Charles Pratt and the First Nations University (a)

27 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009

See all articles by Gerry Yemen

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Martin N. Davidson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Can you imagine stepping up to lead an organization in the midst of crisis? In the A case, a professor of business administration at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) has submitted his résumé at the close of an assembly meeting to be considered along with five others to take over the role of interim president. As he waits for the decision, he thinks about the situation ahead of him. Public accusations of fiscal mismanagement and violations of academic freedom at FNUniv have recently surfaced. Lawyers have been hired, and the media has focused intense scrutiny on the school. If offered the opportunity, he wonders if he will be able to balance the impact of the crisis surrounding FNUniv, address the financial systems, restore relationships among the many affected groups, heal the wounds between those parties involved, and implement an action plan for organizational change. In the B case, the newly appointed president's action plan unfolds as he considers whether there would ever be an understanding of the First Nations University's difference.

Excerpt

UVA-OB-0909

CHARLES PRATT AND THE FIRST NATIONS UNIVERSITY (A)

Realization after realization washed through his mind as Charles Pratt, Professor of Business Administration at the First Nations University of Canada (FNUniv) in Regina, Saskatchewan, waited for his telephone to ring that day. It had all started when Pratt—who usually stayed away—decided to attend the Legislative Assembly of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), which met quarterly each year. Although he deeply appreciated the work the performed, originally Pratt had just not been vocal internally. Yet increasingly over the past several months, he had become more verbal and increased his participation in faculty meetings and other university business. Then when public accusations of fiscal mismanagement and violations of academic freedom at FNUniv surfaced, a determination to get the facts drove Pratt to be even more vigilant. He knew the June 5, 2005, FSIN meeting agenda included a discussion on FNUniv, so he attended.

Despite arriving with little enthusiasm, Pratt had been asked by members of the assembly at the close of the meeting to submit his résumé to be considered along with five others to take over the role of interim president of the First Nations University of Canada—an offer that carried great honour (see Exhibit 1 for photos of FNUniv). Pratt was told that if he were chosen, the current university president would call within 24 hours. Pratt realized he was at a major crossroads in his career.

Already 23 hours had passed with no phone call. As he waited patiently, Pratt thought about his career path, the organization, the current crisis surrounding the university and what taking over the top job would mean. Was the school at risk of losing federal or provincial funding? How would current students view the situation and what would it mean for the school's recruitment for the following academic year? Would faculty retention become a huge issue and if so, how would he address it? If offered the opportunity, how would Pratt balance the impact of the crisis surrounding FNUniv and the implementation of changes needed to restore relationships among the many affected? The political and the personal were starting to intersect.

Education

. . .

Keywords: Discrimination, leveraging difference, crisis, leadership, Aboriginal, organizational design, transformation, communication, media, racism, global, sustainability, change agent

Suggested Citation

Yemen, Gerry and Davidson, Martin N., Charles Pratt and the First Nations University (a). Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0909. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1421118

Gerry Yemen (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

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

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

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