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Case Study 4. “Looney Tunes on Parade”: Part 1—Getting Started on the Right (or Left?) Foot

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Case 4

“Looney Tunes on Parade”:

Part 1—Getting Started on the Right (or Left?) Foot

Background Information

Republic Insurance Company is a regional, all-purpose firm with offices in a threestate area. The central headquarters office houses the staff that plans and controls the field-office operations. Because the company is in such a competitive industry, sales play a very important role in Republic’s efforts.

The group responsible for planning and controlling the sales effort of Republic’s three-state field force is the Strategic Management Division. There are two main components of the Strategic Management Division:

1. The Accounting Department pays the bills and keeps track of the income.

2. The Plans Department does the marketing, product and price studies, profit forecasting, budget planning, and similar duties.

The organizational chart of this Strategic Management Division is shown below. It depicts the structure of the division and the leadership roles within that structure which have a bearing on this case. It also includes the names of the individuals who filled those leadership roles in June 1987, the time at which the events in this case begin.

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Case Study 11. Special Checking Is Handed a Loss

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Case 11

Special Checking Is Handed a Loss

Background Information

Sammy Benson supervised the Special Check Sorting Unit of the Greater Downtown Bank and Trust Company for over two years. The Special Check Sorting Unit processed all the “special” checks that came into the bank, such as odd-sized, foreign, or damaged checks. Once the checks were sent to his unit, they were manually interpreted, recorded, entered into the appropriate account transactions, and filed for return.

Sammy supervised three check sorting clerks in his department. These jobs were staffed by relatively untrained, entry-level individuals who had just graduated from high school. People who did well in this unit were often promoted into other positions in the bank. As such, turnover tended to be high and there was a fairly steady stream of employees through this unit.

During the summer, Greater Downtown Bank hired low-income, disadvantaged young people for various jobs throughout the company as part of its Community

Upbeat campaign. To participate in this effort, representatives from the Human

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Case Study 19. Good News, Bad News: Part 1—The $3.75 Mistake

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Case 19

Good News, Bad News:

Part 1—The $3.75 Mistake

Background Information

Ted Banacek smiled as the “I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news” refrain kept repeating itself in his mind. “I can really appreciate it now,” he thought to himself as he sat at his desk, looking out the window at the empty parking lot.

The good news was that Ted had recently been promoted to the assistant manager’s job at State Bank’s Westbury Mall Branch. The Westbury Mall Branch, one of the larger, busier branches in State Bank’s network, had seven full-time tellers and three full-time new accounts personnel. It was something of an honor to be made assistant manager after starting at the bank less than a year ago.

For the past four months, Ted had really enjoyed his duties: he was learning about new aspects of banking, meeting customers, and working with employees.

Ted was particularly pleased that his time in the bank’s Management Trainee Program had finally paid off. Once in an assistant manager’s spot, a branch manager’s job was just a matter of time. He wanted to do this job exceptionally well.

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Case Study 22. Conflict in Customer Service

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Case 22

Conflict in Customer Service

Background Information

Brad Franklin had been supervising the Customer Service Unit of the Wilson chain of department stores for just over three years. The unit fulfilled an important function at Wilson: issuing company credit cards. Brad liked his job and was considered good at it. He had started as a credit analyst in the unit and, as a result of his hard work, did quite well. Now he was in charge of the unit’s six credit analysts.

Almost half of all sales at Wilson were paid with Wilson credit cards, and there were always incoming applications. These applications, which had been completed by customers either at store locations or in response to mailings, went directly to the

Customer Service Unit for credit analysis. The credit analysts did all the background information checking. They would identify credit references, double-check the accuracy of the information, and collect supporting information; then they would use the information to make a credit judgment. When an applicant qualified, the analysts would initiate a credit agreement and issue a credit card.

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Case Study 25. Problems Behind the Counter

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Case 25

Problems Behind the Counter

Background Information

Bob Cramer, 36 and recently divorced, manages the Oak Street Branch for the

Second National Bank and Trust. The Oak Street Branch has six tellers and does an average amount of business. Bob has been with Second National since he graduated from college and joined the management training program there. Bob is well liked and generally enjoys his job, although now, at the height of summer, he is carrying out the difficult job of preparing a disciplinary warning for one of his staff members.

Eight months ago, in January, Bob hired a new teller by the name of Connie

Tremont. Connie was 23 years old and a graduate of a local high school. Connie had experience working as a claims clerk with an insurance company prior to coming to Second National. Bob spent about 15 minutes interviewing her, and although he had a few reservations about her appearance and communication manner, he desperately needed someone who could start soon, and she was available immediately. Bob decided to take a chance.

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Case Study 29. A “No” in the Field

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Case 29

A “No” in the Field

Background Information

Marjorie Brown supervised the Northwood local office of Helping Hand, Inc.

