Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2008

Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics and a Career in Crisis

by W. Earl Sasser Jr. and Heather Beckham


The case describes the dilemma of a marketing manager, Thomas Green, who, after being rapidly promoted, is harshly criticized by his boss, Frank Davis. Green and Davis disagree on work styles and market projections. Green believes the sales goals set by Davis are based on "creative accounting" and grossly overstate the current market environment. A mood of silent conflict develops quickly between the two men, and Green is concerned that Davis is building a case to fire him. Green's situation is one in which his failure to adapt his work style and fully understand the demands and boundaries of his new position may lead to his discharge. A factor in the background is Green's relationship with his boss's boss.

Keywords: communication; Superior & subordinate; performance management; power and influence; Personal strategy & style; conflict management; Management Style; Conflict Management; Communication; Rank and Position; Personal Characteristics; Power and Influence;


Sasser, W. Earl, Jr., and Heather Beckham. "Thomas Green: Power, Office Politics and a Career in Crisis." Harvard Business School Brief Case 082-095, May 2008.