Into the Fray Essay

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What dependencies exist? Think not only in terms of Michaels workplace, but also, his home. Michael Feldstein was the global category director for rums at Lafleur. He was agitated about the resignation of Lucien Beaumont, the SAs vice president of US Operations and Michael though had newly joined was a contender for the newly opened position. The case pertains to the various office intrigues and politics that were rampant due to the struggle for power. Michaels chief competitor was Danielle Harcourt, the global category director for vodkas and liqueurs.

She had been at Lafleur 15 years and was practiced at what could be called either networking or office politics. There were many other contenders, the director of the fast-growing sports and health drink division and others. Outsiders were also in the running and among them was Charles Brooke, the CFO at Cazares Laird and he was well qualified for the job. There was also Genevieve Basset, a former Lafleur employee, who was running a small spirits company based in the United States but who had maintained good relationships with Lafleur managers in Paris and New York.

Michael was one of the companys well-rounded executives, and his brands were consistently turning a profit. There was much discussion and speculation among the employees also. Then there was the incident in the party where Michaels friend Albert said the Danielle was planning a campaign for the premium brands, including the ones managed by Michael and it was pointed out that Michael lacked the knack of playing office politics. Mistrust was rampant and the tension in the office was thick (p. 15-16). The atmosphere at home was pleasant though messy.

Michael was married to Karen, who was the general counsel at a regional clothing company and she had given up her career to care for their family made of a nine-year daughter and a 12 year son. Michael enjoyed a good rapport with his wife and he confided everything to her (p. 17). Do Michaels colleagues demonstrate legitimate or illegitimate political behavior? Explain. The power for succession was indeed filled with a lot of politics and as per Michaels views, this was illegitimate. But Michaels wife said Politics¦

Its everywhere. Michael. It may seem silly to you, but you do have to know whats going on. Danielles probably not thinking of it as stealing your brands; shes just trying to play it smart. You have to do the same. But be yourself-even Albert may have his own agenda. In the strict and scholarly sense, this behaviour could be termed as illegitimate, but the issue was an appointment as the vice president, a very high position. While personal skills and competence were valued, almost all the contenders had it.

The position of VP calls for using networking and friends to the full and the person who was the most influential, would become the VP (p. 17-18). What should Michael do about the China opportunity? Why? Michael should indeed go to China. To be frank, he is a newcomer and does not have the correct political contacts to make it to the VP position. There are too many contenders for the job, much better connected and also with better track position. By remaining in the office in US, he would make a lot of enemies and estrange himself with powerful people.

China on the other hand is a growing market and very challenging and this is where he can show his true worth. By taking up the China job, he would have a chance to get some international exposure and redeem himself. Since China has a lot of potential for growth, the new VP would required Michaels help and skills and this is one way to make friends. What should Michael do about the open position for President of U. S. Operations? To be frank, Michael does not stand a chance in the race for the position right now. He is a relative newcomer with little exposure to the politics of the office.

He is competent in his job and has achieved the required results. He should go to China, prove his worth by building the market then ask for a senior position in Paris or UK. The office of the president is still a few years away for Michael. He should make friends with Danielle and other and have a good visibility in the Paris and US office. After he has proved his worth, he can come back and claim a more senior position and then make an attempt for the presidents post after he has been successful (p. 21). Does Michael have any power in this situation, and if so, what type(s) of power?

Michael does not have any power in this situation, with reference to the struggle to be the president and also his move to China. The CEO, Pierre, wants Michael wants him to shift to China and build up the market. Karen suggests that this is because while Pierre does not want to lose him, he knows that he cannot be made the president. If he refuses the China job, then in all probability Danielle would steal his brands and he would be left with nothing and eventually fade away. How can Michael improve his political edge? Provide at least two or three solid suggestions, including power tactics, for Michael to use.

Michael can indeed improve his political edge by using a few measure. Pierre wouldnt be offering him the job if he werent confident in Michaels abilities and concerned about losing him. That puts Michael in a wonderful bargaining position. He should sit down with the CEO in Paris and reach a written agreement on certain terms before he accepts the job. First, he should put a time limit on the contract; two years is about right. He may want to extend the contract at some point, but initially he needs the option to leave China and be considered for a job at headquarters.

Second, he should get a clear definition of what will constitute success over the course of the contract, whether its a certain percentage increase in sales, a measure of brand recognition, or a given market share. He should not simply ask Pierre how he defines success but also propose his own measures. Third, Michael needs to negotiate a certain number of trips per year to both New York and Paris. This will help him maintain his visibility and ensure that he remains on the radar screen should other senior management positions open up.

Fourth, he should negotiate a job for his wife at a multinational corporation in China. His children are at an age where they can relocate relatively easily, but his wife isnt. Shes sacrificed a lot already, and he needs to find a way to make it worth her while to go. He should consider that certain trusted members of his current staff go along with him (p. 20). Outline of an Ethical Position Michael has few choices left, he can either continue to sit in his US office and helplessly watch his brands being hijacked by Danielle and others or he can take up the position in China.

There is another choice and that is to leave the company and look elsewhere for a job and this is the worst choice he could make. He should go to China and take up the offer. The political moves he can make are (p. 20-23): ¢ Make friends with Danielle and win her over as a friend. Once he speaks to her and tells her about his move to China, she would no longer view him as a competitor. She would most probably be the next president and it would help Michael if he had her in his camp.

¢ Pierre knows that Michael is competent and that is one of the reasons as to why he wants Michael to go to China, which is a growing and challenging market. Before going there, he should negotiate for a good package, paid visits to US and Paris, being considered for any position that may come up at Paris or US. ¢ He should also make attempts to retain a high visibility at all the offices so that he would not be forgotten.


Peebles, M. Ellen, Widmann, Nancy Clifford, Kopelan, Amy Dorn, Hassan, Fred, Cohen, Allan, Rhodes, Gary B. , Harvard Business Review, 00178012, Jan2005, Vol. 83, Issue 1.

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