Hilary Kuykendall Ya Liang

1. How did Turner get himself into this predicament? What is going on for Cardullo? Many reasons contribute to the situation Turner’s currently in, first of all being his abrupt decision of taking the job. The job offer by MLI is very appealing, though, Turner isn’t thinking thoroughly about whether or not he is capable of doing industrial marketing,which is different from what he really likes and is expert in. Making a pros/cons list like the chart below is a great way to evaluate if you will be successful in a new position [4]. The risk is even higher as MLI is struggling financially and still in the transition of a merger.The unstable environment has left him little time to adapt to the new job though time is promised by Cardullo. So this is not a wise career choice in the first place.

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Secondly, Turner is trusted with too many responsibilities too early in his job. Turner doesn’t really know how to cope with the situation because it’s quite different from what he had in Wolf River. He really needs time to absorb all the information and get an understanding of both internal and external circumstances. Now he has no choice but to make quick calls based on a superficial observation, as well as instincts and past experience which could prove to be very wrong and dangerous. The same is true with the full autonomy over pricing. Turner never has a safe chance to prove his worth before being handed so many responsibilities, so once he fails, he will lose it all.

Thirdly, things going on with Cardullo is making it worse. From the case, Cardullo can be described as being extremely judgemental and strongly opinionated. He abruptly sees people as either competent or incompetent and has, from what Turner sees, undermined the value of Kelly, a dependable sales veteran. His attitude also intensifies problems. Cardullo believes in the very opposite of “ praise in public, censure in private”. The public rebuttals are making business issues personal, and Turner is not comfortable with it. The upper management should be at least seemingly united and resolve issues in private, especially during the unstable period, otherwise some employees would take advantage of it and act on their own interest, such as

Julie Chin. She is now teaming up with Cardullo against Turner and worsening the relationship. Generally, the soured relationship between Turner and his boss truly results from the lack of communication. Cardullo is spending too much time at San Diego Office and lacks patience of affairs in MLI. Cardullo’s undermining Turner’s performance irrespective of external environment change and his accusing of Turner’s team leaking sensitive information are jeopardizing mutual trust. His meek response towards Turner’s generator plan and his questioning Turner’s decision making ability concerning the bulb sales are melting Turner’s loyalty and enthusiasm. 2. What did Pat Cardullo and Jamie Turner each initially bring to the situation at MLI that would seem to ensure success? Failure? Pat Cardullo and Jamie Turner come from different company cultural background and have different management style.

Jamie Turner has a good educational background and rich experience in marketing. He’s intelligent, dynamic and willing to accept challenges, which is exactly what MLI needs during the special time. Compared with Cardullo, he is more appealing to subordinates from MLI, who are really having a hard time coping with their new boss. Moreover, Turner is afraid of being seen as a job flopper and really enjoys his living in Chicago, so he could be a stable and loyal employee for quite a long time. Cardullo, on the other side, is very analytical and determinant. During their first meeting, Cardullo has demonstrated qualities of empathetic, receptive and cooperative. He is open­minded and pretty good at being the charming boss. If, during their later cooperation as colleagues, Cardullo can remain as supportive and open­minded as he appears in the beginning, they’ll make it a wonderful working relationship. However, things become more complicated when Turner is really working for Cardullo.

Cardullo is showing more of his other side as being impulsive and obstinate, which Turner is not prepared for. Turner’s position of “being afraid of losing the job and be seen as job­flopper” lead him to suppress his feelings and try to be compliant, but it only makes things worse. He doesn’t actively seek solutions to better their communication in the very beginning. Moreover, he is so confident about his position and “promising future” in MLI, and pays less attention in dealing with co­workers, such as Julie Chin. Julie Chin later plays a key role in worsening the relationship between Cardullo and Turner. Secondly, Turner’s past experience is not strong enough to make him a “competent person” as what Cardullo expect.

He is new in industry marketing, and lacks experience in cross­functional collaboration. Also, he has little successful experience operating during financial shocks (think of the example of Turner’s leaving In addition, Cardullo’s position in San Diego office is really taking too much of his time and energy. These all almost ensure a unsuccessful result. 3. What were key choice points where either of them could have done things differently? Many opportunities arose for Cardullo to turn around the deteriorating situation with Turner. When he first brought Turner into the office for the second interview, Cardullo could have  introduced him to other members of the team and encouraged individual conversations with them. Giving a candidate the chance to learn what it is actually like to work in a certain office is part of a Realistic Job Preview, defined by Organizational Behavior as “giving job applicants a balance of positive and negative information about the job and work context” [1]. This RJP is essential for both candidate and employer because it ensures both parties know what to expect before an actual offer is made thus reducing turnover.

