"Adobe Consulting Services (ACS), a provider of HR software application systems, prides itself on the variety of benefits it offers employees. In addition to healthcare, pension, and vacation benefits, the company also offers an attractive family-friendly benefits package including flexible schedules, child and elder care assistance, counseling services, adoption assistance, and extended parental leave. Unfortunately, in recent months, the company's progressive work/life policy has experienced a backlash from several employees, as the following case illustrates.
In March 2002, Teresa Wheatly was hired by Adobe as a software accounts manager. With excellent administrative and technical skills, plus four years of experience at Adaptable Software, Adobe's main competitor, Teresa became a valued addition to the company's marketing team. As a single mother with two grade-school children, Teresa received permission to take Fridays off. She was also allowed to leave work early or come in late to meet the demands of her children. Teresa is one of eleven software account managers at Adobe.
The problem for Adobe, and particularly Janis Blancero, director of marketing, began in the fall of 2002. On September 15, Dorothy McShee, citing personal reasons - which she refused to discuss - requested a four-day work-week for which she was wiring to take a 20 percent cut in pay. When Dorothy asked for the reduce work schedule, she sarcastically quipped, "I hope I don't have to have kids to get this time off." On October 3, Juan Batista, a world-class marathon runner, requested a flexible work hours arrangement in order to accommodate his morning and afternoon training schedule, as Juan is registered to run the London, England, marathon in May 2003. Just prior to Juan's request, Susan Woolf asked for, and was granted, an extended maternity leave to begin after the birth of her first child in December. If these requests were not enough, Blancero has heard comments from senior account managers about how some employees seem to get special privileges, while the managers work long hours that often require them to meet around-the-clock customer demands. Janis has adequate reason to believe that there is hidden tension over the company's flexible work hours program. Currently, Adobe has no formal policy on flexible schedules. Furthermore, with the company's growth in business combined with the increasing workload of software account managers and the constant service demands of some customers, Biancero realizes that she simply cannot grant all the time-off requests of her employees.
1. Do managers like Janis Blancero face a more complicated decision when evaluating the personal requests of employees versus evaluating employees individual work performance? Explain.
2. a. Should Adobe establish a policy for granting flexible work schedules? Explain.
b. If you answered yes, what might that policy contain?
3. If you were Blancero, how would you resolve this dilemma? Explain. "