First be clear what do you want to ask?
Go through the case thoroughly.
I think you might be known about what is Performance Appraisal.
Then assert the sittuation and think how you would react to all the questions which are mentioned on the end of the case.
The compilation of all becomes the answer of this Case Study?
26th February 2010 From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
3rd March 2010 From India, Bhopal
What one needs to understand here is that the behaviour demonstrated by Henry is reinforced year after year as no one questions - the employees don't question because of fear, and the peers/Hr turns a blind eye as they feel they have one department less to worry about. And typically, anyone who questions becomes an example for others to see so that they don't dare repeat.
Now, what should James do. This requires diplomacy and stealth. People like Henry will listen to people whom they feel are on their side and take their advice. At this moment, James has no option but to accept the appraisal. However, he should ask for a private audience with Henry to ask for his advice for the next year. He needs to use this opportunity to ask him as to what henry expects from him and where does he think he fell short this year.( this serves 2 purposes, it makes Henry feel that this guy looks up to him & 2, gives a chance to tell Henry what all he did in the current year). Thus without opposing or objecting, James gets to showcase his performance. This needs to be followed up with regular updates to Henry on pretext of taking his advice. Remember, this is not sycophancy, it is only a way around to gain confidence of someone who perceives every young guy to be oversmart & a threat. James needs to deliver on his tasks at the same time so that he can justify his role.
Q2: on the face of it, Henry's attitude comes as a shock, like it came to James. But we also see that his other team members seem to accept this behaviour as they have already gone through it. Unfortunately, this is how it works. After the initial shock, employees reconcile with the situation and carry on as if this is normal. A lot of time and effort then is spent on creating the right perception rather than in delivering on expectations.
Q3. People like Henry ( a legend as it says) become untouchable in the organisations. With passive encouragement from Management, they grow very strong. Hence, Unless the Hr manager has equal or higher authority,such situations cannot be handled. They will only lead to clash between two seniors and then take the shape of an ego issue. The best way for an HR manager to do this, is to institute a formal appraisal system which is process driven with specific milestones. There should also be a review system wherein every appraising person has his superior as the reviewer. Every effort should be made to keep the system transparent ( at least on the process side). This will put pressure on Henry to follow or to stand out as an non-compliant exception.
3rd March 2010 From India, Mumbai