Ethical case studies
Case study 1: Breach of Conduct
Martin has been enrolled in the postdoctoral research program in the company for the last one and a half years. He was assigned the main research laboratory and has since been working closely with Paul, Clifford, and Maryanne, technicians in the laboratory. The research Martin was working on is crucial to the company’s anticipated product launch, and there was a tremendous amount of pressure on Martin and his group to show results on the research project. In addition, the company had sunk a considerable amount of money into the development of the product and there was a high expectation on Martin to show returns on the investment made. Management was convinced that the project was theoretically well grounded and there ought to be a positive outcome from the research Martin was conducting. The company has a strict policy for its research scientists, especially for the junior scientists who are joining, where progression and retention within the company is linked to positive research outcomes. Due to financial constraints, the company has a relatively limited number of researchers working on projects, and sometimes it is not possible for an in-house re-assessment of research findings, especially in cases where projects are time-squeezed.
Details of situation
Quality assurance has been a challenge in the recent past, as the company has considerably cut its research and development budget in response to the hostile economic climate that has led to cash-flow problems. Researchers are expected to conduct their research under conditions of minimal oversight, and report findings without falsifying or fabricating data. The system largely depends on the integrity of the researchers and their assistants, presuming that they will observe best practices in their research and reporting of data findings. The company has not had any major incident of data falsification in the recent past, and hence the company sees the system as an efficient way of producing research at minimal cost. However, to safeguard the company’s reputation, products are sent to independent testers to give feedback on the performance before they can be released to the public.
Martin and his assistants were working on a software program developed by the company over the last two years, to be released within the year. They had to test the performance of the program under a number of conditions and report on the stability and effectiveness of the program under a number of conditions. There were concerns about the stability of the program when used over different platforms that delayed the release of the program, forcing the development team to rewrite the code in a bid to address the inherent weaknesses.
Martin was part of the development team and his research was to determine if the new changes in the program had addressed the observed weaknesses. Martin and his assistants produced a report showing that the program was stable and performed beyond expectation in all the parameters tested. The company generally does a considerable amount of in-house testing of its products before they are released to the public. The purpose of the testing is to ensure that products meet the industry specifications as well as perform to the advertised company specifications. The company generally has separate development and testing departments to avoid the possibility of conflict of interest in the testers. However, this arrangement has been under pressure in the recent past as the company reduced the number of active researchers in the payroll to cut down on operational costs. Consequently, it is not uncommon to have cases where the people involved in the development of a product also take part in the product’s testing.
The company forwarded the internal testing report and the program to independent industry testers before it could release the program to the public. However, at this stages number of problems became manifest. On testing the program independently, it was found that it performed below expectations in most of the parameters that Martin indicated otherwise. There was a considerable variance between the results obtained by the independent testers and those reported by Martin. It appeared that Martin based his data on the theoretical performance, rather than on the measured performance of the program.
Therefore, although his data was within the theoretical limits of performance, it did not reflect in the true performance of the program as tested in simulated working conditions. It is when the report of the independent testers was returned to the company that it became apparent that the data produced by Martin and the technicians he was working with was fabricated. The situation was detrimental to the reputation of the company because reports by independent industry testers are archived and can be accessed by any interested person easily. The large variance in company and independent test outcomes is especially bad as it paints the company in a bad light since, ideally, the outcomes should be similar when testing is professionally done.
Ethical basis for action
There is a clear conflict of interest in this case, considering that, Martin is involved in both the development and testing phases of the program, making his impartiality in the testing phase questionable. The work environment is also pressurized not only as regards to his career prospects within the company in the event of failure, but also in the need to produce a working program within the stipulated timeline. The lab technicians are also cognizant of the pressure and expectation on the project. Consequently, the motive for fabrication and falsification of data to meet the expectations is relatively high. However, the actions of Martin and the technicians raise a number of ethical issues. First, will it be fair to punish Martin considering that it is the company that placed him in a compromising situation by assigning him development and testing duties? Should the technicians, who are working under the direction of Martin, be punished? Despite the circumstances, can Martin and the technicians’ actions be defensible? Cognizant of these issues, Martin should be relieved of his duties because as the lead researcher, the fabrication of results has not only cast aspersions on his integrity but also put the company into disrepute. This decision is based on the deontological approach to utilitarianism, and Martin is punished for acting in a manner that contravenes the rules, and hence his actions can be judged to be ethically wrong (Secker, 47). The technician should be disciplined administratively for failing to report the malpractice in data reporting.
Case study 2: Accident in pilot plant
The company has been facing challenges in the manufacture of products due to the old manufacturing technology that it is using. This puts the company on a competitive disadvantage because its products tend to be more expensive, primarily due to the manufacturing inefficiency. In addition, the technology the company is using is not environmental friendly and the Green Revolution activists have been conducting a vociferous and visible campaign against the company on its pollution impact on the environment. There are threats to call for boycott of the company’s products, and the negative publicity that the company has been suffering is becoming injurious to the company’s image as well as earning potential. The CEO, Ms. Brown, directed that the company must take cognizance of the issues raised by the environmentalists and institute measures to ameliorate the damage caused not only to the environment, but also to the company’s image. Ms. Brown ordered one of her senior managers, Mr. Kraft, to expeditiously find a solution to the issues raised by the environmentalists. The proposed solution had to also address the inefficiencies inherent in the manufacturing process with a view to streamlining the process to make it more profitable to run.
Details of situation
After being assigned the task of addressing the issues raised by the Green Revolution and increasing the efficiency of the manufacturing process in the company, Mr. Kraft identified the adoption of a new synthetic reaction system as the solution that will adequately address the issues. The system will significantly cut down on the pollution effect of the manufacturing process while increasing the efficiency of the manufacturing process, making the company more profitable. After consulting Mr. Mokbel, the operations manager, Mr. Kraft decided that before the company could overhaul its manufacturing system, it could first establish a pilot plant. Kraft, Mokbel and Ms. Paula, the plant manager settled on the synthetic reaction system as the manufacturing process that could address all the problems that the company was experiencing. Consequently, a pilot plant using the synthetic reaction system was set up by Chamolia Corp, and Mr. Chambers was put in charge of the new plant, reporting directly to Kraft.
Mr. Chambers was to report to Kraft daily on the progress of the system, filing reports on the different parameters that were needed to determine the efficacy of the new system. The new pilot plant, in all appearance, worked optimally with peak output. There were no major problems reported on the synthetic reaction system and it seemed that the overhauled manufacturing system will use the synthetic reaction system. However, after around two months, an accident occurred in the pilot plant leading to the destruction of the pilot plant. A fire broke out during peak running of the plant leading to the destruction of the plant. Fortunately, no employee was seriously injured in the two pm blaze, and the cause of the fire is not very clear with employees present in the factory giving conflicting reports about the origin and cause of the fire. From the varied accounts of the fire collected from the employees, it appears the blaze originated from the core of machine before quickly spreading due to the flammable raw materials used in the manufacturing process. Following the fire, there was need to conduct an investigation to determine the likely cause of the fire and the suitability of the synthetic reaction system for adoption and use in the manufacturing process of the company.
