How Close Is Too Close?


  • Heike Schinnenburg University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück
  • Marlene Walk Indiana Universit-Purdue University Indianapolis



mission achievement, leadership, nonprofit management, role conflict, HR policies, overengaged employees, workplace violence


Mariam, the director of Multiple Sclerosis Ambulant Care Center (MSAC), discovers that Alex, one of the social workers, continues to visit a former client, presumably during his work hours and therefore violating the rules of MSAC. Diverging perspectives of nurses and social workers about the situation have led to conflicts in the last months. Mariam has to decide what to do while being consistent with the mission and culture of the nonprofit organization. This case study is targeted at graduate students in programs such as social work, public health, health management, and nonprofit management. Students gain (1) a deeper understanding of the interaction between members of different professions and potential role conflicts in an interdisciplinary work setting and (2) leadership insights through weighing potential avenues for executive action. Instructors can use this case in conjunction with discussions of HR management, organizational behavior, leadership, and employee relations.Subscribe to JNEL





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