Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2013

Wendy Peterson

by Linda A. Hill and Alisa Zalosh


Wendy Peterson was recently promoted to Vice President of Sales at the Plano, Texas, office of AccountBack, an accounting software and services company. To penetrate a perceived market niche, Peterson hires Fred (Xing) Wu, whose familiarity with and access to Chinese business leaders in Plano is valuable. Wu was born and raised in China, partly educated in the U.S., and immigrated to the U.S. in 2005. Within 12 months, he had signed his regional team's largest client, but Peterson has reservations about Wu's performance and is uneasy about their working relationship. Wu has requested an assistant—unprecedented within AccountBack's flat organizational structure. Peterson reflexively perceives the request as unreasonable, but in responding she must take into account the implications her decision will have on the rest of her sales team, as well as her own career. This case is ideal for courses on managing performance, managing conflict, leadership, cross-cultural differences, conflict and negotiation, employee development, and performance evaluation.

Keywords: Leadership; Conflict Management; Salesforce Management; Rank and Position; Performance Evaluation; Management Teams; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Accounting Industry; Texas;


Hill, Linda A., and Alisa Zalosh. "Wendy Peterson." Harvard Business School Brief Case 913-560, May 2013.