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Case Study

Harvard Business School

Martha Rinaldi :
Should She Stay or Should She Go ?
Martha Rinaldi
27 years • Assistant to Director of
• Having Great Ideas

• Excellence Final Presentation
• Getting Attraction from CEO

Computer Science, University of IOWA

MBA, University Chicago
age 35

• Degree in Mathematics
• Good at number and analysis
• Left his government job due to relatively low salary
• Skipped the stage of Assistant Product Manager because
of his familiarity with Potomac and his skills with

• Degree in Art History and Fine Arts

• Started career as Design Associate at Advertising
agency in New York
• Artistic talent and eventually became a special
assistant to creative director
• Move from New York to DC to accompany her
• DC has no well established advertising firm like
New York so that Follet was relieved to find job as
Associate Product Manager at Potomac Waters
Organization Chart

Vice President Marketing

Julius Bautista (MBA, age

Group Product Manager –

xxx Health Drinks xxx
Doug Berman

Product Manager – Invi

Product Manager Product Manager Product Manager
Natalie Follet (age 34)

Associate Product Manager Associate Product Manager

Assistant Product Manager
Jamie Vaughan (age 35) Anna Deutch
Martha Rinaldi (age 27)
Deep Dive

job offering

• Good Intern’s Experience • Big corporate company

• Higher Salary (+15,000 USD) • Proven record of marketing
• Good Impression Visit

• Entrepreneurial firms • Unknown environment

• Great Recession 2008
expectation reality

Group Product Manager

Healthy Drinks
Triangle Doug Berman

conflict Product Manager

Natalie Follet

Associate Product Manager

Jamie Vaughan Assistant Product Manager
Martha Rinaldi
Martha Rinaldi’s
Work Journey
welcome to fishbowl !
 Unclear Job Task to Do
 Annoyed Jamie – co mate
The next 60 days !
 “Blind” Salary & different sub-ordinate treatment
 Potential waste
 disrespected response for an achievement
Till end of year!
 The coffee clash
 Confusion – work environment
 Late performance review
Case Analysis

1. Company’s decision to focus on hiring MBAs (new wave of MBAs) :

• No linking an individual’s personality and values to the workplace dimension fit: person-job fit, person
– organization fit, person – group fit, person – supervisor fit.
• Increase tension within existing employees.

2. Failure to communicate adequately related to new comer and NEO (New

Employee Orientation)
On the first day, Jamie said “ Weren’t you starting tomorrow; Natalie said “ I thought you were going to be
with HR for most of the day”

3. Rumours, or falsehoods about an individual

Jamie had a reputation for being difficult, 2 or 3 colleagues on the same floor had complaint to Natalie about
Jamie’s rough treatment of Martha but Natalie tried to tell that Jamie is good person who’s misunderstood.
Jamie and Natalie are rumored to be having an affair.

• Biases that affect Martha’s decision making entering Potomac Waters.

Based on Martha’s research, Potomac Waters had the stability and national stature, Martha wanted as well
as a solid reputation for grooming and training its new hire. Preceding her interview, one had informed her
that the Health drinks Division was headed by a young executive (Doug Berman) who seemed open to ideas
and had assembled a creative staff, another gave her a different take: while Health Drinks was strong, the
marketers there were a bit discontented because promotions in their department had slowed down.

• Value and personality clashes Vaughan’s bias against MBA’s

• Poor communication  lack of openness and trust
• Ambiguity over responsibility  delegation of menial tasks
• Lack of interest in Martha’s training
• Failed to be responsive to the needs and aspirations of
• No credit towards Martha’s work
• Biased towards Jamie Vaughan
• Poor communication: learn as much as possible to
Jamie but Martha was reporting only to Natalie
• Time management : working from home 50% of the
time for the near future

• Stay in her current position at Potomac Waters

• Work around her issues such as being assertive
to Jamie Vaughan and HR by express what she
Conflict Management Style : AVOIDANCE
wants, dislikes and feelings in a clear and direct
Personal shortcomings: manner without threatening or attacking Jamie

• High need of recognition Vaughan, talk to Natalie Follet privately related

with her Job, expectation and feelings.
• Unable to ask questions, seek clarification

• Only wants to perform important tasks

tend to be dysfunctional conflict, outcomes:

increases frustration, job dissatisfaction Martha can seek
For Your Attention