Subject: Business    / Management    


Background Facts

You have recently been appointed as the Vice President for Human Resources at Peterson Logistics Corporation (the “Company”). The Company is a parent corporation headquartered in Tampa, Florida, with wholly-owned subsidiaries located in Canada and Mexico. The Company provides transportation logistics services, primarily to U.S. based companies engaged in exporting of industrial products.

The Company employs approximately 1,400 employees, mostly at the Company’s headquarters, but about 50 employees each at the Company’s two subsidiaries in Canada and Mexico. The company also has written independent contractor agreements with several companies to act as sales representatives for the Company’s services.

The Company has been highly successful since being founded in 1985 by the Company’s president, Thomas Peterson, in spite of the fact that he prefers to spend most of his time as a civic leader rather than managing the Company’s day-to-day operations. Consequently, although the Company has a great record of success, primarily due to its outstanding service record and its very popular “FastShip™” proprietary software product, its administrative and managerial performance has been somewhat haphazard.

Mr. Peterson, a brilliant but humble man, often says he would “rather be lucky than smart”. He told you when he offered the job to you that the Company needs your expertise to help manage the Company’s human resources department as it substantially expands its work force. Mr. Peterson explained that the Company has just received the largest contract in its history from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ship millions of tons of agricultural chemicals to various companies in South America. This contract represents the first time the Company has done business with the U.S. Government.


1. The Company’s Vice President of Research and Development advises you that the Company will need to hire 220 new software engineers during the next six months due to the increased demand for enhancements to the FastShip™ software to support the Company’s new computerized data bases required by the new government contract. He asked you to recruit as many Chinese software engineers because he believes “the Chinese are the world’s most gifted software engineers.” How do you respond to him with regard to recruiting for the 220 new software engineers?

2. The Company has never had an Affirmative Action plan. Should the Company adopt an Affirmative Action Plan? Explain the rationale for your decision.

3. As we discussed in class, Affirmative Action has been controversial. Cite some arguments for and against the concept of Affirmative Action and your personal opinion. With regard to your personal opinion, please note that there are valid arguments on both sides of this debate, so there is no one “right” answer.