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a) Apply your knowledge of perceptual stereotyping to explain what went wrong here


Case Study:

HY DAIRIES, INC. Mr. Eric Abbey read the latest sales figures with a great deal of satisfaction. The vice president of marketing at Hy Dairies, Inc., a large midwestern milk products manufacturer, was pleased to see that the marketing campaign to improve sagging sales of Hy’s gourmet ice-cream brand was working. Sales volume and market share of the product had increased significantly over the past two quarters compared with the previous year. The improved sales of Hy’s gourmet ice cream could be credited to Vivian Okwei, who was assigned to the gourmet ice-cream brand last year. Vivian had joined Hy less than two years ago as an assistant brand manager after leaving a similar job at a food products firm. She was one of the few women of color in marketing management at Hy Dairies and had a promising career with the company. Mr. Abbey was pleased with Vivian’s work and tried to let her know this in the annual performance reviews. He now had an excellent opportunity to reward her by offering her the recently vacated position of market research coordinator. Although technically only a lateral transfer with a modest salary increase, the marketing research coordinator job would give Vivian broader experience in some high-profile work, which would enhance her career with Hy Dairies. Few people were aware that Mr. Abbey’s own career had been boosted by working as marketing research coordinator at Hy several years earlier. Vivian Okwei had also seen the latest sales figures on Hy’s gourmet ice cream and was expecting Abbey’s call to meet with her that morning. Mr. Abbey began the conversation by briefly mentioning the favorable sales figures and then explained that he wanted Vivian to take the marketing research coordinator job. Vivian was shocked by the news. She enjoyed brand management and particularly the challenge involved with controlling a product that directly affected the company’s profitability. Marketing research coordinator was a technical support position—a “backroom” job—far removed from the company’s bottom-line activities. Marketing research was not the route to top management in most organizations, Vivian thought. She had been side-lined. After a long silence, Vivian managed a weak “Thank you, Mr. Abbey.” She was too bewildered to protest. She wanted to collect her thoughts and reflect on what she had done wrong.

Also, she did not know her boss well enough to be openly critical. Mr. Abbey recognized Vivian’s surprise, which he naturally assumed was her positive response to hearing of this wonderful career opportunity. He, too, had been delighted several years earlier about his temporary transfer to marketing research to round out his marketing experience. “This move will be good for both you and Hy Dairies,” said Abbey as he escorted Vivian from his office. Vivian was preoccupied with several tasks that afternoon, but she was able to consider the day’s events that evening. She was one of the top women and few minorities in brand management at Hy Dairies and feared that she was being side-lined because the company didn’t want women or people of color in top management. Her previous employer had made it quite clear that women “couldn’t take the heat” in marketing management and tended to place women in technical support positions after a brief term in lower brand management jobs. Obviously, Mr. Abbey and Hy Dairies were following the same game plan. Mr. Abbey’s comment that the coordinator job would be good for her was just a nice way of saying that Vivian couldn’t go any further in brand management at Hy Dairies. Vivian now faced with the difficult decision of whether to confront Mr. Abbey and try to change Hy Dairies’ sexist and possibly racist practices or to leave the company. (Source: McShane & Glinow, 2010)

Required: Answer the following questions from the above case

a) Apply your knowledge of perceptual stereotyping to explain what went wrong here (10 marks).

b) What other perceptual error is apparent in this case study? Justify your answer (5marks).

c) Explain two (2) things that organizations can do to minimize misperceptions in these types of situations? (5marks).


a) Your employees are skilled and experienced customer service representatives who perform nonroutine tasks, such as solving unique customer problems or meeting special needs with the company’s equipment. Use path-goal theory to identify and explain the most appropriate leadership style(s) you should use in this situation (5 marks).

b) An argument often put forward in support of teams is that they are ‘synergistic’ -‘the whole is greater than the sum of their parts’. Explain two challenges in team dynamics which makes it difficult for you to support this view? (3 marks)

c) Ann recently lodged a complaint to her manager that: “our team has gotten stagnant. We no longer brainstorm or think outside the box but make the same decisions we’ve always made. We are on this great project and yet, nobody is willing to take any risks or voice opinions that not everybody is going to like. I don’t know if I can stay on this team”.

i. Based on your understanding in group behaviour and Ann’s comment above, what do you think is occurring in the group that makes her dissatisfied with the experience? (3marks)

ii. Provide at least two recommendations of what Ann can do to eliminate these issues? (3 marks).

d) If you are a manager and you want to build an effective team, what three variables would you consider to make the team more effective? Explain your responses (6 marks)


Demonstrate with practical examples how students’ knowledge in the following concepts could lead to increase in organizational performance:

a) Personality (10 marks)

b) Leadership (10 marks)

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