Jane Ryan is founder, owner, and CEO of iCompute, a computer-services firm. Ryan founded the company in 1995 and it has grown steadily, providing computer and networking services to a variety of clients. Initial growth was fueled by large contracts with large institutions, but more recently, growth has come from middle- and smaller-sized contracts. Furthermore, the industry space has become crowded with competitors and computer services is more of a commodity than it had been even five years before. Ryan is contemplating how to respond to a conflict between two of her key employees, Samuel Marsh and Becky Jones. Jones wants Ryan to penalize Marsh for poor performance. Jones is a good performer, and there is reason to believe that her area of business has the best growth potential, but she has spoken harshly to Ryan, and Ryan has long-standing loyalty to Marsh.
This case is recommended for use in courses exploring entrepreneurship and its challenges, especially when discussing topics such as the following: Market expansion: The protagonist's business is evaluating the relative merits of different market segments Salesforce management: The protagonist must negotiate between two rival sales executives Leadership and ethics: The protagonist is wrestling with questions of morale, loyalty, and insubordination, and must decide how to manage employee relationships from an ethical standpoint