consummate team player. Jason has met with Hank regularly to make certain that he’s on target for advancement, and Hank has encouraged Jason that his productivity and ability to lead make him an excellent candidate. The team with which Jason currently works collaborates very well, and Hank believes that Jason has the skills to become a competent manager and to grow and develop within the company.
Just as Hank is set to make his recommendations to his boss to consider Jason for a newly opened account manager position, he becomes aware that Jason’s team is next scheduled to work on the Maxim Factory account, which is one of Craven’s largest clients. Hank worked hard to earn that account for his section, and Jason and his team are the best people at Craven to get the work done efficiently. Hank knows that the people in his department are all capable, but Jason is really the stand-out, and certainly the only person who can manage this complex and high-profile project to the satisfaction of the management team at Maxim Factory.
If Hank recommends Jason for the account manager’s position, it would leave his team without his invaluable talents. However, Hank has been promising Jason that he would fully back him for the next opening. If Hank holds off recommending Jason for this current opening, there may not be another for quite some time. Is it fair to overlook Jason for something he has worked so hard to get? That could really hurt Jason’s career advancement. But, is it fair not to give Maxim the best possible attention? Maxim is one of Craven’s largest and oldest clients.
1. What are Hank’s options?
2. What should Hank do? Why?
1. Making a Layoff Decision
Purpose: In this exercise, students will examine how to weigh a set of facts and make a difficult personnel decision about laying off valued employees during a time of financial hardship. They will also examine their own values and criteria used in the decision-making process.
Problem: Walker Space Institute (WSI) is a medium-sized firm located in Connecticut. The firm essentially has been a subcontractor on many large space contracts that have been acquired by firms like Alliant Techsystems and others.
With the cutback in many of the NASA programs, Walker has an excess of employees. Stuart Tartaro, the head of one of the sections, has been told by his superior that he must reduce his section of engineers from seven to four. He is looking at the following summaries of their vitae and pondering how he will make this decision.
1. Roger Allison, age twenty-six, married, two children. Allison has been with WSI for a year and a half. He is a very good engineer, with a degree from Rensselaer Polytech. He has held two prior jobs and lost both of them because of cutbacks in the space program. He moved to Connecticut from California to take this job. Allison is well liked by his coworkers.
2. Dave Jones, age twenty-four, single. Jones is an African-American, and the company looked hard to get him because of affirmative action pressure. He is not very popular with his coworkers. Because he has been employed less than a year, not too much is known about his work. On his one evaluation (which was average), Jones accused his supervisor of bias against African-Americans. He is a graduate of the Detroit Institute of Technology.
3. William Foster, age fifty-three, married, three children. Foster is a graduate of “the school of hard knocks.” After serving in Desert Storm, he started to go to school but dropped out because of high family expenses. Foster has worked at the company for twenty years. His ratings were excellent for fifteen years. The last five years they have been average. Foster feels his supervisor grades him down because he does not “have sheepskins covering his office walls.”
4. Donald Boyer, age thirty-two, married, no children. Boyer is well liked by his coworkers. He has been at WSI five years, and he has a B.S. and M.S. in engineering from Purdue University. Boyer’s ratings have been mixed. Some supervisors rated him high and some average. Boyer’s wife is a doctor.
5. Sherman Soltis, age thirty-seven, divorced, two children. He has a B.S. in engineering from Ohio State University. Soltis is very active in community affairs: Scouts, Little League, and United Way. He is a friend of the vice president through church work. His ratings have been average, although some recent ones indicate that he is out of date. He is well liked and has been employed at WSI for fourteen years.
6. Warren Fortuna, age forty-four, married, five children. He has a B.S. in engineering from Georgia Tech. Fortuna headed this section at one time. He worked so hard that he had a heart attack. Under doctor’s orders, he resigned from the supervisory position. Since then he has done good work, though because of his health, he is a bit slower than the others. Now and then he must spend extra time on a project because he did get out of date during the eight years he headed the section. His performance evaluations for the last two years have been above average. He has been employed at WSI for fourteen years.
7. Sandra Rosen, age twenty-two, single. She has a B.S. in engineering technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Rosen has been employed less than a year. She is enthusiastic, a very good worker, and well liked by her coworkers. She is well regarded by Tartaro.
Tartaro does not quite know what to do. He sees the good points of each of his section members. Most have been good employees. They all can pretty much do one another’s work. No one has special training.
He is fearful that the section will hear about the downsizing and morale will drop. Work would fall off. He does not even want to talk to his wife about it, in case she would let something slip. Tartaro has come to you, Edmund Graves, personnel manager at WSI, for some guidelines on this decision—legal, moral, and best personnel practice.
SOURCE: W. F. Glueck, Cases and Exercises in Personnel (Dallas: Business Publications, 1978), 24–26.
1. What advice do you give Tartaro?
2. What decision is most convenient? What decision is most difficult?
1. Dan Neville is the manager for a team of engineers at RFC, Inc. He is responsible for coordinating his team’s efforts on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, as well as assuring that they are keeping on schedule with teams in other offices around the country. Dan regularly communicates with his own team via e-mail, attaching memos and instructions prior to their regular face-to-face meetings. Clear, consistent, and timely communication is an essential element of Dan’s job.
Dan usually has no trouble in making his team members understand his instructions, except for Kyle Trenton. Kyle always seems to misunderstand or misinterpret Dan’s messages, even during face-to-face meetings. Kyle doesn’t seem to be deliberately obstinate; he honestly derives other meanings from Dan’s communication, and reads into the words that Dan chooses and comes up with implied ideas that Dan never intended.
Inevitably, Dan has to meet with Kyle separately to ensure that Kyle understands the tasks at hand. If left to his own devices, Kyle wouldn’t come to Dan to question his interpretation of the message, because he sincerely believes that he “gets it.” However, Kyle is rarely clear about Dan’s meanings, and Dan must devote extra time and energy to reorient Kyle. Dan tries to be sympathetic, because Kyle is a nice person and a good worker, but Kyle requires twice as much time from Dan than everyone else, and this frustrates Dan. Dan sometimes worries that if Kyle misunderstands critical directions on a building project which are not corrected, someone could legitimately get hurt.
Dan has an opportunity to move Kyle onto a new position, where he would no longer have to work with Dan’s current team and Dan would no longer have to communicate with Kyle. However, Dan knows that Ken Rothberg, the head of that team, is known for being a very poor communicator. And if Dan were to go ahead and move Kyle onto this position, he suspects that Ken wouldn’t take any additional time to ensure that Kyle understood his instructions and that could cause even more critical problems for the organization.
1. What options does Dan have?
2. What should Dan do? Why?

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