Team Project using Discussion Threads for collaboration

This course includes two graded You Decide projects. The first one is in Week 4 and the second one is in Week 6.

Week 4: Team Project using Discussion Threads for collaboration
Week 6: Individual Project submitted via You Decide ES (Entry System)

The content for these projects is included under Course Home and in Weeks 4 and 6 so you can review the information early and begin required research. The questions associated with each project are provided in Weeks 4 and 6.

Scenario Summary – Week 4 Discussion “group” project (75 points)

This group project covers a contract dispute situation. As a group, work through the following questions. Feel free to ask further questions of your group members in the thread, and answer your group members’ questions as well. The best work will be where all group members work together to get the questions answered. You will be graded on the quality of your posts, but points will be deducted if your answers are duplicates of your group members. Take turns and build on posts. The questions below have more than one part within each of them so work through them together. Have fun with this! The main thing, along with creating some quality collaboration with your group, is that you learn from this exercise. Read the scenario either here under Course Home or on the Assignment page for Week 4. The Assignment page for Week 4 will also have the full grading rubric for this group project. Good luck!

Download and review the contract here.

Your Role/Assignment

You are the manager of a large data processing project. Your company, Systems Inc., worked very hard to obtain a contract with Big Bank to do their conversions from their recent acquisition, Small Bank. The bank met with several companies to discuss who would do the best work on the contract. During your meeting with Big Bank, you told them that you had “never missed a conversion deadline. At the time, your company had never missed a conversion deadline, but the company had only done three conversions. You also told them that your data processing systems were the fastest around. After months of negotiation, Big Bank signed the contract. The president of Big Bank said, “We like fast, and you guys are fast. We choose you.”

You started work on the data conversion immediately (ahead of contract). According to the contract, your team was responsible for ensuring that the new bank’s data were converted to Big Bank’s data processing system. The contract involved six large conversions. The first involved converting Big Bank’s savings accounts, the second its checking accounts, the third its investment portfolio, the fourth its credit cards, the fifth its mortgage portfolios, and the sixth its large business loans. Your team completed four of the six conversions without a problem. The fifth task, the largest and most important, has encountered numerous problems. Some problems have been based on personnel issues on your part and other issues have been based on the bank’s failure to provide you with necessary information. One issue resulted when the conversion was delayed for over 1 week. The data to be converted were formatted differently than the bank’s previous specifications provided. For that reason, the data conversion fields needed to be changed. A provision in the contract required your company to receive four people’s approval before making any changes to the conversion data fields, and one of those four people, Glenda Givealot, was out of the country doing missionary work in an area of the world that did not have cell phone reception. Another issue resulted when the conversion was supposed to occur. Because of the change in the time line, the conversion schedule had to change. The weekend the conversion was rescheduled to occur an ice storm struck the state where your data processing computers were housed. Your facility lost electricity for 3 days and the conversion was delayed again until power could be restored.

Big Bank President Back to top
The bank’s president, who is a known hothead, was furious. He called you after power was restored and yelled,

“We are rescinding this contract!”

He also threatened to take the case to court to seek damages.

Big Bank President
Systems Inc. President Back to top
Systems Inc. President
Your company president wants this situation resolved amicably. He also wants to maintain the contract with the bank, as he sees the potential for a large amount of business with the bank in the future if this contract proves successful. Corporate counsel believes that the bank just needs to be shown that they are out of compliance with the contract just as we are and that both parties are to blame. He wants you to start negotiations with the bank to modify certain provisions of the contract to make expectations clearer.


Scenario Summary – Week 6 Individual Project (100 points)

Virginia Pollard worked as a cashier and clerk for Teddy’s Supplies, a family-owned chain of film production equipment supply stores in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. During a routine performance evaluation, Virginia’s supervisor at Teddy’s complained that she made too many personal phone calls when she worked in the West Orange store. The supervisor noted this on Virginia’s annual review, and warned her to keep personal calls to a bare minimum while at work. Soon thereafter, Teddy transferred Pollard to guard film equipment in the main warehouse behind the storefront; Virginia couldn’t make personal calls there, and her work became exemplary. Her performance evaluation three months after her transfer was “meeting expectations” with no negative comments.

Virginia Pollard was the only woman working in the warehouse, and she was often the victim of pranks perpetrated by her six male colleagues. Her coworkers taped her drawers shut, locked her out of the guard shack she sat in to watch the inventory, filled the guard shack with trash, and backed a forklift up to the door and made it backfire in her ear. One day, a Teddy delivery driver sat in Pollard’s chair and, when she tried to push him out of it, he bent her over his lap and spanked her. Pollard’s new supervisor, Steve King, rarely enforced Teddy’s rules against smoking, horseplay, foul language, and sexual harassment and often indulged in such behaviors himself. Teddy’s had a written sexual harassment policy that included a method for employees to report sexual harassment – the method included filing a complaint with the direct supervisor unless the direct supervisor was the perpetrator. In that event, the employee was to file the complaint online at The form for reporting was a one-page document. A copy of the policy that Virginia Pollard signed is located here. The policy specifically states,

“In the event of a violation of this policy, employees should report the violation to their direct supervisor, unless doing so would put the employee at risk of further discrimination or harassment. In that case, the employee should report using the company website form which will submit the incident to Human Resources.”

Pollard never filed a complaint with Steve King, her supervisor; she also did not file a complaint at the website, although she claimed she told King in July 2008 that she felt she was being “picked on” by the guys she worked with. She claims Steve King told her to “grow some balls” and to “get over herself.” She testified during the NJ Human Rights Commission hearing that she tried to file an anonymous complaint but the website wasn’t working the day she tried to do so.

In August of 2008, King and the other warehouse workers put a sign on a truck that read “HARDHAT REQUIRED/BRA OPTIONAL.” King and another employee called Pollard over to look at the sign and encouraged her to do as it said. She refused and tried to walk away. King promised not to report her to management, whereupon she lifted one side of her shirt in the back and exposed part of her bra on her backside. Upper management learned of the incident that October by a coworker who filed an anonymous complaint online. After a brief investigation, Pollard was fired for exposing her bra. None of the men were disciplined. A man replaced Pollard in the guard shack.

That November, Pollard filed a charge of sex discrimination with the New Jersey Commission on Human Rights. The Commission found that Pollard had been the victim of sex discrimination and that Teddy’s reasons for firing her were pretext, and awarded her back wages and damages. Teddy’s appealed to the circuit court, including in their case that Pollard had committed several infractions, including participating in the spanking incident. They reported that Pollard had failed to report any sexual harassment and included a copy of their sexual harassment policy as part of their defense case. The Circuit Court found that Teddy did have good reason to discipline Pollard but that firing her was in fact disparate treatment when compared with the utter lack of discipline given to King. The circuit court reversed the Commission’s award of damages because it believed that Teddy had been right to discipline Pollard, but they ordered Teddy’s to reinstate Pollard to her old position. Pollard appealed to the New Jersey Court of Appeals and refused to accept her job back.

Your Role/Assignment

You are an independent human resources consultant who was hired by Teddy’s Supplies to consult on this case during the appeal

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