CEO Mark Parker Foundation of Nike’s Organizational Culture

by Nathaniel E. Urban


Photo Credit: Huh Magazine

The purpose of this case study is to analyze how Nike CEO Mark Parker has used situational management style to influence the organizational culture of Nike. Nike is a multinational corporation that is responsible for the design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessories. This case study will provide a detailed description of situational management style and how Parker has used it to lead Nike as the most valuable brand among sports businesses. A critical analysis will give a description of Nike and an analysis of their organizational culture. It will also look at how Parker has applied situational management style and what his leadership has done to improve Nike. A conclusion will include a short discussion on what other organizations can learn from Parker’s management style.

Description of Situational Management Style

Situational leadership is a management style developed by Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey. “The fundamental precept of situational leadership is that there is no one ‘best’ style of leadership, and that the most successful leaders are the ones who can adapt their style to a given situation” (Joseph, 2016). Good situational leaders are able to adapt their style to do what is best for a company, a group project, or any type of organization. The best situational leaders may use a couple general styles of management depending on the situation. The styles a situational leader may use are called coaching, directing, delegating, and supporting.

Coaching is a type of management style that involves a great amount of “hands-on” involvement by the leader in an employee’s work. This style is most effective when an employee displays weaknesses that need improvement. For a leader to be effective at coaching, the employee must recognize their weaknesses and seek to improve them. The employee is then responsible for their improvement but the leader is there to offer guidance.

“The directing management style typically involves taking over a challenging situation and applying specific knowledge and experience to right the ship” (Joseph, 2016). A leader who adopts directing management style uses it to establish clear goals and objectives for their position as well as their employees. The employees typically provide the input as to how the objectives are met. The leader will provide detailed instructions as to what changes, if any, the employee needs to make.

The delegating style places more responsibility on the employees as opposed to the leader. Most of the ultimate decisions are left in the hands of the employees. “The manager is able to provide guidance, but only when needed or requested by the employees, and serves in more of a consultant capacity” (Joseph, 2016). This style is extremely effective when a staff of employees is confident enough to work independently and provide their own ideas. The delegating style allows employees to use their best creativity in how they choose to accomplish a task. The leader pushes for their employees to critically think and work through a situation.

The supporting style involves the leader holding more of a motivational role. “The leader’s main function is to attempt to instill confidence in the workers so they eventually become more self-sufficient and productive” (Joseph, 2016). The leader attempts to assure their employees that they have the capability to perform what is asked of them. This style can involve the leader assigning projects to their employees while providing support when needed.

Situational leadership allows managers to be flexible. “One of the keys to situational leadership is adaptability. Leaders must be able to move from one leadership style to another to meet the changing needs of an organization and its employees” (Spahr, 2015). Situational leadership is unique and effective because it incorporates many different approaches. The correct approach depends heavily on an organization’s environment and its employees. A situational leader, like Nike CEO Mark Parker, is able to effectively move from one management style to another.

Critical Analysis

Nike is one of the world’s largest suppliers and manufacturers of athletic shoes, apparel, and sports equipment. Nike sponsors several well-known athletes and sports teams from around the world. Their iconic trademarks of “Just Do It” and the Swoosh logo are two of the most recognized trademarks in the world. Since Parker became CEO in 2006, Nike’s value has nearly doubled from $19 billion to $30 billion. Nike pays top athletes in many sports to use and promote their products and designs. Nike has signed multi-million dollar deals with athletes like Rory McIlroy and LeBron James. Parker has been labeled as “The World’s Most Creative CEO” and says that, “Nike’s culture is perfectly suited for the new, unpredictable age of business” (Safian, 2012). Parker has also said that, “The last thing we want is to be a big dumb company that feels we can put a swoosh on something and people will buy that” (Safian, 2012). Nike is known to be a company that is constantly adapting to an ever-changing market and customer base. The company actually receives much of their inspiration from their athlete focused customers. Parker has discussed how athletes are always progressing and striving to improve their performance. The same idea can be said about how Nike acts as a company.