When Kraft was requested to produce the daily progress reports filed by Mr. Chambers, he claimed that the daily progress reports had been used to make weekly progress reports and then destroyed. Data for the last three days leading to the accident is missing and Kraft claims that a weekly reporting schedule has been used instead of the daily schedule earlier anticipated. Chambers claims that the notes he had made for the weekly report has been destroyed by the fire, hence cannot be used for the investigation. The weekly reports in the possession of Kraft show that the pilot plants had been experiencing operational problems that were interfering with the efficiency of the system. The reports show that the pilot plant was showing structural integrity problems in addition to unpredictable changes in system core temperature. The reports imply that the accident is a force majeure, and the management is not in any way culpable for the accident.
Ethical basis for action
The information obtained from Kraft raises a number of issues that have to be considered when making ethical decisions. It is surprising that the problems that are well articulated in the reports are unknown to the CEO, considering that Kraft and his team had not raised any red flags on the synthetic reaction system. This raises serious concerns about the accuracy and integrity of the data presented by Kraft. For the company to be compensated for the accident there should be no suspicion of negligence from the employees. Using the consequentialist approach to ethics, it can be argued that Kraft may have acted unethically, although he had the right motives – minimizing damage to himself as well as the company (Louise, 67)
Cognizant of the likely consequences, it
is possible that the top managers were motivated to deliberately tamper with
the testing data to insulate themselves from censure. In addition, if the
report presented by Kraft is true, he is culpable for negligence, which may
have led to fatalities, for not acting on the observed weaknesses. Therefore,
Kraft and Chambers should be immediately suspended from the company to
facilitate a full and impartial investigation into the accident. It will be
unethical to summarily dismiss them because it is not certain that they
falsified the data. Using motive consequentialism, it is prudent to determine
the motives of the employees acts before determining whether they actions were
right or wrong (Hooker, 115). In addition, staff at the pilot plant should be
interviewed thoroughly to get a balanced picture of what might have happened.
The staff at the plant should only be punished, if after the investigation,
they are found to be culpable for the accident.
Hooker, Brad. Ideal Code, Real World: A Rule-Consequentialist Theory of Morality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (2000). Print.
Louise, Jennie . “Right Motive, Wrong Action: Direct Consequentialism and Evaluative Conflict.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 9.1, 65-85. (2006). Print.
Secker, Barbara. “The Appearance of Kant’s Deontology in Contemporary Kantianism: Concepts of Patient Autonomy in Bioethics.” The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 24.1, 43-66. (1999). Print.
Nivea Case Study
Describe the first “P” in the Marketing Mix, People. Who are the consumers and what is the nature of their demand?
People denote the knowledge, level of expertise and services of individuals working for a company, as they help in getting the firm from its challenges. In most cases, customers will make decision about products and services and the delivery depending on the representatives of the company. In this case, company employees require service knowledge and outstanding interpersonal skills to present a quality service. They also need the capacity to choose, recruit and retain the right people with excellent skills and matchless abilities. Consumers buy products either for use or resale. In this case, the consumers are teenage women and mothers acquiring the commodities for their daughters who share common lifestyle and attitude. They buy products in company of other friends who are shopping other goods from groceries.
Describe what is meant by a business being ‘consumer led’
This refers to when a business firm operates in response to the tastes and preferences of buyers in the market. For Nivea, it endeavors to meet the needs of its customers through innovative products. It addresses lifestyle needs of its customers, making it consumer friendly. A consumer led business always improves its current products and introduces new ones to fulfill the demand of buyers. Over the years, Nivea meet beauty needs of its customers, offering value for their money through quality products. This makes Nivea, a customer led company.
What are the key parts of the Marketing Mix? Explain how each works with the others
A marketing mix encompasses understanding the market in terms of what customers want, how they will use the product, branding, color, price, size, and features, which address the needs of buyers. Through market research, it is possible to identify market segments with regard to attitude, age and style. Companies can collect this information by gathering data from customers, listening to their comment or through product testing. The product is the center of any marketing mix, since it creates the need to be in the market, priced and promoted by qualified people.
After indentifying a product, the second step is pricing. Price of a product refers to a cost, which maximizes profit margins of the business and guarantees value for customers’ money. It is important for a company to provide customers with high quality products, worth the cost. Additionally, establish if your customers are price-sensitive, i.e. will a slight drop in price lead to a higher market share or will small increase lead to extra profit margins. Moreover, a company should factor in discounts and compare prices with other players in the market. Too high prices repel customers while too low prices attract losses. Price is key because every product needs a price tag before getting to the market. Through price, a company will make profits or losses.
Promotion is about deciding the appropriate time and place to communicate marketing messages across the target market. Promotion is usually through ads in print or electronic media, internet, billboards, and PR strategies. Among others, a firm identifies how competitors in the market reach their target audience, best promotional times, and identifying any environmental issues, which could determine the timing of the promotion. Promotion makes a product competitive in the market as it denotes the availability of the product. Promotion further ensures that the product is in the right target market.
Place is where customers will find the product. Will they visit the internet, or physical store? How will they access distribution channels? Identify the need for a sales force and establish the activities of competitors and their locations. Identifying the most appropriate point of sale is paramount. Once a company has identified the product, promoted and price, it meets the needs of customers in a specific location.
Explain why the balance of the marketing mix is as important as any single element
Balancing the marketing mix is of great significance because the product reflects the efficacy of the company and makes it possible for customers to identify affordable products, depending on the purchasing power. Additionally, having such a balance is importance as it ensures that the firm produces high-quality products, which satisfy customers’ needs. This further helps in retaining the product brand. Moreover, the price tells the organization about customers’ acceptability to buy the products. Balancing the price is also essential to ensure that the company has satisfactory performance rewards and their jobs, making them more productive. Balancing the mix through place allows the company to have a higher market share and make higher profits through increased sales. Such diversified global market further makes the organization competitive internationally.
Analyze the marketing mix for NIVEA VISAGE Young. What are its strongest points? Explain why you think this is so
For a company to develop new products, it needs knowledge of the market, through product gathering and collection of important data from customers. Nivea Visage Young uses a range of pricing methods to price its products. These include cost-based, which covers costs, penetration cost, which encourages customers to buy and price skimming, which guarantees the firm high profits. For place, Nivea Visage Young uses a range of distribution channels, like retail outlets, where customers receive skin care products. The company further sells its products in high street stores mainly for youths and mothers. It uses different promotional strategies like direct mail, business to consumer trade fairs, branding and public relations. Uses product samples for customers and has an online magazine to publicize its brand to young women. Nivea Visage Young’s strongest point is the use of the internet to reach young women, since this category of people uses the internet a lot. As a result, it is possible for the target group to know more about the available products.
