In between teaching classes at SF State and while pregnant with her
second child, SF State professor Sally Baack dedicated her time to researching a legal
case that would become a tool for students taking her strategic management or
international business negotiations classes, as well as for business schools
around the globe.
Baack, an associate professor in the business department at SF State, will
receive the Curtis E. Tate Jr. award at the North American Case Research
Association's annual conference in Santa Cruz for her work, last year, in business research.
"The award recognizes the quality of the work and, for me, taking the time to do
the work and knowing that it is valued gives incentive to do research in the
future," said Baack. NACRA is a group of over 500 teachers, case writers and
researchers interested in publishing cases about large company practices.
Baack's paper, "Unauthorized Disclosure: Hewlett Packard's Secret Surveillance
of Directors and Journalists," presents the ethical responsibilities faced by
Hewlett Packard's board of directors and the company's practices in
surveillance. HP was experiencing an internal leak of confidential information
to the media, so the company hired investigators to find the source of the leak
but ended up with a lawsuit after using illegal methods to obtain information.
"Professor Baack is a highly respected teacher and case writer," said Prof.
Murray Silverman, management department chair and also a NACRA award recipient.
"SFSU College of Business faculty are recognized for their applied research, and
case writing is an important contribution to faculty and students."
Baack recalls reading through countless hours of congressional hearing documents
in order to uncover the use of a method called pretexting, which acquires the
identities of others by illegally accessing telephone records. Ultimately the
case study will display these practices to business students as a way of drawing
the lines of ethics in business.
"One of the classes I took with her featured a different Bay Area executive each
week, which provided absolutely phenomenal connections and networking on her
part," said Eric Quanstrom, a former student of Baack's and now vice president
of marketing and strategy at Sorenson Media. "The best part was the
no-holds-barred questions that Sally encouraged -- in both her own and the
students' preparation each week. Hands down, this was the best MBA class I took
Baack is currently taking a break from teaching and researching while she spends
time at home raising her 3-month-old daughter.
"Sally was a phenomenal instructor -- extremely well-prepared, knowledgeable and
able to go the extra mile to make all lessons 'real world' meaningful,"
Quanstrom said. "And Sally loves to laugh. Her enthusiasm for all that she does
is pretty infectious."