Case Study: The New Course


1/22/04


Throughout this paper I will be working under the assumption that the problem in this situation lies with the mindset of George Tipton, the reason he will not consider any course proposals is not fiscal but rather personal and ego driven by his position as department chair. However, first I would take a step back and internalize the issue. In any profession you must understand that you need to communicate differently with various people and I would look at how I first presented the idea to Mr. Tipton. Ms. Garcia should enlist the help of her co-workers to gain insight into how best to approach Mr. Tipton with the suggestion. It would be reasonable to say that the majority of the faculty has worked with Mr. Tipton for a number of years, thus having much experience in how to work with him. According to Patrick Donadio, a business coach and professional speaker, “We need to know what the factors are for this person’s unwillingness to consider the new ideas.” Are his motivations financial or otherwise? From the Case Study it appears as though Mr. Tipton is basing his decision on personal opinion and bias, not judging the proposal based on the merits of the course. Mr. Tipton is not giving Ms. Garcia’s proposal a fair shake and I believe what it boils down to is this: Bad Leadership. When a leader doesn’t seem to seriously take new thoughts and ideas into consideration it leaves the company or in this case the school at a disadvantage. There is a great line from George Bernard Shaw, “progress is determined by the unreasonable man, the others just compromise”. I would consider possible motives for Mr. Tipton’s reluctance or flat out obstinance in this matter. Is he doing this just to be difficult? Out of fear? Some misplaced sense of self-preservation? Or perhaps Ms. Garcia just hasn’t found a way, as a young, new teacher to fly in “under his radar”. Assuming that Ms. Garcia wants to preserve and even strengthen her relationship with Mr. Tipton while simultaneously getting her point across she needs to find a basis of leverage. For example, according to Daniel Robin in “Making Workplaces Work Better”, if you know the person’s interests you’d have a way of reaching your goal without manipulating, controlling, badgering, or otherwise upsetting them. Knowing their agenda would empower you to make a request or to offer a potential solution in terms they would value. But then the dilemma becomes, how do you find out? According to Robin, just ask. Ask the person, as well as those around them, i.e. the Principal, the other faculty, and staff. I know that in class we discussed the use of “I” messages but do not believe they will work in this case because there has not been a rapport established yet between Ms. Garcia and Mr. Tipton. According to Scott Wertel in “Now It’s Your Turn”, prior establishment of rapport between the parties involved is essential for the use of “I” messages to be effective and given Mr. Tipton’s behavior in the history faculty meeting where he verbally assaulted Ms. Garcia and the two other younger faculty members the rapport and respect are not there.


I believe that Mr. Tipton is from another era and set in his ways and afraid of change. The reason for his hostility toward the new, younger faculty is that he sees them like these kids coming in and changing things and he’s afraid of letting them and being left behind. With 20 years of service under his belt he has more than likely been at East longer than most, including the Principal, Mr. Harding and in that 20 years they’ve been running things pretty much the same way and he sees no reason to start changing things now. I believe that old saying “If it’s not broke, don’t try and fix it” applies here.


A portion of the blame for this situation lies with the Principal Mr. Harding. He has allowed this situation to continue. Mr. Tipton, Department Chair or not, should not be allowed to verbally abuse, attack or degrade any other member of the faculty. According to an HR workshop I attended directed by Ira