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Ann Hopkins Case Analysis

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MBA C601 Legal and Ethical Analysis of Ann Hopkins Derek Koga 1/20/2007 LEGAL CASE ANALYSIS I. FACTS Ann Hopkins was nominated for partnership at Price Waterhouse (PW) in August 1982 (1). She was a senior manager in the firm's Office of Government Services (OGS) in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in large-scale, computer-based systems designed for government agencies (2). Her 1982 nomination class included 88 total candidates with Ann Hopkins as the only women in the group (3). PW offered partnerships to 47 of them, rejected 21 and placed 20, including Ann Hopkins, on hold (4). While her partnership was put on hold, Ann Hopkins met with PW's chairman to discuss the decision and the admissions committee's recommendations. PW had suggested that she be given more work with partners and undertakes a quality control review in order to demonstrate her skills and allay concerns about her (5). In 1983, two of the partners which originally supported her nomination opposed her re-nomination and soon after Ann Hopkins was told that she would never become partner at PW (6). Ann Hopkins was born December 18, 1943 and graduated high school in 1961. She received her B.A in mathematics at Hollins College in 1965 and finished her masters in mathematics from Indiana University in 1967 (7). She described herself as "third generation, small town Texas" and as an army "brat" who "learned from her childhood how to be an outsider" (8). Her month taught her that "when you shake hands, you should always shake hands firmly and when you walk into a room, you should walk in as if you owned it" (9). Her career began as mathematics teacher at Indian University. She later joined IBM and worked as a mathematical physicist and managed a 7 person project for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (10). In 1972, Ann Hopkins joined Computer Sciences Corporation where she continued to work on NASA accounts. ...read more.


During the next few months, according to Ann Hopkins, the firm failed to give her opportunities to demonstrate her abilities and gain more exposure. Four months after the policy board's recommendations, with two OGS's strong support, it was felt that her candidacy could not possibly be successful. Ann Hopkins was advised that it was very unlikely that she would be admitted to partnership (35). Reviews of her work on the State Department Real Estate management project were, on balance, favorable. An initial review by the partner who had been removed from the large State Department project was negative, but the subsequent Quality Control Review conducted on the State Department work, including REMS, was a "strong positive" (36). Ann Hopkins later wrote that she was "the only candidate who was not admitted to PW initially or after being put on hold-who was criticized solely for deficiencies in interpersonal skills" (37). Similarly situated men, she says, were admitted. Hopkins was at the bottom of overall quartile rankings and only 13 of 32 partners favored her admission, but the firm had admitted one candidate who had support from 14 of 30 partners and another who ranked 39th of 42 in overall quartile rankings (38). In December 1983, she learned she would not be re-proposed for partnership. Ann Hopkins tendered her resignation and left PW in January (39). In 1984, she started her own management consulting firm and she also filed suit against PW claiming that she had been denied a partnership because of sex discrimination (40). She sought an award of back pay for lost wages and reinstatement at PW as a partner (41). II. CRITICAL LEGAL ISSUES The legal issues are: 1. Is it legal to gender stereotype in the workplace? 2. Is it legal to apply gender stereotyping when evaluating workplace performance? III. LEGAL RULES Legal Issue 1 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, except when there are bona fide occupational qualifications reasonably necessary to normal business operations. ...read more.


From another perspective, the utility of lessening the value of potential female candidates due to a preconceived notion of appropriate female behavior is absurd. Removing gender stereotyping from the partnership approval process would increase the availability of the best candidates regardless of sex. The ethical behavior with the greatest utility would be to embrace their presence and maximize the potential utility to the whole. In applying Kantian values, one must evaluate if the actions satisfied the categorical imperative. Everyone should have a moral right to be treated as a free and equal person and should treat all other in the same way.( Bruce, D. & Parks, J ) PW using gender stereotyping cannot argue that they would wish to be evaluated in a similar fashion; therefore their behavior in using gender stereotyping is unethical. The second dictum of the categorical imperative involves treating persons only as they would have freely consented to be treated beforehand, and develop each person's capacity to freely choose the aims they will pursue. (Bruce, D. & Parks, J ) Clearly Ann Hopkins would not have consented to be treated in the manner that she was, since she was not allowed to freely choose her own aims. Therefore, PW again did not behave ethically. In conclusion, the partners of PW did not behave ethically in dealing with Ann Hopkins. The correct ethical behavior would have been to offer her a partnership based on the merits of her accomplishments, not smeared by gender stereotype preconceptions. Notes (1) Barkan, Ilyse. (1991). Ann Hopkins (A) Harvard Business School, 9-391-155. (2) Ibid. (3) Ibid. (4) Ibid. (5) Ibid. (6) Ibid. (7) Ibid. (8) Ibid. (9) Ibid. (10) Ibid. (11) Ibid. (12) Ibid. (13) Ibid. (14) Ibid. (15) Ibid. (16) Ibid. (17) Ibid. (18) Ibid. (19) Ibid. (20) Ibid. (21) Ibid. (22) Ibid. (23) Ibid. (24) Ibid. (25) Ibid. (26) Ibid. (27) Ibid. (28) Ibid. (29) Ibid. (30) Ibid. (31) Ibid. (32) Ibid. (33) Ibid. (34) Ibid. (35) Ibid. (36) Ibid. (37) Ibid. (38) Ibid. (39) Ibid. (40) Ibid. (41) Ibid. ...read more.

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