Stepping out of the Box at Northern Box Company: Parts A & B.(Instructor's Note)

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CASE DESCRIPTION

The overall purpose of this case is to examine the managerial and organizational nuances associated with supervising a dysfunctional high level and loyal employee. Students obtain a "real-world" feel for the overall business setting, and, in particular, the individual forces that help shape the work environment. Students are asked to probe beyond personalities and the immediacy of the moment (Richard's resignation) and examine the broader issues posed in the case.

This case was written for two distinct audiences: students taking a human resource management course and students in a business ethics course. In terms of the human resource management course, the case places students in management's shoes. Students need to understand the ramifications associated with accusing an employee of theft from both an issue of procedural integrity and employee rights. This case (Part A and B) should be introduced after the students have read material on workplace justice and the handling of employee theft (Kleiman, 2000, Chapter 11; DeNisi and Griffin, 2002, Chapter 15), and career planning (Newman and Hodgetts, 1998, Chapter 15; Dessler, 2003, Chapter 10).

CASE SYNOPSIS

This case deals with an important issue that many students may themselves have to deal with during their own professional careers; how to deal with an employee who you believe has been dishonest with you (and perhaps stealing or planning to steal from the company) and how to deal with accusations by others of dishonesty, disloyalty and possible theft.

INSTRUCTORS' NOTES

This case deals with an important issue that many students may themselves have to deal with during their own professional careers; how to deal with an employee who you believe has been dishonest with you (and perhaps stealing or planning to steal from the company) and how to deal with accusations by others of dishonesty, disloyalty and possible theft.

SUMMARY--PART A

Peter Mitchell, had a long history with the NBC Box Company, having originally been hired as a sales person, then being promoted to co-sales manager under the auspices of Bruce Caesar due to his excellent sales skills. When Bruce became regional general manager he hired a new general manager, Michael Useliz, to replace him and had Peter report directly to Michael. When Peter's relationship with Michael became very rocky (Peter claimed that Michael set him up to purposely fail at a meeting by not informing Peter of the changes to the sales force compensation plan), Peter returned to the sales force and became NBC's largest producer. Michael was subsequently fired for poor work.

An incident occurred with one of Peter's accounts, POPCO, that lead to accusations of theft and dishonesty by the owner of NBC, Joe Green, and his son, Morgan. Peter did not directly respond to the accusations but presented evidence indicating that the allegations were quite false. The owner apologized stating that the ex-general manager had accused Peter of stealing and that he had a signed affidavit from an employee supporting the charge. Peter stated that his integrity had been challenged and that he was quite upset.

Peter's ex-boss Bruce (who still worked for the company) took him out for dinner and tried to convince Peter not to quit given the fact that he had a family to think about and that he was making an excellent salary. Peter discussed the issue with his wife and was going to make a decision to either stay or leave.

SUMMARY--PART B

Peter e-mailed Bruce that he as resigning but would stay on to help the company train his replacement and service his current customers who he felt he owed allot to. He proposed a new wage package and a consulting arrangement with the company. A month later, with no response from Joe or Morgan concerning his resignation letter, he is accused by Morgan of hiring an ex-truck driver in order to steal accounts from NBC. …