Motivating Others - Selected Vignettes

By H. Irving Grousbeck, Justin Randolph
2013 | Case No. E469 | Length 7 pgs.
The case is a series of four short, fictional vignettes. Each vignette shines a light on the case’s macro-theme of ‘’motivating others in a management context,” and discusses the considerations involved in getting subordinates to achieve specific company goals. The first vignette profiles Lydia Geller, a newly-promoted VP, as she publicly addresses her subordinates for the first time, each of whom had previously been part of her peer group. The second vignette profiles Jeremy Sawyer, the CEO of a software company, as he reviews the sales performance of the company and, in particular, its leading salesman, Victor Mason. Given Mason’s disproportionate importance to the company, Jeremy debates the actions he can take to ensure Mason’s continued satisfaction and motivation. The third vignette profiles Warren Soroka, the director of sales at a logistics service provider, as he is forced to have a conversation with a long-term employee who has just been “passed over” for a promotion in favor of a younger employee. He debates how best to communicate the decision to the “passed over” employee in a way that ensures his continued motivation and performance at the company. The fourth vignette profiles Rachel Murphy, the director of academics at Barrymore University, as she is forced to give a performance review that includes both positive and negative feedback. Given the mixed nature of the performance review, she debates how best to communicate such feedback in a way that ensures the employee’s understanding and continued motivation.

Learning Objective

• To require students to consider the specific challenges faced by a manager who must conduct a difficult conversation with (a) subordinate(s) in a way that ensures the subordinate(s)’ continued motivation and buy-in. • To increase students’ awareness of the interpersonal complexities and nuances in conducting difficult conversations with employees, so as to make students more adept at navigating such challenging management contexts.
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