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Minding the Store

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In this case study the situation is Ruth Cummings was put in charge of a store by her boss Ken Hoffman. “Ruth, I’m putting you in charge of this store. Your job will be to run it so that it becomes one of the best stores in the system. I have a lot of confidence in you, so don’t let me down.” That was what was told to Ruth by Ken on her first day. After a couple of calls from her boss Mr. Hoffman, Ruth decides to make an appointment with him. Resolving and defining the issues of this case will assist in developing a preferred alternative and implementation plan for resolution to the case. (Leffler, 1999) Defining the Issue(s)

In order to resolve this case it is necessary to define the issues. The issue in this case is that Ruth took to heart what Ken said to her, about running the store as she saw fit. Ken is now calling and questioning her every decision. Data analysis of this case will help to further clarify the issues in this case.

Analyzing the Case Data
The data in this case are the steps Ruth has taken to try to do what Ken told her on the first day. Ruth hired an administrative assistant, made a TV appearance, and she told a customer that she was not authorized to let him charge over $1,000 at het store and he must go to the main store in Denver. After each of these events Mr. Hoffman called Ruth to make her aware he was not happy with her decisions because, the decisions she makes reflects upon him. Part of the problem in this case study is that Hoffman did not mentor or train Ruth nor did he set a clear set of rules to live by. He essentially gave her free rein in the store and then did nothing but criticize her for it. The review of the data helps in the progression of generating some alternatives to use in this case. Generating Alternative

The issues and data analysis has provided a foundation for generating alternatives. Some alternatives that can be generated are Ruth can go see Mr. Hoffman and find out exactly What Mr. Hoffman expects of her. Mr. Hoffman could be a little more forthcoming with information and give Ruth some guidelines to follow. Ruth should have done a little more research before going on the TV show as to what the corporation policy was. In this case there is no write and wrong since mangers and leaders have to adapt to every situation. Although there are alternatives to this case it is important to analyze these by selecting decision criteria to be used in this case. Selecting Decision Criteria

Selecting criteria to be used relies on the alternative and what the best criteria that should be used in making the decision leading to the evaluation of the alternative. Managers need to be leaders, their workers need vision and guidance that they can rely on, and as leaders they also need to be good managers of the resources entrusted to them. Investigation into the decision criteria has led to the necessity to analyze and evaluate the alternatives. Analyzing and Evaluating Alternatives

When faced with the need to analyze and evaluate alternatives you need to come up with the disadvantages and advantages of each. In this case there are advantages in working as a team and mentoring your subordinate which is what Mr. Hoffman should have done with Ruth. It is also what Ruth should have done with Mr. Hoffman. This preferred alternative should provide for a solution in this case. Selecting the Preferred Alternative

Selecting an alternative is difficult. A variety of management styles exist, such as autocratic, paternalistic, laissez-faire, democratic, informal, participatory, and supervisory a particular style might be more suitable for a certain types of businesses or working with a certain employees. In this case Mr. Hoffman did not show any mentorship. Ruth showed initiative in trying to make the store number one in the company. In this case I think that Mr. Hoffman should have checked in with Ruth periodically, giving her guidance and encouraging her efforts. According to Pierce & Newstrom(2011) “Managers should focus on fostering the four positive leadership strategies that enable positive deviance. Those four strategies are positive climate, positive relationships, positive communication, and positive meaning” (p. 102) This alternative will work if a good action and implementation plan is put into place. Developing an Action/Implementation Plan

Implementing this preferred alternative might be difficult but it will be worth the time and effort. Mr. Hoffman needs to be more involved in the mentoring of a new branch manager. He should give Ruth guidelines on what she can and cannot do on her own. Call Ruth periodically to see how she is doing and so that any ideas she has regarding the store will go through him. Mr. Hoffman should follow the four leadership strategies. In order to follow through on this plan we need to see if it works. A review the store and of Ruth’s performance should let us know if the plan worked or did not work. If it worked then you should see that the store is one of the top in the company. If it does not work Mr. Hoffman could try a different management style approach with Ruth. This plan of action should be beneficial to the company and to Ruth and Mr. Hoffman’s business arrangement. Conclusion

This case analyzed the leadership style of Mr. Hoffman, and the way he managed his human capital.


Leffler, K. (ED) (1999) Critical incidents in management Needham Heights, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing. Pierce, J. L., & Newstrom, J. W. (2011). The manager’s bookshelf: A mosaic of contemporary views. (9th ed.). NJ: Prentice Hall

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