Article # 1 Inside Nike, Women staffers circulated survey about workplace behavior Informal survey about alleged inappropriate behavior by men at company triggered formal review. March 19, 2018, by Sara Germano & Joann S. Lublin for www.wsj.com Last year, a group of female employees at Nike circulated an informal survey about alleged inappropriate behavior by men at the world’s largest sportswear maker, people familiar with the matter said; a move that preceded the ouster of two veteran executives last week. The women were frustrated with what they saw as pay disparity and a gender imbalance at the highest ranks of Nike, amplified by the exit of several female senior operating executives last year. The women were also concerned about allegations circulating internally of inappropriate workplace behavior by some men and drew up the survey to gather information about these issues. The distribution of the survey came to the attention of longtime Nike Chief Executive, Mark Parker, in recent months and triggered a formal review of workplace behavior by an outside firm, the people said. The results of the survey couldn’t be learned. A Nike spokesman declined to comment. The company is scheduled to report its latest quarterly results on Thursday. Last Thursday, Mr. Parker sent a memo to Nike employees disclosing the continuing internal review and said the company’s second-ranking executive, Trevor Edwards, had resigned as Nike brand president effective immediately and would retire from the company in August. Jayme Martin, a top lieutenant to Mr. Edwards, was also forced out of the company, people familiar with the matter said. Nike on Friday confirmed Mr. Martin’s exit after The Wall Street Journal reported it. The company hasn’t specified why either executive is leaving. Both Mr. Edwards and Mr. Martin had spent decades at Nike in various roles, and Mr. Edwards was considered the heir apparent to Mr. Parker, 62 years old, who has been CEO since 2006. Martin and Edwards protected male subordinates who engaged in behavior that was demeaning to female colleagues, according to one person familiar with the matter. Their lieutenant’s bullied people who weren’t in their work group, this person said, such as women and individuals from foreign countries. Neither Mr. Edwards nor Mr. Martin have responded to requests for comment. Nike, which has more than 74,000 employees around the globe, has fostered a competitive internal culture, borrowed from the world of sports and channeled into the sneaker industry. It has prized loyalty and groomed talent from within—its highest ranks are filled mostly by men that have spent decades at the Beaverton, Ore., company. Leadership turnover in the last year has left fewer women at the top of the organization. The highest-ranking female executives are the company’s general counsel and head of human resources, the latter of whom was promoted last July. Reference: Germano, S, & Lunblin, J. Wall Street Journal. March 19, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/inside-nike-women-staffers-circulated-survey-about-workplacebehavior-1521451801?mod=article_inline Article # 2 Nike CEO Apologizes for corporate culture that excluded some staff At rare all-staff meeting, Mark Parker apologizes to employees who felt excluded May 3, 2018, by Sara Germano for www.wsj.com Nike’s Chief Executive Mark Parker apologized to employees Thursday for allowing a corporate culture that excluded some staff and failed to take seriously complaints about workplace issues, according to people familiar with the matter. The rare all-staff meeting at the sneaker giant’s headquarters follows weeks of turmoil, including the departures of several senior executives and internal complaints of inappropriate behavior. Mr. Parker spoke in a crowded theater at the Tiger Woods Conference Center on the Beaverton, Ore., campus. The Nike veteran and CEO since 2006 apologized to those who felt excluded and felt like they didn’t have anyone to turn to about their situation. The Wall Street Journal in March reported that Nike was investigating allegations of inappropriate behavior after a group of women at the company had circulated a survey that reached Mr. Parker. Last month, the Journal reported on flaws in Nike’s human-resources department and employees’ complaints of a boys-club culture at the company. Mr. Parker sent an email to staff earlier Thursday inviting them to the meeting and saying he wanted “everyone to know that I’m personally committed to making Nike a place where everyone can thrive in an environment of respect, empathy, and equal opportunity for all.” In recent days, Nike has promoted two women to senior leadership roles. On Monday, Amy Montagne was named vice president and general manager of global categories, giving her oversight of several major business units, including women’s, running, training and basketball. Last week, the company named Kellie Leonard as its new chief of diversity and inclusion. Ms. Montagne and Ms. Leonard, Nike veterans with more than a decade apiece at the company, filled positions vacated in recent weeks by men. Ms. Montagne was previously head of Nike’s women’s business, while Ms. Leonard was formerly vice president of communications. Several senior male employees have abruptly left Nike or resigned their positions since March, including the No. 2 executive, Trevor Edwards. Mr. Edwards resigned from his position and will retire from the company in August. He hasn’t responded to requests for comment. According to interviews with current and former employees, several issues at Nike hastened the recent upheaval. Last year, a group of female employees began circulating an informal survey to take stock of what they considered to be disparities in pay and promotions for women at the company, as well as alleged inappropriate behavior. The survey was brought to the desk of Mr. Parker earlier this year. Also last year, Mr. Parker instructed the head of human resources to leave the company, following at least two internal investigations into his management, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Edwards, whose position was Nike brand president, wielded control over product categories and geographies as well as brand management. Being a friend of Mr. Edwards was one way that helped men rise through the organization, while women weren’t promoted as frequently, the people familiar with the matter said. Some people coined a catchphrase—“FOT” or “friend of Trevor,” according to former employees. Monique Matheson, the company’s current human-resources chief, sent a memo in April to employees saying Nike has “failed to gain traction” in hiring and promoting women and minorities and disclosed that 29% of the company’s vice presidents are women and just 16% are nonwhite. Reference: Germano, S. Wall Street Journal. May 3, 2018. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/nike-ceo-apologizes-for-corporate-culture-that-excluded-somestaff-1525399012?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=5
(1) Initial discussion post must be at least 300 words per question.
