1. Discuss the context and the issues in the case from the point of view of Thomas, Donahoe, and Ford.
Thomas is a newly hired employee at Arcon. He recently graduated from Harvard Business School, and for years has had the goal of eventually making a career at Arcon a reality. He reports directly to Donahoe, who works for Ford. Interestingly enough, during the hiring process, he was never given the opportunity to interview with Donahoe. A combination of Donahoe not given the opportunity to interview Thomas, as well as lack of initiative on Donahoe’s part has has created a terrible working relationship. With that in mind, Thomas has built an excellent relationship with Ford. Thomas began his work in Morocco, where he published a newsletter that played a big part in getting his former boss fired at the Morocan-American Chamber of Commerce. Eventually, he networked his way in Moroco and made contact with Arcon. This led to a position for him with Arcon in Geneva. He was then contacted by Ford to work in the New York office as the Manager of Advertising Planning. This was the opportunity Thomas had been seeking. His ticket to a possible high level career at Arcon.
Donahoe was not given an opportunity to interview Thomas for the Manager of Advertising Planning position, even though he oversees that side of the house. The first assignment given to Thomas was to look through the finances for the last six months. Thomas began to find a large amount of financial errors. Some unintentional, but nonetheless showing a lack of initiative and attention to detail on Donahoe’s part . These errors were reported to Ford, who became more and more concerned with the situation. In Donahoe’s eyes, it seems he wants to maintain the status quo. He has no concern with many of the alarming findings by Thomas and blames it on the fact that Thomas is a school boy and has not experienced the school of hard knocks.
Ford’s main concern is to ensure that the advertising budget remains in control. Arcon’s policy is to remain under budget, especially after years of financial hardships for the company which almost led to bankruptcy 5 years prior. As he comes to find Donahoe to be responsible for going over the budget due to carelessness and even lying to him as far as the status of the budget, he continues to lose confidence. With that in mind, he has not fired Donahoe, but the possibility that he is preparing a case to fire him is there. He is not very engaged with Donahoe, and instead, has continued to reach out directly to Thomas, thus bypassing Donahoe. Without formally stating it, he is placing Thomas in a position to gather information about the problems within the division.
2. What are the power and political dynamics at Arcon? Does Thomas perceive these dynamics accurately?
Thomas is very eager to make his mark at Arcon and be promoted within the company. He believes that while Donahoe is a challenge, he will have the opportunity to take on new responsibilities within 2 years and Donahoe will be a thing of the past. He also believes that Ford is his ticket for advancement within the company. His assessment based on the interactions between Donahoe and Ford tells him that the trust level between them has been diminishing. Thomas’ perception is that perhaps Ford is building up evidence regarding Donahoe’s inability to perform as a way to eventually fire him. A difficult situation for Thomas, as Ford continues to assign him additional responsibilities. These responsibilities create increased animosity between Thomas and Donahoe. With that in mind, it seems that Ford is actually taking advantage of Thomas to reach his goal of eventually firing Donahoe.
3. Assess Thomas’ interpersonal influence capability and behavior.
While Donahoe seems to be lacking the motivation and perhaps the skill to perform his duties, Thomas does not seem to be taking the right steps to at least try to alleviate the tension. Due to the organizational