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Dealing with employee problems is rarely enjoyable, yet action is often necessary to ensure problems are not repeated. When the National Hockey League gave its toughest suspension of the season to the Pittsburgh Penguin’s Matt Cooke, it was trying to send a clear message that violent hits are unacceptable. Cooke is popular with his teammates and a valuable part of the Penguins organization, but increasingly is becoming known as a “pest” for questionable hits and penalty time. While Penguins management plan to give Cooke another chance when the suspension is served, they were quick to applaud the league’s action to curb violence on the ice.


  1. In what way(s) does the action against Matt Cooke represent control? What type of control is being used?
  2. Refresh your memory by reviewing the reinforcement strategies in the Motivation chapter. If Cooke is a repeat offender, then it could be argued that the National Hockey League has not been reinforcing the right behavior. What strategy does the suspension represent?
  3. It could be argued that the NHL is practicing management by exception. What event made this situation exceptional? Which of the two exception situations exists in this case?
  4. Is the penalty levied against Cooke consistent with progressive discipline?

SOURCE: The Canadian Press, “Cooke Suspended for Rest of Regular Season, First Round of Playoffs,” Globe and Mail (Retrievable online at

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