A Case Study of Briarwood Industries

Diane Williamson sat at her desk staring out of the office window. Today, she expected to be promoted to vice-president (UP) of marketing but she was writing her resignation.

Welder’s, as always in her best Ana blue suit, she looked successful but felt like a failure. She Joined in 1999 as an experienced furniture sales rep, and the company was already one of the largest of its type. However, business was bad and sales were falling.

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She soon became one of the top people in the country. She managed to secure a multi-million dollar contract with a major chain, for which she earned promotion to sales manager in 2002; then manager of new product and marketing development in 2005. She recently moved the firm into international markets by licensing Broadsword’s designs to foreign manufacturers.

The VSP Job went to Larry Jacobs, a 12-year veteran; he was efficient but not very creative as a manager. He implemented Just-in-time inventory which would save the company millions over the next 5 years.

Diane felt that Larry, although excellent at implementing others’ ideas, lacked broad-based experience, and the vision to lead. Sandy McBride, the advertising manager and Dean’s closest confidante, knocked at her door. Sandy had heard through the grapevine that Diane did not get the Job. “What’s plan B? ” McBride asked.

Diane expressed her shock and hurt. “l Just don’t understand how this could have happened; I came through the sales ranks, with the vision to diversify into office furniture – our most profitable line. I wrote the marketing plan for our expansion into Canadian and European markets.

What else could I have done? ‘Well Diane it’s well known that Larry really wanted the Job, believing that he had been here long enough and that it was his turn. He never missed an opportunity to make his aims clear or his work visible to the top brass. Remember his presentation about Just-in-time – or when he volunteered to negotiate with the drivers’ union? Rose reports went straight to the top.

I know that you don’t get along…. She cut Sandy off.

“l don’t work like that; I wouldn’t want to take all the glory for something that was the product of a team effort.

Larry looks out for Larry. My style is to do the best Job that I can for the company. Good work gets noticed and rewarded – look at the profit margins – everyone knows that I am the brains behind that plan. “And what about the 6 months I spent in charge at the Atlanta plant, I filled in when the company was short-staffed.

I’m not interested in running a manufacturing facility, but En the manager had a heart attack, I did it. I never complained about it or living away from my family for the year. Vive always been there for Broadsword and this is the thanks I get.

It’s too late now, Vive resigned and it’s Broadsword’s loss. I’m going to hand deliver the letter this morning.

” Source: Harvey and Lard, (2002). Understanding and Managing Diversity. Prentice- An nor later, Diane sat in Gary Lagan’s office, the retiring UP. He read the letter and expressed surprise at the decision. “l think that you might want to reconsider your resignation.

Although you have done a fine Job here, quite frankly, your name wasn’t even among the three top contenders for my Job. We see you as a hard-working, loyal employee but not as corporately material.

You seem to lack competitiveness, Independence, self-confidence, and level of comfort with risk that this Job requires. In fact, this is the first time that you have expressed an interest in being promoted to my Job, and I announced my planned retirement date 3 months ago. ” Diane felt her anger building, and said, Mimi can’t be serious? Why wouldn’t you realize that I considered myself a viable candidate for your position? I hinted at it during my last review – I clearly said that I had done everything that this company had asked of me – ND you agreed.

I’m making $8 – $10,000 less than others at my level of experience – but I never complained. I thought being a team player counted for something here – I just might call my lawyer. ” She then left Garry office but left the letter on the desk. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1 . Is Dean’s reaction to Larry promotion Justified? Whey not? 2.

Who is mainly at fault for this situation? Why? 3. What can Diane and Larry learn from this? 4. What are the lessons for men and women working together in organizations?