Elsa Blix (A): A Freezing Reception

Published 02 Aug 2023
Reference 6091
Region Europe
Length 9 page(s)
Language English

Elsa Blix, (fictitious), a political appointee in the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Sweden, tackles two undersecretary positions. In the first (Case A), she is ignored and has to carve out her own remit in order to make a legitimate contribution to Sweden's chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC). She chooses a subject well known to her and employs an egalitarian approach, taking on much of the work herself. In the second (Case B), she has a defined role, but repeatedly meets resistance from the permanent employees of the division. This time she has to find a way to bring them all on-side in order to deliver a massive amount of data within a tight deadline. The second case is set against the background of the Arctic Council which Sweden chaired from 2011 to 2013.

Teaching objectives

In the pursuit of 'getting things done', the objective is to teach the students that a position does not always translate into power. The case demonstrates various tactics that are suitable for two different challenging situations. In Case A, students learn how Blix gains legitimacy and gets things done by demonstrating effectiveness in a project chosen for the fact she can achieve it herself , playing to her strengths. In the second case, Blix has to proceed by influencing and leveraging support because she has no choice but to motivate the employees to deliver the work.

  • Personal Power
  • Leveraging Support
  • Overcoming Resistance
  • Getting things done
  • Influencing Tactics
  • Formal Authority
  • Legitimacy
  • Accoutability
  • Q32023