The aspect of Nike that is going to be analyzed is their organizational culture. Nike’s organizational culture includes how the company is organized, how their employees behave, and what influences affect the employee’s success. Thanks to Parker, Nike is a company that is able to constantly adapt their structure in a growing and shifting market. Parker said, “Our management approach hasn’t come from studying and reading business books. It’s more intuitive, from the culture of sports. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve. Things are accelerating” (Safian, 2012). Parker organizes Nike in a flexible way that allows the company to seek new ideas, methods, and designs. Nike does well when it comes to adapting to change. They are known well for looking at change as an opportunity rather than a challenge. If a company is not able to adapt then it is more likely to fail. Parker said, “Sometimes with size and success comes the notion that since we’ve done things to be successful, we have the formula and can institutionalize it. That can be death” (Safian, 2012). Nike’s organization is established so that even what has worked really well for the company is still challenged. Nike does not contend on remaining comfortable in their styles and methods. They are determined to strive for the next best approach to a situation.

Parker is not someone who believes his employees’ abilities are fixed. He believes their abilities need to be cultivated in Nike’s culture. Andy Champion, Nike’s chief financial officer, said that, “Parker is notorious for constantly asking questions that push employees to think harder. What’s fascinating about his use of questions is that it leaves other leaders empowered to find the answers themselves and act on them” (Lebowitz, 2015). Parker is not a CEO who thinks he has all the answers. He wants employees to use what they know to ask insightful questions that promote discussion with other co-workers. Asking questions does not allow employees to get too comfortable with one way of thinking or doing something. Employees are encouraged to question their own personal methods and their work as well.

Employees are influenced by Nike’s eleven management maxims and their athlete focused customer base.  Nike’s management maxims are eleven simple statements that promote the core source of innovation within the company. Two of them are, “It is our nature to innovate”, and, “Be a sponge” (Waite, 2014). The first one says, “The company sees innovation as one of its core organizational competencies” (Waite, 2014). The second one says, “Employees at Nike are encouraged to be curious and open to new ideas, whatever their source” (Waite, 2014). These two maxims and the other nine represent everything the company stands for. The goal is for these maxims to guide employees at any level as they work with and represent the company. Athletes are considered to be Nike’s biggest influence due to their pursuit of growth and change. It is a powerful influence because Nike is a company that is pursuing the same thing. “Athletes and Nike designers fuel each other’s creativity when they work together. In 2008 Kobe Bryant and Nike’s Eric Avar designed the KOBE 9, which featured technology that made for a lighter-weight and better fitting shoe” (Lebowitz, 2015). A strong relationship between a company and their customers has the power to drive a company’s success and the customer’s loyalty to their product.

Nike does extremely well embodying situational management style through Parker. Parker has shown how he can easily transition between coaching, directing, delegating, and supporting management styles throughout Nike. Situational management style is all about a leader who can be flexible. Parker recognizes that not all of his employees are immediately comfortable with innovating. His coaching management style has shown, “Even those who are averse to change because they are safe and rather complacent in their secured positions doing what they do best and have been doing well, have been made to innovate” (Advise America, 2016). Parker has made change a natural part of Nike’s culture. Employees are trained to accept change as an opportunity for innovation. Parker helps his employees feel confident enough to accept this as part of Nike’s culture.

Parker is not a CEO who typically adopts a directing management style but that does not mean he is not able to. “Earlier in 2012, Parker noted that Nike’s R&D group had 350 ideas being explored. He recognized that the number was too high. He got personally involved-not specifically selecting projects, but working with the R&D team to set up criteria to evaluate” (Safian, 2012). Parker gave the R&D team a simple goal by saying that the number of ideas they had was too high. The employees provided most of the input as to how they were going to reduce this number after Parker help them create a criteria to discuss their ideas. The R&D worked to cut their idea list down to 50.