Global Wine Wars 2009: Old versus New World
The wine industry experienced significance growth in the Christian era because competition for luxury and dynastical stature. Earlier, Europeans had plantations of vines to manufacture various grades of wine. With the establishment of a wine processing firm in France, production of wine grew tremendously. Because of favorable conditions in the country, France became a major producer of wine all over the world. France dominated the industry for centuries before other countries could match her production capacity. Notably, the thriving wine industry in France became the epicenter of economic, social and political issues in the country. One of the leading factors, which led to France’s successful wine production, was its proper climatic conditions and geographical features. Located at the heart of Europe, the country experienced as reliable rains and good weather conditions for the growth of grapes. Moreover, France had the right soils, which had matching nutrient requirements of grapes (Bartlett, 2009, p. 78). With naturally fertile soils, France got bumper harvest of grapes, which provided sufficient raw materials for wine production. This was its strength over potential competitors regionally and worldwide. Due to these conditions, France got experience in wine production, and supplied the finest wine brands in Europe and all over the world.
Its excellent and promising quality of produced wine further propelled France to dominate the industry. It heavily invested in quality wine production as compared to its competitors, making it an experienced player in the market. Additionally pioneers of wine production and promoters embraced the country’s passion for high quality wine. Thus, the industry not only gained dominance but also global recognition. Adoption of technology in wine production further contributed to France’s dominance in the industry. During this time, plants adopted new technology in mass production of bottles, manufacture of crock stoppers and pasteurization of crude wine. With new technology, it was possible to store processed wine for a longer time and meet the demand for wine in different markets. France also supplied wine to distant markets, creating a lucrative global market of which it was the main player. With innovation and relevant technology at hand, wine became stable as it could stay longer without going bad (Bartlett, 2009, p. 82).
France further thrived in wine production because of the government’s goodwill and support. The government of the day formulated and implemented policies, which ensured disciplined practices and high quality production. The government was in full control, making it easy to monitor wine production directly. Some of the measures, which the government implemented, were VDQS and AOS, which regulated wine production from setting up the vineyard to processing. In terms of wine processing, France rose to dominate the market because it had more competitive advantages than its competitors did. Some of these advantages included government support, new production technology, and suitable climatic conditions. By dominating the global market, French wine industry grew not only in Europe but also in the world.
It is worth noting that France faced a range of threats even though it had numerous competitive advantages in the market, as it was exposed to vulnerable conditions. For instance, there was disharmony between vineyards and production, which led to the disintegration of the entire process. Furthermore, unprecedented poor weather conditions, diseases and the high cost of the vineyard dented sales and French distribution system. High taxes and poor roads for transport further catalyzed the vulnerability of the sector. Consequently, the wine industry in France began experiencing logistical and operational challenges in the production process.
Because of the escalating challenges, France and other traditional wine producers started losing their dominance in the industry worldwide. For example, French system of production changed, resulting into high cost of vineyards in the country. Moreover, the continuous production of wine led to the depletion of vineyards. While this was the case, new world had begun using new land, which was more affordable than traditional French vineyards. The entry of New World Countries in the wine industry affected the performance of France and other traditional wine producers. These new countries gained momentum in the industry, with their lower prices, stemming from low operational costs. Which cheap land in these countries, it was also easier to acquire vineyards (Bartlett, 2009, p. 84). Appoint to note, most New World Countries adopted grape farming and applied new technology in processing. Growing grapes remained an extensive exercise because of irrigation techniques. With the introduction of mechanical harvesters, farmers adopted mechanized harvesting. There was high production because of the introduction of fertilizers and adoption of pruning methods. New World Countries also adopted on-site lab technology, which was key in carrying out analysis on proper grape farming and harvesting practices. As a result, they experienced low cost of production, causing a shift in the global wine market. With these developments, France and its affiliates lost their traditional global market share to the New World Countries, which capitalized on their already existing advantages to dominate the world market. This had negative impact on economies of former wine-producing giants.
The most appropriate advice for the head of French Wine Industry concerns regulatory measures and policy framework in processing and manufacturing. For example, AOC regulations are hurting the industry by offering non-competitive opportunities with the emergence of New World Countries, even though they allow production of finest wine in the global market. Thus, the head of French Wine Association must work towards lessening the application of AOC rules together with meticulous research and use of technology in wine production. The head of French Wine Association should further discourage total control of the industry by the government. Some of the government policies ought to be annulled because they undermine wine production process (Bartlett, 2009, p. 87).
In addition, the proprietor of Bordeaux Vineyard, which is a renowned producer of premium and super premium wines, must implement operational measures in order to take advantage of the situation. A good example is developing technology in production to allow new brands thus retaining customers. Bordeaux Vineyard must put into practice responsive attributes regarding new technology and production of new brands. They must however put weight on lucrative markets, which have more opportunities for better returns.
Notably, The Australian Wine industry is successful in implementing its operational measures. With its mission and vision, it is ahead of other competitors in the market. For instance, it has an achievable mission of being the world’s best producer of wine brands by 2015 through innovation and pricing. Nonetheless, it continues to struggle with issues of promotion, price and image design. To handle this, the association should invest in global marketing campaigns to enhance their public image and awareness of the Australian wine quality (Bartlett, 2009, p. 89). If it implements these measures, the association will overcome current threats and thrive in wine production and marketing.
On the other hand, Vineyard in Barossa should carry out intensive research on high quality wine production at a lower cost. They also consider other markets like Asia and China and not relying on US and British markets.
For the US wine industry, the head should focus on streamlining the production cost through mechanization like the Australian wine industry does. Moreover, the US should do away with its three-tier distribution system, as it is a threat to export products, while handing over cost advantage to other players. USA wine producers should also include middle segment in the whole production process. American wine agencies must develop brands and promotional strategies to reach the global markets.
Washington Mutual Bankruptcy
Washington mutual bankruptcy marks the largest case of a bank failure. Washington mutual was a popular savings bank and the largest loan and savings association in the United States until it collapsed in 2008. Washington Mutual filed for bankruptcy on 26th September 2008 and it was eventually delisted from the stock exchange in New York.
The saga that led to filing for bankruptcy started at the onset of global economic crisis. It began on15th September 2008, which was the day when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy sparking a crisis. Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy due to the subprime mortgage loan crisis. In one year, price of the stock of this company dropped from a share of $30 to $2.
As a result, Washington Mutual’s customers withdrew deposits amounting to $16.7 billion in a span of 10 days from Washington Mutual after the Lehman Brothers’ case. This prompted the government to place this company under the FDIC control. FDIC sold its assets to the JPMorgan Chase at 1.9 billion. As the Washington Mutual’s receiver, the FDIC retained the claims Washington Mutual held against the other parties.
The move to sell the assets of the firm made debtors to file chapter 11 petitions. Eventually, disputes emerged between FDIC, JPMC, debtors and other interested parties. The disputes were centered on propriety of JPMC sale and multiple assets’ ownership. There were also angered litigations in different jurisdictions.
