1) Your company has been a major employer
in the community for years, but shifts in the global marketplace have forced
some changes in the company’s long-term direction. In fact, the company plans
to reduce local staffing by as much as 50 percent over the next 5 to 10 years,
starting with a small layoff next month. The size and timing of future layoffs
have not been decided, although there is little doubt that more layoffs will
happen at some point. In the first draft of a letter aimed at community
leaders, you write, “this first layoff is part of a continuing series of staff
reductions anticipated over the next several years.” However, your boss is
concerned about the vagueness and negative tone of the language and asks you to
rewrite that sentence to read, “this layoff is part of the company’s ongoing
efforts to continually align its resources with global market conditions.” Do
you think this suggested wording is ethical, given the company’s economic
influence in the community? Explain your reasoning.
2) Compare the home pages of Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.com) and MarketWatch (www.marketwatch.com), two websites that cover financial markets.
What are your first impressions of these two sites? How do their overall
designs compare in terms of information delivery and overall user experience?
Choose three pieces of information that a visitor to these sites would be
likely to look for, such as a current stock price, news from international markets,
and commentary from market experts. Which site makes it easier to find this
information? Why? Present your information in a clear, organized manner.
3) Pick a company in any industry that
interests you. Imagine you are doing strategic planning for this firm, and
identify one of your company’s key competitors. (Hint: You can use the free
listings onwww.hoovers.com to find several top competitors for
most medium and large companies in the United States; click on the Competition
tab.) Now search through social media sources to find three strategically
relevant pieces of information about this competitor, such as the hiring of a
new executive, the launch of a major new product, or a significant problem of
some kind. Please share your results, and make sure to identify the information
you found and the sources you used.
4) Your company markets a line of
automotive accessories for people who like to “tune” their cars for maximum
performance. A customer has just written a furious email, claiming that a
supercharger he purchased from your website didn’t deliver the extra engine
power he expected. Your company has a standard refund process to handle
situations such as this, and you have the information you need to inform the
customer about that. You also have information that could help the customer
find a more compatible supercharger from one of your competitors, but the
customer’s email message is so abusive that you don’t feel obligated to help.
Is this an appropriate response? Why or why not?
5) An employee concierge seemed like a
great idea when you added it as an employee benefit last year. The concierge
handles a wide variety of personal chores for employees, everything from
dropping off dry cleaning to ordering event tickets to sending flowers.
Employees love the service, and you know that the time they save can be devoted
to work or family activities. Unfortunately, profits are way down, and
concierge usage is up—up so far that you’ll need to add a second concierge to keep
up with the demand. As painful as it is for everyone, you decide that the
company needs to stop offering the service. Script (write out) a brief podcast,
announcing the decision and explaining why it was necessary. Make up any
details that you need. Please note: this message will be delivered verbally,
not in writing, so consider this when scripting the announcement.