WEBUWRITE ACADEMY SIMULATION
Welcome to Webuwrite Academy.
Webuwrite Academy is an e-learning company that specializes in online writing courses. Webuwrite creates writing classes for middle school students, high school students, undergraduates, and graduate students. They also create writing courses for the corporate environment, and for people who are learning English as a second language.
Webuwrite’s most popular products are business writing courses, which can be purchased by anyone who wants to learn more about business and technical writing. These courses are sometimes purchased by individuals, and more frequently purchased by companies which offer these courses to their employees. Webuwrite markets these courses directly to college and university career centers, which then offer students entering the working world access to these courses at a discount.
Webuwrite Academy was founded in 1998 by CEO Angela Camper, and is located in the metropolis of Industraville. It is the fastest growing and one of the most successful companies in the city, and has recently grown to more than 3,000 employees. Most of these employees work in Webuwrite Headquarters in downtown Industraville, an impoverished city that is slowly showing signs of making an economic rebound.
Welcome to the Webuwrite Academy boardroom. This is the orientation meeting for prospective interns.
Melanie Michaels: Well, hello there, prospective interns. Welcome to Webuwrite Academy. I’m Melanie Michaels, and I’m the internship director here at Webuwrite. If you become a Webuwrite intern, you’ll be reporting to me. You’ll also be working closely with some of the people in this room, who you’re about to meet. I’d like to start by introducing you to our CEO, Angela Camper.
Angela Camper: Thank you so much, Melanie, and welcome, prospective interns. I’m Angela Camper, and I’m very proud to say that I founded Webuwrite Academy in 1998. As an intern for Webuwrite, you’ll have a hands-on role in creating and marketing the best online writing courses in the country. You’ll also be part of Industraville’s fastest growing company, and that’s another thing I’m very proud of. If you become an intern for Webuwrite, you’ll be in very good hands with Melanie, and you’ll definitely learn real world skills that will benefit you in whatever direction your career takes you.
Brad, why don’t you tell these folks about the marketing division?
Brad Hayes: Thanks, Angela! Well, my name is Brad Hayes, and I’m the Vice President of Marketing here at Webuwrite. Here in marketing, we’re in charge of finding new markets for our writing courses, and we’re also in charge of marketing all of our terrific new products to our existing customers.
We’re looking for two kinds of interns—general marketing interns, who will help get out the word about our great products; and public relations interns, who will help build Webuwrite’s reputation both online and offline.
Angela: Brad, can you tell us about what you’re looking for in an intern?
Brad: Sure. Well, my good buddy Jill Kaplan-Zuckerman over here keeps razzing me about how marketing is all about the bottom line and doesn’t care at all about the quality of classes.
Jill Kaplan-Zuckerman: Thanks, Brad.
Brad: But you know what? Great classes and profitability go hand in hand, right, Jill? I’m looking for interns that can come up with creative ideas on how to market our great classes and for promoting Webuwrite to the community. Oh, and one thing I need in an intern—great writing skills. People think that marketing is all about personality, but in reality, what’s even more important is that you know how to put your ideas down clearly on paper and that you understand how to use words to reach an audience.
So, Jill, why don’t you tell these bright-looking folks all about course development?
Jill: Um, well, thank you Brad, my good buddy. My name is Jill Kaplan-Zuckerman, and I’m the Vice President of Course Development. My division is in charge of actually making the classes that Brad’s division sells. We’re looking for instructional design interns.
Melanie: Jill, can you explain what instructional design means?
Jill: Sure. Instructional design is the process of creating courses that meet the particular demands of a client. At Webuwrite, our clients include schools, corporations, and everyday people who want to learn how to write better. I’m looking for interns who have creative ideas about how to design writing classes. Also, like Brad, it’s very important that my interns have strong writing skills. It’s impossible to design a class if you don’t know how to write well.
Meera, do you want to tell our prospective interns a little about IT?
Meera Agarwal: Thanks, Jill. I’m Meera Agarwal, and I’m the Vice President of the Information Technology Division. IT is also looking for two kinds of interns. First, we’re hiring Web Strategies interns. Web Strategies is responsible for making sure that courses work smoothly from a technical standpoint. Jill’s division is responsible for making the courses, and we’re responsible for making sure the courses are easy to navigate.
The second kind of IT internship involves being a liaison between Webuwrite and our partner company in Singapore, Singapore Tech Solutions. Melanie, have you been able to get them on the line?
Melanie: I think so, Meera. Alvin, are you there?
