Human Resource Management

28 Jun

CASE –1                                                                                                                   

The reality of software development is a huge company like Microsoft-it employs more than 48,000 people- is that a substantial portion of your work involves days of boredom punctuated by hours of tedium. You basically spend your time in an isolated office writing code and sitting in meetings during which you participate in looking for and evaluating hundreds of current employees and potential employees. Microsoft has no problem in finding and retaining software programmers. Their programmers work for very long hours and obsess on the goal of shipping product.

From the day new employees begin at Microsoft, they know they are special. New hires all have one thing in common-they are smart. The company prides itself on putting all recruits through a grueling “interviewing loop”, during which they confront a barrage (an overwhelming number of questions or complaints) of brain-teasers by future colleagues to see how well they think. Only the best and the brightest survive to become employees. The company does this because Microsofties truly believe that their company is special. For example, it has high tolerance for non-conformity, would you believe that one software tester comes to work everyday dressed in extravagant Victorian outfits?  But the underlying theme that unites Microsofties is the belief that the firm has a manifest destiny to change the world.

The least important decision as programmer can have a large importance which it can affect a new release that might be used by 50 million people. Microsoft employees are famous for putting in long hours. One program Manager said “In my First Five Years, I was the Microsoft stereotype. I lived on caffeine and vending-machine hamburgers and free beer and 20-hour work-days……I had no life…..I considered everything outside the building as a necessary evil”. More recently things have changed. There are still a number of people who put in 80-hour weeks, but 60 and 70 hour weeks are more typical and some even are doing their jobs in only 40 hours.

No discussion of the employee life at Microsoft would be complete without mentioning the company’s lucrative stock option program. Microsoft created more millionaire employees, faster, than any company in American history-more than 10,000 by the late – 1990’s while the company is certainly more than a place to get rich, executive still realize that money matters. One former Manager claims that the human resources’ department actually kept a running chart of employee satisfaction versus the company’s stock price. “When the stock was up, human resources could turn off the ventilation and everybody would say they were happy. When the stock was down, we could give people Massages and they would tell us that the Massages were too hard.” In the go-go 1990’s, when the Microsoft stock was doubling every few months and yearly stock splits were predictable, employees not only got to participate in the Microsoft’s manifest destiny, they would get rich in the process. By the spring of 2002, with the world in a recession, stock prices down, and the growth for Microsoft products slowing, it wasn’t so clear what was driving its employees to continue the company’s dominance of the software industry.


1. If you were the programmer, would you want to work at Microsoft? Why or Why not?

2. How many activities in this case can you tie into specific motivation theories? List the activities; list the motivation theories, and how they apply.

3. As Microsoft continues to get larger and its growth rate flattens do you think Management will have to modify any of its motivation practices? Elaborate.

4. Can money act as a motivator? Explain.



Merlyn Monroe is not a complainer. If she has a major ache, she usually suffers in silence. Although her employer, Atlantic Mutual Insurance, has an employee assistance program- to provide emotional and psychological support in the work plan. She certainly never thinks of using it, even if she did have a worry on her mind. “They say its confidential but who really knows? Asked Ms. Monroe’, an administrative assistant at the insurance company.

But Merlyn Monroe’s life changed on September 11, 2001. Her office at 140 Broadway in New York City, was near the world trade Center. She watched the whole thing from her 50th Floor office window.

Ms.Monroe had never seen so much destruction in her life. She had never seen such a horrific terrorist attack. Nor had she forced her to relieve 9/11 over and over.

Everything she talked to people they wanted details, which made it worse for her. She had so much anger about what had happened to her life and lives of so many people and the city where she worked for 40 Years.

Two weeks after 9/11, Ms.Monroe was still suffering after effects. Even though she lives on state Island and Atlantic Mutual’s offices have been temporarily relocated to Madison, New Jersey, not an hour goes by when she doesn’t have flashbacks of her experiences of 9/11.


1. What should Atlantic Mutual Management do, if anything, to cope with the aftereffects of 9/11?

2. How long would You expect employees to be adversely affected by 9/11 if a company provides no formal assistance for dealing with anger and stress?

