Brittany Faces Reality

One year ago, Brittany returned enthusiastically to the work force after 12 years of being a full- time homemaker and a part-time direct sales representative for beauty products. Brittany’s major motive for finding a full-time professional job was to work toward her career goal of becoming marketing manager in a medium- size or large company.

Sean Struggles to Get Started

Sean is the customer-service supervisor at an office-supply business located in Indianapolis. His boss Peg, the director of sales and marketing, assigned him the task of preparing an in- depth report as to why the firm has been steadily   losing   customers.   When   he   first received the assignment, Sean replied, “Give me a break, Peg. We’re

Coach Fred Zweiger

Fred Zweiger is a vice president and investment consultant at a large branch of a leading financial services firm. Zweiger’s main responsibility is managing the portfolios of clients with over$300,000 in assets. Reporting to Zweiger are two office assistants, and his administrative assistant Maria Mehani. Maria’s main responsibilities are taking care of administrative tasks in

“It Takes Me a Long Time to Get Here”

Mark works as a cost estimator for a commercial construction company in Denver, Colorado. He reports to Tanya, the manager of cost estimating. Tanya regards Mark as a satisfactory performer, but she disapproves strongly of his frequent tardiness. During a snowfall, Mark is often over 90 minutes late for work. One Thursday morning, Tanya sent

MySpace is Our Place

A case is brewing in federal court in New Jersey that pits bosses against two employees who were complaining about their workplace on an invite-only discussion group on The case tests whether a supervisor who managed to log into the forum—and then fired employees who bad-mouthed supervisors and customers there—had the right to do

The Adoring Bloggers

Kathy is the managing director of the Center City Athletic Club, a chain of twenty-six athletic clubs. Although the club is sufficient for generating a profit, Kathy and her management staff believe that the club could do better with the right type of advertising and publicity. Derek, the club director of marketing and sales, explained

How Far Can MyGofer Go?

Sears Holding Corporation was recently searching for ways to revitalize its Sears stores and Kmart stores. Among its objectives were finding fresh ways to sell Kenmore appliances and Craftsman tools in an age of smart phones and social networking sites. Many years ago, shoppers would place orders using the venerable Sears catalogue and then pick

Home Rehab Day at Tymco

Fifteen years ago, Maria Cortez was working as a freelance writer of technical manuals for a variety of companies. The manuals supported a number of products including household appliances, alarm systems, lawnmowers, and tractors. SoonCortez’s freelance activity became more than she could handle, so she subcontracted work to oneother freelancer, and then another, and then

Team Player Jessica

Jessica was happy to find a position as a scanning technician at a business process outsourcing company, Specialist Resource Inc. A major part of the Specialist’s business was con- verting paperwork related to human resourcemanagement into digital form. Clients would mail their forms, such as medical claims, to Specialist. Scanning technicians would then insert the

Do We Need This Blogger?

Genève Ltd. is a manufacturer of upscale clothing and accessories for men and women. The company is headquartered in New York and has worldwide distribution. Manufacturing is carried out in the United States, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, and most recently, China. Genève was founded in 1925 and has remained in business as an independent company. As

Justin Tries a Little Recognition

Justin is a super-franchiser for a large chain of soup-and-sandwich shops. He owns twelve shops in the same region, having invested $2 million to own these stores. Half of the investment in the stores came from inheritance and investments Justin had made prior to becoming a franchisor. The other half of the money was borrowed,

We Need More Engagement Around Here

Peggy Bates is the CEO of a regional HMO (health maintenance organization) with 25 local offices serving business and non-profit organizations. The competition for business has become more intense in recent years as organizations continue to look for ways to reduce costs for medical and dental insurance. A particular concern is that a given company

Is Julia Too Empowering?

Julia is the director of the municipal bond group of a financial services firm.  Julia has four managers reporting to her, each of whom supervises a unit of the group: retail sales, institutional sales, customer service, and internal administration. Laura, the branch director and company vice president, heard rumblings that the group was not receiving

Michelle Rhee Makes Waves in D.C.

