The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk

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Case Analysis: The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk


In this case study, Liz Ames has come up against an all too common problem in business today: gender bias. Effectively managing racial, ethnic and gender diversity is not just a human resources issue; it is a serious business issue. Background

The recent departure of several senior-level women at Vision Software has significantly elevated Liz’s concern for gender bias at the company. She has arrived at a point where she feels compelled to communicate her frustration to their CEO, John Clark. She has experienced some uncertainty on whether or not she should send him a memo, and has asked for advice from a colleague whom she trusts.

Problem Statement

Liz’s male colleague seems to be considering only whether or not he should advise Liz to send or not send the memo. The issue here is not whether Liz should communicate her message to Clark, but how and when she should communicate that message. As her colleague examines his options for counseling and supporting her, he should carefully consider how best he can help communicate the importance of addressing gender diversity at Vision Software.

Analysis and Issues

When the senior-level women at Vision resigned, it seems from the information in Liz’s memo that people assumed that they were choosing family over a career and therefore, management believed there was nothing that the company could have done to retain these women. However, these women may have left for better opportunities, potentially with competitors. Vision’s obvious costs of losing these employees include the loss of investment made in recruiting and training them as well as the cost of recruiting and training their replacements. Yet, the hidden cost of employee turnover is possibly even more devastating. These hidden costs include the loss of intellectual capital and the potential for the former employee to become a competitor; potential disruption in the...
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