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Workplace ostracism, complacency and career plateau – impediment in the career path of a dignified clerk

Santosh Basavaraj (School of Business and Management, Christ University, Bangalore, India)
Rekha Hitha Aranha (School of Business and Management, Christ University, Bangalore, India)

Publication date: 16 February 2021


Learning outcomes

The case study intends to depict the career plateau of an old committed and loyal employee of an organization. The deliberation on the case enables participants to understand the vitality of career planning for employees and organizations. The case helps to develop reflections on workplace ostracism, to arrive at the solutions to address the issues of career planning, to value the experience of the employee and give him a sense of satisfaction. Overall, to understand the importance of career planning for applying HR and OB concepts at the workplace.

Case overview/synopsis

It is an account of a real scenario in the automation industry, with slight modifications to hide the identity. The essence of the case study is when a loyal employee is branded as a “dignified clerk” and gets a feeling of ostracism. The employees’ makes the organization, terminations because of outdated skills shall be a debatable topic. However, such practices have a profound impact on the other employees who stays in the organization and affect their productivity level. Career adaptability helps to overcome termination issues; adaptability is a psychological process of assisting an individual in coping with the challenges of automation technologies (Zhang Wenguang et al., 2019), it is a process of showing concerns, providing controls, solving curiosity and developing confidence during the transition process. When technologies are implemented the employer needs to address specific challenges access to technology, access to information, provide required skills and competencies to use technology, integrate people, these challenges support the successful implementation of technology (Kettunen and Sampson Jr., 2019). Career planning is a joint effort of employee and employer that sets the development target and path; the process sets demands for both the parties; it places an irreplaceable role for individual growth and corporate strategy (Zhai Meng et al., 2018). The Findings are the frequent review of job analysis and career planning that are critical for the organization's success; if done inappropriately, it would make one's roles obsolete. The critical implications of this case are the essence of career planning and the upskilling of employees. The case is useful for teaching job analysis, career planning concepts. The story is original and explains the transition of an automation industry from labor to capital intensive. The transition to automation makes a loyal employee feel ostracized due to a lack of skill sets.

Complexity academic level

Post graduate students studying in business and management and working professional of human resources can use this case.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 6: Human resource management.



Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision-making. The authors may have disguised names; financial and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.


Basavaraj, S. and Aranha, R.H. (2021), "Workplace ostracism, complacency and career plateau – impediment in the career path of a dignified clerk", , Vol. 11 No. 1.



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