Maple Brook Country Club: Josh Smith

5 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2009

See all articles by Sherwood C. Frey

Sherwood C. Frey

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Lucien L. Bass

University of Virginia

Greg Driscoll

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce


Used in conjunction with "Maple Brook Country Club: Pat Locke" (UVA-QA-0630), this case concerns the lifeguards at a country club who are surprised by the arbitrary nature of a directive they have just received. Josh Smith and his fellow lifeguards now view their jobs as unappealing summer employment. The case can be used to explore behaviors and perspectives that will reduce or capitalize on conflict.




You are Josh Smith, a sophomore in college and a long-time resident of Maple Brook, a neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. For a number of years, your family has been an integral part of running Maple Brook Country Club's outdoor pool and recreation center, as both your parents have served multiple terms on the pool's board of directors. You have followed your older brother's example, and are now in the beginning of your fourth year as a lifeguard at the country club. Because you are considered a staff veteran, you have emerged as the unofficial head lifeguard, and are well respected by both fellow employees and pool members alike. The current board members value your opinions, as you have been associated with the pool in one way or another even longer than they have been. For the most part, you consider them family friends since they live nearby in the neighborhood.

Wages have never been extravagant for lifeguards at Maple Brook Country Club (MBCC). Nonetheless, lifeguarding has always been the perfect summer job for young college and high school students, who enjoy its relatively low stress and relaxed nature, as well as the simple pleasure of working with familiar families and friends. Everyone seems to love Maple Brook. If earning a higher wage was important to a potential lifeguard, he or she would likely be attracted to one of the few nearby public pools where wages were more attractive.

These factors have led to an informal atmosphere around Maple Brook for the past several years, which certainly differs from a more structured job experience at a neighboring pool. For instance, lifeguards at Maple Brook have no standard outfit or uniform. The lifeguards also feel entitled to fringe benefits from the pool, including free food and drinks every so often from the pool's snack bar. The snack bar itself is a rather simple operation. Other than candy, soda, and bottled water, the only real food that it offers on a regular basis is hot dogs and chips. On your breaks, you and your fellow lifeguards enjoy relaxing inside the air-conditioned snack bar out of the hot sun. Since this summer was expected to be the hottest in recent years, you are looking forward to having this perk, while on break.

The Memo

. . .

Keywords: Conflict resolution, negotiation

Suggested Citation

Frey, Sherwood C. and Bass, Lucien L. and Driscoll, Greg, Maple Brook Country Club: Josh Smith. Darden Case No. UVA-QA-0629, Available at SSRN:

Sherwood C. Frey (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

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


Lucien L. Bass

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Greg Driscoll

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce

P.O. Box 400173
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4173
United States

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