Monday, February 25, 2013

Spring 2013 Seminar 2

As we do each semester, the second seminar is an our opportunity to explore workplace challenges and offer suggestions for solving these. This year, we also discussed the pre-internship survey of transferable skills.

One of the Student Learning Outcomes which our internship program seeks to help students with is developing an appreciation for cultures and values other than our own. In light of this, here is a case study for your consideration. Please add your comments suggesting possible course of action for those in the described situation:

Molly is excited to be settling into her first post-college job with the Aero-Dynamics Research Corporation. Her office is responsible for developing marketing plans for any products which have passed all the pre-release testing. One on-going challenge the company faces is corporate espionage, particularly with electronics and software, but she does not anticipate this being very relevant to her role in marketing.

One Friday morning, however, Molly arrives at work to find her boss and coworkers in a state of panic. A product description originating in their office has shown up on the packaging for a similar product produced by a competitor. They are now faced with the challenge of re-writing the marketing material while the production division develops some upgrades to the product to differentiate it from the inferior competitor's product. All their work must be re-done before the Monday release of the material to the packaging manufacturer.

Molly is conflicted - she knows getting this marketing material together is urgent, but it seems that sticking with the original Monday deadline is unrealistic - after all, the new version of the product will not be ready until mid-week at least. Not only will it mean their entire department must work all weekend, any revised product description will no longer be entirely accurate. Her boss turns to her and says, "So, new kid, ready to tow the party line?" She wants to express concern that they should wait until after the prototype changes are made, but she is afraid of standing out as a trouble-maker.

What are her options?

14 comments:

  1. Floyd Michael NicholsonFebruary 25, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Clearly, Molly should stand up for herself and voice her opinion on the matter. Maybe a new insight on the situation is exactly what the office needs. However, if Molly's idea is shot down, she should prove to her boss and coworkers that she can take charge when situations arise. Molly should use this chance as an opportunity to show that she is an asset to the company.

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  2. My name is Jonny Mercado and I'm a senior at PC about to graduate in May 2013. I am interning at Dorman High School in Roebuck, SC as Head Coach for the JV men's soccer team and assisting the varsity team. Everyone has a voice and the freedom to express their voice and I believe Molly should do so. She should take the risk because you will never know what could've came out of the situation. Sometimes things do not come out as planned but that is where you learn. If her idea does spark interest in the boss, then she will have made a name for herself in the company and with that, respect and many more things follow up.

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  3. I agree that Molly should step up and voice her opinion. Molly has valid concerns for the well being of the company. If she voices these concerns, her co-workers will be enlightened about the possible consequences of rushing the revised product. It is possible that some of her co-workers feel the same way and are too afraid to speak up as well; thus, Molly can encourage others to be honest and become more involved in the decision making process.

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  4. We seem to have a consensus running on the general concept of Molly speaking up. Can anyone suggest ways she can do this without seeming to be discrediting her boss? Would love to see some sample verbage showing how this might sound.

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  5. I agree with the above comments that Molly needs to express her concerns. However, there are often times in a person's job where he/she must put all of their energy into a single project in order to meet a deadline. Molly could simply ask her boss what would happen if their Monday deadline was not met because it is a concern due to the new strict time limitations. Perhaps she could suggest a back-up plan or point out that proper revision of the product may not be possible due to the time restrictions, which could cause complications. Waiting until the new prototype is finished (two extra days perhaps) could mean the release of a much improved product. Would waiting two extra days to release the product really make that much of a difference? I'm sure they could negotiate with the packaging manufacturer under the circumstances.

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  6. I agree with the previous comments about Molly speaking up for herself. I believe that her best approach is going to be to establish herself as a new employee not wanting to overstep her boundaries. But she needs to let her boss know that this current deadline could cause more harm than good for their company. She could suggest moving the deadline up a day or two because the employees will not be up to working at their best capacity after a long week of work already. If they wait until later in the week, they have a better chance of perfecting the product and making it the best they can. I believe with this approach, her boss will listen to her advice and take it into consideration.

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  7. I think that Molly should express her concerns. I understand how she doesn't want to stick out in a negative way by thinking they can't meet the deadline, but maybe overall it would be best for the company.
    At times companies do throw unrealistic deadlines and have to work night and day, but I still think that it is her responsibility to express her concerns and still go into the project positively, working as efficiently as possible.

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  8. I believe that Molly should voice her concerns in a very respectful manner. She should lay out all of her reasoning to why she considers this to be an unrealistic deadline. However, if her boss still disregards her concern, she should try her best to meet the deadline.

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  9. I agree with everyone, that Molly should definitely speak up and voice her opinions. Despite the fact that she is new company, she should express her concerns about the well being of the company. If Molly is worried about undermining her boss, she could speak to someone in a leadership position, who isn't her boss, and then after that, possibly speak to her boss. She could also suggest possible ideas to solve the problem, such as extending the deadline a few days, or reworking the project so that it could be done by the deadline.

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  10. I think Molly should voice her concerns to her boss privately. She should suggest alternatives, record her suggestions, and then do what he says. Basically, go along with the team, but cover herself if anything comes back to her. I don't think this is something she would lose her job over.

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  11. I agree that Molly should speak up for herself and voice her opinions to her boss. She could do this in a manner where she would be offering a suggestion for the company but also assuring her boss that no matter what the decision of the deadline is she will work her hardest to complete her tasks.

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  12. Molly has every right to voice her opinion on the matter. It is always better for employees to speak up and express their feelings toward a problem than to sit back and act like everything is fine. By speaking her opinion, Molly may actually help the company out. However, the whole department should still work over the weekend to achieve the mid-week goal.

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