DUMB Case Study

Gin’s face grew serious. “As most of you now,” he said, his emotion neatly overcoming him, “about eight months ago my nine- Hear-old daughter, Nicole, was diagnosed with Batten disease. ” His listeners nodded sympathetically. Most of them could remember Nicole and her brothers riding their bikes around the office on training wheels. Going had taken ‘Lots of companies can do pays-De program “Going said. ‘We’re the only one with a welkin spokesperson “ho has the disease” Insole’s diagnosis very hard and had spent several months Morning from Rochester, New York, while she was undergoing experimental treatment.

It’s an inherited neurological disorder that affects two to four children out of every 100,000 born in the LIST each year” Going continued. “They start exhibiting symptoms between the ages of five and 10, and don’t make it past their early twenties. They go blind, become mentally impaired, and are afflicted with seizures…

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” His voice began to crack. After a moment, he said, “As you can see from our projections, we’re about to have the best year in our 23-year history. I’d like to divide the windfall between a new CAR program focused on Batten disease and employee bonuses.

The room was silent. Then one of the executives asked the question that Nas on everyone’s mind: “Just for clarification? by ‘divide between’ do you mean split equally? ” Gin’s eyes flicked toward the speaker. “To be blunt, which do you think is more important? Finding a cure for a devastating disease, or putting a little extra padding n someone’s wallet? ” Carolyn was shocked.

The company had not given raises in three years and in some cases and been torched to cut salaries, yet Going seemed to Ant to direct the bulk of the expected profits toward fighting for his daughter’s life.

She respected his fatherly feelings, but was this really a corporate responsibility? Make It Happen After the meeting, Going pulled Carolyn and Dotted Thompson, the marketing UP, aside. “So, what do you think? ” he asked. Tomb’s current CAR efforts focused on combating childhood obesity through its Ride for Life program, which sponsored races and all-day biking excursions for the city’s schoolchildren. The program had been so successful?both in raising employee morale and in creating positive public relations?that Dotted had been working for nearly a year to take the aerogram national.

Now she said, with clear hesitation in her voice, “1 think it’s great.

Of course we should support finding a cure for Batten disease. But does this mean the end of Ride for Life? ” Going seemed puzzled that Dotted didn’t get it. “This company’s CAR efforts have always been directed toward keeping kids healthy,” he said. “There’s nothing healthy about little kids going blind and dying. Ride for Life can be put on hold.

” “Insole’s picture has been on every girl’s bike we’ve ever sold,” he continued. “Lots of companies can do a pays-De program.

We’re the only one with ell-known spokesperson who has the disease. I want you two to work together to make this happen. ” Going looked at Carolyn.

“I’d like you to announce this at the production kick off meeting”?which was to be held at Gin’s farm in early July. With that, he fumed and left them standing in the doorway of the now-empty conference room. Carolyn could feel a pit forming in her stomach. The Chief Evangelist Over the next two days Carolyn spoke informally with employees at different levels of the company.

Everyone felt for Going, but they were already burned out.

The upcoming reduction schedule was aggressive, and, as one employee said, “Putting the whole company through Gin’s personal struggle is not going to make him, his daughter, or the company any better. ” Going was known as someone who invested considerable personal and financial resources in a variety of social and environmental causes; he acted as “chief evangelist” for each new one that caught his fancy. Some employees found him inspiring and relied on him for information about the next “hot” issue.

Others played along, having found that the easiest: way to get face time with him for equines purposes was to feign interest in his cause du Sour. Whatever their motivations, many employees had contributed time and money to Gin’s crusades.

“hen Carolyn Joined the company, four years earlier, Jim Minter, the SCOFF, had told her, “Going is more ‘intuitive’ than ‘structured,’ and he tends to shoot from the hip. He expects the analytical types around him to worry about the details. But DUMB is a family-if you take care of business; Going will take care of you. He and Going were old high school buddies, and he had left his Job as a Wall Street financial analyst to Join his friend’s entire.

Carolyn hoped that even though the two were close, Jim would be willing to listen to her concerns about this shift in direction.

Family or Big Brother? She caught up with Jim as he was heading back to his office and followed him in. Surprisingly, he seemed to know exactly what was on her mind. “I’m worried, too,” he began. “We’re going to have to present this change in the annual report and at the shareholder meeting?but I guess Going can finesse those things. DUMB allowed employees up to 20 hours to paid work time each year to volunteer Witt a program associated Witt its CAR efforts, and it matched all employee financial contributions to those causes. It also highlighted corporate social responsibility in its annual report.

These policies had kept DUMB in the ranks of “most admired” companies, which made the shareholders happy. “What worries me more,” Jim said, “is that Going has started to cancel or walk out of meetings to talk on the phone with families of other children Ninth Batten disease, or anyone who might have some information relating to the disease or a treatment.

We can’t get anything done. ” “So you’ll talk to him? ” Carolyn asked, relief washing over her. “l can’t,” said Jim. “1 was at his wedding in Trinidad.

1 Nas there when Nicole and the boys were born. It would be like betraying a brother. ” Carolyn could understand loyalty, but this was ridiculous. “You’re the only one he’ll listen to” she said, “and you’re a major shareholder. Don’t you have an obligation to the company? The folks on the line are already feeling pressure with the ramp-up. Some of them have asked if ifs appropriate for Going to force the whole company to go on this painful Journey with him.

A couple of hourly employees even called him elfish for putting his family ahead of theirs. ” Jim anticipated Gin’s reply in a mock monotone: “The employees will get paid for the work they did to generate the profits, and I would have paid them the same amount even if their efforts were not as successful. In this case they get a bonus and we can give more to CAR. ” He continued, speaking in his own voice, “Also, companies like Cataracts and Sun Microsystems and lots of others support vast efforts aimed at water conservation, recycling, education, Nullified preservation, and so on.

They get awards and recognition for their CAR efforts, not all of which are directly related to their businesses. And I can tell you that universities regularly report?and some accrediting agencies count?the number of faculty and staff members who give money to the university.

So this isn’t way out of the mainstream. ” “But you know how it is around here,” Carolyn retorted. “Employees expect that Going will track who compiles-re, paretic-pates-for the annual report, and they’re afraid of the possible effect on evaluations and promotions. The company could start to feel like Big Brother rather than family.

Bottom line, they think Going is going to require everyone to contribute money or time to fight Batten disease, and that doesn’t seem right.

You need to speak to him. ” ‘I’m sorry, Carolyn, I Just can’t do it,” Jim replied. As Carolyn walked slowly out of his office, she thought back on the past four years. She was an experienced HER manager, having Joined DUMB from a Fortune 50 manufacturer. But because of Jim and Gin’s long history, she had been kept on the fringes of the inner circle. Without stronger alliances, she wasn’t willing to rock the boat.

But she was worried that Gin’s grief ND concern for his daughter had overshadowed his concern for the company. Discussion Points:l . 2. 3. Neat is role of stakeholders in influencing the decision making process? Has Going gone too far, and should Carolyn try to stop him? Is there an ethical dilemma? If so “ho are the persons facing this dilemma & what is the dilemma? Is there a personal Agenda for Going or is there really larger social objective or can his action be viewed as “Conflict of Interest”? Are the perceptions of Carolyn & others correct? Way out – now to tint an answer to this issue?