Problem Joe has so many fires to put out at work and could use a little help in choosing the best approach to respond to them. Here is a sampling of the issues confronting him: 1. Previously, Joe apologized to Maria, a customer, for an offensive remark Tina made. Now, Maria and her husband, Eric, have returned to the store and appear less concerned about Tina’s offensive behavior and more concerned about getting satisfaction regarding the belt sander they claim is defective. They also want More Power to reimburse them for a small medical bill they incurred when the belt sander caused an abrasion to Eric’s arm. While Joe feels badly about Tina’s behavior toward Maria, he also feels there is nothing wrong with the belt sander. More Power’s attorney further advised Jim Talent that they should not reimburse the medical bill, as it could be interpreted as admitting to liability. 2. A customer named Charlie came in and wanted immediate satisfaction of a rebate offer for a pair of garden shears. He claimed that More Power’s local advertisement was not in sync with the rebate program that the manufacturer of the garden shears offered. More Power’s store advertisement said the rebate offer was good during the week Charlie purchased the product. However, Charlie later learned that the nationwide rebate offer from the manufacturing company had expired the week before. Joe expressed confidence that the manufacturing company would honor the rebate when Charlie submitted it with the appropriate explanation. But Charlie was doubtful and, at any rate, thought that going through such a process was inconvenient. The rebate was worth $3. Charlie wanted Joe to pay him $3 from the cash register. 3. Mr. Hassenfuss came in with a dirty, broken-down lawnmower. The mower clearly had not been maintained. Joe doubted that Mr. Hassenfuss had kept the appropriate maintenance schedule as required under warranty. The mower also had a severely chipped blade, probably from hitting a rock. Mr. Hassenfuss claimed that the mower broke down completely last Saturday. More Power should either do a complete overhaul of the mower or provide a completely new mower at no cost. Mr. Hassenfuss presented a warranty document that had expired a half-year before and claimed that the warranty should be honored anyway. He claimed that More Power knew its mower would break down at a prescribed time and deliberately contrived its warranty to expire well in advance. This was fraud, he claimed. 4. Vic Vendor, the new sales representative for Do or Dye Tools, has been complaining about the pricing structure that More Power has been using to sell Do or Dye Tools. He does not fault More Power for this since the problem lies mostly with Axel Rod, the former Do or Dye representative, who was in the habit of making informal handshake deals with More Power management regarding pricing rather than applying sound marketing principles. Despite this, Vic warns that if the pricing structure does not change, Do or Dye may have to discontinue business with More Power. 5. Jim Talent asked Joe to work with Kim Khan, assistant manager for tools, on negotiations with Vic Vendor regarding the pricing structure for Do or Dye Tools. However, Kim is livid about the veiled threats Vic has been making. Joe suspects that Kim is more offended because Kim was the individual responsible for the previous handshake deals with Axel Rod. Joe also feels Kim perceives Joe as a threat, representing the “new guard” within the More Power management structure. Why can reasonable people draw different conclusions regarding the best approach to responding to various conflicts?

Problem Joe has so many fires to put out at work and could use a
little help in choosing the best approach to respond to them. Here
is a sampling of the issues confronting him:
1. Previously, Joe apologized to Maria, a customer, for an
offensive remark Tina made. Now, Maria and her husband, Eric, have
returned to the store and appear less concerned about Tina’s
offensive behavior and more concerned about getting satisfaction
regarding the belt sander they claim is defective. They also want
More Power to reimburse them for a small medical bill they incurred
when the belt sander caused an abrasion to Eric’s arm. While Joe
feels badly about Tina’s behavior toward Maria, he also feels there
is nothing wrong with the belt sander. More Power’s attorney
further advised Jim Talent that they should not reimburse the
medical bill, as it could be interpreted as admitting to
liability.
2. A customer named Charlie came in and wanted immediate
satisfaction of a rebate offer for a pair of garden shears. He
claimed that More Power’s local advertisement was not in sync with
the rebate program that the manufacturer of the garden shears
offered. More Power’s store advertisement said the rebate offer was
good during the week Charlie purchased the product. However,
Charlie later learned that the nationwide rebate offer from the
manufacturing company had expired the week before. Joe expressed
confidence that the manufacturing company would honor the rebate
when Charlie submitted it with the appropriate explanation. But
Charlie was doubtful and, at any rate, thought that going through
such a process was inconvenient. The rebate was worth $3. Charlie
wanted Joe to pay him $3 from the cash register.
3. Mr. Hassenfuss came in with a dirty, broken-down lawnmower.
The mower clearly had not been maintained. Joe doubted that Mr.
Hassenfuss had kept the appropriate maintenance schedule as
required under warranty. The mower also had a severely chipped
blade, probably from hitting a rock. Mr. Hassenfuss claimed that
the mower broke down completely last Saturday. More Power should
either do a complete overhaul of the mower or provide a completely
new mower at no cost. Mr. Hassenfuss presented a warranty document
that had expired a half-year before and claimed that the warranty
should be honored anyway. He claimed that More Power knew its mower
would break down at a prescribed time and deliberately contrived
its warranty to expire well in advance. This was fraud, he
claimed.
4. Vic Vendor, the new sales representative for Do or Dye Tools,
has been complaining about the pricing structure that More Power
has been using to sell Do or Dye Tools. He does not fault More
Power for this since the problem lies mostly with Axel Rod, the
former Do or Dye representative, who was in the habit of making
informal handshake deals with More Power management regarding
pricing rather than applying sound marketing principles. Despite
this, Vic warns that if the pricing structure does not change, Do
or Dye may have to discontinue business with More Power.
5. Jim Talent asked Joe to work with Kim Khan, assistant manager
for tools, on negotiations with Vic Vendor regarding the pricing
structure for Do or Dye Tools. However, Kim is livid about the
veiled threats Vic has been making. Joe suspects that Kim is more
offended because Kim was the individual responsible for the
previous handshake deals with Axel Rod. Joe also feels Kim
perceives Joe as a threat, representing the “new guard” within the
More Power management structure.
cccc

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