CASE LENS ON BEING FRIENDLY AND HELPFUL IN THE BACKDROP OF HOLLYWOOD MOVIE, BRIDGE OF SPIES
This Case Lens on Being Friendly and Helpful is prepared to sensitize the students to an important attribute of ‘being friendly and helpful’. Bridge of Spies, a Hollywood blockbuster based on a true story set in the backdrop of the Cold War, demonstrates what it takes to be ‘truly friendly and helpful’. The protagonist of the movie (played by Tom Hanks), James Donovan (Donovan), was an American lawyer recruited to defend a Russian spy, Rudolf Abel (Abel). Though many news paper headlines pilloried him as the most-hated lawyer in America, he stood by his decision and helped the Russian Spy. In the process of exchanging Abel for Gary Powers (Powers), he also negotiated for the exchange of another prisoner, Frederic Pryor (Pryor). Was he right in his decision to defend the Russian Spy? Why was Donovan firm on helping Pryor though he never knew him personally? Was it worth the effort?
The students/participants need to mandatorily watch the movie Bridge of Spies, honoring all the expected IPR issues. The temptation of either exhibiting the movie in the classroom or the students/participants downloading the movie from any hosting sites should be desisted lest we set unwarranted precedents in violating mandatory IPRs.
This Case Lens (The video introducing this Case Lens and the accompanying 5 questions) can be orchestrated in the classroom in the following suggested flow:
1. Asking the students/participants to view the movie 2-3 days before the classroom discussion.
2. Playing/exhibiting the Case Lens video in the classroom.
3. Ideally, faculty/facilitator should analyze the first question and the remaining four questions should be analyzed by the participants/students. The class should be divided into 4 Learning Teams and ask them to prepare for all the 4 questions. After giving them about 15 minutes, the classroom discussion/analysis should be attempted. This can happen either by asking one of the teams randomly to present their analysis or each team should be allowed to lead a discussion for each of the questions.
4. Each question would take varying times (the suggested timings are given in Exhibit (TN)-I) and it is highly recommended that the last 5 minutes should be spent on debriefing and synthesizing. The debriefing segment should be used to synthesize the expected learning outcomes of this Case Lens.
Case Lens Positioning
This case lens, as a pedagogical tool, can be used in either of the following:
- • MBA Programs – Organizational Behavior course – Career Management module – To understand the importance of ‘being friendly and helpful’ in an organizational context
- • Executive Development Programs/MDPs – To sensitize the participants to the importance of the attributional trait, ‘being friendly and helpful’, in their successful career pursuits
Expected Learning Outcomes
At the end of this Case Lens discussion/analysis, each of the participants/students should be able to:
- • Understand the importance of ‘being friendly and helpful’ in an organizational context and discuss on the motives behind people ‘being helpful’
- • Discuss and debate on why Donovan risked his life and his family in helping Abel
Preamble to the Case Lens Discussion
The purpose of this Case Lens is to understand the importance of attributional trait, ‘being friendly and helpful’, in one’s personal lives as well as professional careers. Assuming that the students/participants would have watched the movie before the classroom discussion, this Case Lens poses a series of questions which enable an understanding of friendly and helpful traits demonstrated by Donovan in the movie at various instances................