Home > Hawaii Campus > Faculty Information> Business Case Studies Return to Business Case Studies
Business Case Studies on Personnel Issues
Issues hindering the company's success

Playing the role of victim

When an employee was given work to complete, she stated that the goal was impossible to meet and became a "victim" of the situation. She was thinking, "Poor me, I am being asked to do more than I can do." This attitude began to spread throughout the company; people began doing only what they thought they could do. Employees increasingly complained: "It's too difficult, it is too challenging; I cannot do the job."

Old habits

The President of the company handed out a written plan for the next 90 days to the staff to improve business outcomes. In a staff meeting the President went over all the details of the plan including an item that stated during the hours from 8:00 am to 11:30 am, the team was not to take any personal phone calls or do any personal work. Anyone caught doing personal work during those hours would suffer disciplinary action. Sure enough, a few days later the President saw one employee on a cell phone and overheard another employee speaking to her son during the 8:00am to 11:30 am time period.

Lack of focus

When we started investigating customer complaints aboutmishandled orders, we found that some of the employees were spending a lot of time just chatting with each other or sending text messages. When asked what they were supposed to be doing, they acted like they had not yet gotten instructions. But the jobs they were supposed to be doing have guidelines already written out for them.

Constructing a case study

To use a scenario as the basis for a case study, assign names to the characters and add information about the type of business. You could combine elements of various scenarios to present a more complex issue. Prepare questions for your students; here are some examples:
  • What would be the effect of the employee's actions on customers?
  • What would be the effect of the employee's actions on co-workers
  • How should the boss respond?
  • What could the boss have done differently?
  • What could the employee have done differently?
  • What do you think is the best outcome?
  • How does this case study affect your understanding of the workplace?