Helping Hand was a nonprofit private service agency that provided transportation and housing services to people throughout the metropolitan area. Marjorie was responsible for overseeing the work of five administrative assistants who supported the work of the office. This meant they would take care of such clerical matters as recordkeeping, data verification, forms processing, client scheduling, accounts payable and receiving, and the like.

Marjorie had been in this position for two years and was just now feeling comfortable with her ability to supervise others effectively. By and large, she got along well with her subordinates, and they did a reasonably good job. The only exception was

Valerie Lucas. Valerie was 39 and the sole head of her household, which included two teenage children. Valerie had been with Helping Hand for almost 11 years.

In looking through her personnel file, Marjorie discovered that Valerie had never received an outstanding evaluation; at best, her evaluations were average. About six years ago, it appeared Valerie had become more of a marginal employee, cycling in and out of disciplinary warnings, counseling memos, and related matters. Even after all this time as an employee, Valerie had virtually no accumulated sick leave. She was often late to work by 15 minutes. She also occasionally got into shouting matches.

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Case Study 37. Bad News in Budgets

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Case 37

Bad News in Budgets

Background Information

First State Financial Services, Inc. was the largest institution of its kind in the state, with over 150 branch offices at various locations throughout the state. The company provided a variety of banking, investment, and insurance services to both retail and commercial clients in its metropolitan market areas. As such, the Budget Department played an essential role in monitoring the costs and income of the company and in preparing the budgets for the various departments. Because accurate budgeting was so crucial to effective company management, the Budget Department had been given the additional assignment of preparing selected budget specialists for greater responsibilities in the Auditing Department. In effect, the Budget Department was also a management trainee department.

Nancy Johnson had been appointed head of Budgeting two years ago. Nancy had been working in one aspect or another of this area for the past six years. As a result of her hard work and attentiveness to budget matters, she had reached this management position.

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Case Study 42. Shouting for Results

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Case 42

Shouting for Results

Background Information

As Director of Operations for the University Hospital, Fran Jackson felt proud of any achievements in the employee relations realm. She recalled how happy she felt six months ago when the employees in the Hospital Workers Union, Local 211, ratified the adoption of a new merit-pay program. True, it was not a landslide victory

(41 percent of the employees in the union voted against it), but it was progress.

From the time Fran joined University Hospital three years ago, she had pushed for a performance management system that would reward employees for good work. In that time, she had installed the skeletal framework of such a system in fits and starts. Then, in the most recent round of negotiations, a full-scale plan was put up for a vote, and the rest, as they say, was history.

In fact, though, the changes were less sweeping than they seemed. Partly because of Fran’s initiative, there had been a procedure in place for the past 18 months for reviewing employee performance, even though there had been no immediate salary implications. From what she heard from Sylvia Downing, head of Human

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Case Study 43. Fixing Things Over Dinner

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Case 43

Fixing Things Over Dinner

Background Information

“It’s been almost four years since I was made supervisor,” Wendy Miller told her husband, Ted, during dinner on Friday, “and I thought I had seen it all. But this past week was a new one.”

Ted smiled. “What happened? Sounds like another radio ad fiasco.” Wendy supervised the Advertising section of the Marketing Department for the Heritage Valley

Insurance Corporation, and Ted was kidding her about a major snafu in radio ads that had happened on the day she joined the company. Even though she had not been responsible, he never let her forget it happened “on her watch.”

“No,” she shot back, smiling. “No, this involved Melissa, my secretary.”

“But I thought you and Melissa worked well together,” Ted responded.

“So did I, at least until this week,” Wendy said. She paused, sipping a glass of wine. “Let me tell you what happened.” She reviewed the following facts with Ted.

Wendy hired Melissa Wolff, 24, about one year ago for the secretarial job in the department. Melissa had almost two years of college and had worked as a receptionist-secretary in a nearby doctor’s office for the past two years. During the interview, Wendy felt that Melissa could be a good addition to the department.

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Case Study 48. Look Out Ahead

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Case 48

Look Out Ahead

Background Information

When Tom Miller was hired to head Genco’s Administrative Services Division, he was ready for the job. After 20 years of managing procurement and logistics in the military, he knew something about running these important support activities. Now, after three years with Genco, he had the entire operation running fairly smoothly.

As head of Administrative Services, Tom was responsible for three areas: purchasing, document storage and processing, and the mailroom. The mailroom was supervised by Rodney James, 32. There were eight people in the mailroom who handled the volume of internal communications, mail delivery, and supplies distribution needed to keep Genco running.

Replacing the supervisor in the mailroom was one of the first challenges Tom faced at Genco. Not long after Tom was hired, Genco began receiving customer complaints that money they had sent was not being received. Tom carefully monitored events for a period of about two weeks, found the mailroom manager was stealing the money, and fired her. Tom took a chance and promoted Rodney James to the position. At that time, Rodney had worked in the mailroom for two years, but he had no supervisory experience.