Perhaps Parker’s two strongest management styles are when he is able to use delegation and support. Parker pushes his employees to think through difficult situations and provide alternative ideas to present methods. “Every employee who is otherwise skilled to get his or her job done, is also tasked with the responsibility to contribute something more, to find out if there is something better and to develop oneself as well as the company in any which way one can” (Advise America, 2016). His delegating management style is thoughtful yet demanding. It involves a lot of personal accountability and responsibility. This is, however, exactly what Parker wants out of his employees. Strong delegation is the exact opposite of micro-managing, which is something Parker does not believe in. He said, “At Nike, we have incredibly strong people. They know what to do” (Safian, 2012).

Parker’s strongest ability is to use a supporting management style. Parker has been known to, “Go out of his way to solicit ideas from junior members of the team. He likes to pull raw ideas out and put them in the spotlight. He likes to celebrate the fact that ideas can come from anywhere” (Blazek, 2016). Parker likes to discover the ideas his employees possess and then help them sharpen them. He encourages his employees to look for new ways to innovate and adapt to Nike’s environment. He is also involved in the development of new designs and frequently walks the halls of Nike to see what he might gain from other employees.


Other organizations can learn a lot from Parker’s management style and how it has affected Nike’s organizational culture. Organizations can learn that change and innovation is necessary for their future success. Parker has established that, “Innovation is the center of our culture, so we can deal with things pretty effectively and naturally through that lens” (Greenfield, 2015). It is crucial for organizations to remember that being comfortable with the way they are does not really mean there is any growth. Leaders of organizations can also learn how to adopt different management styles. Not every situation is going to require the same type of management. A strong leader must know what management style will work best for the success of the organization. Parker understands that he must adapt his management style as often as Nike is adapting to the global market and their customer’s needs. Parker’s situational management style has allowed Nike to remain as one of the highest valued organizations in the world.


Advise America. (2016). Nike Management Style. Retrieved from

Avtgis, T., Liberman, C., Rancer, A. (2012). Organizational Communication: Strategies for Success. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

Blazek, K. (2016, January 19). A Participatory Leadership Style: Nike’s CEO Mark Parker. Retrieved from

Greenfield, K. (2015, November 4). How Mark Parker Keeps Nike in the Lead. Retrieved from

Joseph, C. (2016). Four Basic Leadership Styles Used by Situational Managers. Retrieved from

Lebowitz, S. (2015, October 8). Nike’s CEO explains why athletes are the company’s biggest source of inspiration. Retrieved from

Lebowitz, S. (2015, November 14). Here’s the leadership strategy Nike’s CEO uses to make employees smarter. Retrieved from

Safian, R. (2012, November 5). How CEO Mark Parker Runs Nike To Keep Pace With Rapid Change. Retrieved from

Spahr, P. (2015, October 30). What is Situational Leadership? How Flexibility Leads to Success. Retrieved from

Waite, J. (2014, November 3). Nike’s Management Philosophy Revealed. Retrieved from









Communication Isn’t Frozen

By: Sabrina Mills


The purpose of this case study is to look at Disney Pixar Animation Studios and look at their organizational culture. More specifically applying their culture to the General Systems Theory. The general systems theory is applying properties of living systems to different things, including organizations. Disney Pixar Animation Studios has a unique organizational culture that tries to center around bringing everyone together, and also making sure that everyone is a part of the process. In this case study, we will take a look at how Pixar incorporates all of these aspects, keeping the general systems theory in mind, and the secrets and insides to their organizational culture.

