Blog Post Week 3


  • Jack is an American student working on a social venture in Kenya for 5 months
  • International donor organization donated gifts
  • Jack lives and interacts with kids at the youth center
  • Jack works with the staff at the youth center
  • Jack handed out gifts
  • Kids thought Jack provided the gifts
  • Jack was thanked for the gifts
  • 4 Children did not get gifts
  • Those 4 children got black hats unceremoniously 
  • Staff does not think there is an issue
  • Kids are resentful of Jack
  • Jack wants a good relationship with the kids and the staff
  • Staff thinks Jack is creating a problem out of nothing
  • Staff is worried Jack will act out of line

Problem: Jack wants to make a good impression on the children and the staff, but is in an uncomfortable situation as he is being blamed by 4 children for not giving them gifts and the staff refuses to address the issue. Depending on how Jack decides to respond to the situation could jeopardize his relations with the staff and/or children.


  • Jack: 
    • Jack’s personal motivations are primarily to formulate good relationships with the staff and the children that he will be working with over the next few months.
    • In the same way, this leads into Jack’s professional motivations because he is going to be working there for a fairly long time and an unhealthy relationship with either group would make his time unproductive and difficult.
  • Kids: 
    • The only motivations for the kids is to feel included. All the other kids received gifts and the four that did not want to feel like Jack cares about them. They do not have any professional motivations.
  • Staff:  
    • Professionally, the staff is trying to run their youth-center smoothly and focus on some of their more important initiatives than giving small gifts. They want to be respected by other organizations and visiting volunteers, like Jack. In this situation the staff do not have any personal motivations.


  • Do nothing.
    • By doing nothing, Jack is saving face with the staff and not treating the problem as a more serious problem than it is.
    • The pros of doing nothing are that the staff will not see Jack as being a “child’s rights activist”. This will be beneficial for Jack for the duration of his time spent in country, but also when he travels back to his university.
    • The main con of this solution is that he does not do anything to make the kids feel better. They still feel like they were shorted in the situation. In reality, this does not have a huge effect on his work in Kenya. The four kids may hold a grudge, but the other children at the youth-center have no resentment towards him. Additionally, over the course of the next 5 months, Jack will have the chance to improve his relationship with these four kids. If he is able to improve this relationship, he will be more productive in his venture long-term.
  • Jack wears a black hat
    • The case study states that the children were upset about receiving the four black hats. By wearing a black hat, Jack is making it seem cool and the kids will be excited to follow him.
    • The pros of wearing a black hat are that it avoids any awkward conversations and saves face with both the kids and the staff and is very easy to carry out. The kids will feel special that they get to wear something similar to Jack. Therefore, the short-term and long-term relationships with the kids and the staff are both strong creating the perfect environment for a successful venture.
    • The only main con of this solution is that it revolves around the idea that the kids find Jack cool and look up to him.
  • Buys gifts himself and gives them to the children ceremoniously
    • This solution would give Jack the best peace of mind, since he would be making the kids feel better.
    • The pros of this solution are that the children get normal gifts and feel just as important as the other children.
    • The cons to this solution are that the staff will be unhappy with Jack because he made a big deal out of something that they considered trivial. Additionally, this could cause the kids to feel even more singled out and thus uncomfortable.
    • This solution improves the short term and long term relationship with the kids and would benefit his venture if he is able to maintain this strong relationship with the kids.
    • However, this has the potential to seriously damage Jack’s short term and long term relationship with the staff. They will most likely not appreciate his gestures and may be difficult to work with in the future. Thus, the venture will suffer while he is in Kenya and when he returns.
  • After talking with my peers, most of us believe that for the good of Jack’s venture, which requires good relationships, it would be best not to do anything that brings a lot of attention to Jack and not overcompensate for a mistake that Jack didn’t even make.
  • In my opinion, the best solution to this issue is for Jack to wear the black hat. In my experience in SL, coming from America most people were super fascinated by us and would often run over to us/reach for our hands/call out to us/etc. I think by wearing the black hat, the children will think they are “cool” wearing the same thing as Jack. This creates a strong relationship with the kids, but also with the staff. He would be saving face with all of the stakeholders, which is important! The other solutions risk harming relationships with one of the stakeholders. This solution does not make a big deal out of the situation and therefore pleases the staff. These positive relationships will be vital to the success of Jack’s venture, which is the reason he is in Kenya.
  • This is a very easy solution and there are not very many steps to see it through. All Jack has to do is buy a black hat similar to those he gave to the four children and consistently wear it over the course of the next 5 months. In this situation, it is best for Jack to do as little as possible to be respectful to the staff and not single out any of the children.

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