3. What, if anything, should Management do about employees who appear to be suffering from such kind or trauma and stress, but will neither admit it nor accept help from their employee?

4. Outline the role of HR specialist in providing a safe and healthy environment for employees.


CASE – 3                                                                                                                  

Patil, RK Materials, is very angry, anxious and restless. He bumped into Mehta, RK Materials, threw the resignation letter on his table, screamed and walked out of the room swiftly.

Patil has a reason for his sudden outburst. Details of the story will tell the reasons for Patil’s anger and why he put his resignation, only four months after he took up his job.

In the year 2000 Patil quit his prestigious Mittal plant at Vishakhapatnam. As a manager Materials, Patil had various powers like he could even place an order of materials worth Rs.50 Lakhs. He required nobody’s prior consent.

Patil Joined a pulp-making plant located at Kerala, as RK Materials. The plant is part of a multiproduct and multi-plant conglomerate owned by a prestigious business house in India. The perks, reputation and designation of the conglomerate attracted Patil away from the public sector steel monolith.

When he joined the eucalyptus pulp making company, little did Patil realize that he needed prior approval to place an order for materials worth Rs.25lakh. He thought that he had the authority to place an order for materials by himself worth half the amount of what he used to as at the Mega Steel maker. He placed the order, materials arrived, were received, accepted and used up in the plant. Trouble started when the bill for Rs.25 lakh came from the vendor. The accounts department withheld the payment for the reason that the bill was not endorsed by Mehta. Mehta refused to sign on the bill as his approval was not taken by Patil before placing the order.

Patil felt very angry and cheated. A brief encounter with Mehta only made the situation worse. Patil was rudely told that he should have known company rules before venturing. He decided to Quit.


1. Do you think the company has any orientation programme? If yes, discuss its effectiveness.

2. If employees were properly selected, there should be no need for an orientation programme”. Comment on the statement.

3. If You were Patil, how would you react to the above situation?

4. Discuss the purpose of orientation. What are various requisites of an effective programme?



ABC Tool Engineering is a company producing machinery and machine tools and some other related engineering products for specialist production companies. It’s workforce consists of 1000 employees, two-thirds of which work in the production department. In 2000, the Management decided to introduce a total quality Management Scheme to increase efficiency and quality control. Throughout the 1990’s, more flexible arrangements had been introduced together with a breakdown of old work demarcation lines. Machines were now built by flexible teams of workers employing different skills like fitters, electricians, hydraulic engineers, etc. In 2000, the initiatives towards TQM were made with the introduction of BS 1110. Workers were asked to inspect the quality of their work which resulted in reduction of the need for specialist inspectors and both time and money were saved. Agreements were negotiated with the union for extra pay as a result of the increase in worker responsibility. In 2001, the Management decided to introduce a full-blown Total-quality Management Scheme on the basis of the success with the introduction of BS 1110. Problem solving groups were formed based on work groups with voluntary participation. Group leaders, who were mainly supervisors, were trained is how to run a group and in problem-solving techniques. The aims of the groups were

  1. Identifying problems inside their work area.
  2. Propose solutions
  3. Identifying problems outside their work area
  4. Refer external problems to a review team.

The review team consisted of Managers with one representative from each group, usually the group leader. The unions were lukewarm to the scheme and some shop stewards were directly against it. Within a period of 9 Months, the Total quality Management Scheme was reviewed and the senior Management came to the conclusion that it had not lived up to expectations, and few board members called it a failure. Some reason s they had identified were that team leaders had felt uncomfortable in their roles and there has been a lot of skepticism from some of the workers.


1. According to You, why did the Bs1110 Scheme succeed and the TQM Scheme failed in ABC engineering? Define the term “workers” participation in management. Bring out the prerequisites for its success.

2. Explain in your own words what empowerment means to You. Also discuss “A worker is a worker, a Manager a Manager and never the two shall meet.” Do You agree? Why?

3. What suggestions would You give to a similar company who were thinking of introducing Total Quality Management to make it a success?

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