Group 1 Case Assignment Case Incident Long Hours, Hundreds of E-Mails, and No Sleep: Does This Sound like a Satisfying Job? Although the 40-hour workweek is now the exception rather than the norm, some individuals are taking things to the extreme.
• John Bishop, 31, is an investment banker who works for Citigroup’s global energy team in New York. A recent workday for Bishop consisted of heading to the office for a conference call at 6:00 P. M. He left the office at 1:30 A.
M. and had to be on a plane that same morning for a 9:00 A. M. presentation in Houston. Following the presentation, Bishop returned to New York the same day, and by 7:00 P.
M. , he was back in his office to work an additional three hours. Says Bishop, “I might be a little skewed to the workaholic, but realistically, expecting 90 to 100 hours a week is not at all unusual. ”
• Irene Tse, 34, heads the government bond-trading division at Goldman Sachs. For ten years, she has seen the stock market go from all-time highs to recession levels.
Such fluctuations can mean millions of dollars in either profits or losses. “There are days when you can make a lot, and other days where you lose so much you’re just stunned by what you’ve done,” says Tse.
She also states that she hasn’t slept completely through the night in years and frequently wakes up several times during the night to check the global market status. Her average workweek? Eighty hours. “I’ve done this for 10 years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of days in my career when I didn’t want to come to work.
Every day I wake up and I can’t wait to get here. ”
• Tony Kurz, 33, is a managing director at Capital Alliance Partners and raises funds for real-estate investments. However, these are not your average properties.
He often travels to exotic locations like Costa Rica and Hawaii, wooing prospective clients. He travels more than 300,000 miles a year, often sleeping on planes and dealing with jet lag. Kurz is not the only one he knows with such a hectic work schedule. His girlfriend, Avery Baker, logs around 400,000 miles a year, working as the senior vice president of marketing for Tommy Hilfiger. “It’s not easy to maintain a relationship like this,” says Kurz. But do Kurz and Baker like their jobs? You bet.
• David Clark, 35, is the vice president of global marketing for MTV.
His job often consists of traveling around the globe to promote the channel, as well as to keep up with the global music scene. If he is not traveling (Clark typically logs 200,000 miles a year), a typical day consists of waking at 6:30 A. M. and immediately responding to numerous messages that have accumulated over the course of the night. He then goes to his office, where throughout the day he will respond to another 500 messages or so from clients around the world. If he’s lucky, he gets to spend an hour a day with his son, but then it’s back to work until he finally goes to bed around midnight.
Says Clark, “There are plenty of people who would love to have this job. They’re knocking on the door all the time. So that’s motivating. ” Many individuals would balk at the prospect of a 60-hour or more workweek with constant traveling and little time for anything else. However, some individuals are exhilarated by such professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004, about 17 percent of managers worked more than 60 hours per week. But the demands of such jobs are clearly not for everyone. Many quit, with turnover levels at 55 percent for consultants and 30 percent for investment bankers, according to Vault. om. However, it is clear that such jobs, which are time consuming and often stressful, can be satisfying to some individuals. Questions 1. Do you think that only certain individuals are attracted to these types of jobs, or is it the characteristics of the jobs themselves that are satisfying? 2. What characteristics of these jobs might contribute to increased levels of job satisfaction? 3. Given that the four individuals we just read about tend to be satisfied with their jobs, how might this satisfaction relate to their job performance, citizenship behavior, and turnover? 4.
Recall David Clark’s statement, “There are plenty of people who would love to have this job. They’re knocking on the door all the time. ” How might Clark’s perceptions of having a job that many others desire contribute to his job satisfaction? Source: Based on L. Tischler; “Extreme Jobs (And the People Who Love Them),” Fast Company, April 2005, pp. 55–60. http://www. glo-jobs. com/article. php? article_no=87. Group 2 Case Assignment Case Incident The Upside of Anger? A researcher doing a case study on emotions in organizations interviewed Laura, a 22-year-old customer service representative in Australia.