The CPA Journal found that “a firm with an initial turnover rate of 50%, using RJPs should result in a turnover rate of 38%, a decrease of 12%” [2]. If Turner was given the chance to speak to someone like Tim Kelly before he accepted the position, he might have rethought what working for Cardullo would be like in the long­run. Another key point when Cardullo could have avoided the issues with Turner is when Cardullo gave Turner control over both pricing and sales long before they had originally discussed. Not only did he give Turner control over pricing, but the fact that Cardullo wanted to retain control over large orders was never discussed again. If he had proceeded as originally planned and waited until Turner had a better grasp of the business and understood what was expected, the break­even sale of halogen bulbs might have been avoided.

As for Turner, his problems with Controller Chin began when he recruited one of her star performers for a project management position, even when she strongly resisted. Snagging someone’s top worker is a quick way to earn their resentment and even distrust. On top of poaching Bill Cook from Chin, Turner also undermined her power as controller when he took his cash­flow concerns to Cardullo. Turner failed to recognize these two instances as subtle insults to Chin, so he was not prepared for her resulting reaction. Chin’s resentment manifested itself when she went straight to Cardullo to tell on Turner for the halogen bulb incident. His over­the­top reaction to her email strained their relationship to the breaking point. If Turner had not alienated Chin from the beginning of his time at MLI, he could have used her as a powerful ally in his dealings with the president. From day one, Turner knew Cardullo believed “control and marketing are the most important functions,” and to get the controller on his team would have been quite the coup.

A major key point when Turner could have saved his working relationship with Cardullo was when Cardullo stated that he spent half of each week in each location, despite the CEOs suggestion otherwise. Turner should have seen this confession either as a red flag that working under Cardullo would not be as it seemed and remove his suit for the position, or as an opportunity to inquire further into the situation of Cardullo as president of two divisions. The information that Cardullo was in fact going against the wishes of the CEO would be a warning flag to most candidates, yet Turner did nothing after hearing of the situation. Finally, Turner’s approval of the break­even sale of the halogen bulbs ruined any hope of earning Cardullo’s trust. When first discussing Turner taking over pricing, Cardullo stated he wanted to retain control over large orders. This stipulation was forgotten when Turner took over much sooner than expected. Whether he forgot the caveat or chose to ignore it, the large order of halogen bulbs was not Turner’s to dispose of.

Even if the original transaction did not upset  Cardullo, hearing about the order after the fact from Chin would make anyone feel out of the loop and lied to. Turner should have either approached Cardullo before the sale ever took place, or shortly after to update the president of the goings­on of the division. 4. How, if at all, should Turner approach Cardullo at the end of the case? At this point in the situation, Turner’s options for salvaging his relationship with Cardullo seem minimal. Anytime Tuner has approached Cardullo with a relevant concern, Turner usually leaves still as frustrated and angry as ever. On the plane to San Diego the two discussed concerns in a frank and honest manner, but Cardullo dropped the suggestions within a few days after returning and left Turner feeling like their progress was disingenuine. In one last effort before Alan Oliver arrives, we suggest Turner sit down with Cardullo and clarify both of their roles as specifically as possible.

Many issues stem from Turner stepping on Cardullo’s toes because he does not understand the boundaries of his new role, a typical case of role ambiguity. Even if it means conceding some power back to Cardullo, it would be helpful to both parties. The lack of constraint has left Turner feeling overwhelmed and kept him from settling in at MLI. It has also affected Cardullo to the point where he feels his power as president at MLI has been usurped. He even was heard to exclaim, “Remember that I’m still the president of this division.” As seen in Exhibit 1 below, role ambiguity is caused when something, either internal or external, has kept the receiver from fully understanding the role expectations of the sender.

Another strategy is to admit that efforts to work together with no outside intervention have not been successful, and to enlist the guidance of the CEO. Even without the added formal credibility Oliver brings as head of the company, in many situations a third party can help facilitate the reconciling of parties. The added perspective can keep the airing of issues from becoming too personal, and there is a witness for the agreed solution and plan to reach it. According to the U.S. Online Training on OSCE, they can even do something as simple as “provide a party with reactions as to the acceptability of its proposals”. In addition to airing all issues, this would present a good opportunity for all three men to address the problems that

have arisen from Cardullo splitting his two presidential roles. Each position demands his full time and attention and the different locations make this impossible. From the beginning, Turner noticed he knew more about the details of MLI’s operations than Cardullo. A successful president is one that knows his or her operations inside and out, something impossible to achieve if you are gone for half of the week. Overall, Turner and Cardullo are not incompatible. We believe they could successfully work together if the underlying issues are addressed and boundaries clarified.


McShane, S., & Vonn Glinow, M. A. (2012). Organizational Behavior. New York: McGraw­Hill/Irwin. [2] CPA, P. R., & Roth, P. Reduce Turnover With Realistic Job Previews. The CPA Journal. [3] McMillan, A. (n.d.). Group Dynamics. Reference for Business. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from­Int/Group­Dynamics.html [4] Gallison, D. (n.d.). An Effective Tool for Making Decisions. Career Transition: The Inside Job. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from­effective­tool­for­making­decisions/ [5] Third party roles in conflict situations. (n.d.). U.S. Online Training on OSCE. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from

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