Teaching Case - USDA's Civil Rights Reform (Part 1): Defining the Challenge

USDA's Civil Rights Reform (Part 1): Defining the Challenge


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  • Product Description

    This pair of cases combines description (Part 1) of the political management of a festering issue at the sprawling U.S. Department of Agriculture, with description (Part 2) of specific steps designed to promote and institutionalize organizational change. The focus of the case is the challenge confronted by Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, former 10-term member of Congress from Kansas, when the Department is challenged by two African-American groups who convincingly assert that they have been victims of historic injustice perpetrated by USDA. Black farmers from the Deep South describe--and are treated sympathetically in the press--the denial of loans and other forms of assistance by white-dominated USDA county boards. Black USDA employees claim, too, a history of discrimination--in promotion and other decisions. Glickman, faced with these specific and well-publicized accusations, decides not merely to investigate the charges themselves but to initiate a far-reaching "civil rights action team" across the department, with its more than 100,000 employees.

    Learning Objective:
    The case allows for both discussion of Glickman's political management and for critique of the change prescriptions offered by both the civil rights action team and the civil rights implementation team.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: June 01, 1998
    HKS Case Number: 1435.0
    Case Author: Kirsten Lundberg
    Faculty Lead: Philip Heymann
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 19
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: US & Canada
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