Divide the class into groups of approximately four members each. Each group should consider the following scenario:
You will assume the role of a special committee of district managers at a large pharmaceutical company. Your committee will be meeting to discuss some problems. The process set up by the company is as follows:
1. Each committee member should first review the problem privately and formulate independent ideas
for what might be done.
2. At the start of the meeting, each member should spend one minute addressing the group.
During the meeting, the committee must reach a consensus on both the best solution and supporting rationale to each problem. How this is done is entirely up to the committee members, but you must come up with a consensus decision and not a majority opinion achieved by voting.
Here is the problem your committee is to consider:
The company has no specific policy regarding facial hair. Tom, a pharmaceutical sales rep with a little more than a year’s experience and an average (but declining) sales record, has grown a very long and ragged beard that detracts significantly from his appearance. His hobby is playing bass in an amateur bluegrass band, and he feels that a ragged beard is an important part of the act. Tom says his beard is a personal fashion statement that has to do with his individual freedom. There have been numerous complaints about Tom’s appearance from both doctors and pharmacists. The manager has talked to him on many occasions about the impact his appearance could have on his sales. Nevertheless, Tom still has a beard. The manager is concerned about Tom’s decreasing sales as well as the professional image of the sales force in the medical community. Tom says his sales decrease has nothing to do with
his beard. However, sales in the other territories in the district are significantly better than they were last year. When the groups have reached their consensus decisions, the following questions will serve for class discussion:
1-8. What do you think are the concerns for the company regarding Tom’s facial hair? Should they care about his appearance?
1-9. What was your group’s consensus decision regarding the issue with Tom’s facial hair?
1-10. Let’s say Tom told you he thinks the beard is part of his personal religion that he is forming. Do
you think that announcement would change how you talk to Tom about the issue?