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Acting and Speaking with Power: Donald Kennedy and Stanford Accounting—Indirectly Accused?
Belmi, Peter; Yemen, Gerry Case OB-1338 / Published September 23, 2020 / 4 pages.
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Product Overview

How leaders behave in difficult situations are an important part of controlling their narrative. This public-sourced case provides students an opportunity to examine how one leader behaves while under scrutiny. The material presents the history of the former president of Stanford University, Donald Kennedy, who was accused of overbilling the government for indirect costs on research contracts. He testified before Congress, and an analysis of his testimony provides an opportunity to view how he conducted himself under pressure. This case is meant to be paired with another case presenting the story of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver "Ollie" North, a US national security adviser under former US President Ronald Reagan: "Acting and Speaking with Power: Oliver North and the Iran-Contra Deal—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (UVA-OB-1337). Used together, the cases present an opportunity to compare two very different approaches to acting and speaking with power.


Learning Objectives

- Introduce students to the concepts of "playing high" and "playing low." - Examine how voice, speech, and body language can be used deliberately to establish warmth, competence, deference, or authority. - Encourage students to reflect on the types of situations in which "playing high" and "playing low" are most effective. - Encourage students to reflect on their "default" way of acting and speaking and how they might be able to expand their range.

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  • Overview

    How leaders behave in difficult situations are an important part of controlling their narrative. This public-sourced case provides students an opportunity to examine how one leader behaves while under scrutiny. The material presents the history of the former president of Stanford University, Donald Kennedy, who was accused of overbilling the government for indirect costs on research contracts. He testified before Congress, and an analysis of his testimony provides an opportunity to view how he conducted himself under pressure. This case is meant to be paired with another case presenting the story of Lieutenant Colonel Oliver "Ollie" North, a US national security adviser under former US President Ronald Reagan: "Acting and Speaking with Power: Oliver North and the Iran-Contra Deal—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" (UVA-OB-1337). Used together, the cases present an opportunity to compare two very different approaches to acting and speaking with power.

  • Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    - Introduce students to the concepts of "playing high" and "playing low." - Examine how voice, speech, and body language can be used deliberately to establish warmth, competence, deference, or authority. - Encourage students to reflect on the types of situations in which "playing high" and "playing low" are most effective. - Encourage students to reflect on their "default" way of acting and speaking and how they might be able to expand their range.