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Case Study 5. “Looney Tunes on Parade”: Part 2—Kicking into Gear

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Case 5

“Looney Tunes on Parade”:

Part 2—Kicking into Gear

Background Information

Peter Gilmore, manager, hired David Randle in July 1987, to supervise the Pricing

Unit of Republic Insurance Corporation’s Strategic Management Division. The

Pricing Unit conducted important studies about the competitive posture of Republic’s various policy products. Once David was hired, Peter delegated assignments to

David often and easily. Peter expected these assignments to be completed and returned on a timely basis, although he did not check on progress during the interim.

Flares in the Night

In December 1987, six months after he was hired, things still seemed to be going smoothly for the new supervisor of the Pricing Unit, David Randle—at least on the surface. Nonetheless, Peter Gilmore was feeling uneasy. As he later put it: “It was nothing I could put my finger on exactly. I just didn’t feel comfortable trusting him.” In fact, Peter had been receiving some information about David that was giving him some cause for concern.

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Case Study 20. Good News, Bad News: Part 2—Judy, Judy, Judy

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Case 20

Good News, Bad News:

Part 2—Judy, Judy, Judy

Background Information

Four months ago, Ted Banacek completed State Bank’s Management Trainee Program and was assigned as assistant manager of the busy Westbury Mall Branch.

Pleased with Ted and confident of his abilities, his manager took a two-week vacation. The first week went smoothly for Ted, but on Monday of the second week a problem developed when a customer asked Ted to refund a $3.75 fee that was four months old. Complying with bank policy, Ted refused politely. The customer, angry over the refusal, later engaged several branch employees, including a new accounts clerk, Judy Miller, in a conversation in which Judy belittled Ted and inspired ridicule of Ted among the tellers in the bank.

Even though, at age 27, Judy Miller was just a few years older than Ted Banacek, she had been working at State Bank almost five times as long. While Ted was completing his college degree, Judy married, had two children, and started working at

State Bank as a teller. Smart and hard working, she had slowly but surely progressed up the ranks. She had been a new accounts clerk for a full year before Ted even came to the Westbury Mall Branch.

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Case Study 24. The Contradiction of Business

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Case 24

The Contradiction of Business

Background Information

First State Financial Services was the third largest banking institution in the state. It maintained an extensive branch and ATM network to service its diverse retail customer base. Even with First State’s size, though, the business success of the bank was extremely dependent upon the trends in the local economy. Two years of recession meant two years of poor loans, and First State fell into deep trouble. To limit and reduce overhead expenses, there were some extensive layoffs. A new executive management expected rapid, better results with fewer resources. Everyone at First

State feared being fired even though the bank was inching back to improved profitability. There was still the pressure to “perform—or else.”

Lucy Winters managed the six-person Spring Hill Branch for First State. Spring

Hill, fully equipped with an ATM and a freshly redesigned lobby, stood in the parking lot of a new suburban mall. The mall, anchored by a store from the largest grocery chain in the area, included about 20 different small retail stores. In addition, a major hospital was located just down the street, and a large manufacturing plant

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Case Study 28. The Case in Case Analysis

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Case 28

The Case in Case Analysis

Background Information

Jerry Brown, 42, was promoted to supervisor of the Case Analysis Unit just three months ago. The Case Analysis Unit was a special investigation group with the city’s

Department of Social Services. The four employees in this unit investigated suspected fraud cases and researched various special requests for exemptions and services.

The investigations conducted by the case analysis representatives typically began by verifying data obtained from applicants during the intake process. Then, field agents as well as employers or claimants would be contacted as necessary for additional information. The information gathered from all these sources would be reviewed, and a recommendation for either “no further action” or “prosecution” would be issued. While the unit’s workload fluctuated somewhat, the average standard of production was 12 completed cases per week and 4 backlogged cases cleared.

Jerry believed that everyone in his unit was doing an acceptable job except Frank

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Case Study 36. It Was Either Some Dress or Some Stain

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Case 36

It Was Either Some Dress or Some Stain

Background Information

Sondra Green was one of the three floor managers for Wilson’s Women’s Wear Mart, a large retail establishment that carried an extensive inventory of women’s clothing sold at discounted prices. Sondra had been with Wilson’s for more than four years.

She started as a part-time sales associate and was steadily promoted. As floor manager, Sondra had general authority to manage displays, customer service, sales, inventory, and the like. She shared supervisory duties with the other floor managers.

The sales associates at Wilson’s tended to be younger women, ages 25 to 30, who were high school graduates. Presently, all of them were either single or divorced.

The associates were expected to handle any and all aspects of the operation of the store as needed and as directed by the floor manager.

Sondra was inspecting some inventory in a display area when Betty Philips, a sales associate, asked to talk with her. Since Sondra had little prior experience with

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