7-1 Discussion: Addressing Conflict With Communication
Analyze one of the conflicts described in the “Conflict at Mehra, Jindal, and Associates” case study, which you can access via the coursepack link in your syllabus.In your initial response, assume the role of one of the individuals involved and explain how you would have handled the situation better. Be sure to include the types of strategies and techniques you could have used. The objective should be to create a more productive and open working environment. Reference your textbook or other authoritative resources to support your position.
7-1 Discussion: Addressing Conflict With Communication Analyze one of the conflicts described in the “Conflict at Mehra, Jindal, and Associates” case study, which you can access via the coursepack l
Graduate Discussion Rubric Overview Your active participation in the discussion s is essential to your overal l success this term. Discussion questions will help you make meaningful connections between the course content and the larger concepts of the course. These discussions give you a chance to express your own thoughts, ask questions, and gain insight from your peers and instructor . Directions For each di scussion, y ou must create one initial post and follow up with at least two response posts . For your initial post , do the following : Write a post of 1 to 2 paragraphs . In Module One, complete your initial post by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. In Modules Two through Ten, complete your initial post by Thursday at 11:59 p.m. of your local time zone. Consider content from other parts of the course where appropriate. Use proper citation methods for your discipline when referencing scholarly or popular sources. For your response posts , do the following : Reply to at least two classmates outside of your own initial post thread . In Module One, complete your two response posts by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. In Modules Two through Ten, complete your two response posts by Sunday at 11:59 p.m. of your local time zone. Demonstrate more depth and thought than saying things like “I agree ” or “You are wrong .” Guidance is provided for you in the discuss ion prompt . Rubric Critical Elements Exemplary Proficient Needs Improvement Not Evident Value Comprehension Develops an initial post with an organized, clear point of view or idea using rich and significant detail (100%) Develops an initial post with a point of view or idea using appropriate detail (90%) Develops an initial post with a point of view or idea but with some gaps in organization and detail (70%) Does not develop an initial post with an organized point of view or idea (0%) 20 Timeliness N/A Submits initial post on time (100%) Submits initial post one day late (70%) Submits initial post two or more days late (0%) 10 Engagement Provides relevant and meaningful response posts with clarifying explanation and detail (100%) Provides relevant response posts with some explanation and detail (90%) Provides somewhat relevant response posts with some explanation and detail (70%) Provides response posts that are generic with little explanation or detail (0%) 20 Critical Elements Exemplary Proficient Needs Improvement Not Evident Value Critical Thinking Draws insightful conclusions that are thoroughly defended with evidence and examples (100%) Draws informed conclusions that are justified with evidence (90%) Draws logical conclusions (70%) Does not draw logical conclusions (0%) 30 Writing (Mechanics) Ini tial post and responses are easily understood, clear, and concise using proper citation methods where applicable with no errors in citations (100%) Initial post and responses are easily understood using proper citation methods where applicable with few errors in citations (90%) Initial post and responses are understandable using proper citation methods where applicable with a number of errors in citations (70%) Initial post and responses are not understandable and do not use proper citation methods where applicable (0%) 20 Total 10 0%
7-1 Discussion: Addressing Conflict With Communication Analyze one of the conflicts described in the “Conflict at Mehra, Jindal, and Associates” case study, which you can access via the coursepack l
Conflict at Mehra, Jindal and Associates” case study Ankit Shanna joined Mehar, Jindal and Associates, a law firm located in New Delhi, on February 5, 2014, with the expectation that the new job would launch his law career in the right direction. This job was made all the more appealing by the fact that it was located in Ankit’s home city of New Delhi, which would allow Ankit to take care of his parents, who still lived there. In mid-May of the same year, Ankit was sitting at his desk, thinking about the heated clash he had a few weeks ago with Mitali Kakkar, his immediate boss. Yet another futile argument with Mitali had left Ank:it feeling angry and resentful, and he wondered whether joining this firm had been a wise decision at all. Ankit was almost convinced that Mitali did not like him on a personal level and was doing everything she could to make his life at the firm miserable. He also felt