A Head of Department in a Science Faculty of a University had a
vacancy for a technical specialist. He advertised the post and one of
the few applicants was from a local Hi-Tech Industrial company. The
Head of Department had previously worked for the local company, which
was paying him a retainer fee. A manager of the company then approached
the Department Head, his friend and former colleague, and asked him, off
the record, not to recruit the technical specialist as he was much
needed by the company.
Q1 What action would you advise the Head of
Department to take?
Q2 What Human Rights issues (if any) do you see
in this situation?
Q3 What legal implications, if any, arise from
the payment of the retainer fee?
Notes on Case Study A
The Head of Department could (a) comply with the company manager's request and say nothing,
(b) decline the request and still say nothing
or (c) tell the potential recruit about the company manager's request.
Perhaps other responses are possible.
The Industrial company sought to
override the choice made by the specialist and the methods it used
(a) Boundary-crossing (e.g. the choice of the specialist to
work in one organisation was to be subjected to interference by an
(b) the use of a network relationship (e.g. the
interference was on a pal to pal basis between members of staff in the
two organisations) and
(c) Behind-the-scenes interference (e.g. the pal
to pal arrangement was confidential and unrecorded).
may also have been attempting to use the leverage of the retainer fee.
In essence the company manager was requesting the
Head of Department to put the company's interests above the interests of
his employers, the University.