Commissions for Charlotte Doris Ann Riley, the head of HR for King Conductors, was amused by the conversation drifting over the planter that separated the two booths in the employee cafeteria. She recognized the voices on the other side as those of Pete Morris, Carter Henry, and Rachael Parker. The three were involved in a heated discussion about the opening of the NFL season one week away and the continued hold-out of the local team’s star quarterback. “Hey, if he can hold out for a $50 million dollar contract, I say more power to him. He’s worth it,” Pete announced “I say …” “The guy already has millions,” Rachael cut in. “He got it last year as a rookie, for heaven’s sake. He’s a selfish jerk. His selfishness is making everyone, the fans, the owner, probably the other players, angry.” “Yeah, and what about those other players who have been there, winning games for us for years?” Carter asked. “They get us in the play-offs year after year, and then here comes this guy who’s been there one year, one year, Pete, and he’s going to get millions or he won’t play. Well, that really breaks my heart.” “Just be glad that Charlotte Forsythe knows nothing about American football or that you can make demands like that, or she’ll hit up this company,” Rachael remarked, breaking the tension at the table by making everyone laugh. On the other side of the planter, Doris Ann was not laughing. Charlotte had worked for years in the international arena as the top salesperson for rival Merrill International in the United Kingdom. A native Londoner, she followed a life-long desire to immigrate to the United States. Doris Ann was part of the team that had lured Charlotte from U.S. rival Martin Conductor to take a sales position with King Conductors (whose owners, Wylie King and James Conway, long ago hoisted the humorous nickname, King-Con). Capturing Charlotte was considered a real coup in the world of conductors. Long considered the big three in the industry, the companies produced in-demand conductors for electronics. King-Con’s own formulation was designed for use to counter continuous flexing in data processing, rotating servo platforms, and other applications. To capture such a high-profile salesperson, Doris Ann was the first to admit the company had given in more than usual on wage and other job perks. Charlotte had skipped the regular salary in order to receive straight commissions on sales—an arrangement that had been made by her previous employer. The arrangement was unusual but, the team thought, a necessary step in luring Charlotte away from Martin. In addition, as a native of England with the habit of driving on the left-hand side of the road, Charlotte’s unfamiliarity with American driving conditions, particularly in congested metropolitan areas, resulted in the unusual arrangement of allowing her office assistant to also serve as a driver on various occasions, particularly when she was out of town. While working in the company headquarters, however, she took the train to work and made use of trains or cabs. Still, there was a rumble of discontent among employees about Queen Charlotte and royal treatment. “Her sales are a huge percentage and she’s made a tremendous difference in the year since her arrival. She really is worth the trouble,” Doris Ann told company vice president Charles Owenby. “But she has come to me to suggest raising her commission—substantially—and I just don’t know. But I think you and I and Wylie and Jim need to discuss this.” “I agree,” Charles said. “I think they will bend within reason … ” “But the problem here, I believe, will be the reaction of other employees,” Doris Ann said. I hear a lot about Queen Charlotte and royal treatment, and comparisons to how those who have put in the years here are not getting the same respect as the rookie, to borrow a football analogy. So the question is, do we give in or stand firm?” “Knowing she can always move over to Martin,” Charles added. “There’s a risk either way, so we have to explore our options before we bring all of the parties together to hash this thing out.”
1. What theories of motivation help explain Charlotte’s demands and the reactions of other employees to those demands?
2. What options can you think of for handling Charlotte’s demand for even higher commissions? Which option would you choose? Why?
3. How might Doris Ann Riley deal with employee morale in light of the extremely high pay demanded by a star salesperson?