A global settlement agreement also known as GSA was announced in March 2010. This was incorporated in Sixth Amended Plan. In an order and opinion dated 7th January 2011, the conclusion made by the court was that the announced GSA was reasonable and fair. However, the court did not confirm Sixth Amended Plan stating that it had too broad injunction, release as well as exculpation provisions.
In a bid to address the concerns of the court, the GSA and Sixth Amended Plan were modified on 16th and 25th March 2011. FDIC, JMC, Creditors’ committee, WMI senior group of note-holders, debtors and the other parties supported the modified Sixth Amended Plan. However, equity committee, litigation tracking warrants holders, some WMB note-holders, other creditors and share holders opposed the Amended plan.
Those opposed to the plan argued that settlement negotiations were marred by improper trading. They alleged that improper trading formed the basis of their objection. According to them, the proposal of the modified plan was not in good faith and that note-holder’s settlement should be disallowed equitably.
An examiner was appointed by the court at the request of the equity holders of WMI. The examiner investigated the claims thoroughly to determine whether the settlement proposed was equitable and fair. Findings of the examiner revealed that this settlement provided a fair resolution.
On 24th February 2012, the court entered the order to confirm a Seventh Amended Plan as proposed by the WMI and co-debtor. On 19th March 2012, the settlement and plan became effective.
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Lehman Brothers’ Bankruptcy
Lehman brothers’ bankruptcy was considered as the largest in the history of economics. This is because the company’s assets were more than those of the previous giant firms to file for bankruptcy such as Enron and WorldCom. The company was also the fourth-largest investment bank in the U.S.
Why filing for bankruptcy was necessary
The move to file for bankruptcy is attributed to subprime mortgage. From 2003 to 2004, there was a housing boom in the U.S. At this time, this investment bank acquired five major mortgage lenders that included subprime lender and Aurora Loan. At first, the acquisition seemed lucrative. The bank reported profits from 2005 to 2007 with net income rising to $4.2 billion.
The stock of this bank reached $86.18 as of February 2007. This gave the company market capitalization of almost $60. Unfortunately, the housing market in the U.S already had cracks by almost the same time. Subprime mortgages had defaults that rose to even 7-year high.
On 14th March 2007, one day after its stock recorded the biggest drop in a day for five years, Lehman’s brothers recorded profit and revenues for the first financial quarter. The chief financial officer of the company stated that the company was containing home delinquencies and their impact on the earnings of the firm would be minimal. The officer also said that there were no foreseeable problems posed by subprime market to the U.S housing market and that this would not affect the U.S economy negatively.
The credit crisis that started in August of 2007 caused a sharp fall of the Lehman’s stock. During this month, Lehman’s brothers got rid of 2,500 jobs related to mortgages. It also shut the BNC unit down. Three Alt-A Aurora lender offices were also closed.
However, the company continued to be among the major players. For instance, in 2007 the firm accumulated an $85 billion portfolio by underwriting mortgage backed securities. With the new highs of the worldwide equity markets and fixed income assets prices, the stock of this company rebounded. Nevertheless, this firm failed to take advantage of this to trim the mortgage portfolio which was its last chance.
The huge mortgage securities portfolio of this company made it more vulnerable to the deteriorating conditions in the market. Its shares fell to a low of 48% on 17th March 2008 when Bear Sterns, the second-largest mortgage-backed securities underwriter was near-collapse. This forced the firm to issue preferred stock convertible to Lehman shares but the stock continued to decline.
This trend continued and in September 2008 the stock plunged to 77% with the company reporting losses worth $3.9 billion. On 13th September, Lehman, Bank of America and Barclays PLC made the last efforts to facilitate the firm’s takeover but they were unsuccessful.
On 15th September, the stock of this company plunged to 93% forcing it to be declared bankruptcy.
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General Motors Bankruptcy
General Motors filed for bankruptcy on 10th July 2009. This firm is a US auto manufacturing company that was founded by Billy Durant in 1908. Its headquarters are in Detroit, Michigan. Over the years, this company has introduced remarkable innovations in the U.S which enabled it to dominate the economy of the U.S in the 20th Century. It also dominated the auto industry in the 1950s. In 1954, this company had a market share of 54%. However, this was the highest mark of this company.
Domestic market share of General Motors has been declining steadily over the past years. This combined with global financial crisis necessitated restructuring of this company. Nevertheless, several challenges forced this firm to eventually enter the bankruptcy court and file for bankruptcy ending the long and at some point a proud, iconic history.
Worsening market and economic conditions such as those affecting equity and real estate values, tight credit markets, increasing unemployment, high fuel prices, weakening housing markets and decreasing consumer confidence have caused a decline in vehicle sales.
U.S alone had a 44.7% decrease in vehicle sales annually by September 2007. Globally, annual vehicle sales decreased by 13.2%. Being a company that is highly sensitive to the sales volume, the financial and business results of General Motors were affected negatively and significantly.
Seeking Congress assistance
The chairman of General Motors, Rick Wagoner, heads of Chrysler and Ford sought assistance from Washington during mid-September 2008. According to The New York Times, $7.5 billion was approved as of October. In the same year in November, the three heads of the auto manufacturing firms went to congress again seeking for a direct aid amounting to $25 billion.
However, Congress approved $13.4 billion only to General Motors and Chrysler. Congress also requested that the companies be restructured to secure the loans. As of February 2009, General Motors was cutting jobs, reducing its brand line-ups and closing plants.
To avoid bankruptcy, the firm announced that it needed a loan worth $4.6 billion of the $18 billion that it had requested within weeks. In addition, the company announced that it needed $12billion financial support.
Filling for bankruptcy
General Motors announced that it had lost $30.9 billion in 2008 or $53.32 per share. The firm also announced that it was spending $19.2 billion of the cash reserves it had at that time. This implied that the cash reserves of this company were as low as $14 billion when it made the announcement on February 26th 2009.
The auto task force of President Obama met Mr. Wagoner and at that time he confirmed that General Motors could no longer survive without more loans from the government. On July 10th 2009, General Motors filed for bankruptcy after which a new and government-owned firm purchased its assets. In the bankruptcy petition, the firm stated that it has debts worth 172.8 billion and assets worth $82.3 billion.
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American Airlines Bankruptcy
American Airlines bankruptcy is considered by many industry observers as a step that was long overdue. This company was among the few major airlines in the US that had always avoided bankruptcy. However, the company had to succumb to a path that is trodden by most of the other airlines in the US.
Why file for bankruptcy?
According to some industry observers the move to file for bankruptcy was necessitated by claims and losses. American Airlines made losses worth $2.1 billion in 2008, $1.5 billion in 2009 and $471 million in 2010. In addition, the company was having managerial, PR and maintenance issues. Pilot union was also demanding for the signing of a contract which included provisions for job and salary security provisions.
Employees were also bitter due to the inability of the AA to make a promising deal. Customers were also irritated by inappropriate engagement in public rants by flight attendants. There were also cases where several planes were forced to land urgently due to issues that arose from insufficient inspection such as loose seats.
