Cases in Human Resource Management


David Kimball

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    The current buzzword in both business and academia is engaged. Today’s millennial students don’t want to simply be lectured at; they want to be actively engaged in their learning, and they want relevant real-world businesses examples. The AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accrediation standards clearly state the importance of decision-making skills.

    Over the years, trends have come and gone, but the case method of developing decision-making skills through the use of case studies of real-world organizations has passed the test of time to become the classic teaching method. Case studies require the student to think critically in analyzing information and in making decisions.

    David Kimball’s Cases in Human Resource Management offers real-world business cases to meet the millennial students’ need to be engaged, and they can be used to meet the AACSB standard of developing the important decision-making skill. Kimball has selected a good variety of organizations. Some of the popular businesses that students want to learn more about include Zappos, LinkedIn, Costco, Walmart, GE, Hilton, and Visier.

    Kimball’s Cases in Human Resource Management is a good supplement, not only to the HRM course, but also for most organizational behavior and management books, and I recommend it.

    Robert N. Lussier Professor of Management Springfield College


    This casebook is designed using the five parts of Human Resource Management: Functions, Applications, and Skills Development, Second Edition, by Robert N. Lussier and John R. Hendon. Each case is about a thousand words, which allows the student to learn about the company, people, and the human resource issue within each case. However, students are encouraged to use the Human Resource Management textbook by Lussier and Hendon to learn more about the human resource issue within the case.

    Part I: 21st-Century Human Resource Management Strategic Planning and Legal Issues

    In Chapter 1, a case about Zappos helps set up a more modern way to look at employees as human resources—with an emphasis on human. The second case reviews the five growing areas where a student might work in a human resources department. Students need to learn what these five growing areas are so they can explore them throughout the casebook.

    Chapter 2 starts with a case that requires the student to determine the viability of an early retirement offer in the state of Massachusetts. The second case investigates how Costco develops happy employees.

    Chapter 3 is about a very recent trend where companies, such as Walmart, are offering more than the required minimum wage. The second case is about diversity and affirmative action at Hilton Hotels.

    Part II: Staffing

    Chapter 4 explores Visier and the services it provides HR departments by helping to forecast workforce needs. The second case looks back at the famous succession planning process that Jack Welch used to select his own replacement as chief executive officer at General Electric (GE).

    The cases in Chapter 5 explore e-recruitment and having to make a decision to hire an internal employee or an external candidate to fill an open position.

    The first case in Chapter 6 uses the author’s own experiences of recruiting and selecting a new college professor. The second case is about an employee, “Walter,” who is rejected as being a good fit for Google.

    Part III: Developing and Managing

    Chapter 7 presents the latest ideas about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), such as Coursera and Udacity, and their ability to recruit and train employees. The second case follows the talented Harry Saunders and his career development at the Big Buy Supermarket.

    The first case in Chapter 8 is about the importance of using performance appraisals. The second case is about the problems using performance appraisal forms!

    The first case in Chapter 9 is about the importance of coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees. The importance of documentation is emphasized. The second case presents the concept of mindfulness and how it can be used as a thoughtful way to lead employees.

    The first case in Chapter 10 challenges management and unions to work together. The second case deals specifically with managing angry employees.

    Part IV: Compensating

    The first case in Chapter 11 is about how wage compression and pay secrecy affect employee motivation. The second case discusses whether employees are motivated at work based on their expectations or are treated equally.

    Chapter 12 debates some of the newer issues involved in executive pay since the introduction of Sarbanes-Oxley reform in 2012 (SOX) and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

    Chapter 13 covers benefits and how some employers are kicking your spouse off your health-care plans to reduce benefit costs. The second case examines new laws regarding sick leave for employees.

    Part V: Protecting and Expanding Organizational Reach

    Chapter 14 is about building an HR information system (HRIS) while protecting health information (PHI) from cyber attacks. This is a timely issue with the increased occurrence in cyber theft in all industries. The second case starts to wrap up the book by discussing future trends in human resources.

    Chapter 15 explores whether HR can help companies develop corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. The second case examines equal opportunity, diversity, and how five generations of people are at work together. Professors and readers might find the case on five generations of people at work together as the most interesting case in the book.

    Chapter 16 concludes the book with cases related to people the author knows (names have been changed) who have worked in various countries in their careers. The first case discusses the role of a marketing director living in England. The second case asks readers to put themselves in the shoes of a young Russian lady who comes to the United States and finds that her language and math skills are very valuable in the workplace.

    The author welcomes comments about individual cases at Readers are also welcome to send updated material they find regarding each case. Ideas for new cases are also greatly welcome.

    David Kimball


    This casebook would not have been possible without the support of my family: Amy, Carly, and Jacob. I appreciate the guidance of Dr. Robert Lussier, whose textbook was the inspiration for this casebook. I would also like to thank Maggie Stanley and Neda Dallal from SAGE Publishing, who helped organize all the cases.

    SAGE Publishing gratefully acknowledges the following reviewers:

    • Ralph Braithwaite, University of Hartford
    • Leslie Campbell, Colby-Sawyer University
    • Joseph M. Goodman, Illinois State University
    • Gundars Kaupins, Boise State University
    • Claire Kent, Mary Baldwin College
    • Ernest Kovacs, Fairleigh Dickinson University
    • Kim Lukaszewski, Wright State University
    • Carl Maertz, Saint Louis University
    • Dan Morrell, Middle Tennessee State University
    • Lisa O’Hara, Pennsylvania State University
    • Kern Peng, Santa Clara University
    • Matthew Stollak, St. Norbert College
    • Mussie Tessema, Winona State University
    • Thomas R. Tudor, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

    About the Author

    David Kimball, PhD, has been professor of management at Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, for nearly three decades. He is the chair of the Division of Business, which includes majors in accounting, management, marketing, sport management, and health care management. Professor Kimball has taught business strategy and global ethics courses at the undergraduate and MBA levels. Dr. Kimball has co-authored a textbook on sports management and a new book on entrepreneurship. As a former employee at the old AT&T, he is often interested in the mobile communications industry and the technology used in similar industries. Before entering the field of teaching on a full-time basis, Dr. Kimball worked at Mass Mutual Life Insurance Company as a corporate trainer. At times, Dr. Kimball’s early work experiences at McDonald’s can be found in his views since he still believes in the McDonald’s credo of cleanliness, service, and value. Dr. Kimball completed his dissertation on the topic of business mission and written mission statements while finishing his doctorate degree in management systems.

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