Case Study: When Key Employees Clash

The caller ID on Matthew Spark’s phone read “Kid Spectrum, Inc.” It was someone from the Orlando office, probably administrative director Ellen Larson. She had been in daily contact with Matthew since he purchased the company, a provider of in-home autism services for children, eight months ago. He appreciated Ellen’s eagerness to help him build the business, even if she was sometimes abrupt. Kid Spectrum’s previous owner, Arthur Hamel, had told Matthew that Ellen, with nearly two decades of experience in health services, would be one of his biggest assets.

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H. Irving Grousbeck

H. IRVING GROUSBECK

H. Irving Grousbeck is a consulting professor of management at Stanford Graduate School of
Business and a director of its Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.


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Editor’s Note: This fictionalized case study will appear in a forthcoming issue of Harvard Business Review, along with commentary from experts and readers. If you’d like your comment to be considered for publication, please be sure to include your full name, company or university affiliation, and email address.

The caller ID on Matthew Spark’s phone read “Kid Spectrum, Inc.” It was someone from the Orlando office, probably administrative director Ellen Larson. She had been in daily contact with Matthew since he purchased the company, a provider of in-home autism services for children, eight months ago. He appreciated Ellen’s eagerness to help him build the business, even if she was sometimes abrupt. Kid Spectrum’s previous owner, Arthur Hamel, had told Matthew that Ellen, with nearly two decades of experience in health services, would be one of his biggest assets.

“Matthew, it’s Ellen. I don’t want to bother you again, but we have a situation down here.”
Matthew sat back in his chair and readied himself. The “situation” could be anything from the copier running out of ink to the building catching on fire.

“I’m calling about Ronnie,” she said… Leer más “Case Study: When Key Employees Clash”