that these frequent standoffs between the two of them were adversely affecting the morale of the other associates. ANKIT SHARMA Ankit was a graduate of the National Law Institute University in Bhopal, a premier educational institution in India where students could earn a five-year law degree. After his graduation, Ankit landed the position of junior associate in the chambers of Harish Vaghmare, a distinguished lawyer and legal luminary in Mumbai, whose area of expertise involved commercial and corporate litigation. Harish predominantly appeared before the Mumbai High Court and the Supreme Court of India. In the first two years of his career, Ankit worked in close association with Harish and gained first-hand knowledge in the interpretation of laws, court craft and debating skills in the area of commercial and corporate law, and the litigation associated with it. With his updated knowledge and his vigilant and proactive nature, Ankit soon became Harish’s protege. By the end of the two year period, Ankit had recognized his own expertise and passion when it came to corporate and commercial law, and he decided to seek out even greater exposure to various aspects of corporate law by working as an associate at a law firm. After a few months of job-seeking, Ankit left Harish’s chambers and joined an up-and-corning Mumbai law firm, Joshi and Associates. He was excited to get started, as the firm dealt almost exclusively with corporate This document is authorized for use only by Gü ;rb&uuinlz S&ou ml;z r posting is an infringement of copyright. Please contact [email protected] or 800-988-0886 for additional copies. law. After five months in the office, Ankit felt satisfied with the way his career was shaping up. He was working in an area of law that appealed to him and he enjoyed a great rapport with his colleagues. On the personal front, however, things were not going as smoothly. Ankit’s parents were unwell and he constantly faced pressure from his family to come back to his home city of New Delhi. At first, he paid little attention to the pressure to relocate, but after some time, he began considering the option of returning home. Relocating to New Delhi was a tough decision to make. Finally, after much research and help from Harish, Ankit applied for an associate position at Mehar, Jindal, and Associates in New Delhi. MEHRA, JINDAL, AND ASSOCIATES Mehra, Jindal and Associates was a mid-size law firm in India’s capital city of New Delhi. Founded in 2008, Mehra, Jindal, and Associates was an offshoot of a large and very reputable law firm, Sethi, Singh, Jindal and Associates. Located in the posh area Barakhamba Road in New Delhi, the firm’s head office was a three-floor, sprawling building with each respective floor dedicated to one of the firm’s three core departments: litigation, corporate law and intellectual property rights. The corporate law and litigation department were headed by Shikha Mehra, while the intellectual property rights department was headed by Naveen Jindal (see Exhibit 1). Although the firm was a young player in the market, it enjoyed an elite clientele and a good reputation. With a growing workload and client list, the firm intended to expand and open branch offices in Bangalore and Mumbai. SHIKHA MEHRA Shikha, one of the founding partners at Mehra, Jindal, and Associates, was considered by many to be the driving force of the firm. The practice of law seemed a natural choice for Shikha because it was a longstanding tradition in her family. As the daughter of one of India’s leading lawyers, Shikha developed a taste for the law during family get-togethers. After completing her master’s degree in law at Cambridge, United Kingdom, she worked for almost three years with Clifford Chance, an eminent multinational law firm in London, United Kingdom, before she returned to India. In India, Shikha worked with another top-performing litigation and corporate law firm for four years before joining Sethi, Singh, Jindal, and Associates. She joined as an associate but made her way to the senior associate level within a year, much sooner than any other associate in the history of the firm. Steadily, Shikha created a niche for herself in the litigation and corporate law department, where she not only brought in new clients for the firm but also personally represented large corporate houses. She assisted in business planning and development, and she actively participated in all senior management decisions. Within two years, Shikha was invited to become a partner at Sethi, Singh, Jindal and Associates. As a partner, it was not unusual for Shikha to work six or seven days a week, from early morning to late at night. Besides increasing the firm’s client base, she was actively engaged in the hiring and training of new associates. Her no-nonsense approach to the development and training of these recruits ‘earned her their respect, and there was a belief that anyone trained by Shikha would be ”the next big thing” in the business. After working as a partner for two years, she joined forces with Naveen Jindal (one of the named partners at Sethi, Singh, Jindal and Associates and Shikha’s senior at Cambridge). Shikha and Naveen broke away from the firm and established Mehra, Jindal and Associates. Both of them were committed to create market niche for themselves. This document is authorized for use only by Gürbüz Söz ). Copying or posting is an Infringement of copyright. Please contact &[email protected] or 800-Q88.