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HRM / OB Case Study

Case Title:

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles…

Publication Month and Year :  June 2009

Authors:  Dr. Ravikiran Dwivedula

Industry:  Not Applicable

Region: Not Applicable

Case Code:  OB0008

Teaching Note:  Available

Structured Assignment:  Not Available

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The purpose of this fictional case study is to illustrate organisational politics. Through its main characters Mark Sullivan and Sam Nolton, the case shows how improper handling of official communication and lack of information can be used against an employee. The case traverses a 3-day period in the lives of Sam Nolton and Mark Sullivan. The lead characters of the case work for ABCCOMM, a semiconductor major based out of Sunnyvale, California. ABCCOMM is currently in negotiation about a possible merger with another semiconductor company XYZCOMM. The combined entity aims to capitalise on the semiconductor market in the Asia-Pacific region. Through the various incidents, the case highlights the importance of documenting formal communication within the organisation and seeking constant feedback on work related information from the superiors to steer clear of organisational politics.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand different cultures and manifestation in organisational politics
  • To understand how formal interpersonal communication can be used against an employee.

Keywords :  Power, formal power, coercive power, reward power, legitimate power, personal power, expert power, referent power, politics, power tactics, Organizational Behavior, OB, Organizational Behavior case study, Motivation Case Study, MBA, MBA Program, Course Mapping


  • Three Days before the Meeting with XYZCOMM
  • The Day before the Meeting…
  • The Day of the Meeting
  • Question for Discussion

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