Human Relations Case Study of Jody Gillam, The Side-Takers

Jody Gillam was facing some issues she wouldnever have forecast when she started herwomen’s fashion shop barely two years before.Her business had expanded to the point where she now employed nearly 20 people, most ofthem as full-time employees. Now, it seemedthat she had four groups: two that were hardworkingand dedicated and devoted totally tothe needs of customers, and two that seemed tobe out to destroy each other.

Today, Jody’s floor manager, Mia, came toher with a great deal of urgency in her voice.“Jody, we’ve got to do something about the hostilitylevel in this place. It’s driving customersaway and discouraging new ones from shoppinghere. I had a customer just yesterday tellme that she can ‘feel the tension’ whenever shewalks in here.”

Mia wasn’t telling Jody anything she didn’talready know. Jody even knew who the problemmembers of both groups were; the questionwas what to do about the issue. Two informalgroups among the sales staff were sabotagingeach other’s work and insulting each otherat every turn. Heather and LeeAnn were twostrong personalities who disliked each other.Over the past few weeks, others in the store hadgravitated to one or the other, forming a coalitionof supporters on both sides. This createdthe tension felt even by the customers.

“One thing is for sure,” Jody said softly.“This absolutely can’t be allowed to go on.”“Well, we’re together there,” Mia replied.“The question is, where do we start?”

Case Study Questions

  1. Which emphasis areas of human relationsdoes this case mostly address?
  2. What steps should Jody take to solve theconflict in her department?
  3. Could Jody have done anything to preventthis problem from occurring in the first place? If so, what?

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