There are experts who say that filing for bankruptcy was a strategy used by the American Airlines to enhance its performance. Some airlines analysts such as Jeff Kaufman were surprised by the timing of this move.
According to Jeff, the company had sufficient cash that would pay for the losses and keep the company running for another year. However, he notes that filing for bankruptcy was a sensible move because of several factors. These include the high fuel cost, tough negotiations with labor union and loss of the business customers of the company to competitors.
Until 2006, the American Airlines remained the largest carrier in the world. Mergers pushed this company to a third position in terms of the miles that paying passengers fly after the United Continental and the Delta Air Lines.
According to the management of the American Airlines, filing for bankruptcy was never a preference of this company. However, for the company to ensure its competitive future it had to file for bankruptcy. The management said that the move gave the firm resources required to order for more planes such as 460 jets and the Airbus. This would enable the company to replace its current 247 MD-80 planes which are fuel guzzlers.
The cash reserves of this company combined with cash from the current ticket sales provides the needed funds for reorganization. Thus, the airline will not need the debtor-in-possession loan required by Chapter 11.
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Finjan, Inc. v. Secure Computing Corp Patent Infringement
Finjan, Inc. v. Secure Computing Corp patent infringement case was presented before the United States Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit in 2010. It involved proactive scanning techniques for ensuring computer security.
Finjan, Inc. is a company that provides security solutions to enterprise web. It sued the Secure Computing Corp, Webwasher AG and Cyberguard Corp for infringing three patents in the US. These are the patent number 6,092,194, number 6,804,780 and number 7,058,822. In counterclaim, the defenders accused Finjan for infringing two patents of in the US. These are the patent number 6,357,010 and number 7,185,361.
According to the Jury who presided over the case, these patents were valid. Finjan had not infringed any of the patents of the defendants. However, defendants had infringed on all patents asserted in the Finjan claims. As such, Finjan was awarded damaged worth $9.18 million by the district court under 35 U.S.C 284. A permanent injunction was also issued against defendants.
After passing the verdict, defendants appealed for both damages and infringement. On the other hand, Finjan appealed the damage ruling by the district court. Finjan claimed that it should be awarded more damages for duration between post-judgment and the pre-injunction.
In the case, Finjan had three patents that were related to the proactive scanning technology. These technologies were used in detecting and defeating previously unknown computer threats on the internet. These patents were as follows:
- 194 Patent: This included the method claims, storage medium, and system claims that could compromise receiving and comparing steps for downloadable and protection downloadable execution for the purpose of detecting and preventing threats.
- 780 Patent: It included system, storage medium and method claims. It also covered caching or identification of downloadable files that had been encountered previously.
- 822 Patent: This included the system and method claims. It also addressed sandboxing of downloadable items that were potentially dangerous with a protective code.
After hearing appeals from the two sides, the Federal Circuit decision was mixed up. This is because method claims are difficult to determine since they might require performance of some functionalities to find infringement. In regards to infringements, Federal Circuit affirmed infringement of the storage medium and system patent of Finjan by Secure Computing. However, it reversed infringement of method claim of Finjan.
In regards to the damages award, Federal Circuit affirmed the $9.18 damages awarded to Finjan and also remanded the district court to conduct extra assessment for additional damages between post-judgment and the pre-injunction duration.
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Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. Patent Infringement
Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. patent infringement case was filed originally in 2006 in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. Uniloc is a copy protection and computer security software company. It was established in 1992. This company operates on patent-based technology given to Ric Richardson. Uniloc develops try and buy applications which is distribute through magazines. They apps are also preinstalled in new computers.
In this case, the controversial patent was 216 patent. In the US, it is patent number 5,490,216. This is a software registration system deterring users of the software from copying it to other computers. According to Uniloc, Product Activation Feature of Microsoft infringed this patent.
The Product Activation Feature of Microsoft acts as a gatekeeper for different Windows operating systems as well as the Microsoft Office products. Users are required to enter a key with 25 characters in this product. The key is an alphanumeric key. Based on this software, it forms a Product ID and then a Hardware ID is generated from the computer information.
After initiating Product Activation, digital license is requested from Microsoft via the internet. In a remote location, the information is entered into an SHA-1 Windows products’ algorithm or MD5 message digest algorithms for the Office products.
Both software pieces hinder copying of the software casually and users install the copies of program in multiple computers. This violates the conditions of software license. According to Uniloc, Microsoft uses algorithms in the product activation application that infringe its patent.
Microsoft and Uniloc used product key with an aim of reducing unauthorized copying of their software. The district court granted a summary judgment that declared that Microsoft did not infringe patent of Uniloc. However, Uniloc appealed the ruling of the district court in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This court reversed the ruling and the decision was remanded.
In remanded case, the district court returned the infringement verdict. The court found that infringement by Microsoft was willful and therefore it rewarded Uniloc damages worth $388 million. However, district court allowed for a new trial on willfulness and infringement and other motions after the post-trial motions. Uniloc appealed again.
The new infringement trial was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit but it affirmed the lack of evidence on the side of Uniloc to prove that the willfulness. A new trial for damage costs was granted.
Later, Microsoft and Uniloc reached a mutually agreeable settlement and the terms of this resolution were kept secret.
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TiVo Inc. v. EchoStar Corp. Patent Infringement
TiVo Inc. v. EchoStar Corp. patent infringement case was presented in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as well as the United States Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit. The case took place between 2004 and 2011.
In this lawsuit, TiVo Inc. was suing EchoStar Corp. claiming that it had infringed its DVR technology patent. Several issues were addressed during the litigation. They included product redesign infringement, injunctions wording, patent infringement, contempt sanctions and court orders’ contempt.
A permanent injunction was issued by the court against EchoStar Corp. However, EchoStar appealed against this judgment in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The infringement judgment was reversed by the Federal Circuit court after review due to hardware claims. However, infringement due to software claims was affirmed by the court. The injunction issued by the District Court was maintained during the court of appeals’ proceedings.
According to the court, EchoStar Corp was not only in contempt of the court due to its non-compliance with the injunction, but it had also infringed the patent of TiVo Inc. EchoStar appealed against the contempt of court judgment in the Federal Circuit. However, EchoStar Corp arguments did not move the court.
The court affirmed the ruling and EchoStar was mentioned for rehearing at the en banc. After review, en banc Federal Circuit noted that KSM test could not work and it established a new post-infringement contempt proceeding test. The existing contempt test was replaced by the court with a one-step test. This simplified test made it difficult for holders of patent to prove contempt due to repeat infringement.
Upon vacation, en banc Federal Circuit remanded infringement provision of a permanent injunction. However, it affirmed the contempt judgment in respect to violation of Disablement provision. This implied that court held EchoStar in contempt of court. However, the two parties in the case reached an agreement, EchoStar Corp. paid licensing fee to TiVo Inc.