Michelle Rhee took over responsibility for the 144 schools in Washington D.C. in June 2007, when Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed her Chancellor,DistrictofColumbia  Public Schools. Her appointment stunned people connected with the D.C. school system. Age 37 at the time, Rhee had no experience running a school. The challenge seemed overwhelming with 45,000 students who collectively

Performance Rankings at Portland Events Planners

Rob is the founder and owner of Portland Events Planners, a company that plans events for a wide variety of companies in and around the Portland area. The events include trade shows, product demonstrations, business conferences at hotels, and videoconferences.  A staff of five professionals performs the activitiesnecessary for selling the company’s services to businesses

The Corporate Culture Picnic

Matt Larson is the CEO of Exterior Light Inc. a company that manufactures and installs external lighting for municipalities, malls, and athletic stadiums. Working closely with Helen Ono, the vice president of administration and human resources, he organizes a company picnic every summer. The tradition has endured for 25 years. Four hundred of the company’s

Redesigning PepsiCo

Assume that you are asked to assist in the re- design of the organization structure at PepsiCo. Assume also that PepsiCo has the structure drawn below for its major products. PepsiCo Chairwoman and CEO Indra Nooyi presents one reason she would like to see a new organization structure: “We have some of the world’s strongest

The Sub Shop Blues

Serge runs a profitable chain of five rapid- service restaurants that sell submarine sandwiches, non-alcoholic beverages, and related snacks such as potato chips and pretzels. Customers either take out the sandwiches or eat them on the restaurant premises.  “Serge’s Subs” also caters to local businesses for luncheon parties and to homes for sports gathering. Asked

Just-In-Time Worries at the University of Utah Hospital

Like many big hospitals, the University of Utah Hospital carries a 30-day supply of drugs, in part because it would be too costly or wasteful to stockpile more. Some of its hepatitis vaccine supply has been diverted to the hurricane- ravaged Gulf, leaving it vulnerable should an outbreak occur closer to home. About 77 other

Retro Is Our Future

The management team at Bally Hoo Fashions was gathered in Puerto Rico for their annual February executive meeting. The sales for the previous year totaled $85 million, and net profits hit $11.2 million. Both figures were the highest in company history even after adjusting for inflation, putting CEO Julia and the rest of the team

Staples’ Invention Quest

Henry Ford. Thomas Alva Edison. Adrian Chernoff. Adrian Chernoff? Maybe Chernoff isn’t a household name like the first two inventors, but the 33-year-old Royal Oak, Michigan, man certainly shows potential. Chernoff’s claim to fame—a handy little office product calledRubber Bandits—started gracing the shelves of every Staples store in North America a few years ago. The

What to Do with All These False Emergency Patients?

During her twenty-minute rest break at 3 A.M., Sue Abrams, M.D., rolled her eyes when Ken Raskins, a hospital administrator, asked her how she was doing. “It’s real nice of you Ken, to drop by the emergency room to get a feel for what life is like in the trenches,” said Sue. “You know it.

What Should Dell Do Next?

Chris Conroy works at a publisher of scientific journals in Washington, D.C. He first logged on to Dell Inc.’s Web site to browse personal computer offerings online. His laptop was dying quickly and the 31-year-old figured buying a PC on the Internet and getting it shipped home would take too long. Conroy went to a

The Blue Ocean Strategy Team

A group of middle managers sat in a comfort- able conference room overlooking Lake Superior. All five were impressed by the technology in the room, the furniture, and the refreshments. At 8:30 A.M. the meeting began, and team leader Laura spoke first. “We all know why we are here. Baxter, our CEO, has fallen in

Is it Fair That Anyone Owns the Rights to

The Web site has no staff, spends no money on marketing its name, and offers no games. All it offers is a list of links to other game sites. Yet it earns revenue of more than $150,000 a year selling online ads. is just one of thousands of Web sites that are cashing

Flippant Jessica

Jessica, age 26, is a consumer loan associate at a large downtown branch of First Street Trust. Her expertise centres on processing loans for vehicles, boats, large home appliances, and furniture. Jessica hopes to soon be promoted to a loan officer and then perhaps a bank manager several years later. The loan applications she works

The Management Trainee Blues

Sara Fenton was excited about having been recruited into the restaurant manager training program at a national restaurant chain. As an assistant manager to Johnny Sanchez,  she would perform a variety of managerial duties at a busy restaurant in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. If she performed well in her responsibilities for two years, she would be

Big Hopes at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Long Horn Steakhouse

Clarence Otis, chairman and chief executive of Darden Restaurants Inc., sees better days ahead for an industry that took a beating during the Great Recession of the recent past. Otis, whose company owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Long Horn Steakhouse, and other casual- dining chains, expected the job losses that cut consumer spending to abate

Golden Agri Resources and Sustainability

Golden Agri Resources and Sustainability        Golden Agri Resources (GAR) has been in the forefront of this palm oil boom in Indonesia. Founded in 1996 by the influential Widjaja family (operators of the Sinar Mas business group), GAR became the holding company for the family’s agribusinesses, including its Indonesian subsidiary PT SMART.  The company has

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