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Book: Supervisory Management 9th edition
Mosley, Mosley, Pietri
Case 12-2 The Missed Promotion
Susan Williamson was worried. For the past six months, her husband, Paul, was a different person from the man she married. Until that time, Paul had been a cheerful and caring husband and father. He took an interest in their children, was active in church, and had a zest for day-to-day living. In recent months, he turned moody, abrupt, and withdrawn. He spent his time at home watching television and drinking beer. He never talked about his job as maintenance supervisor at the ABC Company as he once had. Recently Susan asked if something at work was bothering him and, if so, whether he would discuss it with her. His reply was “No, there’s nothing bothering me! You take care of the house and the children, and I’ll take care of the job and making a living!”
Actually the job had been bothering Paul for about a year. Before that, he was considered one of the outstanding maintenance supervisors. In those days, his two immediate supervisors, the maintenance superintendent and the maintenance manager, called on him frequently for advice and used him as a troubleshooter within the plant. Although Paul did not have a college degree in engineering, the maintenance manager strongly hinted when the maintenance superintendent retired, Paul would be promoted to his position. The maintenance manager told Paul that, despite having three engineering graduates in the supervision group, he consider Paul the best in the department.
A year ago, the maintenance manager was transferred to another plant. A new maintenance manager came aboard and from the start, favored college graduates. Gradually Paul was used less and less for troubleshooting assignments and his advice was really sought. Then, six months ago, the maintenance superintendent retired in a young Engineering Graduate named Bobbi, whom Paul trained, was promoted to the superintendent’s job. That was when Paul’s personality changed. He began sleeping longer each night, often falling asleep in front of the television set. He also developed a tightness in his stomach that created a burning sensation.
Bobbi, the engineer promoted to maintenance superintendent, was worried. For several months, she had concerns about the performance and health of one of her maintenance supervisors, Paul Williamson. Paul had been Bobbi’s boss at one time and she always admired his ability as a supervisor and his knowledge of the maintenance area.
Recently, while attending a regional meeting of Maintenance Managers from different plants of the ABC Company, Bobbi ran into the former maintenance manager at her plant who was now at another plant. He asked how Paul was doing. Bobbi, glad to share her concern with someone, said she was worried about him. “His performance has slipped, for one thing. Also, he used to have perfect attendance, but lately he’s been calling in sick a lot.”
The maintenance manager replied, “I wonder if disappointment over not being promoted to maintenance superintendent had affected his performance. No reflection on you, of course, but before I left, the plant manager and I agreed Paul it be promoted to maintenance superintendent. Then the home office changed its corporate policy so only college graduates could be promoted to superintendent. This made Paul an ineligible, and you got the job instead.”
Bobbi didn’t know Paul had been the first choice for the position she now held. Upon reflection, she decided to have a coaching and counseling session with him when she returned to the plant, because she certainly didn’t want to lose him.
1. How should Bobby approach Paul about the situation?
2. What do you think Paul’s reaction(s) will be?
3. Do you agree with the company’s policy of promoting only college graduates to the maintenance superintendent position? Why or why not?