Professional Applications in Service Learning
Problem Solving Scenarios
Directions: Select one of the following business scenarios and apply the IDEAL problem-solving method. Be sure to address each of the questions presented in the assignment description.
I. Scenario I – Roger Richardson
Roger Richardson works as an IT manager for a small accounting firm. The company has recently bought new computers for its nearly 40 employees and needs to dispose of the old computers because confidential financial information and employees’ personal information are stored on the hard drives. Since the company is small, Roger and one other IT staff member, Russell Bedford, typically handle all matters related to procurement, maintenance, and disposal of all company computer systems. Normally, he and Russell go out behind the building, physically destroy the computers’ hard drives, and then throw all the equipment into the dumpster for removal. Recently, Roger has been told by the company president that they need to be more environmentally responsible and that all electronics should instead be recycled. Russell offered to take the machines to the local recycling center for proper disposal, but Roger said he would handle it himself. However, instead of driving the computers to the recycling center, Roger took the computers home in his truck one night after work and stored them in his garage. Over the next several months, he replaced the hard drives of all the computers and sold them online and to other local small businesses for $250 each, earning him close to $10,000.
II. Scenario II- Melissa Anderson, Connie Maddox, and the HR Executive
A new CEO, Melissa Anderson, met with her leadership team to emphasize the importance of trust within their positions and to reiterate the need for the team to demonstrate trust throughout the company. Employee morale had been quite low for some time due to a lack of trust in leadership and the staff feeling unsupported. After recent layoffs and the changing of CEOs, morale hit an all-time low. After the meeting, Melissa met privately with Connie Maddox, who is an employee working under one of Melissa’s direct reports, an executive team member named Rajantiben Patel. Melissa and Connie had a full discussion about moving Connie into an office with a window, a privilege typically reserved for employees at the executive director level and above. After the meeting, Connie went directly to human resources (HR) to tell them that the CEO had approved her transition into a window office and HR needed to handle the move. The HR executive went immediately to Rajantiben and asked him if he knew about the move and if he had authorized it. Rajantiben had not heard anything about it, but he disclosed to the HR executive that he had recently been told by another member of the team that Melissa and Connie seemed to be meeting alone in Melissa’s office a lot lately. This same team member shared that she overheard Connie having a hushed conversation in the break room during which she was bragging to another coworker about how she was going to “take full advantage of the dirt” she had on Melissa for as long as she could. This team member had expressed concerns to Rajantiben that Connie was getting special treatment because of whatever secrets she knew about the CEO’s personal life. When the HR executive addressed Melissa, she said, “Look, I authorized it, so there is no need to discuss anything further!” The HR executive and Rajantiben were concerned, but they weren’t sure there was anything they could do.
III. Scenario III – Donna Blakeny , Debbie Jones , and James Alvarado
One evening after work, the management team for a software development company attended an off-site dinner meeting with one of its vendors at a restaurant in a local hotel. After dinner, the software development team’s Executive Director, Donna Blakeny, looked at her phone, grabbed her purse, and excused herself from the table, saying that she needed to go home. A short time later, James Alvarado, one of the vendor’s sales team members, said he also had to leave and headed toward the hotel lobby. Because people were laughing and drinking at the table, most of the group did not notice that neither Donna nor James had actually left the hotel. One of the software development team members, Debbie Jones, had a direct line of sight to the hotel elevators, and she saw Donna enter an elevator going to the hotel’s guest room floors rather than exiting the main lobby doors to her car parked outside. After witnessing this, Debbie paid attention to where other meeting attendees went when they left the gathering. Everyone else went out the front door of the hotel, except James. He, too, got into an elevator to the hotel’s guest room floors. A few people from the group lingered at the hotel bar for a few more hours. At 1 a.m., there were three people left; two from the software development company (including Debbie) and one from the vendor. As the small group began to disband, they made their way into the hotel lobby to say their good-byes. At that moment, the hotel elevator door opened, and Donna and James walked out arm in arm. Neither of them noticed their colleagues standing in the lobby as they walked through the hotel’s front doors, kissed passionately, and then parted ways to walk to their respective cars. The dinner attendees standing in the hotel lobby looked at each other in shock and quickly said goodnight, not quite knowing how to react to what they had just seen. The next morning, Debbie approached Donna about the incident and expressed concerns about what the group had witnessed. Debbie felt uncomfortable bringing it up because she reported to Donna, but she also knew that this vendor was one of a handful of companies that were bidding on a huge contract. Debbie knew that another vendor might be the better choice, but she worried that this relationship could impact this project for her company. Donna told Debbie not to worry about any of that and said that although she would not stop seeing James, she would try to make the relationship less noticeable in the future. Debbie was conflicted, but she did not raise the issue again. A few weeks later, James’s company got the contract.
IV. Scenario IV – Private Loan Service Provider
Kristina Simmons, a relatively new member of the marketing team for a private loan service provider, is working on developing a marketing campaign directed at lower income families to help them make ends meet, particularly during the holidays. The campaign emphasizes the opportunity of “freedom from high-interest credit card debt,” and the ability to “provide a wonderful holiday for the family without worrying about having cash on hand,” all while downplaying the fact that the interest rates on these personal loans are low only for the first 90 days after disbursement and then jump higher than many credit card annual percentage rates (APRs). Kristina had been hired 6 months prior by the loan company, which billed itself externally as an organization that created opportunities to help people get back on their feet after financial hardship. After working there for a few months, Kristina had continually observed that the culture was highly competitive, and people were focused primarily on selling products, not on helping customers. She needed the job, so she had tried to keep her head down and work hard. At the outset of this new project, Kristina had expressed concerns to her manager, William Richardson, about the fact that their company seemed to prey on people who might not really be able to afford the loan payments. William chuckled, shrugged, and encouraged her to put those thoughts aside and “just focus on the job at hand.” “Besides,” William reminded Kristina, “if you do well on this project, a big bonus will surely be coming your way at the end of the year!” Despite Kristina’s hesitations, she continued working on the marketing campaign.
© 2021. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved
© 2021. Grand Canyon University. All Rights Reserved.
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