Human Resources Chapter 3 Questions for Review an Case QuestionsDirections : answer the questions for review and questions about the casesSubject: Human Resources Both case and questions have been attached College level answers required
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Human Resource Class
Questions for Review
1. Explain the behavioral and cognitive approaches to learning. Which is most relevant to
training? Explain your answer.
You are a trainer explaining expectancy theory to a group of managers so they can
better understand and deal with employee motivation problems. One of the managers
says, â??I do not have time for this theory stuff. I want real-world training that helps me in
my job.â? How would you respond to the trainee? What is your rationale for your
List the nine events of instruction as outlined by GagnÃ© and Briggs and indicate how
you would use them in a training situation.
Explain why different people need different training methods.
How does a work group exert control over the performance of a worker? Provide a
rationale for why this â??powerâ? is a positive or negative thing.
How can training be designed to motivate learning and accommodate trainee
Case Analysis Rickâ??s New Job
Rick recently received an MBA. In university, he was known as smart, hardworking, and
friendly. His good grades landed him an internship with Peterson Paper Products (PPP)
to head their sales department. Near the end of the internship, Val Peterson, the
president and founder of the company, asked Rick to meet him after work to discuss the
Peterson Paper Products
Val Peterson founded PPP 17 years ago. It purchases raw paper of varying grades and
produces paper stock for business, personal stationery, and greeting cards. Its annual
sales topped $15 million, and it employs 80 to 90 people, depending on demand. Sales
gradually declined over the last two years after steady and sometimes spectacular
growth during the previous seven years. Competition increased markedly over the last
three years, and profit margins dwindled. Although PPP is known for the high quality of
its products, consumers are shifting from premium-priced, high-quality products to
products with higher overall value. Through all of these changes, PPP maintained a
close-knit family culture. At least half of the employees have been with the company
since the beginning or are friends or relatives of the Petersons or Mr. Ball, Valâ??s partner.
Val Peterson, 53, holds the majority of stock in this privately held company that he
founded. He began working summers in a paper company during high school. He
supervised a shift at a paper plant while he went to college at night. After graduation, he
worked at increasingly higher management levels, occasionally switching employers for
a promotion. Eighteen years ago, he quit his vice presidency with a major paper product
manufacturer to start his own company. Employees see him as charismatic, eventempered, and reasonable. He spends most of his time and energy on company
business, putting in 12-hour days.
Rosie Peterson, 50, is Valâ??s wife and the controller for the company. She holds 5
percent of the company stock. Rosie never went to college, and her accounting
methods are rather primitive (all paper and pencil). Nonetheless, she is always on top of
the financial picture and puts in nearly as many hours as Val. She exerts a great deal of
influence on the operations and direction of PPP.
Walter Ball, 61, is both Mr. Petersonâ??s friend and business partner. He owns 25 percent
of the stock and has known Val since before the start of PPP. He is VP of operations,
which means that he oversees the computer information systems that run the paper
production process and handles the technical side of the business. He is not current on
the latest computer or manufacturing technology, but he loves the paper business. He
says he will probably retire at 65, but most say they will believe it when they see it.
Diane Able, 41, is the customer service manager and is married to Steve Able, the chief
engineer. Diane worked her way up in the company over the last 10 years. She is often
asked to assist Mr. Peterson with projects because of her common sense, and he trusts
her to keep information to herself.
When Rick met Mr. Peterson to â??discuss the future,â? he was nervous. He knew that Mr.
Peterson liked his work so far, but did not know if it was enough to extend his internship
another six months. So far, he had worked with Mr. Peterson only on special projects
and did not know the rest of the management group well. He was flabbergasted when
Mr. Peterson said, â??I was thinking that you might like to work here at PPP full-time and
help us out with our sales department.â?
The two of them discussed the problems in the sales area and talked about what could
be done to boost sales. Rick agreed to start the next Monday. During this conversation,
Rosie walked in and suggested that they all go out to dinner. At dinner, Rosie
emphasized to Rick that PPP was a family operation, down-to-earth and informal. â??You
probably shouldnâ??t try to change things too quickly,â? she warned. â??People need time to
get used to you. You have to remember, youâ??re an outsider here and everyone else is
an insider.â? Then Val moved the conversation back to what the future could be like at
During the first few days at work, Rick spent time getting to know the plant and
operations, meeting all the employees, and familiarizing himself with the problems in
sales. He met with Val each morning and afternoon. He also met with the key
managers, not only to introduce himself but also to convey his desire to work
collaboratively with them in addressing the problems in sales. He was conscious not to
flaunt his university education and to convey that he recognized he was a newcomer
and had a lot to learn. In the middle of his second week, Val told him that his reception
by the other employees was going very well: â??Your enthusiasm and motivation seem to
be contagious. Having you join us shows them that things need to change if weâ??re going
to reach our goals.â?
