Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Sierra Pacific Resources Implements a Merger

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Sierra Pacific Resources Implements a Merger

Article excerpt


The primary subject matter of this case concerns the development of a staffing plan for the merger of two companies. Secondary issues examined include;

How can the staffing plan be modified to save time and money and still meet legal guidelines?

How can the process be accelerated and still allow for a cascade approach to staffing?

What elements of the plan are crucial to ensure legal defensibility of the process?

Who is included in the phrase "protected class?"

What is a role profile?

How do you create role profiles for existing positions and for new positions?

Who is a job content expert?

What information do employees need to know in order to make an informed decision about their future with the company?

What role does a job fair serve?

What is the role of training in a staffing process?

Why is it so important to involve attorneys in the process?

Why can't existing performance appraisal data from the two companies be used to make selection decisions?

What are the benefits of designing a voluntary severance package? What are the disadvantages of such a package?

How do you prevent managers from preselecting their candidate of choice?

What role do senior officers play in the staffing process?

How do you estimate of the cost of a staffing process?

How do you estimate the time involved to design a staffing process?

How do you estimate the time involved to implement a staffing process?

The case has a difficulty level of level 5, appropriate for first year graduate level; six, appropriate for second year graduate level; seven, appropriate for doctoral level).

The case is designed to be taught in 2 classes where it is overviewed in one class and the questions are discussed in a second class. It requires 2-3 hours of outside preparation by students.


What happens when the real world and the academic world collide? In a perfect world a legally defensible staffing plan for the merger of two companies requires a detailed step by step process as well as sufficient time and money to execute the process. In the imperfect, real world, designing a legally defensible staffing plan when money is tight, time is of the essence, and managers don't have the patience to go through a detailed, labor intensive process before making their selection decisions is another matter altogether. This case describes a detailed, step by step and by-the-book staffing process to create a legally defensible staffing plan. It is designed by someone who is known for creating expensive, thorough and time consuming processes that have never lost a challenge in court. When client concerns and constraints challenge that perfect plan the perfect world clashes with the imperfect world and students are caught in the middle.

Their task is to modify the perfect staffing plan in a way that satisfies the attorneys who are looking out for the company's best interests and the management team who want to staff the new organization as quickly and as economically as possible so they can get on with the business of running the new business. Although not detailed in the case, instructors can incorporate the selection and design of behavioral competencies, role profiles and critical incident (behavioral) interview questionnaires and interviewing techniques into the case.


Nevada Power, Las Vegas and Sierra Pacific Resources, Reno, had agreed to a merger to create a new company which would be Sierra Pacific Resources (SPR). Jean Johnson, Senior HR Vice President for Nevada Power had been given the responsibility to develop a staffing plan as part of the post merger activities. Jean was well aware of the difficulties that lay ahead as she knew that she would be heading a process to identify who should stay with the new company and who should be let go. …

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