General Systems Theory, developed by Von Bertalanffy, applies the properties of living systems to many things, including organizations. General Systems Theory applies many concepts to an organizational environment. Organizations have a set of concepts that are universal to all of them. Concepts like Output. Output is when many elements are flowing out of the system. Like when a department is working together to better the entire organization. If the idea gets put out of test or discussion, that’s output. Input is another on are the opposite of Output. Input is many ideas and elements flowing into the system (Avtgis, 2012). For example, a comment and suggestions box. If the input is being brought into the organization, then its input General Systems Theory also deals with permeable boundaries, which are the limits where elements are exchanged within the system and the larger environment. This involves exchanging information within the system and the immediate environment (Avtgis, 2012). With this, there is a clear idea of whether the organization has an open system or closed system. An open system is when the info and elements are constantly exchanged within the organization, and in between all levels. A closed system is when the info is not shared with the immediate environment. With a closed system, an organization runs the risk of entropy. Entropy is when a system is moving toward death (Avtgis, 2012). An example of entropy is Blockbuster Video. They couldn’t keep up with competition and the changing world of technology, so eventually they were pushed out by more popular competition. Another concept is Homeostasis, which the balance of the system, or keeping the system in balance. This is different departments or sections working together to maintain a steady balance or flow within the organization. General Systems Theory also deals with subsystems and suprasystems. Subsystems are the smaller system that operate in a larger system. The suprasystem is that larger system in which the subsystem operates (Avtgis, 2012).  For example, a Home Depot is a subsystem of Home Depot Corporation, which would be the suprasystem. But the lumber department of that Home Depot store is the subsystem of the store itself, which would then become the suprasystem. Each department in an organization depends on each other to be able to sustain and survive (Avtgis, 2012). Another way for an organization to survive and thrive is through feedback. Feedback is info obtained through the system that comes from the environment (Avtgis, 2012). This is just like customer feedback. Its comments, suggestions, and feedback from the public or from outside the system. The feedback could benefit the organization, so it is important to take it into consideration, because it could help further the organization. A cybernetic System takes the feedback and self-regulates the feedback to maintain the system. System maintenance is when they system maintains its current practices. System adaption is when the system changes or adapts to the feedback based on the environmental changes around it (Avtgis, 2012). An example of this is Netflix. At one point, Netflix was just a mail order DVD company. Netflix is now one of the biggest movie streaming websites in the world. Organizations are all diverse and complex just like real life organisms. There are many aspects that go into making up the organizations. The general systems theory takes an overall look at what goes into making all organization run smoothly. Organizations are complex within themselves, but in general they all take the same kind of things to make them run efficiently.

