Activity: Serving the Stakeholders’ Interest


Learning Objectives

With this case study, students will:

  • understand The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® and value the contribution of each in being an effective leader
  • appreciate the importance of learning from other’s observations
  • apply The Five Practices to an outside example in order to draw parallels and real-life connections
  • identify other individuals who apply The Five Practices
  • apply leadership practices and behaviors to the successful functioning of groups and organizations

 

Audience

  • Current or emerging leaders
  • Any size

 

Time Required

45 minutes

 

Materials and Equipment

A copy of the scenario and a list of questions (see item #2 below) for each participant Newsprint and markers, if you wish for groups to have a record of their replies 

Area Set-up

Small groups of 5-6 participants each; group sizes can be adjusted as needed.

 

Process

  1. Read the following Serving the Stakeholder’s Interests1scenario to the group:

 

You’ve looked at the numbers. You know that only 15% of the 2000 freshman students at your conservative religiously-affiliated college have signed up during Fall Fest to get involved in a student organization.

Many students are sponsored and receive financial aid contributions from their home congregations that stress that students must be invested in academics and classes—and that involvement outside of class should not be a concern.

The college’s hard-driving Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Phillip Worsten, phones you, as the Student Government Association (SGA) President, in a panic late one soggy mid-November afternoon. “As the President of SGA, I’m letting you know that we’re going to be firing Shelly McDonaldson, the Director of Student Activities, who also serves as the advisor of the SGA,” says the agitated vice president. Ever mindful of the vice president’s notorious temper, you dare to ask why. The vice president snarls his explanation. It seems that Pastor Lefty Ring, the college’s largest benefactor and pastor of a very civically-engaged church, refuses to give the college any more financial aid money or send any more students from his congregation. The reason, Pastor Ring has stated, is because the college is not preparing students for experiences outside of the classroom since fewer and fewer students are getting involved in the 150+ clubs and organizations and with his community organizations. Shelly is going to be made aware of this decision prior to tomorrow morning’s divisional meeting that you have been invited to as the SGA president.

As the SGA president, you know that Shelly is deeply committed to your association and you are sad to hear that she will be let go. Because you see her not only as your mentor and advisor, but also as a friend, you take the news hard. Just like her commitment to SGA, you know that she wants more students to get involved but is finding it hard to compete against Facebook, video games, and students leaving campus to go to events sponsored by other local religious groups, not to mention home. You have seen Shelly try reaching out to different groups of students in hopes of increasing involvement. You’ve actually helped her create a new program, set to launch in the spring. The program will focus on university-led collaborations with local religious groups, designed to bridge the gap between campus and community, and further efforts to graduate both academically- and socially-prepared students.

Vice President Worsten tells you he is angry because, unless the Director of Student Activities is fired and student involvement increased, the college is going to lose the future financial support of Pastor Ring and his congregation along with that important source of future students.

 

  1. Clarify any questions students may have about this scenario. Separate students into evenly-numbered groups. Instruct them to discuss the story and prepare responses to the following questions:
    1. Thinking of the Five Practices, how would you deal with this situation, keeping in mind there are many different factors, people, and issues at play?
  1. Who are the primary and secondary stakeholders involved, and what are their interests?
  2. What factors should you take into consideration, and how do you weigh them?
  3.  How would you encourage everyone to see the issue the same way and foster shared vision/goals?
  4.  How would you describe the problem that needs your attention?
  5.  How do you determine which of your three or four best options to pursue first?
  6.  How do you recognize others in a positive way and show that you value their contributions?
  7.  You’re “just a student.” Why is this even an issue for you?

 

  1. Have each group identify a spokesperson who will share the group’s responses with the class.

 

  1. Full group follow-up discussion questions:
    1. Are there differences among the groups’ responses?
    2. How did groups come to a consensus?
    3. Which practice of leadership was most difficult to uphold/maintain? Easiest?
    4. How does this relate to being a student leader in an organization?

 

Gary Morgan, Certified in The Student Leadership Challenge and a Certified Master Candidate of The Leadership Challenge® Workshop, has created and taught leadership development programs for students for more than 25 years. Founder of Orlando-based Student Leadership Excellence Academy, LLC and Leadership Excellence Academy, he is a leadership development trainer, speaker, and consultant. He can be reached at gary@student-leader.com.

1Adapted from “Serving the Stakeholder’s Interests” by Dr. Peter and Facione. All characters, situations, and stories described here are fictional. No reference to actual persons, events, or institutions is intended or assumed. Drs. Peter and Noreen Facione developed and refined these hypothetical cases based on the experiences gained through their many decades of service as faculty, administrators, workshop presenters, and leadership consultants to colleges and universities throughout the nation. Permission is granted to make copies of these cases and materials for personal and strictly noncommercial use, provided that proper citation is made to the author(s) and this website. © 2000, The California Academic Press LLC, Millbrae CA. Updated: 10/26/2005 www.insightassessment.com/cases.html.

 

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