Below is a summary of the interview (with some paraphrasing of the interviewer questions): Interviewer: How would you describe your workplace? Laura: Very cold, unproductive, [a] very, umm, cold environment, atmosphere. Interviewer: What kinds of emotions are prevalent in your organization? Laura: Anger, hatred towards other people, other staff members. Interviewer: So it seems that managers keep employees in line using fear tactics? Laura: Yeah. [The General Manager’s] favorite saying is, “Nobody’s indispensable. ” So, it’s like, “I can’t do that because I’ll get sacked! Interviewer: How do you survive in this situation? Laura: You have to cater your emotions to the sort of situation, the specific situation . . . because it’s just such a hostile environment, this is sort of the only way you can survive. Interviewer: Are there emotions you have to hide? Laura: Managers don’t like you to show your emotions . . . They don’t like to show that there is anything wrong or anything emotional in the working environment. Interviewer: Why do you go along? Laura: I feel I have to put on an act because . . . o show your true emotions, especially towards my managers [Laura names two of her senior managers], it would be hatred sometimes. So, you just can’t afford to do that because it’s your job and you need the money. Interviewer: Do you ever rebel against this system? Laura: You sort of put on a happy face just so you can annoy [the managers]. I find that they don’t like people being happy, so you just annoy them by being happy. So, yeah. It just makes you laugh. You just “’put it on” just because you know it annoys [management]. It’s pretty vindictive and manipulative but you just need to do that.
Interviewer: Do you ever find that this gets to you? Laura: I did care in the beginning and I think it just got me into more trouble. So now I just tell myself, “I don’t care. ” If you tell yourself something for long enough, eventually you believe it. Yeah, so now I just go “’Oh well. ” Interviewer: Do you intend to keep working here? Laura: It’s a means to an end now. So every time I go [to work] and every week I just go, “Well, one week down, one week less until I go away. ” But if I knew that I didn’t have this goal, I don’t know if I could handle it, or if I would even be there now.
Interviewer: Is there an upside to working here? Laura: I’m so much better at telling people off now than I ever used to be. I can put people in place in about three sentences. Like, instead of, before I would walk away from it. But now I just stand there and fight . . . I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Teaching Note: Break up the class in groups of three or four students each. Ask them to discuss the questions and share their answers later as a class. ¦ Questions 1. Do you think Laura is justified in her responses to her organization’s culture? Why or why not? . Do you think Laura’s strategic use and display of emotions serve to protect her? 3. Assuming Laura’s description is accurate, how would you react to the organization’s culture? 4. Research shows that acts of coworkers (37 percent) and management (22 percent) cause more negative emotions for employees than do acts of customers (7percent). What can Laura’s company do to change its emotional climate? Source: J. Perrone and M. H. Vickers, “Emotions as Strategic Game in a Hostile Workplace: An Exemplar Case,” Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal 16, no. 3 (2004), pp. 167–78.
Group 3 Case Assignment Case Incident Reaching Out, Literally “Why are people at work always touching me? ” asked Elizabeth Bernstein. It’s a problem not everyone has, but it makes you wonder why people like Bernstein are touched a lot at work. It also makes you wonder who does the touching. Though there is no literature on this, the part of the “toucher” is perhaps easier to analyze. We know that extraverts are more expressive, demonstrative, and physically affectionate than are introverts. So one might well conjecture that extraverted people are doing more of the touching at work.