Disney Pixar Animation Studios had an organizational culture that is unique. Like every other organization, it forms around a set of elements that helps it run smoothly. General Systems Theory can be applied to all organizations to explain many elements that go towards making it efficient. Disney Pixar is the studio that has come out with some of the most iconic animated films of our time. Many examples are the Toy Story franchise, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Frozen, and many others. As a company that puts in countless hours, efforts, and brain cells into one movie, there is a system to help it run. To hold it together and make it efficient enough not to fall apart. One part of the organization that is an essential key is caring about people (Fox, 2016). Ed Catmull, who is the President of Disney Pixar Animation Studios, says that this came about while working on Toy Story 2 (Catmull, 2014).  There are countless hours put into every movie. And a lot of effort by a lot of people. The animators at Pixar worked long hours, seven days a week over a grueling nine-month period to complete the movie.  By the end of the nine months, one-third of the staff had repetitive stress injuries (Fox, 2016). This is when Pixar decided that they needed to take a step back and look at how they were doing things, and focus on their people, rather than how fast they were doing them. A principle that they now have to make sure that their people are their number on priority is ideas come from people so people need to be the priority. A vital part of any organization is the people. The people are the backbone and where all of the ideas and creativity come from, so they should be number one priority. Along with making sure the people are happy in their environment, also comes the people they work with. Sometimes people clash heads. What’s equally tough, of course, is getting talented people to work effectively with one another. That takes trust and respect (Harvard, 2016). If you don’t trust or respect someone, how do you know that the work will get done well? So Disney Pixar Animation Studios decided it needed a change. One change it made was in communication between crew and production managers. During Toy Story, they said working had been a nightmare. No one was communication well. The crew said it was hard to get work done, because they felt like they were being micromanaged (Catmull, 2014). The production managers felt that the crew didn’t listen to their advice and that they weren’t being respected. Changing this was relatively easy. The solution was to let the crew work. Let them have their creativity and be able to make decisions and changes as they saw fit. Then they had to make sure to tell their managers after they had made the change so that there were no surprises (Catmull, 2014). With trust, come trust even in failure. Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up—it means you trust them even when they do screw up (blogs, 2016). Another change that Pixar made was in getting people to communicate and have a life. Pixar decided that its people were working well, but it seemed to be all they were doing. So they fixed that. The remodeled their studios to be more of a central place. The cafeteria, the mail room, meeting rooms, and restrooms are all in the major center of everything This is supposed to foster communication with everyone. To help people to talk to each other instead of staring at computer screens all day (Reingold, 2016). There are many things that organizations could learn from Disney Pixar. One idea that Pixar fosters is Don’t be afraid of failure (Ziv). Failure is what tests out what works and what doesn’t. Failure lets you know that one thing didn’t work, but then you can change what you’re doing to help the process. With this Pixar believes that you should not fall for the illusion that by preventing errors, you won’t have errors to fix. The truth is, the cost of preventing errors is often far greater than the cost of fixing them (blogs, 2016). So, by failing, you’re discovering your errors and doing something to fix them. Another idea that Pixar tries to abide by is that a company’s communication structure should not mirror its organizational structure. Everybody should be able to talk to anybody. This is definitely helped with everyone being in a centralized area within the main part of the campus. This means that creators shouldn’t be afraid to take opinions and people shouldn’t be afraid to voice their opinions. You never know, the next iconic Disney character could come from an intern. Catmull says that great movies are made from the “tens of thousands of ideas” that go into them from beginning to completion (Stallard, 2015). This is probably very true. If hundreds of people are working on one project, they may have 1000 thoughts a day. He also maintains that the environment must be safe to tell the truth. This goes with being able to have open communication, and not being afraid to have an opinion.

In general, Disney Pixar Animation Studios does many things to make sure that it not only runs smoothly, but it had open communication and mutual working relationships on all levels. I think that it does a pretty good job at doing this. After making mistakes and realizing it, they did something to fix it. Instead of hoping that the problem fixed itself, they took initiative and came up with solutions. These solutions have worked out for everyone in the company. Not only are they now focusing more on their people, but they are focusing more on content instead of timelines. Pixar is learning from its mistakes and doing it right.

Other organizations could learn a lot from Pixar. The way that Disney Pixar was able to turn their company around after seeing how their employees were suffering, is admirable. Some organizations are ridged, and set in their way with the belief that they are doing the best for their company to run. This is also what Ed Catmull thought. But it turns out that if you talk to the employees, there are things happening that even the President wouldn’t know about. By helping the employees change and by opening communication, it also opens new opportunities and ideas. By doing this, Pixar has been able to further themselves as a company and is now one of the most successful Animation companies in the world.



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Behind the Scenes: Unilever

By: Chaise Perez


“Unilever has a simple but clear purpose – to make sustainable living commonplace. We believe this is the best long-term way for our business to grow.” ( Unilever owns over 400 brands, but focuses on 13 main brands. Unilever’s brands are used in daily activities. Unilever works hard with consumers and employees to make sure that consumers do have the essentials they need in their everyday lives. Their brands go from Hellmann’s condiments to Dove’s products to Klondike‘s ice cream and other fun treats. In this case study, I am going to talk about the general systems theory and how Unilever applies to this theory. Unilever follows the general systems theory in many different ways. To start I will be talking about the theory itself, then I will move onto talking about what the Unilever Sustainable Plan is and what it stands for, and furthermore I will talk about what parts of the theory I believe it follows the most.