Alvin Lim: I’m here, Melanie! Hello there, prospective interns. My name is Alvin Lim, and I work for Singapore Technical Services. We’ve been partnered with Webuwrite for the past year. We’re responsible for all of Webuwrite’s technical support needs. When someone is having problems with a course, the number they call comes to us in Singapore.
Melanie: Alvin, some of the interns are going to be working with you remotely. Can you tell the prospective interns what they will be doing in this role?
Alvin: Well, we need someone to be a liaison between Webuwrite and Singapore Technical Solutions. We’ve only been working together for a year, and we’re still figuring out a process that works as well as it should. We also need a steady flow of instructions from Webuwrite that tell us what to say to callers when they contact us for help.
Brad: So, interns, for those of you with lousy writing skills, an internship with IT would be a good idea.
Meera: No, Brad, that’s not true at all. IT professionals must have strong writing skills because they need to convey complex material to people who lack an understanding of technology. And the interns who are going to be working with Singapore need especially good writing skills because they’ll need to write instructions for the people on the phones.
Brad: All right, Meera, never mind (sarcastically). Writing skills are very important for IT professionals. But interns, if you can’t write, you can always get a security internship.
Tyler Sanchez: Actually, Brad, security interns need to have good writing skills, too. Hello, interns! I’m Tyler Sanchez, and I’m the Director of Security here at Webuwrite. As you know, this office isn’t located in the best area of town, so we’re in charge of making sure that employees and company possessions are safe. Writing skills are important because we’re always writing instructions and procedures documents with important information for employees.
Um, I think we’re almost done… oh, Jeff! It’s your turn.
Jeff Taylor: Thanks, Tyler! I’m Jeff Taylor, and I’m the Director of Human Relations here at Webuwrite. I’m also Melanie’s boss, so you might find yourselves interacting with me and some point!
Things are pretty crazy down at HR. This company is growing really quickly, which means that we’re hiring new employees constantly! We need interns to help with the hiring process, which includes advertising new positions, doing background checks, educating employees about benefits and company policies, and so forth! We need interns who have experience working in busy environments, and who are very good with working with detailed information. Oh, and writing skills are essential! In HR, we’re all about conveying information clearly and accurately to our employees.
Melanie: Thanks, Jeff! OK, prospective interns, here’s what happens next. You’re going to be applying for an internship here at Webuwrite. When you apply, it’s important to keep in mind what you just learned about the internship positions here. Next, you’re going to read some bios of the folks in this room, and that’s also important information to keep in mind when you apply for these internships.
In private, every employee will now say what they really think about working at Webuwrite Academy.
Melanie Michaels, Internship Director
Age: 30. Education: BA, Michigan State University. Family: Married, two children. Time at Webuwrite: 2 years.
Melanie: I can’t believe we’re hiring another round of interns. These ones better be more willing to work than the last lazy batch. And they’d better have some decent writing skills! I guess you can tell I have a bad attitude. The thing is, I wouldn’t be so negative about everything if this job wasn’t located in a pit like Industraville. The only reason we moved out here is for my husband’s job, and we live as far out into the suburbs as we possibly can. I’d also have a better attitude if I didn’t have to work for Jeff Taylor. Oh my God! What an overgrown hippie. He and his boyfriend are involved in all these community organizations and are, like, totally committed to improving Industraville, which is such a lost cause! When I first started working here, Jeff tried to get me to volunteer with him, and when he found out that I’m not interested, he started treating me like there was something wrong with me. I just want to do my job and go home to my family, and I feel like I’m being penalized by my boss for being more concerned about my family than about this city. Of course, he doesn’t have a family, so how could he possibly understand?
Angela Camper, CEO
Age: 41. BA & MA, Industraville State College. Family: Divorced, two children. Founded Webuwrite in 1998.
Angela: I’ve lived in Industraville all of my life, and I’m proud to be an Industraville success story who is able to give back to my community. I started this company with a city revitalization grant and have worked long, hard hours. As an African-American woman, I do feel like I have to work especially hard to prove myself. I also feel like I have to prove myself because my company is an online learning company, and that industry doesn’t have the respect from the general community yet that it deserves. Yes, I can be a hard ass. This company is my pride and joy, and I expect my employees to work almost as hard as I do.
Brad Hayes, VP of Marketing
Age: 52. Education: MBA, University of Pennsylvania. Family: Married, four children. Time at Webuwrite: 3 years.
