Balancing Family and Business Outcomes: The Case of the Controversial Niece


Abby Ramos, co-founder of Federal Insurance Company, was approached by her sales manager, Nina, who complained about the work ethic of staff member Dianne Cruz. Dianne was the daughter of Abby’s eldest sister, Cecile. Abby had felt obliged to hire her niece because she was grateful to her sister for having assumed their mother’s role when their mother passed away when the girls were only teenagers. Dianne, however, was not an ideal employee and her poor work ethic was demoralizing the sales team. Abby was unsure how to react to the complaint against Dianne. She recalled an earlier incident when company employees had complained about her own daughter, Cathy, who was originally assigned to the sales department. Together with her husband, Bert, she talked with Cathy, who was unaware that she had been causing employee discontent. After that conversation, Cathy behaved more sensitively toward colleagues. Abby felt that the situation with Dianne might be a little different. She could not decide which approach to take as she did not want to hurt or disappoint her sister should the conversation with Dianne not go well. How could she balance the needs of the family and the business?

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