Rick noticed, however, that the managers always went out in groups, and he had not
been invited along. Also, he was not included in the informal discussion groups that
formed periodically during the day. In fact, the conversation usually stopped when he
approached. Everyone was friendly, he thought; maybe it would just take a little more
By his third week, Rick identified some of the problems in the sales department. Among
the four salespeople, morale and productivity were moderate to low. He could not find
any sales strategy, mission, or objectives. The records showed that Val was by far the
leading salesperson. The others indicated that Mr. Peterson â??always works with us very
closely to make sure we do things right. If he senses there might be a problem, he steps
in right away.â? After formulating a plan, Rick discussed it with Mr. Peterson. â??First, I
would like to institute weekly sales meetings so we keep everyone up to date. I also
want to create a centralized sales database,â? he told him. Mr. Peterson smiled and
agreed. Rick felt he was finally a manager. He did feel that he should have mentioned
his idea for creating a sales department mission and strategy, but recalled Rosieâ??s
caution about not moving too fast.
Rick discussed with Mr. Ball the possibility of using the centralized computer system to
run word processing and spreadsheet software on terminals. Mr. Ball was concerned
that outsiders could access the data in the spreadsheets. Anyway, he did not think the
system could handle that task because its primary function was production. Puzzled,
Rick asked if a PC could be allocated to him. Mr. Ball said that no one in the company
â??Well,â? Rick thought, â??Iâ??ll just have to bring mine from home.â? The next Monday Rick
walked through the office carrying his computer. Several of the other managers looked
at him quizzically. Making light of it he said, â??Iâ??m not smart enough to keep everything in
my head and I do not have enough time to write it all down on paper.â? As he was setting
up the computer, he got a call from Val: â??Rick, that computer you brought in has caused
a heck of a ruckus. Can you lie low with it until I get back late this afternoon?â? Rick
thought Val sounded strained but chalked it up to overwork. Rick agreed and left the
computer on his desk, partly assembled. Five minutes later, Rosie walked into his office.
â??Do you think itâ??s funny bringing that thing in here? What are you trying to proveâ??how
backward we all are? How much better you are with your big initials behind your name?
Youâ??re still an outsider here, buster, and do not forget it.â?
Rick tried to explain how much more productive the sales department would be with a
computer and that he had tried to use the companyâ??s computer system. However, Rosie
was not listening: â??Did you think about checking with me before bringing that in? With
Val or even Walter? Donâ??t you think we have a right to know what youâ??re bringing in
here?â? Rick knew argument would do no good, so he apologized for not checking with
everyone first. He said he had a meeting with Val later to talk about it. Rosie said,
â??Good, talk to Val, but donâ??t think he calls all the shots here.â?
At the meeting with Val, Val agreed that the computer would certainly help solve the
problems in sales: â??But, you have to be sensitive to the feelings of Rosie and the other
managers. It would be best if you did not use the computer for a while until things calm
The next day Walter walked into Rickâ??s office. He told Rick that he had moved far too
fast with the computer: â??Thatâ??s not how itâ??s done here, son. Maybe youâ??re spending too
much time listening to what Val says. He isnâ??t really the one to talk to about these kinds
of issues. Next time you just ask old Uncle Walter.â?
Rick spent the next few weeks building the database by hand and conducting sales
meetings with his staff. He tried to set up meetings with Mr. Peterson, but Val was
usually too busy. One day, Rick asked Diane Able about not being able to see Mr.
Peterson and she said, â??You know, you monopolized a lot of his time early on. Those of
us who worked closely with him before you came were pushed aside so he could spend
time with you. Now itâ??s your turn to wait.â?
â??Are you the one whoâ??s been spending all the time with him?â? Rick asked.
â??Well, itâ??s been me and some of the other managers. Weâ??ve really been taking a beating
in sales, so we need to figure out how to reduce our costs,â? Ms. Able answered.
A few weeks later, Rick was called in to Valâ??s office. Val began, â??Rick, you know weâ??ve
been going through some bad times. Weâ??re reducing head count and Iâ??m afraid youâ??re
one of the people weâ??re going to let go. It has nothing to do with your work. You havenâ??t
really been here long enough to have either succeeded or failed. Itâ??s just that we had
unrealistic expectations about how quickly things in sales would turn around. I feel
terrible having to do this and Iâ??ll do everything I can to help you find another job.â?
After packing his things and loading up the car, Rick sat in his car and stared out of the
window. â??Welcome to the real world,â? he thought to himself.
1. Why do you think Rick was let go? How does reinforcement theory apply to the
main characters in this situation? How does expectancy theory apply?
2. Explain Rosieâ??s and Walterâ??s reactions to Rickâ??s computer in terms of resistance
to change. How might Rick have used the concepts in this chapter to approach
the computer situation so as to gain acceptance?
3. Explain Rickâ??s inability to â??fit in,â? using social learning theory. Where did the
breakdowns in his processing occur?
4. If Val hired you to develop a management training program for the senior
managers at PPP, what are the key concepts from this chapter that you would
use in designing the program? Provide appropriate theoretical rationale to
support your position.
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