1. What symptoms exist to suggest that something has gone wrong? The sales volume and market share of Hy Dairies’ gourmet ice cream brand had picked up significantly over the past two quarters compared with the previous year. As the vice president of marketing at Hy Dairies, Syd Gilman credited this achievement to Rochelle Beauport, the assistant brand manager at the time, and decided to reward her with a newly vacated post of marketing research coordinator. Based on his own career experience, Gilman was very much convinced that the marketing research coordinator job would provide Beauport with greater career potential with Hy Dairies. However Rochelle Beauport, being one of the top women and few visible minorities in marketing management at Hy Dairies, was shocked rather than excited when hearing her boss’s job transfer proposal. The contrary expectation and totally different perception led her feeling that she had been sidelined purely because of her gender and race. As a result she was put into a difficult decision of whether to confront Gilman on the company’s perceived discrimination practices or to simply leave there. These symptoms suggest that something must have gone wrong in the case. 2. What are the root causes that led to these symptoms?
Before answering this question let’s take a look at the different background and positions of Gilman and Beauport:
Male + White + VP + Promoted from the position of marketing research coordinator (Beauport)
Female + Visible minority + Asst. brand manager + Joined Hy less than two years ago
This is a typical social identity and stereotyping case and exposes issues of how perceptual errors can affect interpersonal relations and human resources practices in an organization. The organizational conflicts were stemmed from misperceptions by Gilman and Beauport who had entirely different background, personal characteristics and past experiences, therefore different...