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    case study - conflict

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    Background Information:
    The President of State College contacted the facilitator to help deal with a conflict involving a workplace bully. President Walter is at his wits end. He first started hearing gossip about Dr. Short and his unpleasant personality about six months ago. However, he had more important things to deal with at that time (like running a college). Now the situation is getting out of hand, people are taking sides, up-and-coming brilliant faculty members are leaving, and students are affected by the conflict. The Board of Regents heard about this, and they believe the conflict has the potential to harm the university's reputation. President Walter has no option but to find a resolution.
    Here are some of the key people in this conflict:
    You are a 56 year old male who has worked hard for everything. Your mother was a single parent, and she always told you that you would never amount to anything, and she blamed you for your father leaving the family when you were a baby. According to your mother, you were sickly and cried a lot. Your father couldn't stand the chaos, and he left when you were six months old. You never knew him. Growing up on the streets of New York, you became scrappy and learned to fight back when the bigger boys picked on you.
    Although you didn't graduate from high school, you later earned your GED, and eventually, earned a PhD in Social Work. You have taught at various colleges, and you began working your way up the administrative ladder about ten years ago. Unfortunately, you had to leave a great job at I-State because a student accused you of sexual harassment. Quite frankly, you don't see anything wrong with telling a pretty girl she has great legs, and you would like to take her to dinner. You are sure she really wanted to go out with you, but she was intimidated by your position in the college. That is why you kept asking her to come to your place for a nice dinner. Her stupid friend was jealous, so she convinced the student to file a complaint. Oh well......onward and upward!
    After spending a short stint at R-State University, you were recruited by University of City, and you were recently hired by that organization as the Dean of the College of Social Sciences. What you found is a college divided. There is a lot of dead weight on the faculty, and their tenured positions keep you from replacing them. You guess you will have to use your "charms" to get them to want to leave.
    There are, however, some people in the college that you feel will be useful to you, so you have promoted them to Associate Dean positions. When you were hired, you told the faculty that you wanted to foster an atmosphere of transparency. It sounded good at the time, but now you realize that you need to operate a more covert operation.
    Although you hope to get rid of some "weak links", there are a few faculty you wish would "get on board". Dr. Brandon Smith is one of those people. He has some prestige in the community, and you want him to be on your team. Unfortunately, he is a hard nut to crack. While there is something to be said for ethics, there are times when ethics should be set aside. You guess you showed him when you cut his staff, took away his grant, and stripped him of his power in the department. And just let him try to go to another university. After I spread the word that he is way over rated, no one will hire him.

    Dr. Emily Martin is another person you want on your team, but she is a chilly as a January morning in New York. How dare she snub you when you suggested getting together for a drink after class one night? The look of disgust on her face reminds you of your mother's hateful attitude. You are starting to spread rumors about her competence. It doesn't matter that she lectures and writes books on her research topic, once you finish with your gossip, she will lose her status in the field.
    Others, however, are such losers! It was funny when you stood outside Paul Hatfield's door while he was teaching a class and mocked him. The look on his face (and that of his students') was priceless. Too bad you didn't have a video camera. He is tenured, but you could really use his tenure spot for one of your cronies. Maybe he will be humiliated enough to leave.
    And that snotty Erin Rhodes is about to get a real shock. You are really tired of her questioning your mandates and your judgments. She thinks she will get tenure next year, but you are going to change the rules regarding her research and publications. You have the power, and there is nothing she can do about it.

    Answer these solutions
    •Evaluate alternative solutions.
    •Select the best solution
    •Develop an action plan
    •How you would implement the action plan and evaluate the outcomes and processes

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    Solution Preview

    Step 1
    •Evaluate alternative solutions.
    The first alternative is to fire Dr. Randall Short. The pro of this solution is that there will be an immediate stopping of bullying. The problem will go away immediately. The con is that the University of City may be sued by Dr. Short for wrongful termination.
    The second alternative is to commence the process of progressive discipline. The pro of this solution is that this is a legal process and if all necessary steps are taken, and Dr. Short is discharged, then the university cannot be held legally liable. The con of this alternative is that it may take a long time to reach the stage when Dr. Short is discharged. He may be alerted to the process and may victimize those who have taken a stand against him.
    The third alternative is to transfer him to another position in the university where he has little scope of bullying others. The pro of this alternative is that Dr. Short will get removed immediately. The other pro is that it will render Dr. Short relatively harmless. The con will be that the university will have to continue paying him salary. Also, he may find a way to bully persons who have complained against him.
    Step 2
    •Select the best solution
    If Dr. Short is fired, he is likely to sue the university and it will be difficult ...

    Solution Summary

    Alternative methods of handling bullying are discussed step-by-step in this solution. The response also has the sources used.