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Reflection on Conflict Case on Workplace

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    ISC 309 Case Paper #1 Karen Leary The case mainly describes the conflict between the resident vice president and general manager at the Elmville branch of Merrill Lynch, Karen Leary, and a Taiwan-born financial consultant under Leary, Ted Chung. The most significant problem in this case is that he threatens his superior, Leary, to let him have a private office. He thinks that he deserves a private office and says that he will leave Leary’s branch if not allowed. However, his superior, Karen Leary, does not think that he needs more experience and education to have a private office.

    The problem was briefly addressed in the very first part of the case. After the short paragraphs, backgrounds of Merrill Lynch, Karen Leary, and Ted Chung and management style of Leary follows. These followings let readers know the exact situations and thoughts of Leary and Chung, so that I can infer which problem they are in. The additional information also even delivers minor emotions or gestures, so that I can vividly imagine about the problem. I both agree and disagree with what was done regarding the problem. First, I believe that Leary did very well to convince Chung that this is not the appropriate time to have a private office.

    She logically explained why his demand cannot be satisfied. At first, she explained that nobody had had a private office within his or her one year career as a financial consultant. Also, she added that allowing Chung to have a private office is not fair to other financial consultants because some of them have careers of 10 years or more and still do not have their own business. She did refuse his request, but she acknowledged how well he worked. She did not say that she would not accept his demand. She explained that he needs more experience before his independence.

    However, I somewhat do not like Leary’s behavior toward financial consultants under her. I am not saying that she did a bad job on delivering her points to Chung. He kept nodding on her words and Leary’s explanation was very understandable. The case shows that Leary has her own special management style, which is monitoring market indicators and current events on Quotron screens. She continuously does a lot of informal coaching and counseling like asking consultants questions about what they are working on and that rather they know about new tax-free bonds up or not.

    The case notes that the business increased by 30% during Leary’s first year. There is no doubt that her management style is very effective. Nonetheless, this might not make a perfect match with Chung. In the case, Chung is described as a successful salesman for a real estate company. He appears mature, stable, and responsible. He had his own moving business and was well westernized even though he is an Asian. He also performed an outstanding job in the intensive four-month training program. Chung not only seemed successful, but also proved his capacity by bringing in a 6 million dollar account.

    Throughout these points, I believe that he is a man who has a high pride on himself. For example, he does not let anyone to use his desk and tries to have a distance among other consultants and Leary. Therefore, Leary’s caring might be misdelivered as a disturbance to him. As an example, the case shows that Chung kept assured Leary that he is going to develop relationships for substantial accounts. This seems as a kind of self-confidence. To sum up, Leary did her good job to make Chung understand her points.

    Chung understood why Leary cannot let him to have a private office, but he did not like her disturbing management, in an extreme expression, because of his high self-esteem. Therefore, he threatened Leary for a private office. If I were in charge, I would try a different strategy. I think Leary did not fully understand what Chung is thinking. She only thinks about other consultants who could not have their own business even though they have careers of 10 years or more and needs of Chung’s abundant experience and education. Also, I could not find any part that Leary listens to Chung’s opinions.

    In my opinion, she thinks that there is nothing to do more for convincing Chung. Moreover, she does not pay attention to the culture difference. Frankly, I do not like Chung’s attitude toward his superior. Although he has a high self-esteem and had done great job by bringing 6 million dollar account, threatening a superior is not right. However, this man is one successful and capable businessman. Moreover, he is going to be an important connection between Taiwanese market and Merrill Lynch. Therefore, I would never let him leave.

    If I were in charge, I would try to have much more conversation by pretending to listen to his full opinions. However, I will not accept his request because it is not fair to other consultants who have better career than he does. I will say that I acknowledge his capacity and have no doubt about his success in his independent business, but if I just let him have a private office, I will be in trouble because of discrimination. Then I will suggest that if he is able to bring one more big account like the one he brought before, I will happily let him have a private office.

    I think this suggestion is very affordable because if he can really bring another one, he can prove himself as a capable salesperson to other consultants, and if not, I can prove that he needs more experience and education. To sum up, although his attitude is inappropriate, he is a very important person in Leary’s branch. Considering that Chung has a high self-esteem, Leary should pretend to listen his opinions and suggest one more test that would be fair to Chung, Leary herself, and other consultants.

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