As for the “touchee,” that’s harder to figure. Some evidence suggests that women are more likely recipients of touches than are men. One study of Japanese women suggested that agreeable women are more likely to be touched than less agreeable women. Elizabeth Bernstein is not sure what causes her to be the target of so many touches. “I get bear hugs from men and unsolicited kisses on the cheek from women,” Bernstein wrote. “Co-workers of both sexes grip my elbows, tap my knees, and pat my back. . . . One friend hugs me every time she sees me in the elevator. ”
There also may be personality differences in the degree to which someone likes to be touched. Greg Farrall, a 39-year-old financial advisor, has the worst of both worlds: he receives touches all the time and hates getting them. He has repeatedly asked people not to touch him, to no avail. “If you’re looking over me at my computer screen, you don’t need to put your hand on my shoulder. You can easily put it somewhere else. ” Farrall is not alone in his dislike of workplace touching. One employee commented, “Few things are more annoying than employees who put their creepy-crawlies on co-workers. As for when touching is inappropriate, obviously, touching someone in an inappropriate place, or continuing to touch someone when the recipient lets you know it’s unwelcome, constitutes sexual harassment. But many touches fall into neither of these categories. “There aren’t standards about what touching is nonsexual other than handshakes,” said Larry Stybel, a Boston-area management consultant. Of course, some people like being touched at work. Todd Adler, a Florida equities trader, recently started working from home. He says, “I work with myself and can only touch myself… hich has its pluses and minuses. ” Questions 1. What causes others to want to touch others at work? 2. How would you feel if a teacher in one of your classes put his or her arm on your shoulder? Can you imagine a situation in which that would be acceptable? Do you think your answers say something about your personality? 3. Some experts advise that employees should avoid all physical contact with coworkers at all times. Do you think that’s a wise policy? Why or why not? 4. Do you think the social mores against are distinctly American? If so, why? Group 4 Case Assignment
Case Incident Predictions Consider the following:
• Prediction: “A very powerful and durable rally is in the works. ”—Richard Band, editor, Profitable Investing Letter (March 27, 2008) o Status: At that time, the Dow average was trading at 12,300; one year later, it was at 6,626.
• Prediction: AIG “could have huge gains in the second quarter. ”—Bijan Moazami, analyst, Friedman, Billings, Ramsey (May 9, 2008) o Status: AIG lost $5 billion that quarter, $25 billion the next, and $62 billion the quarter after that, before being given a $90 billion credit by the U.
S. government in 2008–2009.
• Prediction: “Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are fundamentally sound . . . in good shape moving forward. ”— Barnie Frank, House Financial Services Chairman (July 14, 2008) o Status: By August 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were downgraded to the lowest credit ratings; on September 7, 2008, they were placed in conservatorship in “one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets” in history.
• Prediction: “I think Bob Steel’s the one guy I trust to turn this bank around, which is why I’ve told you . . buy Wachovia. ”—Jim Cramer, CNBC (September 15, 2008) o Status: Wachovia shares lost half their value from September 15 to December 29, and Wachovia was taken over by Wells Fargo.
• Prediction: “I think you’ll see $150 a barrel [oil] by the end of the year. ”—T. Boone Pickens, investor (June 20, 2008) o Status: By December of 2008, oil was trading at $40 per barrel.
• Prediction: “In today’s regulatory environment, it’s virtually impossible to violate rules . . . your money is safe with me. —Bernie Madoff (October 20, 2007) o Status: In 2009 Judge Denny Chin handed Madoff a 150-year sentence for his “extraordinarily evil” Ponzi scheme, defrauding investors in the biggest financial swindle in history.
• Prediction: “Smart investors should buy [Merrill Lynch] stock before everyone else comes to their senses. ”—Jon Birger, senior writer, Fortune’s Investors Guide 2008 o Status: Merrill agreed to be acquired by Bank of America to avoid insolvency; the takeover nearly cost Bank of America its own solvency. Source: Based on P.
Coy, “Worst Predictions about 2008,” Business Week ( January 12, 2009), pp. 15–16; D. Ng, “How Wrong They Were! ” The World I Know (January 4, 2009), danielngsh. blogspot. com; and R. Frank and A. Efrati, “‘Evil’ Madoff Gets 150 Years in Epic Fraud,” Wall Street Journal ( June 30, 2009), pp. A1, A12. Questions 1. Do you think these examples paint a misleading or unfair picture of financial market predictions? Why or why not? 2. What perceptual or decision-making errors can you identify in these predictions? 3. Why do we like making predictions so much? 4. Why do you think predictions seem so hard to make?