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Ted's Tirade
Detert, James R.; Black, Christina Case OB-1273 / Published January 2, 2019 / 1 pages.
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Product Overview

Andre Johnson is a young, African American district manager for a national motel chain who oversees six regional managers that are all at least twice as experienced, and all white. One day, when the regional managers go out for drinks without Johnson, one of them—Ted Simmons—rants against Johnson, using serious racial slurs. The others just quickly switched the topic and left. However, three of the regional managers then approached Johnson the next day to tell him what happened and suggest that Simmons be fired. The case is told from two points of view, a nonoffending regional manager and Johnson, and offers an opportunity to first consider how Simmons' peers could have reacted differently directly following his racial slurs and then how Johnson should react after hearing from the other subordinates about Simmons's tirade. The case is designed to surface students' instinctive decision-making tendencies. Thus it is short enough to be read and responded to in class. Students are assigned readings and assignments related to the case after class discussion in which they are encouraged to reflect on their initial responses and lingering questions and needs for development. The case is quite flexible and would work in any course that deals with leadership, diversity and inclusion, difficult conversations, decision-making, ethics, organizational behavior, or human resource management. It is appropriate for a range of levels and audiences, including undergraduate, MBA, and executive education. However, given the topic—how to respond as a peer and as a boss to offensive racial slurs—it should only be used by instructors who are willing and able to facilitate a respectful, productive discussion about an issue that can become emotionally charged and divisive if not handled well.


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  • Overview

    Andre Johnson is a young, African American district manager for a national motel chain who oversees six regional managers that are all at least twice as experienced, and all white. One day, when the regional managers go out for drinks without Johnson, one of them—Ted Simmons—rants against Johnson, using serious racial slurs. The others just quickly switched the topic and left. However, three of the regional managers then approached Johnson the next day to tell him what happened and suggest that Simmons be fired. The case is told from two points of view, a nonoffending regional manager and Johnson, and offers an opportunity to first consider how Simmons' peers could have reacted differently directly following his racial slurs and then how Johnson should react after hearing from the other subordinates about Simmons's tirade. The case is designed to surface students' instinctive decision-making tendencies. Thus it is short enough to be read and responded to in class. Students are assigned readings and assignments related to the case after class discussion in which they are encouraged to reflect on their initial responses and lingering questions and needs for development. The case is quite flexible and would work in any course that deals with leadership, diversity and inclusion, difficult conversations, decision-making, ethics, organizational behavior, or human resource management. It is appropriate for a range of levels and audiences, including undergraduate, MBA, and executive education. However, given the topic—how to respond as a peer and as a boss to offensive racial slurs—it should only be used by instructors who are willing and able to facilitate a respectful, productive discussion about an issue that can become emotionally charged and divisive if not handled well.

  • Learning Objectives