-0BB6for add Hional copies. At the new firm, the partners’ top priority was to ensure that their clients were adequately represented and that they were satisfied with the firm’s services. One way to ensure this was to create team of like-minded individuals who could be trained to guarantee efficiency. As such, the company was extremely particular about recruiting its associates. Although no overt rule was in place, the firm was careful to recruit people who had significant work experience and who held a law degree from the most reputable national law schools in India. Further, all the short-listed candidates had to pass three rounds of interviews: the first one with the human resources department, the second with the firm’s senior associates, and the third with Shikha or Naveen. This process was established to ensure that each candidate possessed the qualities and abilities required by the firm. Mitali caught Shikha’s attention right from the initial recruitment interview. MITALI KAKKAR Mitali was one of the youngest people to earn the designation of senior associate, and rightly so. In 2008, she graduated from the National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata, India. She was the first recruit for the newly established firm of Mehra, Jindal and Associates, and she worked just as hard as the partners to set up the firm. During her initial years at the firm, Mitali started working with Shikha. Because there were only a few people on the team at that time, Mitali got an opportunity to work in both the corporate/commercial department and the litigation department. In a short time, and with much guidance from Shikha, Mitali emerged as an expert in mergers and acquisitions, with a particular affinity for commercial litigation. With her proven loyalty towards the firm and her dedication to her work, not only was Mitali given the job of handling the corporate team and the litigation team within the firm, but she was also entrusted with the job of directly supervising all new associates. Mitali took this responsibility very seriously and took care to document and report the progress of each associate. This information was passed on to Shikha, to whom Mitali reported directly. Such responsibilities were seen as a rightful privilege by Mitali’s colleagues, who were in awe of her professionalism, her razor-sharp mind and her close relationship with Shikha. As a supervisor, Mitali was a strict disciplinarian and a perfectionist. She never missed a single opportunity to return drafts or agreements to associates for redrafting if these items did not meet her expectations. Time frames and deadlines were of the utmost importance and were expected to be followed by the associates at all costs. Although many considered Mitali to be authoritarian, uncompromising, interfering and even nasty at times, they realized that being trained by her would make them adept at handling anything in the legal world. As a senior associate, Mitali billed the maximum number of hours and consequently took home a major chunk of the bonus. She had recently bought a lavish duplex, located very close to the firm, so that she could be on call whenever she was needed. ANKIT’S INTERVIEW Like many ambitious young lawyers in New Delhi, Ankit wanted to join. Mehra, Jindal and Associates. He had heard high praises of the firm and believed that a few years in its employment would position his career well. He prepared carefully for his interview and even requested a recommendation from Harish. Ankit performed well in his initial interview. His second interview with the senior associate was lengthy and challenging. Ankit was asked questions that tested both his theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Although Ankit managed to answer all of the questions successfully, the process left him nervous about the third interview with the partners. When the day of the interview arrived, Ankit felt that the interview itself was a learning experience. As they conversed, Shikha pointed out certain aspects of cases that he had not recognized before. By the end of the interview, Ankit found a renewed enthusiasm for working in the legal field, and he was convinced that if he was selected for the job, this firm would be the right place for him to start his life and career in New Delhi. After the discussion, Shikha left the room and gestured to her right-hand person, Mitali (whom Ankit later came to know as his immediate boss) to continue. Ankit recalled every word of the interview, especially his closing conversation with Mitali: Mitali: “Ankit, your interview went well, and we look forward to seeing you in our firm. Do you have any questions you want to ask us before you join?” Ankit: “Thank you, Mitali. I am really looking forward to joining your team. As you know, I have been involved in cases that focus pritnarily on commercial