Employee Involvement Cases
Scenario 1: Social Media Decision for the Provincial Government
You are the director of training, learning, and development for the provincial government. Faced with shrinking budgets you are particularly concerned about your ability to attract and retain recent hires that include many young, well-educated, high-potential employees who seem to be particularly motivated by opportunities to learn, develop, and collaborate with their co-workers.
Last week you were the guest speaker for an HR class at one of the local colleges and received some candid feedback from business students. Student comments included:
• “I would love to work for government for a year or two to get some experience.”
• “The work environment in government is soooo old-fashioned. I have a friend who works at one of the ministries and her boss told her that she needs to keep her phone turned off during work hours.”
• “I heard that only managers in government ever get the chance to go on training.”
You are interested and intrigued by the potential of social media platforms such as Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+ as well as tools such as blogs and wikis to support informal learning, collaboration, and information sharing. You have discussed your interest to implement a “pilot” with a few of your most experienced colleagues but have found that several of your direct reports view these tools as “just entertainment fads” that are likely to diminish in popularity over time. However, you are confident several employees, including recent hires, would be eager to explore the possibilities of how these technologies could be used as learning tools and perhaps even enhance the image of the provincial government as a great place to work in the process.
You are mindful that you are not the best role model for use of technology. You have a BlackBerry and recently created a Twitter account but have not even joined Facebook despite receiving a few requests to “friend” some of the younger employees in your area.
Scenario 2: The Sugar Substitute Research Decision
You are the head of research and development (R&D) for a major beer company. While working on a new beer product, one of the scientists in your unit seems to have tentatively identified a new chemical compound that has few calories but tastes closer to sugar than current sugar substitutes. The company has no foreseeable need for this product, but it could be patented and licensed to manufacturers in the food industry.
The sugar-substitute discovery is in its preliminary stages and would require considerable time and resources before it would be commercially viable. This means that it would necessarily take some resources away from other projects in the lab. The sugar-substitute project is beyond your technical expertise, but some of the R&D lab researchers are familiar with that field of chemistry. As with most
forms of research, it is difficult to determine the amount of research required to further identify and perfect the sugar substitute. You do not know how much demand is expected for this product. Your department has a decision process for funding projects that are behind schedule. However, there are no rules or precedents about funding projects that would be licensed but not used by the organization.
The company's R&D budget is limited, and other scientists in your work group have recently complained that they require more resources and financial support to get their projects completed.
Some of these R&D projects hold promise for future beer sales. You believe that most researchers in the R&D unit are committed to ensuring that the company's interests are achieved.
Scenario 3: Coast Guard Cutter Decision Problem
You are the captain of a 72-metre Coast Guard cutter, with a crew of 16, including officers. Your mission is general at-sea search and rescue. At 2:00 this morning, while en route to your home port after a