Karen Miner is a partner at a management consulting firm, and she is becoming increasingly resentful of another partner who consistently prioritizes their family life, while letting others pick up their slack at their busy office. When Miner vents about it to trusted colleagues, she finds that they agree that it is a big problem, and pervasive throughout the office. With this case, students can role-play the eventual confrontation between these two partners, learn tools and tips for being effective in these types of difficult conversations, and extend the case with an assignment to pitch senior partners possible solutions for workload and work-life balance issues facing partners.
The case is designed to surface students' instinctive decision-making and communication tendencies. Thus it is short enough to be read and responded to in class. Students are assigned readings and assignments related to the case after class discussion, in which they are encouraged to reflect on their initial responses.
The case is quite flexible and would work in any course that deals with leadership, difficult conversations, decision-making, organizational behavior, human resources, and related topics. It is appropriate for a range of levels and audiences, especially MBA and executive education. It may work best with older students who may identify with the competing demands of family and work, although younger audiences may appreciate discussing these issues as well.