and corporate law, and I would like to continue with this field and establish myself within it. I think that I can contribute meaningfully in commercial and company matters and in matters involving taxation, mergers and acquisitions; It would be wonderful. ..” Mitali [interrupting]: “Don’t worry, Ankit. You will get ample exposure in that department. As you would have observed during your interviews, we focus primarily on corporate laws and only touch upon mainstream litigation. However, we must be very clear from the beginning that the salary you have quoted is very high for an associate. We do not pay that much to associates. Plus, you have two years of experience in corporate law that is mostly in litigation. Also, as I understand, you worked at Joshi and Associates for only a few months. Looking at all of this information, we will put you at par with what we pay to associates here in the corporate team, at your level of experience. However, if we find your work commendable, you will get an increase in your salary, plus a bonus if your billing amount for the firm is worthy of appreciation.” Ankit felt discouraged upon hearing about the salary. He felt that a similar place in Mumbai would have paid him much more. On the other hand, his family was in New Delhi, and he could take care of his parents if he took the job. Also, working at Mehra, Jindal and Associates seemed like a wonderful opportunity to begin his career in a corporate law. The offer of a bonus and a pay raise seemed promising. Finally, after much deliberation, he accepted the job offer. ANKIT’S FIRST DAY Ankit joined the firm on a crisp February morning. A paralegal ushered him into the office of Mitali, his immediate boss. Ankit: “Hi, Mitali. How are you? It’s a lovely morning!” Engrossed in scanning a thick document, Mitali paused and raised her head. Mitali: “The morning isn’t so good when you have stayed back at the office and worked the entire night, and you still have to work the entire day. However, if the profession demands it, we at Jindal, Mehra and Associates deliver it, right? Anyway, welcome to the firm. You can have a look at the office and sit in the associate’s room. I will call for you later. I just need to finalize and send out this document.” Mitali abruptly immersed herself in her work and Ankit followed the paralegal out of the room. He was shown to his workstation and introduced to another associate, Satish Dhawan, who had already started working with Mitali a few weeks ago. Satish told Ankit that the two of them would be assisting Mitali in corporate matters as well as with litigation. Ankit learned that a third associate was on maternity leave and would not return before August. As Ankit geared up for the expected work avalanche, the phone on his desk rang, and he was summoned to Shikha’s office. Ankit knocked on the door of Shikha’s office and entered. Inside, he found Shikha and Mitali engrossed in discussing some document. They glanced at Ankit when he entered the room but said nothing. For a moment, Ankit began to wonder whether he had actually been asked to come to the partner’s office. Had he perhaps misinterpreted the receptionist’s message? Ankit: “I’m sorry to barge in. The receptionist said that Shikha had asked for me.” Shikha: “Who is this boy, Mitali?” Mitali: “Shikha, you remember we interviewed him, and he was recommended by Mr. Harish Vaghmare.” Shikha: “Oh yes, of course. Please take a seat.” Ankit felt a wave of relief and sat down on a couch in the corner of the room. Shikha: “Mitali, I don’t really have time this entire week and next week I am travelling to London. You deal with the boy; he is on your team. Assign some work, but crosscheck it before you send it to me. I don’t have the time to read trash and redo it.” Shikha glanced at Ankit, who was now clearly uncomfortable in his seat and remarked, ”No offense to you, but I detest redrafting any document. It’s twice the work.” Shikha continued, gesturing at Ankit: “You can leave. Your work will be assigned by Mitali; do it to the best of your ability. Learn from her; she has gained 15 years of experience in seven years. If you embody her qualities, you will surely be successful in this profession.” Without any closing statement, the two women returned to their work. Feeling unsure of why he had been called into the office at all, Ankit mumbled his goodbye and left. Later that day, Ankit received his ID card and was added to the official sharing system. He waited for some work to be allotted to him, but none came his way. The next day was no different. He began to feel irritated and bored but he continued to wait patiently for some work to be assigned to him. ANKIT’S ASSIGNMENTS After three days of sitting idle, Ankit decided he would request a meeting with Mitali, but just as he prepared to do so, he received an e-mail from her. Enthusiastically, he clicked on the message looking forward to some interesting work. Yes, he had been given an assignment, but it was far from what he was expecting. The job involved a simple query concerning property law, and some research work had been assigned to him in the same context. Ankit felt discouraged. His