This is a longer case and is based on a true story. Students have a lot of fun with this example and with the problems they experience with John because it is a classic problem of motivation and dealing with a dissatisfied employee. John is clearly focused on perceived equity with his peer group and the sense that he is not being fairly treated. Some students will suggest that the key is to continue giving John promotions and other positive strokes so that he starts working to his potential again. The other side will suggest that too much effort has already been spent on John, trying to get him motivated and now is the time to crack down. I have had success in setting this case up as a debate and assigning people to different perspectives on how to deal with John. There are several options for management cited in the case. A sample poll taken prior to the in-class discussion is useful because it forces students to adopt a position on how to deal with John. Once they have made their positions known, it is possible to discuss the case and each of these options (and their potential down-side) in more detail.
1) As the team leader, you have weighed the pro’s and con’s of all options and prepared a presentation to management on how to address this problem. What do you suggest?
This is a good question to get discussion started because it allows the instructor to create a chart with pro’s on one side of the ledger and con’s on the other. The case cites five different options that management has identified, so there is a good starting point. Students can be asked to offer both positive and negative comments on the situation and John’s behavior as a first step toward a more complete analysis of what the problems are and how best to deal with them. Next, students can be asked if there are alternative options that top management has not considered and if so, the benefits and drawbacks of each of these options.
2) Consider each of the above