The road to hell: a case analysis

John Baker had been promoted to a production manager of Keso Mining Corporation which had been announced a month before and now he was making his final preparations to leave the island. Everything had been tidied up except the lastinterviewwith his successor, the able young Barracanian, Matthew Rennals. As the successor to the post he was abdicating he wanted to ensure that Rennals would do the same thing he and his ancestors had done in the company for two or three hundred years. However, Baker sensed a problem on how Rennals interacted with the employees and he wanted to settle this down once and for all before he would finally relinquish his post.

Matthew Rennals as the successor was one of the brightest Barracanian prospects in the staff of Carribean Bauxite. He had taken first-class honors in the B. Sc. Engineering Degree in London University. Added to this fact was he was being the son of the Minister ofFinanceand Economic Planning, thus, making his political connections indubitable.

In his dealings with other employees in the company, he had seemed to lose his temper and manifested rudeness particularly to Europeans in various situations. These small problems that revolved around the company were thought to be caused by Rennals racial prejudice which Baker thought to be the central issue why he was acting this way. The main issue therefore in this case is that it’s Rennals racial consciousness that instigated his misbehavior in dealing with the employees which can be further proven from the article that states, “ His four years at London University had accentuated this feeling and made him sensitive to any sign of condescension on the part of expatriates”. (Gareth Evans, “ The Road to Hell”. Intercollegiate Case Clearing House. Boston.)

The article supported this assumption by saying that Rennals in order to give expression to this sentiment as soon as he returned home from London threw himself into politics on behalf of the United Action party who were later to win the preindependence elections and provide the country with its first Prime Minister. Racial consciousness as the main issue in this article was rightly supported by objective evidence and Rennals’ actual actuations. It can be assumed therefore that Rennals had been being rude to European employees in the hope of manifesting his feelings of condescension and perhaps get rid of European employees in the company.

Baker attempted to settle this problem by presenting the “ plus and minus” method in order to encourage and inspire the employee to improve. The good thing is that employees would be able to take criticism in a constructive and helpful way. However, this method will not always work considering the different personal perceptions of the individuals. Another technique is to conduct a personnel evaluation which every employee can evaluate the positive and negative traits of the person to be promoted. Nevertheless, this method may append to the racial consciousness of everybody working in the company but would make the evaluation truthful and direct. The last alternative perhaps is to expose the employee to a more diversified workingenvironmentbefore promoting him to a higher position. This will enhance cooperation and familiarity of the other races’ ways of doing things. However, this may not be totally effective but somehow helps in any way.

Given all the alternatives mentioned, it can be recommended that exposition to a diversified working environment is the best way to ease up racial consciousness and condescension especially for neophytes. Letting them work in an environment that requires cooperation and unity can be of tremendous help to lessen racial prejudice if not to totally eradicate it from the person. This can easily be implemented by assigning the person to a department in which he has to work in a diversified environment.


Evans, Gareth. The Road to Hell. Intercollegiate Case Clearing House. Boston.