Photo credit: Wall Street Daily,

General Systems Theory

The general systems theory, takes certain properties or characteristics of our everyday world and ways of life and apply them to organizations or companies. According to, is “existing models, principles, and laws that apply to generalized systems or their subclasses, irrespective of their particular kind, the nature of their component elements, and the relation or ‘forces’ between them.” The theory has many factors that make up the theory. This includes things such as inputs, outputs, throughputs, permeable boundaries, homeostasis, and equifinality. Inputs and throughputs are things that go into the system, while outputs are things that go out of the system and into the public. Permeable boundaries are where the inner system and the outside environment meet to exchange certain factors or elements. Homeostasis is the complete balancing of the system at hand. Equifinality is coming up with different ideas to achieve one common goal. The system itself also has systems that fall under the theory.

The general systems theory itself is just one giant overview that shows the systems perspective. There is a subsystem and a suprasystem. A subsystem is a subsection or smaller section that falls under a larger section. For example, at Ashland University has over 90 possible majors for students to study. These majors all belong to colleges based off the subject of the major. Each major would be a subsystem. The colleges that the majors belong to would be known as the suprasystem of the education system. In addition to these systems, there is also the open and closed systems.

Organizations have permeable boundaries which is very important to see that the customers’ needs are met. The open system is organizations consistently working with the consumers to continually improve their products and the quality of their products to fit with the surrounding environment. Feedback is very important to the organizations that do have open systems. Feedback is the data or information that a company receives from consumers that is negative or positive about their products or service. From receiving feedback, companies can either improve their systems and productivity or they can leave things the same because they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. This could lead to some problems within the organization. If they choose to do so, this means they are a closed system. Closed systems are just the opposite of open systems. When organizations do not work with customers that are immediate to them, they become entropic. Entropy is when a system verges upon dying out. Although there are organizations that are closed systems, majority are open systems which leads the companies to becoming a cybernetic system.

A cybernetic system is when companies self-regulate based on the feedback they have received from their customers. This leads to system maintenance or system adaptation. System maintenance is keeping current routines and work strategies. System adaptation is changing or adapting to the environment and the changes that are occurring while using feedback in order to do so. If a company is doing poorly, then they are more likely to system adaptation while a company that is striving, will use system maintenance. Organizations use system adaptation more to keep up with the constant changes in the world and to always better themselves.

Critical Analysis

Unilever is a company that is solely focused on not only its customers, but helping the changing world that we live in. According to their website biography, they have a quote directly from their CEO, Paul Polam. ‘“We cannot close our eyes to the challenges that the world faces. Business must make an explicit and positive contribution to addressing them. I’m convinced we can create a more equitable and sustainable world for all of us by doing so,” says Unilever CEO Paul Polman. “But this means that business has to change. The Unilever Sustainable Plan is a blueprint for sustainable growth.”’ Unilever owns over 400 brands but focuses only 13 brands due to the impact those brands have made on this world. To give a better understand of what they do, here is a description of what the Sustainable Plan is.

The Unilever Sustainable Plan is their layout for reaching their goals to vision to grow their business, while helping their environmental print from their growth. The positive social impact increases in the process of doing so. The Plan gives them certain targets, finding how consumers use their brands and showcasing what materials (that are all natural and raw) the companies that are under Unilever use. They are constantly trying to find new ways to work with other businesses, work with the government and the society as a whole. One of their focuses is on global warming what effects it has on the human race so they are in consistent search of ways for everyone to work with the environment to have safe and easy living being as natural as possible. Their main purpose to make a sustainable living place, that’s why it’s called the Unilever Sustainable Plan. Their ethical standards and work policies is what this case study will be showcasing.

The logo is a blue capital “U”. If you look closely enough at it, you can see there are 25 icons that make the shape of the U. Each icon means something. They each are representing the different companies that make up Unilever. For example, there is a lock of hair for all the shampoo brands, a hand, a palm tree, a heart, and many more. There are many different links and sections to their website that breaks down each purpose, value, principle, and more that the organization holds its companies too. You can read on their website that, “Our Corporate Purpose states that to succeed requires “the highest standards of corporate behaviour towards everyone we work with, the communities we touch, and the environment on which we have an impact.”’

