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 Case Study C 



The Research and Engineering Directors of a large Group of Hi-Tech companies had talent spotted the Chief of Research of a relatively small company in the Group, specialising in an emerging Hi-Tech field.  The two Group Directors commissioned the Managing Director of the small company, who had Human Resources experience, to develop in confidence the Chief of Research for a post at Group level and eventually to become the successor of one of them.

The Managing Director had other ideas.  While outwardly complying with the request of the Group Directors he embarked, for reasons he did not disclose, on a covert programme to develop the Chief of Research as a General Manager.  He briefed him and endeavoured to get him to adopt what were called 'power game' techniques; the Research Chief did not approve of such practices and declined to get involved.  The MD made it known to the Chief of Research that he had detailed private information about him and instituted a campaign, which included 'shock & awe' pressures, to get him to take a vacant Commercial Manager post while hinting that that he could go all the way to the top of the Group, becoming its Chairman.

Meanwhile the Chief of Research was becoming well known in his professional institutions as well Industry and associated Government establishments.  The Group Research and Engineering Directors put in a good word here and there about their protégé, arranged high level visits to the small company of valuable contacts (for example the Chairman of the Technology Research Council) in line with the appointment they had in mind and greatly encouraged the Chief of Research in projects undertaken within the Group.  The Chief of Research suspected there was a hidden agenda but could not fathom out what was going on.

Eventually, after trying without success to obtain another job in the Group or clarification of his position, the Chief of Research decided to make a stand against the manipulative ethos in the small company and the psychological pressures put upon him to comply with the MD's plan. He resigned and left the company and the Group.

Q1   What human rights implications, if any, can you see in the case?

Q2  What reasons might the MD have had to pursue an alternative scheme?


Notes on Case Study C

  • The original career development scheme for the individual became two competing programmes.

  • The original scheme was transparent to the Group but the competing programme was hidden.

  • Both schemes were hidden from trainee.

  • Both schemes were within the Group.

  • The Chief of Research was employed by the small company.

  • What rights and responsibilities did the Group have in relation to the Chief of Research.

  • What legal issues arise, if any?


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