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READ THE CASE STUDY ON NIKE. PROVIDE RESPONSES TO THE (3) FOLLOWING QUESTIONS PRESENTED AT THE END OF THE CASE
1. Aside from promoting women into leadership positions, what are some additional changes that Nike can implement to address pay and gender disparities and promote diversity? Are there any public figures or organizations that Nike should partner with to improve their public image?
2. Discuss at least two (2) employee-focused strategies/policies that you would recommend to improve employee relations at Nike. What can Nike do to reassure current employees that they are going to be treated fairly and properly promoted based on job performance? How can Nike earn the trust of their employees?
3. Assess the organizational culture that exists at your current employer or a former employer. How would you describe the corporate culture? Are there different or similar subcultures among teams, departments, or business units within your organization? You do not have to include the name of your current or former employer.
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Aside from promoting women into leadership positions, what are some additional changes that Nike can implement to address pay and gender disparities and promote diversity? Are there any public figures or organizations that Nike should partner with to improve their public image?
Diversity has to be a focal point of organizations in this day and age. This includes ongoing training for divisions at all levels. Having employees from many different backgrounds and cultures creates a cohesive dynamic that allows for growth within the company. The company I work for just recently sent out a confidential survey asking our opinions on diversity at the university. Clearly, the women at Nike feel like they are not treated fairly but if Nike wants all of their employees to trust them again they need to make sure that everyone feels they are being treated fairly. A confidential survey, through a third party would be a great opportunity for employees to safely feel they can express their concerns.
Another option would be for Nike to incorporate teams versus individual work. If each team at Nike focused on working together and listening to each unique person's opinion, they would be able to have a much more successful output of work. According to Luthans, Luthans & Luthans "teams and teamwork can lead to higher productivity, better quality, and higher satisfaction" compared to those who do not work in a group setting.
Always ran a campaign in 2014 around #LikeAGirl focusing on how that phrase is used as an insult and in a negative context. According to their campaign, "7/10 girls feel like they don't belong in sports". I think given the situation with Nike, this would be a great campaign for them to get behind to support young females of all athletic abilities. It is important for Nike to partner with companies who are promoting all types of diversity, not just women empowerment but given the accusations this would have been a powerful and impactful campaign for them to get behind. Since the start of the campaign, 76% of girls feel a positive association with the phrase #LikeAGirl compared to 19% .
Discuss at least two employee-focused strategies/policies that you would recommend to improve employee relations at Nike. What can Nike do to reassure current employees that they are going to be treated fairly and properly promoted based on job performance? How can Nike earn the trust of their employees?
One way to improve employee relations would be to have a mentorship program. I think this would increase communication for both parties, and provide an opportunity for people to learn within their current organization and work on having upward mobility in the company. A company that focuses on career growth leaves its employees feeling valued. Another way to improve employee relations at Nile is transparency with the inner workings of the company. "If your team doesn't know what's happening behind the scenes, they can't fully invest themselves and their energies into the company".
Mark Parker calling a meeting to discuss what was going on is a good first step at transparency, and is the right track to getting employees to start trusting the company again. Communication is a key factor within small and large organizations alike. After the serious accusations that were made and the fall out from that, having transparency is crucial for them to trust the organization that they are putting their energy and efforts in to.
I think a big part of making sure that job performance is being evaluated fairly is to incorporate some of the new pay techniques that were discussed in chapter 4. Specifically looking at skill pay, which "recognizes the need for flexibility and change by paying employees based on their demonstrated skills rather than the job they perform".
Often times, the job you do differs from the job you were interviewed for. It is important to be compensated for those changes. It also means that the company is taking the time to recognize the employees contributions and willingness to take on new job responsibilities which in turn makes them feel appreciated and valued. When the opposite of this is true, it has a negative impact on morale which would lower the productivity of the employee as well as their commitment to the organization.
Assess the organizational culture that exists at your current employer or a former employer. How would you describe the corporate culture? Are there different or similar subcultures among teams, departments, or business units within your organization? You do not have to include the name of your current or former employer.
In my opinion, the organizational culture in my current role has a lot of room for improvement. Reading through these few chapters have already been an eye-opening experience as to what a healthy corporate culture could look like and how the organization I am working for is lacking in those areas. As defined in Chapter 3, horizontal culture "builds a corporate culture of openness, cooperation, and collaboration. A culture that focuses on continuous performance improvement and values employee empowerment, responsibility and well-being".
Horizontal culture demonstrates a balance of prioritizing the organization in addition to the employee. Working in a hospital setting, the hierarchy typically has the providers at the top, leadership below them, and everyone else significantly lower than that
Oftentimes the people at the top make decisions affecting everyone below them without ever including them in the conversation. This does not promote openness, cooperation or collaboration. Each person brings their expertise to the job and should be able to contribute to changes that happen daily. I believe if they were more inclusive in communication we should see much greater success in our day to day operations.
University of Colorado Hospital provides excellent benefits, which is a strong contributor to employees staying in their positions. However, the university relies too heavily on having good benefits for their employees instead of having to create a more inclusive work environment. Department managers are only focused on the providers instead of the employees who support the providers.
For example, the current division manager has cancelled the monthly meeting for the last seven months which completely shuts off all communication with him limiting our ability to address any concerns. When we are able to address concerns along with possible solutions, there is never any follow through or change. Openness is a very limiting factor in my current workplace and I hope that overtime I can help to change that and increase the overall morale of the department.
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