Baby Needs a New Crib
An on-line retailer that sells home and children’s items, such as children’s furniture, clothing, and toys, was seeking a way to reach a new audience and stop the declining sales and revenue trends it was suffering. A market research firm hired by the retailer identified a new but potentially risky market: lower-income single parents. The new market seemed attractive because of the large number of single parents, but most of these households were severely constrained in terms of their monetary resources.
The research firm proposed that the retailer offer a generous credit policy that would allow consumers to purchase up to $500 worth of merchandise on credit without a credit check, provided they signed up for direct payment of their credit account from a checking account. Because these were high-risk consumers, the credit accounts would carry extremely high interest rates. The research firm believed that even with losses, enough accounts would be paid off to make the venture extremely profitable for the on-line retailer.
Should the retailer pursue this new marketing strategy? Why or why not?
Learning Activity #2
NEWS RELEASE: Mar. 31, 2014. The makers of the popular web browser Firefox, is facing a media firestorm in protest of their recent promotion of Brendan Eich to CEO. Eich was an internal promotion for the company, having been CEO since 2005, but it’s Eich’s $1000 contribution to the 2008 anti-gay marriage “Proposition 8” that sparked the controversy. Mozilla, a nonprofit organization, is heavily committed to “keeping the web open” as well as to values of equality and inclusivity. In response to Eich’s promotion, a number of key employees and developer groups called for his resignation on Twitter and other social media sites. Eich responded in a personal blog post that he would continue Mozilla’s effort of “commitment to equality in everything we do.” Critics are largely unsatisfied by the response, demanding either a retraction and apology from Eich or his resignation. Complicating matters, three of Mozilla’s six board members resigned this week, citing their desire to hire an outsider with expertise in mobile computing.
Can a CEO have personal values that conflict with the values promoted by the organization and still be an effective ethical leader for the organization? (Focus on leadership qualities and factors rather than on the specific views expressed by the CEO.)