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1 Dallas Dehlinger Irfan Kermalli Julian Wong Case Study 1 Jensen Shoes: Jane Kravitzs Story This case

e begins by stating that the story was told from memory by Jane Kravitz. Already we can assume that the story may not be 100 percent accurate, and may also contain a slight bias since we are only given Janes perspective. As will be pointed out in the following section, each individuals perception will have a major influence on the attitudes and behaviors exhibited throughout this case. PROBLEMS Perceptual Differences and the Self-fulfilling Prophecy: The problem begins when Chuck Taylor, who is the Director of Strategic Marketing, provides negative information to Jane about one of her new staff membersLyndon Brooksby stating that he had not received very good performance reviews over the last three years that he had been with the company. Despite the fact Jane had worked with Lyndon in the past claiming that he was a very charming African-American businessman who had a way about him that suggested he could be a star if given the right situation and motivation (Gentile and Maus 2), Chucks negative comments about Lyndon influence her thought process regarding Lyndons ability to perform well and meet expectations. This corresponds to the social information processing model, in which people adopt attitudes and behaviors in keeping with the cues provided by others with whom they come into contact (Greenberg 194). As a result of Chucks negative comments, Jane develops a lack of confidence in Lyndons performanceindicated by her constant monitoring of his progressleading him to uphold the golem effect, in which people holding low expectations of another tend to lower that individuals performance (Greenberg 83).

2 Stereotypes: Stereotypes involve the belief that all members of specific groups share similar traits and are prone to behave identically (Greenberg 84). Since Chuck has little faith in Lyndons performance, it is possible that Lyndon feels he is being stereotyped by Chuck. This may be so as it is a common stereotype that African Americans are lazy; therefore, Lyndon may be experiencing a stereotype threat, which is the uncomfortable feeling that people have when they run the risk of fulfilling a negative stereotype associated with a group to which they belong (Greenberg 85). Lyndon might perceive that Jane holds this stereotype as well because of her constant monitoring of his progress. Additionally, when Jane desired that Lyndon manage the strategic performance objectives for the African American market, this could have come across as stereotypical if her feeling was that an African American would be the best candidate to work with that particular market. While Lyndon may have perceived this situation as stereotypical on Janes part, her behavior throughout the case indicates that she simply wants the best for Lyndon despite the fact that she is not necessarily aware of what that may be. For example, we see that she tried to help him find a new job in Distribution, but Ron Johnsonthe head of that departmentreminds Jane that Lyndons background is in marketing and that distribution would probably not be a good fit for him. This shows us that Janes perceptions about what might be best for Lyndon are misconstrued. What he perceives as an attack are merely Janes acts of kindness and her desire to be helpful. After all, Jensen Shoes managers value [their] employees as much as [their] products (Gentile and Maus 1), and Jane clearly states that she was conscious of wanting to keep [Lyndon] happy (3). Communication: When Lyndon finally discloses to Jane that he plans to visit his brother during his trip to the trade show in San Diego, she assumes that he simply does not want to do his job. However,

3 Jane should have thought about why Lyndon wanted to visit his brother (e.g., is he sick? Is he having a child? Is there some type of an emergency?). It is possible that Lyndon is unable to focus on work because of external factors at home that are occupying his mind, and Jane should have considered these things before jumping to conclusions about Lyndons behavior. In this situation, Jane is committing a fundamental attribution errorthe tendency to attribute others actions to internal causes (e.g., their traits) while largely ignoring external factors that also may have influenced behavior (Greenberg 79)by assuming that Lyndon simply does not want to do his job. Jane and Lyndons failure to communicate properly in this scenario most likely reinforces any prior notions Lyndon had about Jane stereotyping him as a lazy person because of his race. Another quality of communication that is missing here is proper feedback for Lyndons behavior and accomplishments. The feedback that Lyndon is receiving from his superiors is mixed. For instance, Chuck was less than impressed saying anyone could have done that project (Gentile and Maus 3) rather than providing positive reinforcement for his accomplishment. On the other hand, Jane is constantly rewarding Lyndon (e.g., taking him out to lunch, providing flexibility by allowing him to take the time off to travel given that it might help him with his proposal, throwing him a birthday party, ect.) despite the fact that his negative behavior calls for some form of punishment. SOLUTIONS Perceptual Differences and the Self-fulfilling Prophecy: In order to combat the problems related to each individuals perceptions, Chuck and Jane need to take the necessary steps to promote the Pygmalion effecta positive instance of the self-fulfilling prophecy (Greenberg 82). In this way, their open display of devotion and spirit towards Lyndon will also spread throughout the rest of the organization. In order for Chuck and

