Executive Summary

The Sales Manager at AX Systems, a small Spanish company which manufactures computer equipment, had announced his intention to leave the firm. To succeed him, there were two internal candidates being considered. The first, Juan Diez Martin, was a 20 year veteran who believed that the job was his given his seniority with the company and the fact that he was named Salesperson for the Year for the past 5 years. The second, Jose Luis Rodriguez Gonzalez, was with the company a respectful 5 years and had received much customer praise and recognition in that time.

A decision to promote Jose Luis was made at the hands of the HR Manager who based his decision on the position job description and the employees’ performance appraisals which were evaluated on a trait scale by their department manager. The appraisals were vague and were not communicated to the employees. There was no “action plan” put into place to ensure employees’ performance could be improved.

The decision to promote Jose Luis was told to the employees jointly in the HR Manager’s office. After this time Juan claimed that the decision was unfair and came as a result of the Sales Manager being friends with Jose Luis. At that time the HR Manager provided both Juan and Jose Luis’ appraisals for Juan to review.

The failures here were that the individual selected for the position was selected in an unfair way. He may not be the best person for the job. Also, the way in which the entire process was handled was inappropriate. The HR Manager should not have informed the employees together nor should she have provided any of Jose Luis’ confidential information to Juan.

To respond to the immediate problem, the job offer should be rescinded while the management team has an opportunity to review which candidate is the best fit for the position. While this may create some controversy, the company will have to manage this.

The HR Manager should be severely disciplined for his actions, up to termination (contingent upon his performance in other areas).

Finally, to solve this issue from an organizational standpoint, the company should implement hiring and promotion procedures and follow them. They should also institute changes to the appraisal system and train supervisory staff on performance management.

Problem Statement

The selection of Jose Luis for promotion was not done in a suitable manner. This problem stemmed from the Human Resources Manager failing to assess the appropriate core competencies of the incumbents and the Sales Manager failing to manage Juan and Jose Luis’ performance.

The issues with the promotion decision were as follows:

The Human Resources Manager made his promotion decision on the basis of the Sales Manager Job Description and the trait scale performance reviews of Juan and Jose Luis. He felt that he should promote the person who adhered most to the profile. On this basis the HR Manager overlooked the importance of: planning, motivating others (programming team’s work, supervising others) and organizing. He simply looked at two traits, albeit important ones: communication and leadership. Further, a promotion shouldn’t be based solely on an appraisal system especially one which is 90 degree.

The trait performance appraisals which were used to judge Juan and Jose Luis were very vague.

They didn’t consist of anything but a rating system. They didn’t have dimensions or any explanation as to the rating. Thus, the rating system appears arbitrary. For example, Juan received Salesperson of the Year for 5 years yet his performance review wasn’t nearly as positive as Jose Luis’.

The performance appraisals were not shared with the employees thus there was no opportunity for the employees to clarify the expectation, to understand the gap in performance or to improve their performance.

Juan claimed that the Sales Manager was friends with Jose Luis. Although this hasn’t been substantiated, if true, this could have resulted in a rater error. Liking a person is substantially correlated with positive performance reviews. Personal biases for any number of reasons could also sway the appraisal (i.e. halo effect) which is why a more in-depth review would be preferred.

In terms of how Human Resources managed the promotion, there are several additional failures. First, the employees were told of the decision at a joint meeting. They should have been told separately. A brief, but respectful explanation should have been given to Juan; Jose Luis should have been given the details of his promotion. Second, upon asking for a justification,

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Juan was provided with the evaluation of both himself and Jose Luis. Jose Luis’ evaluation should have remained confidential.


Option One:

The first option is to maintain the decision to promote Jose Luis.  Implications are as follows:

Although Juan was given an explanation, it’s fair to assume that he would continue to feel bitter about the decision. Although he doesn’t appear to have any basis to sue for legal damages, he could claim that the company discriminated against him perhaps on the basis of his age or some other factor. (We are assuming that ...

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