BMA247 ORDINARY EXAMINATION
CASE STUDY 1: WHAT DRIVES EMPLOYEES AT MICROSOFT?
The reality of software development in a huge company like Microsoft (it employs more than 48,000 people) is that a substantial portion of your work involves days of boredom punctuated by hours of tedium. You basically spend your time in an isolated office writing code and sitting in meetings during which you participate in looking for and evaluating hundreds of bugs and potential bugs. Yet Microsoft has no problem in finding and retaining software programmers. Their programmers work horrendously long hours and obsess on the goal of shipping product.
From the day new employees begin work at Microsoft, they ...view middle of the document...
” More recently, things have changed. There are still a number of people who put in 80-hour weeks, but 60- and 70-hour weeks are more typical and some even are doing their jobs in only 40 hours.
No discussion of employee life at Microsoft would be complete without mentioning the company’s lucrative stock option program. Microsoft created more millionaire employees, faster, than any company in American history—more than 10,000 by the late-1990s. While the company is certainly more than a place to get rich, executives still realise that money matters. One former manager claims that the human resources’ department actually kept a running chart of employee satisfaction versus the company’s stock price. “When the stock was up, human resources could turn off the ventilation and everybody would say they were happy. When the stock was down, we could give people massages and they would tell us that the massages were too hard.” In the go-go 1990s, when Microsoft stock was doubling every few months and yearly stock splits were predictable, employees not only got to participate in Microsoft’s manifest destiny, but they could get rich in the process. By the spring of 2002, with the world in a recession, stock prices down, and the growth for Microsoft products slowing, it was not so clear what was driving its employees to continue the company’s dominance of the software industry.
BMA247 ORDINARY EXAMINATION
CASE STUDY 2: Managing work and family across cultures
DR SOMA PILLAY
Paula Peters was an ambitious young woman and a doting mother of two young daughters. Her professional career in the education sector was promising, with only better things still to come. She never brought work home and managed to spend enough time with her family. She had full-time domestic assistance, a full-time gardener, a palatial home along the beach and both her daughters in private schools. Her husband was an intelligent and supportive young man, and was generally a very positive person. Unfortunately, a life-threatening experience made Paula and her husband reflect on their safety and the safety of their daughters. They decided to leave their beloved home country in Africa and seek greener pastures in Australia. This was a huge decision for them as it meant that they had to leave their friends and family behind, and all the precious things that meant so much to them.
It was with a sense of excitement and trepidation that they arrived in Sydney. Paula's husband soon found work. The girls were enrolled in a good public school in an upmarket suburb. However, Paula realized that she might have had some unrealistic expectations about her own situation. She began to think that she should have done more homework about the field of work she was in. 'Things are certainly different here: she proclaimed to her husband one morning. 'I will have to start from the bottom and work my way up, which could take forever.’ Despite her irritation, Paula was a...