9 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
Ted Evans is the line manager at a construction materials plant in Richmond, Virginia. Over the years, Evans has had experience dealing with morale, training and development, materials handling, and quality control. Helen Gates, a 27-year company veteran, has come to see Evans with charges of both gender and racial discrimination. She believes she has been denied promotions because of an institutionalized system of discrimination. Gates is the only woman of color on line four of the C shift. She had approached management on several previous occasions with concerns over various easily resolved issues. This case challenges students to look at the issues from both sides of the fence. Gates had once been friendly with one of the individuals that she accuses of being disrespectful. Evans must weigh the issues. The case offers students a chance to view why people behave the way they do and to approach what is happening in relationships and interactions with a clearer understanding.
He knew right away, right there, that Helen Gates was a woman he had to take seriously. He was Ted Evans, the line manager at the Cercle Placit™ plant in Richmond, Virginia. Helen Gates was a 26-year company veteran. It was the fall of 2001; Gates had come to Evans with charges of both gender and racial discrimination. She threatened to take action. Evans attempted to absorb Gates' accusations and wondered whether these fragments were random, a collection of broken connections, or was there a pattern, focal points around which to cohere the scattered fragments? How should Evans react to Gates' charges?
Cercle evolved from its original 1805 business as a black powder manufacturer and restructured several times over the years. Researchers at Cercle created numerous new products and set off the revolution in specialty cement materials development. By the late 1950s Cercle had established several subsidiaries in Europe and later expanded to include countries in Latin America and the Asian-Pacific region. Cercle core competency remained in construction materials but the company explored other fields with acquired enterprises.
By 2001, the firm operated in 61 countries and employed 92,000 people. Cercle generated revenues of $ 24.8 billion and a net income of $ 4.7 billion that same year. Construction materials accounted for 53 percent of 2001 revenues, cement 41 percent, and gypsum 6 percent. Nearly 47 percent of the company's sales were outside the United States, which meant Cercle was among one of the largest U.S. exporters.
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Keywords: conflict management, diversity, management of, group behavior, group dynamics, interpersonal behavior, leadership, discrimination, management skills
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