first reaction was that this task was fit for an intern, not for an associate with previous work experience. He started to walk towards Mitali’s office to confirm whether the work had been meant for him or whether it had been sent to his e-mail address by mistake. Mitali was in her office with a client and Ankit felt it was best not to disturb her, so he went back to his desk. Half-heartedly, he answered the query and sent the note to Mitali within an hour. When almost two hours passed with no response from Mitali, Ankit walked back to her office, only to find out that she had already left for another client meeting. Unimpressed over his boss’s casual approach towards his work, Ankit went back to his desk and sat down with a thud. Merely answering legal queries and doing case research was the last thing he had asked for. Later that evening, upon hearing another ping on his system, he saw a few more e-mails from Mitali, asking him to do similar research work for litigation. His day ended with disappointment. This routine continued for Ankit’s entire first month at the firm, and the nature of the work allotted to him did not change. Ankit grew particularly annoyed when not even a single drafting job was assigned to him, nor was he included in any ongoing corporate transactions at the firm. Matters went from bad to worse when he was asked to do research on criminal laws, an area of the law that was of no interest to him whatsoever, with drafting of various applications thrown in between. Ankit felt that the career trajectory he had imagined for himself was headed nowhere, considering the clerical level of the assignments he was receiving. Ankit’s frustration reached a new peak when he noticed that the other associate was being bombarded with work related to corporate and commercial law. To make matters worse, Ankit had helped Satish with some of these tasks and could clearly gauge that he was more adept at handling the issues that his colleague was struggling with. Ankit felt he was being sidelined on purpose and, for some reason that he did not understand, he was never allotted the kind of work he wanted to do and was capable of delivering with excellent results. To address these issues, he decided he would have to speak to his boss, Mitali. An opportunity presented itself just two days later, when Ankit received his first month’s wages. ANOTHER SETBACK Four weeks after joining Mehra, Jindal and Associates, Ankit received his first paycheque. Immediately, he noticed that he had not been paid at the rate Mitali had promised him. Deciding that he was not about to take this matter lightly, Ankit confronted his boss. Ankit: “Mitali, did you see this? I was not hired for this amount. It’s about 10,000 rupees short of what I’m owed.” Mitali [calmly]: “I know. You get paid for what you do. Right now, you have not been doing any drafting; you have just been doing research work, so you are being paid for that.” Ankit [raising his voice]: “What? Is this my fault? You are the one who is not assigning proper work to me. I can’t just snatch work from you. I was promised better work and pay here. This is just not fair.” Mitali: “You want to change that tone? You know how things have been lately. One of our associates has gone on a maternity leave, and we need to fill the gap there. How was I supposed to know that she would have some complications and would have to leave this early? Besides, Satish has been helping me with drafting matters related to our client companies. Now please go. I have a busy day tomorrow. We will talk later, or you can have a word with the accounts section if you have any further questions.” Ankit: “Mitali, I have worked with Satish, and I think I can handle his workload better than he can. If it’s possible, Satish can be given litigation and I can take over or at least contribute to the work that’s being assigned to him.” Mitali: “Ankit, I know how to allot work. The last thing I need is advice from you on how to do this.” Ankit left, feeling hurt and cheated. STANDOFF The following month, the nature of work allotted to Ankit did not change, and as a result, he slowly lost interest in his work. When he felt he could no longer hide his disappointment, he looked for opportunities to have another talk with Mitali. He carefully planned out this conversation, as he felt that the last one had not ended well. To arrange an opportunity to speak with his boss, Ankit once again prepared a note on a query sent to him by Mitali, but this time instead of mailing it, he went straight to Mitali’s office to hand it to her in person. Ankit: “Mitali, this is the note you had asked for.” Mitali: “Hmmm . . . . OK. You could have e-mailed me. Why did you come all the way?” Ankit: “I wanted to have a word with you.” Mitali [looking irritated]: “Not now, Ankit. Don’t you see that I am busy? This petition has to be filed within two days, and there’s a lot to do.” Ankit: “Mitali, this is important to me, and as my boss, you ought to know this. Look, I don’t want to complain, but I signed on to learn corporate work, company law, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, and mergers and acquisitions. This