On 29th April 2011, the companies reached a settlement worth $500 million. EchoStar Corp. accepted to license TiVo Inc.’s DVR technology. Additionally, the pending litigations were set for dismissal with prejudice and injunctions dissolved. However, en banc federal did not dismiss the Federal Circuit appeal since a decision had been reached before a settlement. Thus, all parties were free on remand to ask the District court to dismiss complaint and to vacate sanctions that had been imposed before die to settlement.
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Diamond v. Chakrabarty Patent Infringement
Diamond v. Chakrabarty patent infringement case was heard in the United Sates Supreme Court in 1980. The case entailed the patentability of genetically modified organisms. Genetic engineer known as Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty developed a bacterium called Pseudomona putida while working with General Electric. The bacterium can break down crude oil which made it suitable for treating future oil spills.
Chakrabarty was listed as the investor of the bacterium by the General Electric when the company applied for patent. However, patent examiner rejected the application on the basis that patent law of that time considered living things as not being patentable subject matters. The examiner quoted Section 101 of the Title 35 U.S.C.
Although the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences upheld the initial decision, the United States Court of Customs and patent did not. It overturned this case in favor of Chakrabarty noting that for the purposes of patent law, the fact that all micro-organisms are living things does not have legal significance. Sidney A. Diamond who was the Patents and Trademarks’ commissioner made an appeal to Supreme Court. This case was deliberated on 17th March 1980. A decision was made on 16th June 1980 and on 31st March 1981, USPTO granted patent.
In the decision that was made in Chakrabarty’s favor, the court noted that a live micro-organism made by human under Title 35 U.S.C, 101. The micro-organism of the respondent constituted of a composition of matter or manufacture within the statute. The decision was written by Warren E. Burger, the Chief Justice. Others who joined him were Potter Stewart, William Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens and Harry Blackmun.
According to Burger, the case presented to the court was narrow according to the interpretation of Title 35 U.S.C, 101. The title allows individuals or entities who discovers or invents useful and new processes, machines, matter’s composition or manufacture whether new or improvement to obtain patent for them under the conditions stipulated by the title.
The judges cautioned the court against reading conditions and limitations in the patent laws which had not been expressed by the legislature. The court observed that when congress chose expansive terms such as composition of matter and manufacture and later modified to any, was a plain contemplation of the wide scope of the patent laws. The court concluded that congress intended to include anything under the sun that is man made in the list of patentable subject matter.
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Aro Mfg. Co. v. Convertible Top Replacement Co. Patent Infringement
Aro Mfg. Co. v. Convertible Top Replacement Co. patent infringement case was presented in the United States Supreme Court in 1961. While deliberating on this case, the Court redefined repair and reconstruction doctrine of the U.S patent law. The decision made by the Court is known as Aro I in some cases because some years later similar issues were readdressed by the Supreme Court in another case in 1964 in which similar parties were involved.
In controversy in the case was about fabric top replacement in a convertible automobile’s roof assembly. After sometime, fabric tops of a convertible would become discolored and torn due to droppings from birds. Owners would like to replace the part of the tops that is made of cloth without having to purchase the entire top assembly of the convertible.
The patent would cover some metal parts and the cloth that would be serviceable. Aro supplied replacement cloth that would fit different car models. Patent infringement arose when Aro refused to pay patentee a royalty fee.
Before the Supreme Court made a decision in Aro I case, buyers of patented products replaced the components of the products. The lower courts in the U.S decided whether this conduct was permitted as a repair or an impermissible reconstruction of patented article using complex and multi-factor balancing test. When making the decision, the courts had to weigh several factors including cost of replaced components against the relative components of the whole article, replaced components against the overall number of the components, life span of the components and essence of the replaced components, as well as whether the replaced component was the gist of the entire invention.
In its opinion, the court of appeals said that the main issue is not relatively expensive or minor component of patented combination or element that is expected to wear out after some years of use despite having an expectable life span that is shorter than life span of other components. For this reason, the court concluded that the owner would or would not rationally believe that a minor repair was being made while replacing worn out fabric. Instead, this replacement would account for a major reconstruction.
However, few precedents of the Supreme Court had a broader analysis than foregoing the factor analysis. The Court noted that distilled essence of the case originated from a ruling by Judge Learned Hand who stated that patent monopolists should not hinder their buyers from reconditioning articles that are worn out by use unless if they make new articles. On this basis, the court rejected factor analysis approach used by the lower courts on reconstruction and repair.
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Miranda v Arizona
Miranda v Arizona is a landmark case in which the United States of America gave a ruling in regards to the arrested individuals. The ruling declared that all arrested individuals should be informed about their right to a counsel and to maintain silence before they start being interrogated by the police.
Miranda v Arizona is still a landmark case and one of the most important cases heard by the Supreme case in the 1960s (Salseda, et al. 2010). This case played a very important role in the establishment of justice reliability in the procedures of the case against a defendant in a criminal circumstance (Rogers, et al. 2010). The Supreme Court in the United States decided on this landmark case largely from two different guiding lines specifically from the 14th amendment.
The Miranda v Arizona’s case guides was the defendant’s right to a counsel which is majorly from Powell v. Alabama (1932). The decision of the court was that all needy perpetrators ought to get a counsel if they are facing capital cases. In the Gideon v. Wainwright (1963), the court further fuelled this provision. The court decided that individuals should be given a counsel if they are charged with felony. In the Escobedo v. Illinois case of 1964, the decision of the court was that confession that is obtained after a perpetrator requests for an opportunity to speak to his/her attorney and he is denied is inadmissible (Salseda, et al. 2010).
The second guiding line was drawn from Malloy v. Hogan (1964). The decision of the court in this case was that the self-incrimination contradiction right is pragmatic for the state. Nevertheless, even prior the Miranda v Arizona case there were initial instances where the court made a decision inferring that the police should not use coercion of any nature while trying to extract information from a suspect. As such, before the court made a ruling on Miranda v Arizona case, using information that is extracted from individuals via any form of coercion whether physical or any type of psychological pressure was not allowed by the constitutional rules. This was especially the case if perpetrators had requested to be allowed consultations with their attorneys.
As such, it can be noted that the Supreme Court of the United States was to use the clauses of the 5th Amendment in the 14th Amendment. The Miranda v Arizona case majorly depended on the 14th Amendment. This amendment states that the ruling of the court on the cases that relate to criminals should be fair. In the Ernest Miranda case, he confessed that he kidnapped and raped the victim. The police initiated this confession by interrogating him after arresting him. Apart from the confession that he made before two policemen, he also wrote the same confession in a document and appended his signature on it (Rogers, et al. 2010). No form of coercion whether psychological or physical was employed by both policemen since this type of coercion had been defined by the previous cases (Rogers, et al 2010).
More interviews of this case showed that it was possible for the victim to answer the questions asked in manner that was relatively free. However, the information acquired from Miranda after denying the actions further confessed that he had committed the offense. The whole process used to obtain this information was relatively fast taking approximately two hours.
