Thursday, April 8, 2010

Manager's Workshop Assignment [MBA]

The Manager's Workshop

This is an interactive CD prepared by Professor Randall Dunham at the University of Wisconsin that covers employee motivation. It will give you an opportunity to deal with the real work problems that a manager in Omega Pharmaceuticals has with a staff member whose performance is deficient. You will be assigned one specific employee – but you should work on some others also. They are interesting cases. You will be able to review theories of motivation that are discussed in the text and in the lectures and then apply them in making decisions about how to deal with your problem employees. You will be able to see what you did right and what you did wrong. There are also some very good examples of how these theories have been applied in practice so you can see that they do work if implemented properly. There are also self assessments that allow you to evaluate your own motivational style and job satisfaction.

When you have finished your assignment on this project, you will prepare a 2-3 page memo (no longer) addressed to your manager/director. Each student will be assigned an employee from the Manager's Workshop. Your assignment is to provide the following information: (a) Background: Describe your initial conversation with this employee; (b) Outcome: Assess the outcome of your conversation with the employee; (c) Decision: Justify your decisions by explaining what motivation theory or theories guided your decision making.

After you have submitted this paper, you will have the opportunity to participate on a discussion board with your colleagues to learn what they did and why – and to comment on their decisions about what they did with the different employees.

DATE: Friday, August 1, 2008

TO: Phony Frank

FROM: Cody Swann

SUBJECT: William Spalding Resolution


William Spalding is one of the underachievers you asked me to look into. Spalding seems to have all the personal skills to be successful, is well liked and helpful to his coworkers. However, he performed worse than every other sales rep, falling well below standard performance.

Omega hired Spalding eight years ago. He came to us with sales experience, and before that, he was a professional golfer on the PGA Tour. He participates in many outside activities, and his previous employer named him sales representative of the year. Looking further back, Spalding performed well in school as well.

Because he seemed to excel in all his past activities, I decided to examine his self-assessment scores. One area stuck out as a possible explanation for his lack of performance. Spalding rated his pay satisfaction as 2.5; significantly lower than the 3.2 national average. Despite this, I have always perceived Spalding as living a comfortable lifestyle.

In the past, I gave Spalding positive feedback for helping his coworkers and supported his affinity for golf. When his performance continued to decline, I spoke with him about it on several occasions. Each time he assured me he would improve.

To get more information, I accompanied Spalding on a few sales calls. During these calls, Spalding interacted really well with the doctors. He talked to them about golf and made some ice-breaking jokes. Spalding also impressed me with research he did on Omega’s product.

However, one of the doctors asked me some vague questions about Spalding and real estate, which led me to believe that Spalding was using company time to further his real estate ventures. Before bringing this to Spalding, I talked to some of Spalding’s coworkers about his reputation as a salesman and how he is able to maintain his lifestyle despite low commissions.

One employee gave me proof the Spalding was violating company policy by selling real estate to his Omega clients. I asked Spalding about the rumors directly and he admitted they were true. He also said that he doesn’t value his Omega income because his real estate business on the side earns more for him.


I offered Spalding the choice of resigning immediately or laying out a plan for ending his real estate involvements. In the end, I reached an agreement with Spalding that would have him:

1. Visit each one of his clients to ensure them that Omega is fairly handling his situation.

2. Make his next three weeks worth of calls with his replacement in order to train him or her.

3. Step away from Omega and continue his real estate ventures.


I agreed to this because the alternative could have hurt Omega. Terminating him immediately may have damaged the relationships he established with his clients, and we could not have replaced him immediately.

Direction and Intensity

Spalding valued:

· The ability to contact physicians and wholesalers

· The social aspects of interacting with coworkers and clients

· His real estate business

The money we could offer him was not as powerful as those three rewards. Because of this, we could not improve his poor performance without replacing Spalding, so we made the best of the situation.

Spalding displayed a lot of intensity toward the things he valued. Unfortunately, these values gave him bad direction. When faced with a choice, Spalding weighed the consequences of focusing on the right target (making sales) and decided against it because he was not willing to forgo the income he was generating from his real estate business.

Additionally, Spalding had too many targets, and the target we valued most fell low on his priorities. This caused him to consistently underperform. In order to get Spalding focused on the right target, we would have had to compensate him for his lost income in the real estate business, which we can’t do.

Equity Theory

Had we increased Spalding’s pay to a level where he would have been comfortable dropping his real estate ventures, we would have been rewarding Spalding for poor performance. This would not have been fair or equitable the other reps, who have all outperformed Spalding.

Such inequity could have led to dissatisfaction, decreased performance and turnover among our sales reps. We can’t simply provide our employees with the outcomes they value. We must ensure that our employees perceive the outcomes they receive are fair in comparison to their inputs and that they are being treated equitably in comparison to their coworkers.


Preventing a recurrence of Spalding’s situation is difficult. Spalding had all the right tools to be a great salesperson, and exhibited in his past jobs that he could be a great salesperson. Unfortunately, his values and motivation changed as real estate became a larger portion of his income. I would recommend that Omega more closely monitor its sales reps, so it can identify employees whose values and motivation are shifting. This will allow us to help determine if Omega is still a good fit. If there is something we can do to help realign values and motivation, we can take action to make achieve that. If not, we will be able to move on from situations like Spalding’s much sooner and avoid downturns in our performance.

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