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3.7.7: Cases and Problems

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    Learning on the Web (AACSB)

    What’s Your (Emotional) IQ?

    If you were an HR manager, on what criteria would you base a hiring decision—intelligence (IQ), education, technical skills, experience, references, or performance on the interview? All these can be important determinants of a person’s success, but some experts believe that there’s an even better predictor of success. It’s called emotional intelligence (or EI), and it gained some currency in the mid-1990s thanks to Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. EI is the ability to understand both our own emotions and those of others, as well as the ability to use that understanding in managing our behavior, motivating ourselves, and encouraging others to achieve goals.

    An attractive aspect of EI is that, unlike IQ, it’s not fixed at an early age. Rather, its vital components—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management—can be strengthened over time. To assess your level of EI, go to the Web site maintained by the Hay Group, a management-consulting firm, and take the ten-item test that’s posted there ( After completing the test, you’ll get your EI score, some instructions for interpreting it, and an answer key.

    When you’ve finished with the test, rank the following items according to the importance that you’d give them in making a hiring decision: intelligence, education, technical skills, experience, references, interview skills, and emotional intelligence. Explain your ranking.

    Career Opportunities

    Are You a People Person?

    You might not like the idea of sitting across the desk from a corporate college recruiter and asking for a job, but what if you were on the other side of the desk? As a recruiter, you’d get to return to campus each year to encourage students to join your company. Or, maybe you’d like to help your company develop a new compensation and benefits program, implement a performance-evaluation system, or create a new training program. All these activities fall under the umbrella of HR.

    To learn more about the field of HR, go to the WetFeet Web site ( and read the page “Human Resources Overview.” Then answer these questions:

    1. What is the human resources field like?
    2. What do HR professionals like about their jobs? What do they dislike?
    3. Are job prospects in the HR field positive or negative? Which HR areas will experience the fastest growth?
    4. Based on the job descriptions posted, which specific HR job would you want?

    Finally, write a paragraph responding to this question: Do you find the HR field interesting? Why, or why not?

    Ethics Angle (AACSB)

    Misstating the Facts

    Life couldn’t get much better for George O’Leary when he was named the head football coach at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, he barely had time to celebrate his new job before he was ruled ineligible: after just a week on the job, he was forced to resign, embarrassing himself, his family, his friends, and Notre Dame itself. Why? Because of a few lies that he’d put on his résumé twenty years earlier. To get the facts behind this story, go to the Sports Illustrated Web site ( and read the article “Short Tenure: O’Leary Out at Notre Dame After One Week.” Then, answer the following questions:

    1. Was O’Leary’s punishment appropriate? If you were the athletic director at Notre Dame, would you have meted out the same punishment? Why, or why not?
    2. False information on his résumé came back to haunt O’Leary after twenty years. Once he’d falsified his résumé, was there any corrective action that he could have taken? If so, what?
    3. If O’Leary had told Notre Dame about the falsifications before they came to light, would they have hired him?
    4. Would his previous employer take him back?
    5. O’Leary was later hired as a head coach by the University of Central Florida. Will the episode involving his résumé undermine his ability to encourage players to act with integrity? Will it affect his ability to recruit players?
    6. What’s the lesson to be learned from O’Leary’s experience? In what ways might a few (theoretical) misstatements on your résumé come back to haunt you?

    Team-Building Skills (AACSB)

    Dorm Room Rescue

    Any night of the week (at least as of this writing), you can relax in front of the TV and watch a steady stream of shows about how to improve your living space—such as New Spaces. You like the concept of these programs well enough, but you’re tired of watching them in a tiny, cluttered dorm room that’s decorated in early barracks style. Out of these cramped conditions, however, you and a team of friends come up with an idea. On graduation, you’ll start a business called Dorm Room Rescue to provide decorating services to the dorm dwellers who come after you. You’ll help college students pick colors and themes for their rooms and select space-saving furniture, storage materials, area rugs, and wall decorations. Your goal will be to create attractive dorm rooms that provide comfort, functionality, and privacy, as well as pleasant spaces in which students can relax and even entertain.

    The team decides to develop a plan for the HR needs of your future company. You’ll need to address the following issues:

    1. Number of employees
    2. Job descriptions: duties and responsibilities for each type of employee
    3. Job specifications: needed skills, knowledge, and abilities

    2. Recruitment of qualified employees

    • Recruitment plan: how and where to find candidates
    • Selection process: steps taken to select employees

    3. Developing employees

    • New-employee orientation
    • Training and development

    4. Compensation and benefits

    • Wages, salaries, and incentive programs
    • Benefits

    5. Work/Life quality

    • Work schedules and alternative work arrangements
    • Family-friendly programs

    6. Performance appraisal

    • Appraisal process
    • Retaining valuable employees

    You might want to divide up the initial work, but you’ll need to regroup as a team to make your final decisions on these issues and to create a team-prepared report.

    The Global View (AACSB)

    Sending Ed to China

    You’re the HR manager for a large environmental consulting firm that just started doing business in China. You’ve asked your top engineer, Ed Deardon, to relocate to Shanghai for a year. Though China will be new to Deardon, working overseas won’t be; he’s already completed assignments in the Philippines and Thailand; as before, his wife and three children will be going with him.

    You’ve promised Deardon some advice on adapting to living and working conditions in Shanghai, and you intend to focus on the kinds of cultural differences that tend to create problems in international business dealings. Unfortunately, you personally know absolutely nothing about living in China and so must do some online research. Here are some promising sites:

    • Executive Planet (
    • China Window (
    • Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center (


    Prepare a written report to Deardon in which you identify and explain five or six cultural differences between business behavior in the United States and China, and offer some advice on how to deal with them.

    3.7.7: Cases and Problems is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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