Lisa Benton Case Study
Lisa Benton is a Harvard MBA who had completed a very successful internship with Right-Away stores, a convenience store chain in Chicago. Although she was offered an attractive position at Right-Away, Benton chose to accept a lower-paying, more junior position at Houseworld because of the company’s greater prestige and reputation for offering excellent classical marketing training in a structured environment. Benton had met several members of the Houseworld product management team during the recruiting process and been impressed with how knowledgeable and friendly they were. However, Benton’s first day of work as an assistant product manager in the Home Care division did not match her expectations.
Benton’s new boss, Deborah Linton, offered a cool reception. Linton made clear during their first meeting with Benton that she didn’t like Harvard MBAs and gave the impression that she had no time to help train and orient her new employee. Instead, Benton was shown around by Linton’s other report, associate product manager Ron Scoville, who struck her as condescending and also derisive of MBAs.
During her first weeks at Houseworld, Benton developed a good relationship with others in the company. However, she continued to be frustrated by her team. She was consistently relegated to analysis and excluded from strategy and, as such, felt that her talents and training were not being fully utilized. Benton was also troubled by her boss’s lack of interest in her development and noted that Linton seemed preoccupied with other matters.
When Benton pressed her boss for her three month performance review, Linton notes included feedback that she was not assertive enough and did not take initiative. Benton felt frustrated that her strengths were not identified and that she received negative feedback as a result of conflicting messages she’d received from Scoville, who had repeatedly emphasized her role as learner. Concerned that...