Brad: I’m not the most popular guy at this company. The thing is, I tell it like it is—that it is all about the bottom line. That’s why Angela Camper hired me to come to Webuwrite—to make money. I’m always fighting with Jill Kaplan-Zuckerman in course development because in her mind, it’s all about making great classes, no matter how expensive the classes are and no matter how unprofitable they are. She’s living in a dream world, and if she weren’t a close personal friend of the CEO, she would have been fired years ago! Meanwhile, I’m about to make more enemies around here because I’m trying to persuade the CEO to consider moving the company out of Industraville and into the suburbs, where we wouldn’t have to spend all this money on security. She’s committed to Industraville, but she’s a smart cookie, so I just may be able to convince her. But these community organizers who live in la-la land, like Jeff Taylor in HR, are going to try to have my hide. I say bring it on, community-organizer boy!
Jill Kaplan-Zuckerman, VP of Course Development
Age: 46. Education: PhD, Capella University, Education. Time at Webuwrite: 5 years.
Jill: To me, this job is all about teaching people how to be good writers. Before I came to Webuwrite, I was an English teacher, and there remains a desperate need to teach Americans to learn writing skills! If we don’t, we’re going to continue to fall behind the rest of the world. It’s no secret that Brad Hayes in marketing and I are at odds. Good God! That moron can barely string together a coherent sentence. Angela Camper is a good friend of mine and I support the fact that she hired him to make the company more profitable, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy with her decision.
Meera Agarwal, VP of Information Technology
Age: 39. Education: MS, Indiana University. Family: Married, two children. Time at Webuwrite: Since founding.
Meera: I used to like my job a whole lot more than I do. I grew up in Industraville too, just like Angela Camper. Angela and I go way back—we actually went to high school together—and I share her concern for helping to improve the economic conditions in Industraville. So when Angela made the decision to start outsourcing our tech support to Singapore? I nearly quit! We laid off 25 people! Needless to say, things have become strained between me and Angela. I used to consider her a good friend, but that’s before it all became about the bottom line and saving money by outsourcing. Now, I heard a rumor that Brad Hayes from marketing is going to try to persuade Angela to move this company to the suburbs. If that happens, I am out of here.
Alvin Lim, Singapore Tech Solutions
Age: 32. Education: MS, National University of Singapore. Family: Married, one child.
Alvin: Working with Webuwrite has been a real challenge! Meera Agarwal hates me. Well, I know she doesn’t really hate me. But she hates outsourcing, so because of that, she hates me. That’s one of the reasons why we need some good interns to serve as liaisons between Singapore Tech Solutions and Webuwrite—so she and I won’t have to talk to each other much anymore! We also really need interns who can write reliable instructions that we can give to people over the phone. Even though English is the official language of Singapore, it’s very hard to train our tech support people to communicate well with users. Cultural differences get in the way. I need to prove to Meera Agarwal that hiring us wasn’t a horrible decision.
Jeff Talyor, Director of Human Resources
Age: 50. Education: MBA, Capella University. Family: In long-term partnership. Time at Webuwrite: 7 years.
Jeff: I love my job at Webuwrite, but it’s very stressful! We’re hiring left and right and we’ve never been so busy. Of course, I have to remind myself how wonderful it is that Webuwrite is creating so many jobs in Industraville. My partner Andrew and I are community activists and are very committed to doing all we can to give back to the city. Unfortunately, not everyone in the company feels that way. Brad Hayes from marketing—curse that horrible man!—has a plan to move the company out into the suburbs. Can you imagine? At least that would make my employee Melanie Michaels happy, as she can’t wait to get her Pilates-perfect behind into her Volvo at the end of the day and drive to her starter mansion in the burbs. Honestly, I’ve tried to reach out to that girl, but I think she just wants to hate me. Between you and me, I don’t think she’s ever had to deal with a gay person before, much less work for one!
Tyler Sanchez, Director of Security
Age: 29. Education: AA, Industraville Community College. Family: Single, no children. Time at Webuwrite: 6 years
Tyler: So you actually want to hear what I have to say? The higher ups don’t pay me much attention—I’m just that young Puerto Rican guy who works in security, as far as they’re concerned. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all a bunch of overeducated prima donnas who wouldn’t have a clue what to do away from a desk. I asked Melanie Michaels to join me and my friends for happy hour once, and she just about wrote me up for sexual harassment. But just you wait. One of these days we’ll have a break-in at Webuwrite, and then they’ll appreciate all the things my department does around here.
For this discussion, complete the following:
- Identify a conflict at Webuwrite. This may be one of the conflicts that you are writing about in your assignment for this week.
- Choose one of the conflict resolution styles (or a combination of multiple conflict resolution styles) discussed in the reading. Explain in detail how this conflict resolution style could be used to address the