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When the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives adjourned prior to the most recent election, they did so without making any decision about extending the tax cuts set to expire on January 1. President Obama campaigned in 2008 on a promise to allow tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans to expire. Now he finds himself at an impasse with a new Republican-led House and the Democrats holding the slimmest of margins in the Senate. The President must do something or risk having increased taxes push the country deeper into recession. Republicans argue that the election shows support for their party and want to extend the tax cuts for all. The lines are drawn. The question now becomes one of how to proceed.


1. Does the current impasse on taxes represent emotional conflict, substantive conflict, or both? Inability to resolve this issue is dysfunctional conflict. Can you provide general and specific reasons why this is true?

2. What is the fundamental cause of this conflict?

3. President Obama is calling on Republicans to compromise. Is this a good approach? Why or why not? What is the optimal approach for dealing with conflict? How could this be achieved on the tax issue?

4. On this particular issue, the substance goals are specific (to this issue) while the relationship goals are general (i.e., extend beyond the current issue). What are the substance goals? What are the relationship goals? It presently appears the negotiation on taxes is distributive. If it continues this way, what criteria of effective negotiation are being violated? Is there any way to turn this into a principled negotiation?

SOURCE: L. Montgomery, “Obama Seeking Compromise on Bush Tax Cuts,” Washington Post (Retrievable online at

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Retailers typically hire temporary workers to help meet increased demand during the holiday season. Forecasts for 2010 suggest this type of hiring will be considerably higher than in recent years. Some researchers suggest this is a sign the economy is picking up.


1. Examine the legal issues surrounding human resource management. What are the pros and cons, both for the companies and employees, of hiring temporary workers?

2. Discuss the differences in recruiting between temporary workers and full-time employees.

3. What implications do temporary workers have for developing a quality workforce at retailers such as Toys R Us and Kohl’s? Is this a concern?

SOURCE: D. Hunsinger, “Holiday Hiring May Signal Good Tidings for Economy,” USA Today (Retrievable online at

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Moe Stein is the second of three generations of Steins running Frank’s Sport Shop in Bronx, New York. Moe possesses a throwback style – a sharp wit and ready one-liners that he flings at any and all customers. In this day and age of big chain stores, Frank’s is nearing its 80th anniversary. Stein must be doing something right.


1. This one may be a challenge. Describe Moe Stein using the Big Five Personality Dimensions. Arguably, Mr. Stein has been a business success. How do you explain this in terms of the dimensions? Does he possess a dimension that should be inconsistent with success?

2. Does Moe Stein experience job satisfaction? What do you believe contributes to this?

3. Does Moe Stein have emotional intelligence? What would Moe’s son say? Analyze Stein in terms of the four EI competencies. Does the fact that Frank’s Sport Shop is located in the Bronx matter?

4. Discounting son Ronald’s comment, does Mr. Stein experience job stress? If so, what kind?

SOURCE: S. Dolnick, “A Full Stock of Fishing Rods and One-Liners,” New York Times (Retrievable online at

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Rosetta Stone, maker of software by the same name, has grown from a small, family-run business into a publicly-traded company under the leadership of CEO Tom Adams. Adams is multi-lingual and credits his experience learning languages beginning at age 10 with taking the company to the next level.


1. In terms of talent, discuss what makes Tom Adams an effective CEO for Rosetta Stone.

2. What is the impact of globalization on a company like Rosetta Stone?

3. Identify the advantages Rosetta Stone has over conventional language acquisition training.

4. On an individual level, how would using a product like Rosetta Stone help your career? In what way does acquiring a new language make you a portfolio worker?

SOURCE: C. Jones, “Rosetta Stone CEO Wants to Teach the World to Talk,” USA Today (Retrievable online at

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Veteran radio executive Randy Michaels was not able to transfer his success to running the large, newspaper-based Tribune Company. While the financially struggling company appears ready to emerge from bankruptcy protection, Mr. Michaels was forced to resign following a meeting with the company’s board of directors. The often criticized culture installed by Michaels seemed to be his Achilles’ heel. NOTE: A longer and more sordid description of the culture at Tribune can be found in the original article written by the New York Times.


1. What are the dynamic forces that are having a negative effect on a traditional media company like the Tribune? Discuss how these forces may have opened the way for the hiring of Randy Michaels.

2. While organizational effectiveness appears to be improving at Tribune, Mr. Michaels’ departure reflects more on the culture that developed behind his ascendancy as CEO. Examine the essential aspects of observable culture and talk about how Mr. Michaels got it wrong. What are the implications of observable culture for core culture in this case?

