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Keeping Suzanne Chalmers

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The objective of this assignment is to develop the studentsā€™ understanding of the nature of how money and other financial rewards affect our needs and emotions. The students should be able to analyse the importance of performance-based rewards and identify strategies to enrich jobs.

Assignment Specifications
Students are required to read the following case and prepare an analytical report to answer the questions given at the end of it. Word Limit: 2000 Words [excluding References & Appendices Page]


Thomas Chan hung up the telephone and sighed. The vice president of software engineerĀ¬ing at Advanced Photonics Inc. (API) had just spoken to Suzanne Chalmers, who called to arrange a meeting with Chan later that day. She didn’t say what the meeting was about, but Chan almost instinctively knew that Suzanne was going to quit after working at API for the past four years. Chalmers is a software engineer in Internet Protocol (IP) the software that directs fiber-optic light through API’s routers. It is very specialized work, and Suzanne is one of API’s top talents in that area.

Thomas Chan had been through this before. A valued employee would arrange a private meeting. The meeting would begin with a few pleasantries; then the employee announces that he or she wants to quit. Some employees say they are leaving because of the long hours and stressful deadlines. They say they need to decompress, get to know the kids again, or whatever. But thatā€™s not usually the real reason. Almost every organization in this industry is scrambling to keep up with technological advances and the competition. They would just leave one stressful job for another one.

Also many of the people who leave API join a start-up company a few months later. These start-up firms can be pressure cookers where everyone works 16 hours each day and has to perform a variety of tasks. For example, engineers in these small firms might have to meet customers or work on venture capitalĀ proposals rather than focus on specialized tasks related to their knowledge. API has over 1,000 employees, so it is easier to assign people to work that matches their technical competencies.

No, the problem isnā€™t the stress or long hours, Chan thought. The problem is money – too much money. Most of the people who leave are millionaires. Suzanne Chalmers is one of them. Thanks to generous stock options that have skyrocketed on the stock market, many employees at API have more money than they can use. Most are under 40 years old, so they are too young to reĀ¬tire. But their financial independence gives them less reason to remain with API.

The Meeting

The meeting with Suzanne Chalmers took place a few hours after the phone call. It began like the others, with the initial pleasantries and brief discussion about progress on the latest fiber-optic router project. Then, Suzanne made her well-rehearsed statement:ā€œ Thomas, Iā€™ve really enjoyed working here, but Iā€™m going to leave Advance Photonics.ā€ Suzanne took a breath then looked at Chan. When he didnā€™t reply after a few seconds, she continued: ā€œI need to take time off. You know, get away to recharge my batteries. The projectā€™s nearly done and the team can complete it without me. Well, anyway, Iā€™m thinking of leaving.ā€

Chan spoke in a calm voice. He suggested that Suzanne should take an unpaid leave for two or maybe three months, complete with paid benefits, then return refreshed. Suzanne politely rejected that offer, saying that she needs to get away from work for a while. Thomas then asked Suzanne whether she was unhappy with her work environment -whether she was getting the latest computer technology to do her work and either there were problems with co-workers. The workplace was fine, Suzanne replied. The job was getting a bit routine but she had a comfortable workplace with excellent co-workers.

Chan then apologized for the cramped work space, due mainly to the rapid increase in the number of people hired over the past year. He suggested thatĀ if Suzanne took a couple of months off, API would give her a special treatment with a larger work space with a better view of the park behind the campus like building when she returned. She politely thanked Chan for that offer, but it wasnā€™t what she needed. Besides, it wouldnā€™t be fair to have a large work space when other team members work in smaller quarters.

Chan was running out of tactics, so he tried his last hope: money. He asked whether Suzanne had higher offers. Suzanne replied that she reguĀ¬larly received calls from other companies, and some of them offered more money. Most were start-up firms that offered a lower salary but higher potential gains in stock options. Chan knew from market surveys that Suzanne was alĀ¬ready paid well in the industry. He also knew that API couldn’t compete on stock option poĀ¬tential. Employees working in start-up firms sometimes saw their shares increase by five or ten times their initial value, whereas shares at API and other large firms increased more slowly. However, Chan promised Suzanne that he would recommend that she receive a significant raiseĀ¬ maybe 25 percent more-and more stock opĀ¬tions. Chan added that Chalmers was one of API’s most valuable employees and that the comĀ¬pany would suffer if she left the firm.

The meeting ended with Chalmers promising to consider Chan’s offer of higher pay and share options. Two days later, Chan received her resigĀ¬nation in writing. Five months later, Chan learned that after a few months traveling with her husband, Chalmers joined a start-up softĀ¬ware firm in the area.

Discussion Questions
1. Do financial rewards have any value in situĀ¬ations such as this, where employees are relatively wealthy? 2. If you were Thomas Chan, what strategy, if any, would you use to motivate Susan Chal-mers to stay at Advanced Photonics inc.? 3. Of what importance is job design in this case?

Source: McShane. S and Ginlow. V. 2004, Organizational Behavior, 2nd ed. New York McGraw-Hill,

Marking Criteria

1.Documentation10 %
Materials are presented professionally using correct grammar, punctuation spelling and length. Addressed report guidelines. 2.Problem Analysis60 %
Thorough analysis with a clear and well argued hypotheses on the range of options. 3.Research & References (Harvard Only)20 %
Supporting research clearly explained and presented. Thoroughly lists references that are relevant to the topic. Harvard Referencing is a must. Citation must include, apart from the normal details, the page number of the where issue for discussion has been taken from 4.Argument Coherence10 %

Paragraphs are in a logical relation to the whole and flows logically into the next.

Performance Criteria

GradeDescription of performance level

80% ā€“ 100%There were mature and interesting points based on your research. You make clear your position based on your research. Each point supported with valid explanation. Shows understanding of subject matter. Minimum 3 references given. References are not varied in sources. No grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. 60% ā€“ 79%There were sufficient points raised with valid explanations provided. Position in research-based arguments. There is adequate understanding of subject matter. Minimum reference of 3 given. Minor grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. 40% ā€“ 59%No clear understanding of research subject. Insufficient points given and explanations are unclear or not helpful in clarifying points. Not enough reference given. Major grammatical and spelling mistakes. Below 40%You did not show understanding of the subject matter. Points are off-topic and do not tie back to research. No understanding of theories and concepts taught. Not enough reference given. Numerous grammatical and spelling mistakes.

Submission and Administrative Information:

ā€¢Students should include the Coursework Submission and Feedback Form with their submission. The lecturer will give the CSFF before the submission dates. ā€¢Plagiarism is NOT acceptable. Representation of another person’s work as your own, without acknowledgement of the source, for the purpose of satisfying formal assessment requirements is considered plagiarism. The possible consequences of plagiarism include: ļƒ˜Reduced grade for this module

ļƒ˜Referral for this module
ļƒ˜Failure of this module
ļƒ˜Expulsion from the Institution

ā€¢All submissions must be made before the stipulated time. If the work is submitted after this time it will be given 0 (zero).

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