Jeri Caldwell at Moex, INC
Read the Jeri Caldwell at Moex, INC on page 157 of your text and complete the following Discussion Questions
Jeff Fairbanks, vice president of Strategic Human Resources at MOEX Corporation, faces a challenging leadership issue. He must decide how to raise a discriminatory issue that a subordinate and friend of the family, Jeri Caldwell, informally described to him. Caldwell, an engineer from MIT, feels that she had been denied a due promotion at MOEX for the second time primarily because she is black and female. Upon hearing that she was denied the promotion she thought she deserved, Caldwell lost her temper at her boss and stormed out of the building. Fairbanks has been with MOEX for 18 years and is currently the highest-ranking African American in the company. In 36 hours, he will be meeting with members of the executive leadership team where the issue of Caldwell’s case and diversity at MOEX may be brought to attention.
Leaders have to deal with any number of ethical dilemmas. As the role of diversity in organizations is still a controversial issue, we felt that this could be a particularly challenging and instructive topic for students to grapple with ethical leadership.
Topics that could be explored in this case may include:
– The systemic dynamics that hinder organizations from gaining competitive advantage from diversity.
– The failure to develop and enhance opportunities for people of color
– Neglecting to use skilled people of color and their abilities to the fullest
– A lack of self assessment (individual and institutional) for the firm’s inability to retain qualified minorities.
– Understanding how systems and culture can exclude people from participating and thriving in an organization.
– Understanding the experience of African American employees in U.S. corporations.
The A case explains the backgrounds of MOEX, Fairbanks, and Caldwell; it then describes the informal gathering Fairbanks attends at Caldwell’s private dwelling. The array of guests flushes out individual experiences with discrimination and how each person relates to functioning within the company. Students are asked to decide how Fairbanks should deal with this critical issue. Fairbanks briefly weighs some pros and cons of raising the issue of diversity in a top management meeting. In the B case, Fairbanks is in the boardroom presenting his new Diversity Initiative, and students are asked to examine his plan and determine what is missing. It may be more effective to present this case in parts; providing the A case separately and before the B case.
Questions for Discussion
1. What are the problems presented in this case?
2. Where do these problems come from?
3. What kinds of changes could address problems related to diversity at MOEX?
4. What should Fairbanks do?
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