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Description: Recent events at Penn State University, while certainly reflecting a very serious issue that should not be taken lightly, provide a unique opportunity to explore several aspects of management. The decision to use this situation as a basis for discussion should be carefully considered.

Source: J. W. Miller, & R. Bachman, “Paterno Ousted at Penn State,” Wall Street Journal

Date: November 10, 2011

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Questions for discussion:

  1. What role does human resource management have in a situation like this? In other words, does HR bear any responsibility? Which of the three major responsibilities might have the greatest impact for preventing something like this in the future?
  2. A number of individuals employed by Penn State University have been terminated. From a legal standpoint, do these dismissals create any cause for concern? Would anyone fired have a legitimate claim of wrongful discharge?
  3. As Penn State seeks to fill vacancies created by firings, particularly within its football program, should the university utilize external or internal recruitment? Why?
  4. How should Penn State utilize performance management to reduce the risk of a similar situation occurring in the future?


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