Discussion Questions for Week 13

Ropes Part 4 Section 7, Chapters 47-50
Part 4
What is the norm of reciprocity?
Can you think of any instances in your previous experience when you violated this norm?What happened?
According to the Ropes text, what are the most important types of relationships in organizations?Does Fred Goldner’s research back up the text argument?
How much power do the following individuals have in organizations?
Upward moving individuals such as Ted Shelby
Individuals who are not mobile or do not desire to move up
Young superstars
Lower level organizational members such as secretaries
What is the difference between formal and informal power?
What is the difference between legitimate and illegitimate power?
From your previous experience, can you identify some instances of illegitimate power?How did this power influence your work behavior?
Section 7
Is there a class system in organizations?Is this class system becoming more or less rigid over time?
What is the corporate price for downsizing?
Why is moving up through the ranks of an organization more like a tennis tournament than a marathon?
Why are managers who have reached a plateau and managers who drop out of the mobility tournament a thorn in the side of managers trying to move up?
Why do lower level participants (such as secretaries) typically have access to a great deal of information that is not available to middle level managers?
Chapter 47
Who is being more egotistical here, Faust or Stanley?
Is Faust correct in his assertion that “It may be your job, but it’s my reputation?”
Is there something that Stanley is failing to see when he says that the New York folks already agreed to this and they can’t change their mind now?
In your experience, have you ever seen examples of behavior similar to Stan’s by a young organizational employee?
Why do you think management changed its mind and is now asking for results instead of sticking with the original plan?
Chapter 48
What are your options if someone like Ted, with the “right parents,” is ahead of you on the hierarchy?
Could it actually be advantageous to have a Ted Shelby ahead of you even though he is not all that talented?
What are your career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
After graduating from college, is it a wise move to try and stay with one company for many years?Why or why not?
Chapter 49
What is the nature of the traditional implicit bargain between management and labor (mostly white-collar, in this context)?
What alternatives to downsizing are potentially available?
There have always been periods of economic expansion and contraction.Why then has downsizing become so popular with corporations in the past 15 to 20 years?
Does downsizing typically work as a long term strategy?
How is downsizing similar to firing coaches in college athletics today?
Chapter 50
What is Ben’s relationship to the mobility tournament?
What is Ted’s approach to the mobility tournament?
What will happen to Ben for not attending the Friday Meeting?
In Ben’s shoes, should you take the same approach?Why or why not?

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