Starling Systems Vignettes

By H. Irving Grousbeck, Sara Rosenthal
2015 | Case No. E570 | Length 3 pgs.

Jack Swain, the newly appointed CEO of Starling Systems, a call center software solutions company, had a problem.  Swain had recently hired in a new VP of operations, Felicia Shaw, and while she had instituted a number of much-needed changes within the organization, she had not been well-received by the tight-knit customer service team.  Specifically, Starling System’s top performing customer service representative, Judith Fenton, was not happy and her productivity had dropped sharply as a result.  Jack had a brief discussion with Judith at the coffee bar one morning, where she revealed her discontent with Felicia’s “hovering” and “harping,” declaring that she could not work with her any more.  The vignette ends with Jack getting ready to plan his conversation with Felicia. 

Learning Objective

This case is taught in a class where students are asked to role play difficult conversations that take place routinely in the workplace. In the case of Starling Systems, they will be asked to map out their talking points for Jack’s conversation with Felicia with the goal of neither alienating Judith nor Felicia and, ideally, helping come to a solution for them to work together. Through practicing and witnessing this role play, students will learn the tactics, strategies, and do’s and don’ts for achieving the desired outcome in a difficult interpersonal situation.
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