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Should I Stay or Should I Go? Interpersonal Conflicts in Academia

Raymond Patrick, an untenured faculty member at Bay State University (BSU), felt that his relationship with Frank Burns, the School of Management’s Assistant Director, had reached the breaking point. Burns stoked open conflict in the department by making incendiary comments to his colleagues on a variety of issues. Patrick believed his record at BSU would lead to tenure and promotion, despite not holding a Ph.D. Yet, Patrick felt vulnerable due to the negative conflict and power imbalance Burns had concerning him and other untenured, non-Ph.D. faculty. Patrick’s anxiety and stress grew and he wondered what to do. Students are asked to analyze the conflict and power imbalance to resolve this conflict, restore collegiality, and help Patrick to decide whether to go or stay at BSU.