was precisely the reason I joined your team — not to research random topics related to civil and criminal law.” Mitali: “I understand that, but I think I have given you the reason for your workload right now. OK, let me tell this to you once again: You know very well that one of the associates is on maternity leave. She was the one handling a major portion of our litigation. Now that she is not here, it’s obvious that I have to allot her work to someone, and that someone is you. So stop complaining about small things and focus on the larger issues of the firm.” Ankit: “Mitali, I don’t know why you are not trying to understand how important this is to me. I have no reservations in doing the work you assign me, but at least include me in corporate transactions as well. I am willing to learn, and if you don’t find my performance satisfactory, you can always tell me that. It’s not like I will take offence. Plus you are giving all this work to the other associate.” Mitali: “Ankit, I know what I am doing and I do see how people work. We at this firm do not appreciate this attitude of yours, and I don’t like my decisions being questioned. I will see what can be done. Now, if you will excuse me. Some of us have better things to do than just cry over small things.” Ankit did not like the way the conversation ended. He was angry and hurt that Mitali did not even bother to hear him out on an issue that was so important to him. He rushed out of the room muttering, “I hate her.” NEW WORK FOR ANKIT After his talk with Mitali, Ankit began to get some corporate work. The conversation seemed to have had an effect, and Ankit thought he had learned how to manage his boss. He was excited that he was finally getting the kind of work he was interested in. Days passed by, and Ankit’s enthusiasm began to fade. Although he was allotted some work on corporate law, it was limited to queries and research on some provisions in India’s Bare Acts or looking up websites for judgments passed by various courts. Ankit began to wonder whether Mitali had something against him. He thought he was being targeted and that Mitali was deliberately trying to frustrate him. THE SECOND PAYCHEQUE During the first week of April, Ankit waited eagerly for his second paycheque. He was looking forward to moving into his rented apartment with the full salary in his bank account. But the second cheque also came as a shock to him: it was still less than what had been promised. Ankit was extremely angry and confused as to why the promised salary was not credited to his account, despite the fact that, during his second month with the firm, he had done some work in the areas of corporate law, litigation and taxation, which should have been higher-paying tasks. He decided to confront Mitali once again, but this time, he barged into her office. Ankit [angrily]: “What is this, Mitali? You of all people should know that I have been working on corporate law, litigation and taxation. I thought you said that, at this place, we get paid for what we do. How come I am still not being paid what was promised to me? Mitali: “Ankit, you ought to think twice before rushing into my office like this. Now just listen: I almost forgot to tell you that Shikha had asked me to inform you that since you are doing more queries and research work than corporate drafting, we will pay you this salary, at least for the time period when you are temporary here.” Ankit [yelling]: “Temporary? When did I become temporary? This was not even mentioned in my offer letter. What is this? And regarding the work I am doing, it was never my choice to do litigation. In fact, I remember having a discussion with you on that subject — twice! Plus, I am doing both litigation and corporate. What . . .” Mitali [interrupting]: “You are not permanent until we review your work at the end of six months. Concerning the kind of work allotted to you, I don’t want to bring it up for discussion right now. Also, being so demanding and fussy about your work at the beginning of your career is going to restrict your opportunities. Law is diverse. You should be more open to variety. It’s a great learning process. Most importantly, I can discuss your salary with Shikha only when she comes back from London. I will discuss the details with you then. As for now, go to your desk and do your work.” Ankit did not know what to say. He felt shocked at his boss’s indifference, and he left the office feeling cornered and shattered. Later that day, he vented about his feelings to other associates. He wanted to quit but he had no other choice at the moment; he had to stay on. Moreover, finding a job at another reputable firm in a new city would be extremely challenging. His colleagues seemed empathetic and recommended that he should speak to Shikha upon her return from London. After all, it was her firm. They also reminded him of the large bonus that the firm gave to its deserving employees. MEETING WITH SHIKHA The tension between Ankit and Mitali slowly worsened. Ankit began to avoid meeting with his boss in person. For her part, Mitali did not even seem to notice his absence during the few instances of informal get- togethers