4 Jane to become effective leaders, they must have high expectations and continue to be committed to Lyndons professional growthsomething Chuck has clearly given up on. Although Jane tries to be positive towards Lyndon, she fails to do so appropriately by repeatedly treating him like a child (monitoring him and giving him small rewards). Leaders who expect more will typically get more in return. This runs parallel to high performance results in workplaces that set high performance goals. It is possible that Lyndon sees this type of work as beneath his status and is, therefore, refusing to complete itan indirect way of calling for higher expectations. Chuck and Jane need to point out to Lyndon that he has potential to be successful, while motivating him to believe that he can achieve more. Raising expectations and Lyndons self-efficacy will surely push him into providing his superiors with his best effort. Compare the common phrase Nothing is impossible to Our products lack quality. Embracing the former spirit will push Lyndon as well as others to fulfill a positive prophecy. Stereotypes: It is very hard to refrain from stereotyping because people often do it subconsciously. However, there are a few things that Chuck and Jane may be able to do to rid themselves of any stereotypes against Lyndon. Primarily, they should consider that their behaviors toward Lyndon could indeed have stereotypical implications, and realize that stereotyping other people ruins their images of themselves. An obvious fix to the problem would be to consciously suppress such thoughts; however, this will trigger a rebound effect, causing both supervisors to think about those stereotypes even more. There is one creative approach to avoiding stereotyping, and that is attempting to be creative. If Chuck and Jane can continuously think creatively by approaching different situations with new and unique methods, they will be able to eventually rid themselves of any stereotypes against Lyndon or others. Of course, this approach is very delicate as chances of rebound effects occurring are fairly high at first.

5 Communication: As mentioned previously, it is likely that Lyndon perceives Chuck and Janes behavior towards him as stereotypical and negative. It is clear that Jane is indeed trying to help Lyndon, but is doing so in an incorrect fashion. The lack of proper communication is rampant throughout this case. The first thing that Chuck, Jane, and Lyndon need to do is to sit down as a group with Patty Russellthe HR professionaland discuss the reasons behind Lyndons poor performance. In this way, Lyndon will have the opportunity to voice any concerns he may have, such as issues with his brother, fear of being stereotyped, a lack of feedback, etc. After speaking with Patty, it is important that Chuck begins to practice inclusion and develop diversity-management programs, to assure that other members of different groups do not fall into the same slump as Lyndon has. Chuck must begin to set clear goals for Jane and Lyndon alike, and constantly verbalize his support, rather than disregard Lyndons efforts. CONCLUSION While the first two solutions regarding the self-fulfilling prophecy and stereotyping would be effective in combating their respective problems, it is clear that the most crucial underlying issue in this case is a lack of proper communication. Since open communication among these individuals would certainly bridge the gap between conflicting perspectives and curb any stereotypical thinking, we have concluded that the third solution regarding communication provides an excellent remedy to all three of the key problems listed. This strategy would promote more kinship and compatibility in the workplace by encouraging each individual to express themselves openly, and in turn understand what they might have been doing to aggravate the situation, allowing them to avoid similar problems in the future.

6 Works Cited Gentile, Mary C and Pamela J Maus. "Jensen Shoes: Jane Kravitz's Story." Harvard Business School (2008): 1-7. Greenberg, Jerald. Behavior in Organizations. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2011.