Hy’s Dairies Case Study Essay

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| Case Study 3. 1| Hy Dairies, Ltd. | | Rochelle Beauport, Assistant Brand Manager at Hy Dairies, is a member of a visible minority group. She enjoys her position with the company as she finds it both challenging and it has the ability to directly impact the company’s profitability. During her most recent annual performance review, Beauport was offered a new position as a Market Research Co-ordinator. This position is a lateral move. Syd Gilman, the Vice President of Marketing, is offering Beauport the position as a reward for her efforts in improving the sales of Hy Dairies’ Gourmet Ice Cream.

While the market research co-ordinator position is not typically thought to be a route to top management, it is a position that Gilman held as part of his career development. He feels it helped him greatly when he moved into senior management. Gilman believes that Beauport will benefit from the experience and exposure of the position within Hy Dairies. Although Gilman feels that this is an opportunity that Beauport should feel very excited about, Beauport has a very different perception of the situation.

Beauport feels that the opportunity for future advancement will be stalled if she accepts this new position. She feels that the Market Research Co-ordinator position is typically a support position that does not have any direct impact on the company’s performance. Beauport feels that this is happening due to the fact that she is both female and a member of a visible minority. Although Beauport thanked Gilman, she was expecting a reward for her contribution to the line’s success and feels that she has been ‘sidelined’ from advancing into senior management.

She now needs to decide if she should leave Hy Dairies as it appears they will not be offering her opportunities for advancement, or stay with the company and see if she can change what she perceives to be their practices regarding women and minorities. Two issues contributed to the misperceptions that occurred in this situation; stereotyping and the social identity theory. Stereotyping occurs when someone makes a generalization (possibly offensive), often simplified, that is used to describe a group. The social identity theory is defined as people defining themselves by the groups they belong to or have an emotional attachment to.

Beauport felt that, as a woman and a visible minority, she was being stereotyped as being unable to handle a senior marketing position. Furthermore, she had been told by her most recent employer prior to Hy Dairies that this was the case for most women. As a result of this, Beauport is making the assumption that Hy Dairies has the same practices regarding career opportunities in their marketing department and are using this offer to move her into a less visible support role in that department. However, Syd Gilman has offered her this new position with the intention of helping Beauport further her career with the company.

Gilman, for his part, assumed that Beauport would be very happy and excited to have this new opportunity. He felt that they would share a similar outlook on their employment and this move was the best method to advance careers with Hy Dairies. Gilman thought that Beauport would be excited at the opportunity to ‘follow in his footsteps’, though it appears that he neglected to share with Beauport that his career had followed exactly that path to a senior management position with the organization. In reality, Gilman and Beauport have different backgrounds, social characteristics, and work experience, and as a result, different social identity.

In Gilman’s failure to recognise Beauport’s different self and social concepts, he gave Beauport a false perception about the situation. There were a number of perceptual errors involved in this situation. Gilman had the misperception that because Beauport is in marketing, as he is, she would naturally want to follow a similar career path to his. This ‘false consensus effect’, where Gilman assumed that everyone in a group, in this case the marketing department, have similar beliefs or behaviours to his, resulted in the misperception that Beauport would be excited to have the same opportunities that he had.

Beauport, for her part, had a misperception regarding Gilman and the situation due to the ‘recency effect’, where people make a perceptual error in which most recent information dominates our perception of others. In Rochelle Beauport’s situation, it is the perception that because her most recent employer did not want women or minorities in senior management positions, she assumes that Hy Dairies would have a similar practice.

Preventing misunderstandings of this nature takes some effort and consideration. When administering performance reviews, ensure that all reviews contain a clear development plan. This will allow the employee to fully understand what areas are in need of development, as well as how this development can occur. For employees who are being considered for advancement, it will allow for a clear plan to be laid out showing the logical progress to be followed in order to advance with the organization.

This would have prevented Beauport from misunderstanding the opportunity that Syd Gilman was offering her with the new position. Beauport should also make sure that when speaking with him regarding this position she communicates to Gilman what her career objectives are. By doing so, Beauport gives Gilman the opportunity to clearly understand what she is hoping to accomplish, and ensure that she understands what he and the organization see as the most logical route to take in order to meet her career objectives.

When having these type of discussions, Gilman should offer Beauport the opportunity to respond to him, and to ask questions to clarify some of the points being made. She does not necessarily need to agree with everything that is being discussed, but she should at least be able to fully understand what is being discussed. The same can be said for Gilman, he should ask questions of Beauport to ensure that she understands what he is saying to her, and that he fully understands what Beauport’s perspective is on this situation.

He should have Beauport summarize what she heard in the meeting to ensure that it is what Gilman intended. Also, Gilman should try to present the change as though it is an exciting opportunity for Beauport that will allow her to showcase all of her qualities and traits that would make her successful as she advances through the organization. The company should establish an Open Door policy to minimize any further communication issues or possible misperceptions.

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