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: Michael Feldstein - Case Study Example

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The given case study involves Michael Feldstein, an employee of beverage company Lafleur. Michael was originally an employee of Campos Beverages, but after Lafleur's acquiring of Campos, started working with the parent organization. The situation here is this: Lucien Beaumont has just resigned mysteriously, and the post of President of US Operations is open…
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Case Study: Michael Feldstein
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The given case study involves Michael Feldstein, an employee of beverage company Lafleur. Michael was originally an employee of Campos Beverages, but after Lafleur's acquiring of Campos, started working with the parent organization. The situation here is this: Lucien Beaumont has just resigned mysteriously, and the post of President of US Operations is open. Michael aspires for that position, but he has several competitors- foremost among them Danielle Harcourt, who is apparently playing politics. Besides, Michael has just been offered a high-profile managerial job in China by Lafleur's CEO, Pierre Hoffman, and he is in a dilemma- should he take the China job or not Obviously, he has his reasons both for and against the move to China, and here in this essay, these are examined and a solution offered as to what Michael's next move should be.
Michael has his reasons for not taking the China job. His argument is that the kids would not react happily to leaving behind New York and their school and all their friends and moving to China, and that China would be a setback for Karen, who has already sacrificed a lot for her husband. But again, Fred Hassan has a point. Does Michael want to remain with Lafleur Pierre Hoffman's offer should be read as meaning that for Michael, it's either China or nothing. Supposing that Michael does not want to move to China, would he be willing to stay with Lafleur Would he like to try out other opportunities in New York Karen and Michael need to have a discussion on what they think is important. If they want to stay on in New York for the sake of Karen's career (the children would not be a problem since at their young age, relocating would be fairly easy for them), maybe he should consider joining another company. If they agree that he should remain with Lafleur, then the best option available to Michael would be moving to China.
Michael also fears that since senior managers are increasingly groomed in New York, the China job would remove him from the radar, and he may never be able to get to headquarters Paris for that reason. But he must realize that if he works successfully in China, it wouldn't matter that being in China might keep him off the radar. Besides, he can negotiate with Pierre to ensure that he would have to keep travelling between China, New York and Paris- and hence stay on the radar- even if he takes the China job; he is certainly in a position to negotiate with Pierre given that Pierre thinks that he is the right man for the China job- that is the power he has in this situation. Michael can also negotiate a job for Karen at some multinational company which would solve the problem of Karen having to sacrifice her career for his sake.
Looking at Michael's reasons for going to China, it can be understood that Michael wants to "escape" New York and its politics. The "politics" here is what Danielle Harcourt is doing, which Michael thinks is bad. But what Danielle is doing is not necessarily illegitimate. Danielle, it can be seen, is merely trying to connect with everybody. Michael has no proof- other than Albert's words- that Danielle is necessarily being underhanded. Can it not be possible that Albert has a grudge against Danielle In that case, is not Michael being prejudiced against Danielle He does not know Danielle personally- he has already foregone an opportunity to know her better, and may do so a second time. Given that, it may be said that Michael is passing hasty judgment on Danielle. Maybe all Danielle really wants is to be friendly with her colleagues. Michael has no proof that Danielle is deliberately trying to make him look bad in front of Pierre, or that she is lying to get her way. Michael personally is reserved in nature, but he needs to understand, as Gary B. Rhodes says, " the dynamic that Michael considers 'politics' is merely a normal state of affairs and not necessarily an unhealthy aspect of organizational life." One cannot possibly work in an organization at a senior job and remain aloof- Michael would find, if ever he has a high-profile job like the president of US operations, that one has to have good relations with one's colleagues, and good relations cannot be had only by playing golf. And even if it is politics, Allan Cohen rightly points out that "any large organization will have its politics...this process is natural and not necessarily destructive."
As Michael himself realizes, the China job would give his career a boost, because it would give him valuable international experience. Michael may have had some experience working at Campos, but at Lafleur he has been working for only two years, and his resume is still not attractive enough to get him top jobs.
As for the position for President of US operations, Michael would do best to forget about it. Michael may think he has enough credentails to get the job, but the simple truth is that his "numbers" would not help him get that job. Right now, China would be the best option. As Nancy Clifford Widmann and Amy Dorn Kopelan point out, it's clear enough that the CEO, Pierre Hoffman, is not considering Michael for Lucien's job. If he were, China wouldn't be offered to Michael. So one thing is fairly clear from the CEO's China offer- there is no way Michael is going to get Lucien's job, even if he plays politics. Even if Michael starts playing politics right now, it would mean starting too late; it may even have a negative impact on Hoffman and others, who might see Michael's desperation to get Lucien's job in a negative light.
However, Pierre Hoffman certainly thinks Michael is talented, and does not want to lose him by sidelining him. Pierre thinks he is making a good offer for an employee of Michael's potential, and Michael would be wise to seize this opportunity.
Ultimately, Michael must improve his public relations skills, whether he calls it "politics" or not. The first thing he needs to realize is that a friendship with Danielle would help a lot, now that he is almost out of the competition for Lucien's job. Michael's politcal strategy should essentially revolve around three points
> a friendship with Danielle. Having Danielle on his side before he leaves for China would be a plus point Michael cannot ignore.
> negotiation with Pierre regarding the intricacies of the China job. Michael can negotiate for a job for Karen, and frequent travel between China and Paris and New York for himself.
> good relations with all his colleagues, and not just a numbered few like Albert and Francesca.
Thus, Michael should promptly salvage his relationship with Danielle, negotiate with Pierre and take the China job which would give a boost to his career.
Peebles, M. Ellen; Widmann, Nancy Clifford; Kopelan, Amy Dorn; Hassan, Fred; Cohen, Allan; Rhodes, Gary B. Harvard Business Review, 00178012, Jan 2005, Vol. 83, Issue 1. Read More
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