The main effect of Miranda v Arizona tussle in the US was the importance of the policemen in different states to get ‘Miranda cards’. These cards led to the embodied caution as per the requirement of the Supreme Court. After suspecting that someone has committed a crime and arresting him/her, the court decided that he/she should not be questioned or interrogated unless if a warning had been issued to that person and the suspect waived the right to maintain silence while obtaining guidance from a counsel prior answering questions. Interrogation must be stopped immediately if the arrested individual wants to consult an attorney. The interrogation would continue after the consultations.
Major changes in the way suspects are treated were observed after Miranda v Arizona tussle (Rogers, et al. 2010). This is because the liability of indicating knowledge and volunteering a waiver of one’s right to remain silent was enforced by the court. Additionally, it showed that the perpetrators or the suspects had to be persuaded by the police in order to agree to write a statement. The decision of the court was able to change situations and atmospheres that suspects usually found themselves in before they were arrested (Rogers, et al. 2010).
However, it has been noted that the important ruling on Miranda v Arizona tussle has affected the way cases are handled. This is because confessions of the perpetrators were the main compositions of cases that were presented in the court against the suspect. On the other hand, people fear that the ruling of the case would jeopardize police efforts. The arguments of some people are that this ruling makes it difficult for the police to acquire important information that would be necessary for the determination of the situation of the suspect being guilty.
However, they fear that suspects may not make further confessions after consulting a counsel and the suspect may be waivered by the silent urge. Additionally, this case was credited for the protection the arrested persons’ rights as well as protecting them from the abusive and brutal language that police used in retrieving information from the suspects. The case eliminated coercion of the suspects by police officers (Friedman, 2010).
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Friedman, B. (2010). Wages of Stealth Overruling (with Particular Attention to Miranda v. Arizona), The. Geo. LJ, 99, 1.
Salseda, L. M., Dixon, D. R., Fass, T., Miora, D., &Leark, R. A. (2011). An evaluation of< i> Miranda</i> rights and interrogation in autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(1), 79-85.
Rogers, R., Rogstad, J. E., Gillard, N. D., Drogin, E. Y., Blackwood, H. L., & Shuman, D. W. (2010). “Everyone knows their Miranda rights”: Implicit assumptions and countervailing evidence. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 16(3), 300.
Case Study Analysis
This analysis draws basis from a patient’s local hospital. The hospital drew impetus from the case study of a 26-year-old woman who experienced a gradual shortness of breath in a period of three days. Her experience was free of other symptoms like cough, fever, or wheezing. She decided to go to her local hospital when it became increasingly difficult to breath.
Of interest were the wait times that the woman endured before she could obtain a proper evaluation and diagnosis of her condition, which could be a comorbidity. From her case, wait times were determined as follows; after staying in the waiting area before registration for an undisclosed duration, the patient was registered and made to wait for 20 minutes before the triage nurse took the patients history and vital signs. The patient then returned to the waiting area for some time before detailed history, physical exam, blood tests, X-ray, lung scan, and electrocardiogram. Another three-hour wait followed before her evaluation was out. The physician diagnosed the patient with asthma and informed her that it was nothing serious.
Impetus for Performance Improvement
A meeting between the hospital’s administrators, the director of the hospital’s performance improvement, and the physician director revealed worrying trends in the hospital, notably diminishing patient satisfaction, increased elopements, and patients collapsing in the teeming waiting room.
This brought a need to reorganize the department in order to increase efficiency and address the fundamental problem of excess wait time; the physician director believed that the wait time was inevitable given that most of the patients were severely ill, and the existing resources were inadequate. The performance of the hospital in terms of wait time had to improve, though there was need to measure its performance and benchmark with other hospitals
The performance improvement director requested a departmental reorganization. The hospital developed an ine-month plan to measure, analyze, and improve quality of care. The plan focused established wait times, patient satisfaction, patient return visits with same problem within 72 hours as the measures to use.
To do this, the hospital undertook some restructuring to bring in new staff, reorganize staff functions, and institute new procedures and policies that would govern service delivery. The management also added incentives to boost service delivery. The hospital’s changes were;
- Introduction of a ‘greeter’ to welcome patients, guide them through the registration process, and identify serious cases. The greeter could help serious cases to skip the registration process
- The triage nurse moved to the waiting area
- An electronic sign indicating average wait times in the waiting room
To analyze the plan, one must look at quality from the customer’s point of view. ‘Quality’ represents an individual’s subjective evaluation of an output and the personal interactions that take place as the individual obtains the output. It is rooted in that individual’s expectations, which depend upon the individual’s past experiences and needs. Quality evaluations therefore arise from, and are part of, an individual’s value system. One can measure and change,as a value system, quality expectations over time through education.
Several concepts can measure quality. Quality has two main components—content and delivery. Content quality is concerned with the medical outcome that results. It also refers to whether the output does what the customer believes it should do-whether the output functionally meets the customer’s expectations.
Delivery quality refers to all aspects of the organization’s interaction with the customer in delivering the output. It is determined day by day, moment by moment, in thousands of individual, temporary relationships. It reflects an individual customer’s interaction with the health care system—a patient will consider whether the hospital was clean and whether the nurses were caring and offered rapid services.The patients will also have expectations on how their interaction with employees should be,
To analyze the effectiveness of the quality improvement measures, one may use tools like questionnaires and customer focus groups. Patients and their relatives fill questionnaires to convey their satisfaction and their feelings towards different aspects of the treatment. The questionnaires may also require costumers (patients) to comment on the wait times. (Nash,2006)
The measures used in determining quality improvement can transport time for AMI patients, the smoothness of admission or discharge, courtesy of hospital employees, availability of good emergency care, number of emergency department patients who return with the same symptoms, and the time for getting an EKG for patients with chest pain.
According to a research conducted on four leading hospitals by Sharon Silow-Carroll, Tanya Alteras, and Jack A. Meyer Health Management Associates in April 2007, hospitals that successfully implemented quality improvement measures followed a strikingly similar process of change as detailed in the diagram below;
The first step is evident in the hospital’s institution of the quality improvement program after recording alarming declines in patient satisfaction, increased patient ‘elopements’ and alarming cases of patients falling in waiting rooms. The hospital’s performance improvement director proposed a restructuring of the emergency department to reduce wait times and respond to cases that were delay sensitive by allowing them to skip the registration procedure and obtain quick treatment. The hospital introduced a ‘greeter’ and moved the triage nurse to the waiting room after identifying it as a possible avenue for longer wait times.
The hospital’s quality improvement strategies may succeed since the laid out plan follows laid out concepts and uses realistic measures to measure its improvement.
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Carroll, Sharon Silow.Alteras, Tanya, and Meyer, Jack A. Health Management Associates
(2007) Hospital Quality Improvement: Strategies and Lessons from U.S. Hospitals.The Common Wealth Fund.
Nash, David B. (2006)The Quality Solution: The Stakeholder’s Guide to Improving Health Care. Jones & Bartlett Learning,.
