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Authors: Sarah Hudson (Rennes School of Business); Asha Moore-Mangin (Rennes School of Business)
Originally published in: 2020
Revision date: 06-May-2020
Length: 14 pages
Data source: Generalised experience

Abstract

This case is about a problem of a toxic workplace in a fictional company, (Top Recruits) that provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with HR solutions including AI-driven systems. Top Recruits has a problem with an AI system bias that consistently favors male over female recruits. The new (female) CEO calls in a consulting team to find out why this problem has persisted, despite an effort some years earlier to recruit more young and female engineers to solve this issue. The second part of the case consists of five interviews of different members of the R&D department. The interviews allow the reader to identify the elements of a toxic workplace. The root of the AI system dysfunction lies not in the quality of the engineers, but in the fact that the developers are unable to implement change or to communicate effectively within a toxic workplace. The company has used staff turnover as an indicator of employee well-being, failing to identify that employees are mostly staying for pragmatic reasons (continuance commitment).

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2015-2020.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
Belgium

Featured company

Top Recruits
Employees:
201-500
Type:
Privately held
Other keywords:
HR solutions provider; Europe

Featured protagonists

  • Emma Martin (female), CEO
  • Peter Marshall (male), Consultant

About

Abstract

This case is about a problem of a toxic workplace in a fictional company, (Top Recruits) that provides Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with HR solutions including AI-driven systems. Top Recruits has a problem with an AI system bias that consistently favors male over female recruits. The new (female) CEO calls in a consulting team to find out why this problem has persisted, despite an effort some years earlier to recruit more young and female engineers to solve this issue. The second part of the case consists of five interviews of different members of the R&D department. The interviews allow the reader to identify the elements of a toxic workplace. The root of the AI system dysfunction lies not in the quality of the engineers, but in the fact that the developers are unable to implement change or to communicate effectively within a toxic workplace. The company has used staff turnover as an indicator of employee well-being, failing to identify that employees are mostly staying for pragmatic reasons (continuance commitment).

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2015-2020.

Geographical setting

Region:
Europe
Country:
Belgium

Featured company

Top Recruits
Employees:
201-500
Type:
Privately held
Other keywords:
HR solutions provider; Europe

Featured protagonists

  • Emma Martin (female), CEO
  • Peter Marshall (male), Consultant

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