Case Study: Keeping Suzanne Chalmers

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In the case study “Keeping Suzanne Chalmers,” Thomas Chan is the Vice President of the software engineering company Advanced Photonics Inc. Thomas has received a phone call from Suzanne Chalmers, an engineer from Internet Protocol, who has been working with Advanced Photonics Inc. on their fiber optic routers. Suzanne requested to arrange a meeting with Thomas, but left no details behind the reason for the meeting. Thomas, who has witnessed this kind of behavior before, believes that Suzanne intends to leave the company.

Thomas is presented with a few problems and opportunities. Suzanne is a very experienced and highly valuable asset to the company. While her current project is nearly completed, Suzanne is one of the best minds in her specialized area and would not be easy to replace. If Suzanne left the company Advanced Photonics Inc. would have to either find a new software engineer from another company, or the company would have to train someone who has no or little experience in the field. In either case Advanced Photonics Inc. has no guarantee that the new software engineer will be as talented as Suzanne, in fact the new engineer most likely will not meet the same standards. Finally, if Suzanne joins a start-up firm as Thomas fears she may release information about Advanced Photonics Inc. that could be used against the company.

On the other hand, Advanced Photonics Inc. has made quite a few new hires in the last months. The work place is cramped and Suzanne’s leave would help to alleviate that, as well as providing the opportunity for one of Suzanne’s team members from her project to receive a promotion. The incentive of the promotion would provide a positive reinforcement for that team member to produce better work than before, and thus a better product.

When making the decision on how to handle the situation, Thomas let his emotions guide the decision making process. In Thomas’s mind losing Suzanne would be a major blow to the company. In...
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