Their main values and purpose are always working with integrity, positive impact and continuous improvement, setting out our aspirations and working with others. They have many principles that they live by as well. These all include, standard of conduct, obeying the law, employees, consumers, shareholders, business partners, community involvement public activities, the environment, innovation, competition, business integrity, conflicts of interest, and finally compliance, monitoring and reporting. They have five main priorities that they live by. These include, a better future for children, a healthier future, a more confident future, a future for farmers and farming, and lastly a better future for the planet.

Their first priority, a better future for children, falls under their companies, Signal and Close-Up who partnered with FDI World Dental Federation to promote better oral hygiene. Omo and Persil, just two of their laundry brands, work with parents to tell their children that dirt is good which they can get stains of their clothes with their brands. Lastly, Unilever partnered with World Food Programme to start, Together for Child Vitality to help out with the lack of nutrition in poorer countries. For a healthier future, their Flora/Becel margarine brands have figured out a way to help reduce high cholesterol levels. Vaseline has started the Vaseline Skin Care Foundation to help with research going into skin diseases. And Lifebuoy soap has promoted a healthy life style by teaching good handwashing skills to prevent sickness.

To have a more confident future, Dove started a campaign called, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, which insists on not using models but “real” women while advertising. This inspired them to start the Dove Self Esteem Fund. Just from their advertisements, they have already made differences in women and young girls’ lives. Their Sunsilk hair care brand and some of the world’s top hair stylist to create better and more efficient hair products. Close-Up toothpaste has helped many improve their dental care. To create a better future for farming and farmers, the companies Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry’s use all natural products in their foods to provide a more sustainable product.

Lastly, to create a better future for our planet, their website reads, “We’re aiming to grow our business while reducing our environmental footprint and working across the supply chain for every brand to do so. Our Laundry brands, including Surf, Omo, Persil and Comfort, have launched the Cleaner Planet Plan together, encouraging consumers to change their laundry habits to reduce water and energy consumption. Our Lipton tea brand backs sustainable forest management projects in Africa.” You can see that they hold their companies to very high standards to have such quality products. They have very high expectations of the way they would like their products made and what goes in them. They are constantly trying to be sustainable and efficient in all of their work and in their products that they are selling to their trusting customers.

Unilever embodies the general systems theory in a few ways. One, they fit the definition perfectly. Their main focus is on the living systems properties that apply to their organization. They make sure they help meet the wants and mainly the needs of the human population. Two, they do have an open system, along with showing the concepts of homeostasis and equifinality. All of their principles and values are very universal for others. Unilever itself is a suprasystem while all the companies that are under or that were bought are subsystems. For example, Axe and Ben & Jerry’s are both subsystems of the large suprasystem which is Unilever. The company does very well in embodying this theory. There is always room for improvement. For example, they could spend more time on their less-known or popular brands to switch the awareness of them around. Easily by more advertising and more non-profit work to get the idea of the companies out there. They are continually building up the image of not only themselves, but of others too. This is very important to their ethics and morals that the organization expects out of all of its companies.


 I believe that many many other organizations could easily learn from Unilever. Unilever is a very organized company and is a great influence. I believe they have made a difference on not only their customers, but people in general. They uphold such high values and morals that it is truly inspiring. They have five main priorities that they live by and they are all to benefit the people living in this world. They are concerned about their well-being, their confidence, their futures, farmers and farming, along with the planet. To me, these are things all organizations live by. Unilever does own over 400 brands, but they specialist each one to take care of all us in order to have a safer and easier life. Unilever believes in making a difference in this world, and for this I hold the upmost respect for the organization, along with everyone that works for them. For a little more inspiration, I leave you with this quote from their biography on Unilever’s website, “And by leveraging our global reach and inspiring people to take small, everyday actions, we believe we can help make a big difference to the world.”


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Social Networks in the Work Force of Riddell

By: Ally Knapp

The original case study is something that we were able to choose from previous theories and concepts that we have discussed in class. Social Networks being a topic that really interests me and I feel can explain this concept with previous situations I have been in and also things we have talked about in class. This case study will be explaining structure and or policy of the topic of Social Networks.

