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Case 11. Fair Distribution of Workload


Dr. Joe White, chair at a liberal arts university, has many requests for faculty to serve on university committees, community boards and other academic organizations in addition to having to staff his own departmental committees. Most frequently, Dr. White turns to Michael Sanchez, an untenured member of the Department, to fill these service positions because he believes that a diverse view-point is valuable. Dr. Sanchez feels he has little choice but to agree for the good of the department. The consequence is that his research is suffering, he has been "double booked" for many activities, and he has been routinely canceling appointments at the last minute, or recorded as a "no show."  


  1. What are the responsibilities of sociologists to provide service to their work setting when they have unique skills or perspectives that are in high demand? Is this an ethical responsibility?
  2. What are the equity issues involved in being targeted for service committee work because of one's race/ethnicity or gender?
  3. What is the role of a Chair in setting a fair distribution of service responsibilities?

Reflect on the above questions and form your own answers before clicking the discussion key to review the commentary provided with this case.