Kay Sunderland Case Study Analysis

Essay about Kay-Sunderland: Making the Grade at Attain Learning

880 WordsOct 20th, 20144 Pages

Kay Sunderland: Making the Grade at
Attain Learning
1. Describe Sunderland’s management and work style. What are her sources of power?
A. Sunderland had a lot of experience in managing large high profile accounts which contributed to her management style. It was these experiences that built her expertise.
She is a professional through and through. Sunderland is investigative and is gifted with a strategic mind-set. She is viewed as a source of knowledge and client insight.
Her insightful critique is admired by even her own subordinates. Conventional and production-oriented, Kay Sunderland is known for speaking her mind out. She has a single minded approach that aims at delivering everything that the client asks for, just as they…show more content…

His primary source of power is personal power. He believes in creating cooperation, gaining support and winning in a competitive environment. He also stands out in his stead for relational power through his attempt to build team’s morale and his attempt at playing the supporter and partner role, which he does very successfully ensuring high morale in his team.

3. What is going on here? Why did Morgan call Nunez? Why did Nunez call
A. Attain’s client, Gramen, are looking to develop a new learning program that they want to roll out to their employees. For this purpose, Mike Morgan has certain ideas in mind that don’t seem to be in sync with what the client wants. Morgan called up
Nunez because – convinced of his own ideas and pressed for time to start from scratch
– he probably wanted to push his ideas once more to the client. Nunez, the client, as per protocol expected that all communication to be routed through the account director. Hence, Morgan’s calls and voice messages disturbed and annoyed him. He did not wish to be disturbed by Morgan and hence called Sunderland to get the concern addressed.

4. Evaluate Morgan and Sunderland’s relationship.
A. Kay and Mike have been working together for the past 2 years and share a good working relationship. Despite vastly different management styles, they are appreciative of each-others’ strengths and expertize. Where Kay approaches projects with a

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Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2011

Kay Sunderland: Making the Grade at Attain Learning

by Linda A. Hill and Heather Beckham


Kay Sunderland is an account director at Attain Learning Inc., a business training solutions company. In January 2011, one of Attain's most important clients, Juan Nunez of Gramen Equipment Company, contacts Sunderland with a request: Nunez would like Attain content development director Mike Morgan to stop contacting him directly. Sunderland is surprised that Morgan, an experienced and talented contributor, is potentially jeopardizing the account by ignoring Attain's communications policy of restricting client-facing communication to the account director. Now Sunderland must decide how to handle the situation with both the client and her colleague Morgan.

Keywords: communication; Interpersonal relations; power and influence; Personal strategy & style; creativity; conflict; Interdepartmental relations; talent management; Management Style; Interpersonal Communication; Talent and Talent Management; Relationships; Conflict and Resolution; Communication Strategy; Power and Influence; Service Industry;

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