Discussion Question

Please read the following case:

Donna Hopkins is Director of Front Office Operations at a renowned luxury hotel in New York City. Her job responsibilities include managing the front desk, reservations, bell stand, and concierge, both in the main lobby and on the exclusive concierge floor. Ms. Hopkins has a college degree in marketing, has more than ten years of hotel experience, and has been with the corporation for seven years. She has been working in her current capacity at the hotel for four years. Throughout her seven-year tenure, Donna has done an excellent job in all of her positions and has steadily climbed in the ranks of the corporation. As part of her career progression, she is anxious to move to the executive level and feels that she is well qualified to do so.

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Upon taking the position as Director, Donna found the front office to be in a state of turmoil, with excessive guest complaints and a high degree of turnover. Business-people, for whom timeliness and quick service are essential, account for approximately 55 percent of this hotel’s clientele and room sales. Donna instituted training and quality assurance programs that resulted in greater levels of satisfaction for both guests and employees. Jonathan Bryant is the Executive Housekeeper of the same hotel. He has worked in various capacities in the corporation over the past eleven years and has held his current position for four years. He supervises a staff of well over 100 employees and is ultimately responsible for keeping the entire hotel spotless, as demanded by the hotel’s business clientele. He has been an exemplar employee in both his technical ability and his relations with his subordinates, which is reflected in high productivity and extremely low turnover in the Housekeeping Department. He, too, feels that he is ready for a promotion. Ms. Hopkins and Mr. Bryant are good friends, and they have great respect for each other’s abilities.

Both Ms. Hopkins and Mr. Bryant were informed by the General Manager (GM) that the position of Executive Director of the Rooms Division at the Chicago property has become available. Although he would be sorry to lose either one of them, the GM encouraged each of them to apply as he felt they both deserved a promotion. Each did apply for the job, with no sense of hostility between them. Two weeks after applying, they found that there were 11 applicants who had been determined to be viable candidates for the position, and they both were among them. A short list of 5 would be identified within the next few days. They then found that they had both made the list. Although not formally announced, it was rumored that there was also another manager from another hotel within the corporation, an individual from a competitor, and a person from the corporate office on the list. Over the past several months the corporate office had been going through a major restructuring in order to reduce costs and become more efficient.

Within the next week both Ms. Hopkins and Mr. Bryant were flown to Chicago to interview with the GM and the Corporate Director of Human Resources. Ms. Hopkins felt that her interview had gone extremely well and was guardedly optimistic about getting the position. The week after her interview Ms. Hopkins found out that the position had been offered to the individual from the corporate office, who was a finance specialist with very little operations experience. In her frustration, she contacted her GM to try to learn more about the decision. The GM was very disappointed but explained that the corporation was trying to outplace the best corporate people into operations to retain their talent. That afternoon Ms. Hopkins called a headhunter who had contacted her off and on over the last couple of years.

Discussion Question: Do you think that hiring the finance specialist was a good decision on the part of the corporation or not? Take a position on the decision (i.e., good or bad) by supporting your opinion.

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