3. In terms of symbolic leadership, talk about why Mr. Michaels had to go (based on what little can be gleaned from the article).

SOURCE: R. Adams, “Michaels Weighs Comeback Plans,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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Twitter is the latest in a short list of very successful dot com businesses. Still, it has had its share of problems. For one, there was an internal power struggle among the founders. In addition, the company has suffered from the lack of a clear strategy or a plan for dealing with growth pains. More recently, the individual responsible for guiding the company through a tremendous growth period, Evan Williams, had to pull back and allow someone with a bit more business savvy to take over as the company’s CEO.


1. How does Evan Williams stack up against the attributes of entrepreneurs listed in your text? Based on the descriptions in the article, would you say he fits or does not fits the profile of a typical entrepreneur?

2. While Twitter is not a family business, it does exhibit some of the problems commonly associated with these companies. What are these problems? How well has Twitter handled them?

3. Although Twitter is arguably successful and not likely to fail, what are some of the characteristics under Mr. Williams’ leadership that had some outsiders saying it might “run out of steam?”

SOURCE: C. C. Miller, “Why Twitter’s CEO Demoted Himself,” New York Times (Retrievable online at

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Facebook recently disclosed that limited user data was sold to third-party firms by application developers. Facebook has a zero tolerance policy against data brokers and temporarily suspended the application developers.


1. Given that Facebook was not directly involved in the sale of access to user data, what makes this an ethical issue for the company?

2. What alternate view of ethics does Facebook express by the actions it took?

3. Identify and discuss the forces that came to bear on Facebook’s ethical decision making.

4. Discuss how its code of ethics helps Facebook maintain high ethical standards in situations such as the one reported.

SOURCE: G. A. Fowler, & E. Steel, “Facebook Says User Data Sold to Broker,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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In the aftermath of a devastating earthquake, relief money, workers, and equipment arrived from all over the world to assist Haiti. That included independent contractors like Randal Perkins of Florida who hoped to cash in on the need. Perkins has experience in natural disaster cleanup having been involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Katrina. Yet he found himself helpless to do much with the government paralyzed in future planning and not present realities.


1. Based on what you read, did the Haitian government have a plan for cleanup? If yes, in what ways did they satisfy the basic elements of planning? If no, what should they be doing?

2. Due to world-wide interest and support for the relief effort, Haiti finds itself with plenty of money for reconstruction. However, money alone is not enough. Explain to Haitian government officials why good planning is necessary and its benefits.

3. The text discusses short- and long-range plans. In the context of Haiti, discuss why both are necessary.

SOURCE: D. Sontag, “Weary of Debris, Haiti Finally Sees Some Vanish,” New York Times (Retrievable online at

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Politics is dirty business. Yet in this campaign season where voters are polarized and the issues are contentious, Vicky Hartzler and Ike Skelton are running civil campaigns for a Missouri congressional seat. Mr. Skelton, a Democrat, currently holds the position and has done so since 1977. Ms. Hartzler has a number of successful political campaigns under her belt, but none at the national level. Both candidates are equally motivated and believe they can win in November.


1. You might wonder “why would anyone want to get into politics?” Well why would they? Using Hierarchy of Needs, explain why Rep. Skelton and Ms. Hartzler might be motivated to run for political office.

2. Since the early 1990s, we have seen candidates emerge and present themselves as anti-establishment. This sometimes comes with a promise that they will not be career politicians. Invariably, they get elected and continue to run cycle after cycle. Use Acquired Needs Theory to explain this.

3. Carefully examine the three components of Expectancy Theory. Develop a guess as to the motivation levels for challenger Hartzler and incumbent Skelton. Be sure to consider comments by Professor Sharlene Bax and voters Jim Parker and Keith Pritchard.

SOURCE: K. Helliker, “GOP Challenger Poses Threat to Longtime Incumbent,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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The San Francisco Giants beat the defending National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies to claim the 2010 National League Pennant and the right to face the Texas Rangers in the World Series. Giants manager Bruce Bochy is back in the series for the first time since 1998 (when he managed the San Diego Padres). San Francisco is hoping to win its first world championship since the team moved out west in 1958.


1. Illustrate how Giants manager Bruce Bochy could use each of the bases of power. Which do you believe he relies most heavily upon?

2. Given what you read about Bochy, how would you characterize his leadership traits? Where would you place him on Blake and Mouton’s Leadership Grid?

3. Managers at this level really have very little influence on the game. While the article would definitely disagree, use a substitutes for leadership argument to support this statement.

SOURCE: J. McCauley, “Bochy’s Decisions a Big Reason SF Giants in Series,” San Francisco Chronicle (Retrievable online at