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  • Apply theoretical material to a real business problem and identify lessons for leadership practices.

A case study is a short description of a real business situation. Analyzing case studies gives you the opportunity to apply concepts to real business problems. Cases are generally written for several types of analysis. There is no “right” or “wrong” answer in case analysis. Rather, cases provide a vehicle for you to demonstrate your understanding of concepts and your ability to apply them to situations. Download and read the detailed guide to case analysis.

Might Make Right, retrieved from:

Read the case “Might Makes Right” and answer the following questions:

  1. What are the relevant facts?
  2. What are the ethical issues?
    1. Is John being treated justly? Are his rights being protected? Explain.
    2. When, if ever, is it ethical for a manager to take credit for the work of a subordinate? Explain.
  3. Who are the primary stakeholders?
  4. What are the possible alternatives?
  5. What are the practical constraints?
  6. What actions should be taken?
    1. What alternative should Janice choose? Explain.
  7. Support your responses with at least three scholarly sources.

Write all your case study analysis in one document. The case analysis should be two to three pages long. Be sure to follow the APA style for writing and editing. Cite any sources you use.

Evaluation Criteria

Review the SBT Case Analysis Rubric located in the “Start Here” section of the course for more information on grading criteria. Keep the following points in mind:

  • Questions at the end of the case are accurately answered.
  • Analysis of the case is related to theoretical material and own experience.
  • Conclusions on significant issues are logically derived from the case analysis.

Lesson Notes:

  • Conflict and Negotiations, v1, chapter 10 Saylor OER: Retrieved
  • Communications, v1, chapter 8 Saylor OER: Retrieved from:
    https :// Html
  • Wikibooks OER: Conflict Resolution. Retrieved from: http://en.wikibooks .org/wiki/ Conflict_Resolution
  • Wikibooks OER: Develop a Conflict Management Strategy. Retrieved from: http://en.wikibooks. org/wiki/Development_Cooperation_Handbook/Designing_and_Executing_Projects/ Communication_Management/Communication_Planning/Develop_a_Conflict_Management_Strategy
  • Blagg, D., & Young, S. (2001, April 2). What makes a good leader. Harvard Business School website. Retrieved from

Links for the lesson notes


Conflict resolution:

Develop a conflict management strategy:

What makes a good leader:


Case Study: Might Makes Right

  1. What are the relevant facts?

Janice is in an ethical dilemma. She knows that it is unethical to pass off someone else’s innovation as one’s own. However, behaving unethically in this instance seems like the most desirable course of action going by the resulting benefits. Each of the parties involved will benefit immensely from her actions. Her boss will be glad that the program will solve the problems in his organization. On the other hand, Janice will be happy about meeting her boss’s expectations. Similarly, John will be satisfied with his job after getting a much-awaited raise and promotion.


  1. What are the ethical issues?

John is not being treated justly. Going by his satisfactory performance, he is entitled to a raise and a promotion. His rights are being violated because he is being denied a chance at recognition for his efforts in developing a software program. In addition to getting job-related benefits such as promotion, he is also entitled to recognition as the developer of the software program. As noted by Van Scotter (2000), employees who are rewarded for doing their job well ought to be rewarded in order to enhance their organizational commitment. The only time when a manager should take credit for the work of a subordinate is when she has asked the subordinate to perform a task as part of the latter’s job description. In this case, it appears that John developed the software program based on his own initiative and in addition to normal work-related tasks assigned to him as the company’s employee.

  1. Who are the primary stakeholders?

Among the primary stakeholders in this issue are the employees of the organization who will be affected by the operationalization of the software program. Since it will boost efficiency and foster innovative thinking, it imperative that the employees know the actual person who developed it. The company’s top management team also constitutes a primary stakeholder since it will ultimately approve its adoption, monitor its effectiveness, and possibly even reward the proprietor. Moreover, the three participants at the center of the ethical dilemma – John, Janice, and her boss – are also important stakeholders. Lastly, the human resource management department is also an interested party since it will be responsible for approving both the pay raise and promotion.

  1. What are the possible alternatives?

There are three alternatives to this ethical dilemma. In the first one, Janice may pass off the software program as her own. In the second one, she might choose to disclose John’s role in its development to her boss. Lastly, she can choose to purchase the proprietary rights for the software program from John.

  1. What are the practical constraints?

Two major practical constraints are likely to arise from this situation. Firstly, time constraints may hinder Janice from addressing challenges arising from the implementation of the program. Secondly, the process of purchasing proprietary rights may turn out to be more complicated than earlier anticipated due to legal challenges.

  1. What actions should be taken?

Janice should disclose to her boss regarding John’s role in developing the program because it is the ethical course of action to take. Passing it off as her own will be a violation of John’s rights. Moreover, it may have a negative impact on his work morale. As noted by Zeitlin (1999), larceny, however little it maybe can have far-reaching negative effects on employee morale. On the other hand, purchasing proprietary rights is a complicated process that may erode the sense of shared purpose that unites employees in the organization.

  1. Support your responses with at least three scholarly sources.

The need for employees to behave ethically is widely supported by scholarly research. Blagg and Young (2001) point out that leaders and managers should always endeavor to tell the hard truths despite the complexity of a situation. On the other hand, Schmitz (2012) indicates that ethical behavior plays a paramount role in eliminating communication barriers in organizations. Moreover, a conflict between Janice and her assistant may arise if the latter realizes the former is taking credit for his work.


Blagg, D. & Young, S. (2001). What makes a good leader? Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Schmitz, A. (2012). An introduction to organizational behavior. New York, NY: Blackwell Publishing.

Van Scotter, J. (2000). Relationships of task performance and contextual performance with turnover, job satisfaction, and affective commitment. Human Resource Management Review, 10(1), 79–95.

Zeitlin, L. (1999). A little larceny can do a lot for employee morale. Psychology Today, 3, 12-17.

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