July 16, 2008

The Case of the Email Goof

I'm writing a case for my Management Research Report (MRR) so I figured to flex my case-writing muscles with this little caselet:

It's 9:00pm and you were lounging in a very comfy chair right in front of your laptop computer. It had been a long day at work, but like any other dedicated Marketing manager, you decided to take a peek at your office email inbox before you surfed away to the Facebooks, the YouTubes and Orkuts of the world wide web.

The first couple of emails were the standard fare "Do-this-do-that" messages from the boss but then you noticed a subject line that stood out: "Re: FWD: The Happiness of Life." You inspect that the email was from Rita Angeles, one of your colleagues from Human Resources, and you thought to yourself that the email was one of those pointless email forwards that contained happy-sappy messages. However, you realized that the email was a reply to a forwarded message that went straight to your trash bin. This stroked your curiosity.

You opened the email and what you saw was far from "The Happiness of Life"-- it was a strong reply to the sender of the original forwarded email, Alvin Sabordo, a manager from your company's Finance unit. Rita's email was sent to the company's group email address for managers but the message was addressed solely to Alvin. You scanned the message and several lines grabbed your attention:

"Please refrain from seeing my friend Steph in the office..."
"...as per our company's policy, employees who are in non-professional relationships with co-employees are subject to sanctions..."
"...if you cannot help yourselves, please be more discrete, or just go elsewhere..."
"...I will not hesitate to report you, if you still persist..."
"...This is just my word of advice to you..."

It then occured to you that the Steph the message was referring to was the one from Human Resources.

While you were very intrigued by the message, you stopped and thought: You did not have any proof of the allegations Rita made, yet she seemed to be a person who knew a lot of the situation. Although there were indications that Rita wanted to communicate with Alvin only, you were not 100% convinced that was the case.

As you sat in your comfy chair, you thought more importantly: What was the best thing to do in this situation?

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