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Question(s) / Instruction(s):

1. Give the reader some background information (setting, developmental level, and broad nature of the salient issue)


(Problem, Input, Solution, Choice, Operation)

Adapted from: DeBono, Edward (1985).  Six thinking hats.  New York; Little, Brown and Company.

Problem (Step #1):

  1. Give the reader some background information (setting, developmental level, and broad nature of the salient issue)
  2. Develop a clear and concise problem statement or question for which you are seeking resolution. 
  3. When analyzing a case study or scenario:
    1. Identify and state the actual problem presented in the case study. The problem is short and concise. Do not include a lot of facts in this section. The facts belong in the Input Section.

Input (Step #2):

  1. What are the facts that might have a bearing on this problem?
  2. Include a review of the facts, cause/effect, knowledge base, resistance, etc. (use data, research, citations, and quotations to support your work here!). 
    1. Include all the facts (restate the facts in your case study) that are needed to solve your problem.
  3. Include anecdotal information that might provide a clue to possible solutions and action steps.

Solution (Step #3):

  1. Cite 2 to 3 of the best solutions you can imagine for this problem/issue.  What are the best three things that would make this situation better?
  2. List the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT Analysis) of each of the three solutions proposed.
  3. Provide a rationale for each of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats listed and use research, data, citations, quotations from the text and other resources for support.

Choice (Step #4):

  1. Write a clear statement that reflects your choice for change, empowerment, transformation and/or solution for the problem you have identified.
  2. This simple statement can be the best choice from Step #3 above or a synthesis of all three solutions you considered.
  3. The choice is a short statement like the problem statement.  You should make your arguments in the Solution section and not the Choice section.

Operation (Step #5):

  1. Write an operational goal for the choice you selected.
  2. Develop 4-6 specific action steps (enabling steps that will help facilitate and institutionalize the choice you made). 


OLS 26300

Ethical Decisions in Leadership Case Study

An Ethical Dilemma

One of the problems Karen Hathaway has had to deal with in trying to climb the corporate ladder is the “glass ceiling” faced by minorities and women. In her current position, she must decide which of three managers to promote. Her superior has informed her that making the wrong decision would not be good, either internally or externally. These are the candidates:

        Carmen (African American, 34, divorced, one child) graduated in the lower half of her college class (NorthwestState). She has been with the company for four years and in the industry for eight years, with mediocre performance ratings but high energy level. She has some difficulties in managing her staff. Her child has had medical problems, so higher pay would be helpful. If promoted, Carmen would be the first African American female manager at this level. Karen has known Carmen only a short time, but they seem to have hit it off. In fact, Karen once baby-sit Carmens daughter, Heather, in an emergency. The downside to promoting Carmen, though, might be a perception that Karen is playing favorites.

       Ralph (white, 57, married, three children) graduated from a private university in the top half of his class. Ralph has been with the company for twenty years and in the industry for thirty. He has always been a steady performer, with mostly average ratings. The reason Ralph has been passed over before is his refusal to relocate, but that is no longer a problem. Ralphs energy level is average to low; however, he has produced many of the companys top sales performers in the past. This promotion would be his last before retirement, and many in the company fell he has earned it. In fact, one senior manager stopped Karen in the hall and said “You know, Karen, Ralph has been with us a long time. He has done many good things for the company, sacrificing not only himself but also his family. I really hope that you can see your way to promoting him. It would be a favor to me that I wouldnt forget.”

       Yingzi (female, Asian, 27, single) graduated from StateUniversity in the top 3 percent of her class and has been with the company for three years. She is known for putting in sixty-hour weeks and for her very meticulous management style, which has generated some criticism from her sales staff. The last area she managed showed record increases, despite the loss of some older accounts that for some reason did not like dealing with Yingzi. Moreover, Yingzi sued her previous employer for discrimination and won. A comment that Karen had heard from that company was that Yingzi was intense and that nothing would stop her from reaching her goals.

As Karen was going over some of her notes, another upper-management individual came to her office and said, “You know, Karen, Yingzi is engaged to my son. Ive looked over her personal files and she looks very good. She looks like a rising star, which would indicate that she should be promoted as quickly as possible. I realize, Carmen, that youre not in my division, but the way people get transferred, you never know. I would really like to see Yingzi get this promotion.”

       Finally, Karens immediate supervisor came to her to talk about Carmen. “You know, Karen, Carmen is one of a very few people in this company who is both an African American female and qualified for this position. Ive been going over the companys hiring and promotion figures, and it would be very advantageous for me personally and for the company to promote her. Ive also spoken to public relations, and they be

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