Jeri Caldwell at Moex, Inc.: CEO'S Dilemma (Condensed)

5 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Martin N. Davidson

Martin N. Davidson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

James G. Clawson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Joseph W. Harder

Darden School of Business of Business Administration; Spirit of the New Workplace, LLC

Celia Harquail

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Just when he thought the company's diversity initiative and inclusiveness efforts were making strides, Mike Desmond, MOEX CEO, learns from Jeff Fairbanks, vice president of Strategic Human Resources, exactly how people of color feel they are being treated under his leadership. Jeri Caldwell, a subordinate and family friend, has informed Fairbanks that she is considering filing discrimination charges against MOEX, based upon lack of promotion. This case raises the level of understanding of how systems and cultures can exclude people from participating and thriving in an organization. The material also acts as a bridge to understand the experience of African-American employees in U.S. corporations. This case is one of a series on Jeri Caldwell at MOEX, Inc., that allows for shortened preparation time, yet includes an array of employees who still reveal individual experiences with discrimination and how each person relates to functioning within a large technology company. While this version of Jeri Caldwell focuses on the CEO as the decision maker, Jeri Caldwell at MOEX Inc. (A) [OB-0691] and (B) [OB-0693] focus on Jeff Fairbanks in the primary decision-making role. Jeri Caldwell at MOEX, Inc.: CEO's Dilemma [OB-0836] is the longer version of this case.

Excerpt

UVA-OB-0834

JERI CALDWELL AT MOEX, INC: CEO'S DILEMMA (CONDENSED)

Mike Desmond, CEO of Morris Electronics, Inc. (MOEX), stared out his window on a foggy Monday morning, deep in reflection several minutes after his vice president for Strategic Human Resources, Jeff Fairbanks, had departed. Desmond had listened intently, trying not to miss a single word and trying not to feel defensive as he heard some pretty harsh messages about how people in his company felt they were being treated. Desmond was convinced that something needed to be done, but he was really unsure where to begin.

He reflected on how Fairbanks, the highest-ranking executive of color at MOEX, described the impassioned conversation among several key African-American employees the day before. On Saturday, Fairbanks had received a call from Jeri Caldwell, who related to him the details of what she called the “Friday blowout.” Frank Tanner, her manager for the past three months, had informed her that she had been denied the promotion to product manager, and she could not contain her disappointment. The scenario felt like déjà vu, since Caldwell had been passed over twice before for a similar promotion—even though she felt ready for it. This time, she found herself standing in Tanner's office, yelling at the top of her lungs. She had lost it and stormed out of his office and the building. She asked Fairbanks to meet with her to discuss what she should do next.

Normally, Fairbanks would not have met informally with an employee at the center of such a volatile situation. Moreover, this situation was happening three layers of management below him. But Fairbanks told Desmond he didn't feel that these were normal circumstances, and he thought it was time for MOEX to face the brutal facts about diversity in the company.

MOEX

. . .

Keywords: racial diversity, African Americans, interpersonal conflict

Suggested Citation

Davidson, Martin N. and Clawson, James G. and Harder, Joseph W. and Harquail, Celia and Yemen, Gerry, Jeri Caldwell at Moex, Inc.: CEO'S Dilemma (Condensed). Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0834. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1281853

Martin N. Davidson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-4483 (Phone)
434-243-5020 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/Davidson.htm

James G. Clawson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/clawson.htm

Joseph W. Harder

Darden School of Business of Business Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434.974-1940 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/html/direc_detail.aspx?styleid=2&id=4371

Spirit of the New Workplace, LLC ( email )

445 Mallard Lake Drive
Earlysville, VA 22936
United States
434-249-4939 (Phone)

Celia Harquail

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Gerry Yemen (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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