Company History and Growth
Ritz-Carlton Hotel was founded in 1983 in Atlanta Georgia after the sale of Ritz-Carlton Boston and the United States trademark. The company has been able to expand over time to establish its brand in 26 countries so far with more than 81 hotels and resorts. The founder of the organization, Cesar-Ritz took luxury accommodation a notch higher though his distinct management in the hotels’ branches in Paris and London.
The mission of the company, ‘’we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen’’ enhances a close relationship between the workers and customers, and also indicates the perception and appreciation of development in the company.
The company’s credo is offering genuine care and comfort to guests, providing better personalized services and facilities, and enlivening the senses and fulfilling the wishes of guests with mind blowing experiences. Husrt established a customer/ employee credo and set standards which employees are required to meet in serving clients. This highlights human resource management practices and organizational cultures like hiring, training and empowerment that have been implemented by the company for organizational success.
Some of the challenges that are experienced by the organization in management include strict organizational culture, an expensive recruitment process and an expansive method of enticing guests for ensuring an excellent experience in the resorts and hotels.
Current Action Plan
The company acquired finances to open new branches from Manufacturers Hanover Trust of New York. Under the leadership of Horst Schulze, the company has emerged as a leader in the hospitality industry in the United States through the institution of a personal and data driven service. The company endeavors to acknowledge the employees’ contributions since they are the greatest resource for enhancing service delivery, nurturing talent towards the benefit of both the individuals and the organization at large, and value diversity, improvement of quality and strengthening of the values of the organization through creation of a proper working environment.
The company sets aside sufficient time and resources for the orientation and training of employees since it is believed that proper training enables the workers to obtain service values and the required service standards. To make sure that only qualified individuals are hired and the process is objective, Ritz-Carlton uses the services of Talent+ Recruitment Firm based in Nebraska. The organization conducts ongoing training for the employees in their first year of recruitment (100 hours annually), so that they are able to perfect their skills and master the culture of the organization. Besides, it also holds workshops and training sessions on either monthly or quarterly basis where it discusses aspects like the appreciation of individual disparities, team work and evaluation of co-workers performance.
Training and Development Steps
The Ritz-Carlton employees are taken through intensive and comprehensive training for the achievement of excellent standards. To recognize the quality and commitment towards offering training to its employees, the company clinched the top spot in training top 125 winners in 2007. Besides, the organization has been able to curve a reputation for exemplary performance when it comes to the provision of quality services by calling their staff ladies and gentlemen, and using training methods that help in providing high quality services as expressed in the company’s Gold Standards. For instance, in 2007, the organization invested 10% of its expenditure in creating a sufficient training program.
Ritz-Carlton is a leading name in the hospitality industry because of the choice to create and adhere to its own standards that is portrayed by the fact that it is the only company that has won the Malcohm Baldridge National Quality Award two times and provides the best through its employee training program. According to the Chief Executive Officer, the success of the organization is tied to several fundamentals like location, product building and the people. To make sure that all employees are up to date, the company uses lineup whereby the CEO communicates with the waiters and waitresses on their schedule for the day and employees utilize this opportunity to also discuss their service experiences. This lineup also enhances continuous training and communication since the message from the heads of departments is passed across. Besides, the sharing of experiences motivates the employees to strive towards continuous development.
Giving employees the opportunity to use at least $2,000 to make sure that guests are treated to the best experience instills trust, enhances creativity and also creates a good public image for the company. The values of Ritz-Carlton acknowledge that creating a good working environment requires that employees ate involved in because this will makes them feel part of the organization and influence their commitment as professionals instead of servants. Despite the awards that the organization received for excellence, the CEO still felt that they were far from attaining sufficient customer satisfaction since their services were erratic and workers lacked a clear understanding on what was required of them.
Employees are given the power to spend up to $2,000 in cases where they think that they are able to enhance the experience of customers, handle customer complaints or correcting an error without the permission from their supervisor. This level of trust makes the staff to have confidence, be creative and approach issues and come up with solutions professionally to the advantage of the company. The philosophy of the organization of respecting its employees creates a fully incorporated working environment that accommodates all. The turnover of Ritz-Carlton is about 20%, quite a low rate in the hospitality industry and the move towards evaluating how well the employees feels that the company’s promises are accomplished on day 21 is commendable.
The evaluation of employee performance is conducted by a quality management team every week through reviews of product and service quality offered. The strategic plans are set on a yearly basis to guide the employees on what they are required to achieve over a given period of time and the established monitoring performance is aimed at enabling them to set goals and carry out evaluations at individual levels. Once the management realizes that a particular employee is not delivering, the first step is to establish the source of the problem and through training, they are encouraged to solve the problem themselves. Employees also monitor their own performance and are rewarded at both departmental and hotel level for their accomplishments.
Although the organization does not provide the greatest salary packages in the industry, it is preferred by many people who have the dream of developing their professional standings because of the positive organizational culture. Comprehensive training and delegation of responsibility and trust to employees reduces the employee turnover, thereby leading to growth since hiring and training expenditure are barely at minimum.
Challenges of the Current Action Plan
The culture of the organization emphasizes on customer satisfaction and maximization of profits. The question is how much the organization is willing to spend on offering clients exemplary experiences. Besides, upholding the culture of the organization is based on the person at the helm and the processes involved in hiring, much time and resources are unnecessarily spent. Due to the intensive training and strict standards, the organizational culture is static and accommodating change can take quite some time. According to literature, the expense involved in operations and ensuring that guests have mind blowing experiences has been identified to cause strain between the management and owners of the organization.
New Recruitment Strategy
A new plan of action should consider implementing a recruitment strategy that does not take a lot of time and resources. The company offers rewards to employees for better performance like professional growth at individual levels and promotions for employees who are committed and hard working.
Tying pay to performance
Considering a good working environment and name of Ritz-Carlton, it is important that salaries of employees are reviewed so that they are able to coincide with the revenues of the organization.
Target Market for Job Candidates
The target market for the employees working in the hospitality industry is focused on tourism and hotel industry. Therefore, the training program should be flexible so that workers are able to use the knowledge acquired in outside situations.
The company sets aside sufficient resources for hiring, training and employee empowerment. This has ensured success of the company in the industry. With 25% of the organization’s managerial workforce as employees who were hired as casual indicates that the organization provides opportunities for professional growth through promotions. The better working conditions enable the employees to understand their roles and also create a perception that they are not in the company to undertake certain duties.
The challenges experienced in the management of the organization include a stringent organizational culture, an expensive process of recruitment and a costly method enticing guests in an effort to make sure that they have the most memorable experience in the hotels. A review of the strategy of recruitment will make sure that the process is less costly to the company and release resources initially used to other important ventures.
Ritz-Carlton’s process of recruitment is done professionally and only applicants with the highest qualifications in the hospitality sector are absorbed. This is because of the fact that service and quality can only be as good as the staff and for the company to attain the Gold Standards, it is important that it hires the right kind of employees and equip them with the necessary input. Recruitment is conducted through benchmarking, an overtime observation of the ability of an employee to learn and deliver. Besides, the good working environment enables employees to understand their responsibility and instills a perception that they are not in the company to play certain roles.
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