Case Study Paper
Hiring a Diverse Staff
Southwest State University is hiring new Resident Assistants (RA). Southwest State University is a small public baccalaureate university of approximately 2,500 students. Second year hall director Marcus is serving his first year on the Resident Assistant Selection committee. The school holds twenty positions and currently has seven available. Cheryl is the head of the RA Selection committee and she is the Assistant Director of Residence Life. The committee will interview nineteen students and rank them from “best” to “not ready” for the position. In the ranking process, Cheryl asked them to take note of candidates’ race and ethnicity based on observable features and/or names. Out of the nineteen students, five were identified as students of color. Through the ranking system only two of the five identified students made the top of the list. Cheryl told the committee that they were going to offer the five students of ethnic background the positions and to look for a few more applicants. Marcus, the new member of the committee, was confused as to why they were being offered the positions when there were reservations with three of the students and there was never a discussion about offering them a position. (Hamrick & Benjamin, 2009)
The troubling situation in this case study is that Cheryl is made decisions without consulting others on her committee. Cheryl is ready to hire students who may have trouble handling students’ religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Cheryl also said they are going to hire all the students of ethnicity and did not provide a reason for doing so. Cheryl’s leadership style is Directive in this case. In the situational approach there are four leadership styles: directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating (Northouse, 2013). The stage Cheryl is in is, directing, is high directive-low support. This style of leadership gives instructions about the goals and then supervises them carefully. In this case, Cheryl gives them specific instructions on what she is looking for in the candidates: teamwork, leadership skills, and confrontation skills. Her support is low because she decides to offer positions to all the students of ethnic background, even though she heard what the committee had to say about the other candidates and possible problems with hiring the three that were not ready to be a resident assistant. Having RAs that do not handle situations well or are unable to build relationships can cause some problems on campus. The residential halls could become hectic to handle in the long run and students could feel uneasy about their college experience. The structure of the committee is political in that it is power-driven, and Cheryl is more of an advocacy leader (Bolman & Deal, 2008). Cheryl makes decisions without consulting her staff on hiring. Her agenda is set and she knows what she wants and she tells them to look for teamwork, leadership skills, and confrontational abilities. When the committee identifies the students to Cheryl tells Cheryl of ethnic background students, she implies that they will get offered a position. Many of Cheryl’s traits fall under the political frame.
The students Cheryl was offering positions to were African American. Black identity theories (as cited in Schuh, Jones, Harper, and Associates, 2011) are theories of cultural, social, psychological, and historical changes. This theory takes into account race salience, reference group orientation, and social identity awareness. In this theory, each stage has a different development task, and the presence of students in different stages will affect how an organization may run (Schuh et al., 2011). Some of the students that were African American are not ready to become an RA; they are in a different stage, and this could affect the entire housing group. In housing it could affect how the students live and a student could become afraid to...
References: Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T (2008). Reframing Organizations Artistry, Choice, and Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Hamrick, F. A. & Benjamin, M (2009). Maybe I should... Case Studies on Ethics for Student Affairs Professionals. Lanham, Maryland: American College Personal Association.
Northouse, P. G. (6th Ed.)(2013). Leadership Theory and Practice . New Delhi 110 044, India: SAGE.
Schuh, J. H. Jones, S, Harper, S, & Associates (5th Ed.)(2011). Student Services A Handbook for the Profession. San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass.
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