4 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
Several months into the relationship, Rivanna University asked its executive education client, OET, for permission to use the cases that had been developed for them in another executive education setting. OET refused to give Rivanna the permission it sought. The primary Rivanna University protagonist is now wondering what to do about the faculty's desire to use the cases they wrote for OET (and for which OET holds the copyright), and how to avoid this problem in the future. Class discussions will focus on client-relationship management, supply-chain management, sourcing, and searching for impasse-busting solutions. The issues embedded in this case pertain to raising and establishing a fully informed, mutually agreed upon set of understandings prior to the signing of a long-term vendor-client contract.
Tim Stanton, director of the Executive Education program at Rivanna University, slammed the phone down onto its cradle. He felt as if he would explode. He was so frustrated and furious he dropped to the floor and popped pushups until his arms burned and he could do no more. A former professional football player—who at age 53 still ran 25 miles a week and lifted weights every other day—Stanton used physical exertion as a release valve. How had he gotten into this conflict? Just a few short weeks ago, his professional relationship with Mary Hardesty, executive vice president of human resources at Overseas Educational Travel, Inc., (OET), had been going so well. In five short months, the Rivanna faculty team assigned to the OET program had identified and written six new case studies, based on publicly available information, for the OET program and delivered the inaugural program with great success. OET's Chief Executive Officer John Currie had helped open the inaugural offering of the program with a wholehearted endorsement of it and an assertion that it was a key part of his overall strategic vision for developing the next generation of OET leaders. Everyone involved felt a keen sense of accomplishment and looked forward to a long-running, productive relationship.
Rivanna had developed and delivered the first of two, two-week programs for OET managers from around the world that would recur several times a year for three years and eventually involve over 120 OET personnel. From Rivanna's perspective, the business with OET was projected to be worth over $ 2.1 million and it represented one of the largest executive education relationships Rivanna had with a single company. (Rivanna's executive education revenues last year totaled $ 14 million.) Because OET was a leader in its field, Rivanna also began discussing with OET the prospects of outsourcing to them the logistics pertaining to Rivanna's student exchange program. All in all, the Rivanna and OET relationship seemed to harbor many positives for all concerned.
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