As a supervisor in a state agency, you have a dilemma. You received this e-mail message today:
From: John Inoye, Director of Personnel, Department of Taxation
Subject: Need Recommendation for Peggy Chafez
Peggy Chafez has applied for a position in the Department of Taxation. On the basis of her application and interview, she is the leading candidate. However, before I offer the job to her, I need a letter of recommendation from her current supervisor.
Could you please let me have your evaluation within a week? We want to fill the position as quickly as possible.
Peggy has worked in your office for 10 years. She designed, writes, and edits a monthly statewide newsletter that your office puts out; she designed and maintains the department website. Her designs are creative; she’s a very hard worker; she seems to know a lot about computers. However, Peggy is in many ways an unsatisfactory staff member. Her standards are so high that most people find her intimidating. Some find her abrasive. People have complained to you that she’s only interested in her own work; she seems to resent requests to help other people with projects. And yet both the newsletter and the web page are projects that need frequent interaction. She’s out of the office a lot. Some of that is required by her job (she takes the newsletters to the post office, for example), but some people don’t like the fact that she’s out of the office so much. They also complain that she doesn’t return voice-mail and e-mail messages. You think managing your office would be a lot smoother if Peggy weren’t there. You can’t fire her: state employees’ jobs are secure once they get past the initial six-month probationary period. Because of budget constraints, you can hire new employees only if vacancies are created by resignations. You feel that it would be pretty easy to find someone better. If you recommend that John Inoye hire Peggy, you will be able to hire someone you want. If you recommend that John hire someone else, you may be stuck with Peggy for a long time.
As your instructor directs,
a. Write an e-mail message to John Inoye.
b. Write a memo to your instructor listing the choices you’ve made and justifying your approach.
Polarization may make this dilemma more difficult than it needs to be. What are your options? Consciously look for more than two.
Is it possible to select facts or to use connotations so that you are truthful but still encourage John to hire Peggy? Is it ethical? Is it certain that John would find Peggy’s work as unsatisfactory as you do? If you write a strong recommendation and Peggy doesn’t do well at the new job, will your credibility suffer? Why is your credibility important?