All organizations have internal politics. However, most organizations keep their political battles private and it is rare that the public will know the details about political intrigue within the major corporations. However, Hewlett-Packard (HP) is rare in that its political battles were waged publicly. HP will make for an ideal case study both because of the intense political behavior occurring at the top and because many articles have been written about these political battles.
HP has been through five CEOs since 2005, and each change of CEO has been controversial. The drama started in 2005 when then CEO Carly Fiorina was under attack from several members of HP’s Board of Directors. Some board members even took the dispute public by leaking information to the press. Fiorina fought back by investigating the leaks, but ultimately lost the battle and was ousted as CEO. Her replacement, Patricia Dunn, continued to investigate leaks by the board through the use of private investigators. Even more controversy emerged when it was discovered that the investigators used the method of “pretexting” in order to obtain phone records of board members.
For this assignment, make sure to first carefully review the background materials regarding the causes of political behavior, types of political behavior, and the ethics of political behavior. Examples of the causes of political behavior include competition for resources, ambiguous organizational goals, lack of trust, and performance factors. Examples of types of political behavior include blaming others, selectively distributing information, managing impressions, and forming coalitions. Regarding ethics, consider the three main factors:
- Does the political action violate individual rights?
- Does it improve the welfare of those involved?
- Does it increase distributive justice?
Review the background materials and do some research on the political dramas at HP. There is a lot written about HP’s many dramas over the years; here are some articles to get you started:
Pearlstein, S. (2011, Sep 25). How HP, Silicon Valley’s darling, became a soap opera. The Washington Post
Veverka, M. (2011). The soap opera at HP continues. Barron’s, 91(39), 25.
Kessler, M. (2006, Sep 08). Controversial HP probe started under Fiorina; stock falls as board continues public feud. USA Today [ProQuest]
Harwell, D. & Paquette, D. (2015, Sep 27). Fiorina’s divisive legacy. Washington Post. [EBSCOhost]
Once you have finished reviewing the background materials and have completed your research on HP’s internal politics, write a 4- to 5-page paper addressing the following issues:
- What individual and organizational factors of HP and its senior leaders led to the intense political behavior? Refer to some of the specific factors discussed on pages 877-883 of Robbins (1997) that you think apply the most to HP in this situation.
- What types of political behaviors did HP’s board members and CEOs exhibit? Be specific and use the types of political behaviors discussed in pages 297-301 of Luthans et al. (2015).
- Were the leaks to the press by members of the board ethical? Was the investigation by Patricia Dunn into the links ethical? Use the ethical framework discussed on pages 896-898 of Robbins (1997) to guide your answer.
- Case Assignments are to be prepared in Microsoft Word and should be 4 to 5 pages in length, in addition to a cover page (course name and number, module number, session name, student name, and date prepared) and a reference list. The paper should be double-spaced, using 12 pt. type in the Times New Roman font. It should consist of a 2- or 3-sentence introduction, a body, and a 2- or 3-sentence conclusion and use Trident’s cover page. The reference list page must be in APA format.
- Assignment content should include a brief introduction to the assignment, background information about the organization being studied, and discussion in terms of the concepts or theories being applied in the assignment.
- Use headings and subheadings to improve presentation values.
- Include both a References page and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 11-14 on in-text citations. Attention is to be given to citing sources of information in-text as well as in the References page at the end of the paper. Citation and reference style instructions are available at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/ or at APAstyle.org.
- Submit your report in the Case dropbox for this module on or before the date due, as indicated in the TLC Homepage.
- Since you are engaging in research, be sure to cite and reference the sources in APA format. The paper should be written in the third person; this means words like “I,” “we,” and “you” are not appropriate. For more information, see Differences Between First and Third Person.
Submit the presentation through the appropriate Dropbox by the due date. Your submission will be graded with the assignment’s grading rubric.