that were planned as an office ritual. Ankit felt that he was being deliberately sidelined and was convinced that Mitali had something against him. He waited eagerly to meet Shikha to discuss Mitali’s unfair treatment. He was also curious to know whether the firm considered him worthy of a bonus. Ankit got his chance to meet with Shikha at the end of April, when she arrived at her office late on a Friday evening, after most of the staff had already left after a hectic day. He rehearsed his written notes and went to Shikha’s office to discuss his concerns. Although Shikha did not say much, she listened patiently to what he had to say. She thanked him for sharing his opinions and promised to look into the matter. Ankit felt hopeful and waited for better treatment from Mitali. THE FINAL INCIDENT On the first Monday morning in May, Ankit arrived at his work station and, as was his habit, he checked his e-mails to find out his work assignments for the upcoming week. He was shocked to see that no work had been assigned to him for the entire week. Also, he noticed that the brief he was already working on had been given to some other associate. What did all of this mean? Were they firing him? Was it related to his meeting with Shikha? Was it a vengeance-seeking tactic by Mitali? He decided that this situation had to end soon. Confused and angry, he went straight to Mitali’s office. Ankit: “Just tell me that you want me to leave. Why play games like this?” Mitali [looking confused and standing up]: “What? Why are you shouting? I don’t know what you think has happened, but crashing in here like that does nothing but offend me! Do you even know how to make a point? What are you talking about?” Ankit: “You know very well what I’m talking about! You prepared this work schedule and purposely failed to allot any work to me this week. Even the brief I was assigned has now been given to someone else without anyone even bothering to inform me. You cannot just make choices about my work without involving me at all. I know you don’t like me, but do you call this professionalism? I wonder how many people would like to be associated with such a firm if this is what you offer your employees!” Mitali: “You know what? I am tired of giving you explanations. You’d better watch your own behaviour when you call others unprofessional! Besides, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I did not take away your workload, and I don’t have to like you to work with you. I guess this has to do something with your meeting with Shikha. Why don’t you just go and talk to her directly instead of yelling at me?” At that moment, Shikha walked in with some files in her hand. She was surprised to witness the tension between her two staff members. Ankit: “Shikha, this is what I was talking about the other day. Mitali has something against me. Now she is clearly threatening me. She has not assigned me any work at all during this week.” Shikha: “Ankit, Mitali and I have some work to do together, and it is kind of urgent. I am sure you will become a valuable member of this firm. I think there must be some mistake, but it will be rectified. I will get back to you later on this matter.” Ankit could not believe Shikha, and he felt exasperated and irked by her response. He muttered: “You are right, Shikha: there has been a mistake! Perhaps my coming here to work in the first place was a mistake.” Ankit walked out the door. Crestfallen, he wondered what was going on. Was Shikha a part of it? Did she not see how his law career had come to a standstill in this firm? WHAT NEXT? A week went by, and Ankit was allotted work. A new work schedule was sent to him, and he received an apology from Mitali’s office assistant, who advised that it had been her error that resulted in leaving out Ankit’s name from the weekly e-mail list of assignments. According to the new work schedule, his previous work had been restored to Ankit, and he was asked to stay at the firm with a promise that he would be considered for the bonus. He was also assured that more corporate work would be given to him as soon as the associate who had gone on maternity leave returned to the office. In spite of these amends, Ankit remained perplexed at the recent turn of events, and he did not know whether he should give credence to this new information. Recent incidents had left him bitter and uncertain. Mitali did not talk to him personally on any subject, which was awkward since she was his immediate superior. When they encountered each other, she ignored him at all costs, limiting their communication to professional e-mails with a copy sent to Shikha at all times. Ankit did not like the way things stood, and he contemplated leaving Mehra, Jindal, and Associates. On the one hand, he knew that work experience at a well-known firm would provide him with significant benefits in the future. Additionally, he wanted the bonus. Furthermore, consultation with his friends at New Delhi seemed to suggest that the pay at this firm was much better than in many other firms. But he detested the tension at his new workplace, and he wondered whether it was even possible for things to change. Expert Answer