Budget Reorganization in the Urbanopolis Human Resources Department

Abstract

This case places the student in the role of Pat Alvarez, the Director of Human Resources for a large city. During a harsh budget year, he or she must prepare a city-wide reduction-in-force policy that will apply also to the human resources department itself. Finally, the director will prepare a budget for his or her department taking into account numerous competing demands. This case is unique in that the emphasis on budgeting occurs at the departmental/agency level rather than at a wider jurisdictional level.

This decision-making process is contextualized by a database of information that includes performance appraisal, compensation, demographic, and personal information about the workforce of the human resources department. The director must sift through this data to identify relevant information. The goal here is for the student to realize that budgetary preparation is not merely a quantitative exercise but has real ethical human consequences. The case is designed to take place in "real time", that is, a typical semester closely approximates that part of the budget cycle when these types of activities intensify.

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