Within the theory and or concept of Social Networks, there are many different types of definitions out there that explains what this term means. In the book Organizational Communication Strategies for Success gives the definition of “An organizational social network is a representation of how social  actors within an organization are socially and structurally connected to others, providing an answer to the “who communicates with whom” question (Avtgis, 2012).” While an article from Academy of Management explaining Social Networks and analysis this specific topic explains “The social network perspective is an example of a theoretical framework that has developed to the point of guiding data collection as well as data analysis (Ticky, 2009).” This specific framework being the behaviors by these communicators who are networking to make themselves marketable. Any company or non-profit organization is going to want to see this from there current employees and also there future workers. If we just talk about the term Social Networks, this regarding the different types of social medias out there such as Facebook, Snap Chat, Instagram and Twitter. Explaining that social networking is the practice of expanding the number of one’s business and/or social contacts by making connections through individuals, often through social media sites (Rouse, 2016). You do this by posting all that you can on these social media sites that you have to mark your self up so that others out there who are in the work field such as yourself can see what you do and are doing for your company.

The company that I untitledhave chose to look at is Riddell. Riddell being a company specializing in equipment mainly within the sport of football. Being a company who wants to protect there athletes with the best of the best equipment to fulfill the needs to help them perform at the highest level possible. The company founded in 1929 by a man of the name of John T. Riddell. First official piece of sports equipment that was ever produced by them was a screw on, removable cleat. Then in 1939 Riddell invented a plastic suspension helmet where this protected millions of soldiers in World War II and then later became the football helmet that everyone wanted to wear (2016). As the game of football has only grown bigger and more complex with the head impacts and injuries taken apon these athletes, Riddell strives to continue to make there equipment the best it can possibly be to help protect these injuries. From impact sensor in helmets to track and record how many times an athlete takes a hit to then shoulder pads making it easier for responders to have easy access in emergency situations, these are just some of the ways how Riddell continues to advance there equipment (2016).

Forming relationships with others who can possibly help you out with a possible job opportunity is crucial. As my dad always tells me its not about what you know its about who you know. This being a line that I constantly reminding myself of because of the plans I have for myself one day and the dreams I want to make happen for not only me but also my career path. Wanting to pursue the career path with somethin to do with equipment and possibly working for the company of Riddell. I have actually been in contact with workers and head positions held up at the Elyria, Ohio factory. Expressing my passion and drive I have to continue to make football equipment the best it possibly can be because of the passion and love I have for football, I communicated with them about my concerns and how I could better there company one day after getting my degree here at Ashland University. Already taken a couple of trips up to Elyria to meet with some of the top employees to talk with them about all that is new and is coming out and also seeing the helmets actually going through the whole reconditioning process and painted newly. This is just one of the many ways forming a good relationship and using your communication skills is key in the work force.

Along with forming good relationships there are types of powers out there that businesses are ran by.  We have reward power, punishment power, legitimate power, expert power and referent power. Each of these having different definitions. First Reward is based on one’s ability to provide incentives. Punishment is based on one’s ability to administer negative consequences. Next is Legitimate which is based on one’s hierarchal position. Expert bases off of ones knowledge base and lastly referent power is based on one’s employee merit and social popularity (Avtgis, 2012). These all playing some type of role in the work place and who and how you should talk too. People forming relationships is also for a personal network of the other people. These are the people with higher positions and who can be a beneficial contact to others. With the different types of powers the different approaches and methods are what varies the different powers (Johnson).

Ethical Standards being something that Riddell does within there company. This being Principles that is when followed they promote values such as trust, good behavior, fairness, and or kindness (2016). These all refer to all the responsibilities one might hold. Riddell does a great job of treating there employees with respect and making sure that there behaviors are in good standings. Listing core values and standards that are expected by all there employees. As many companies have pages of policies, code of ethics, organizational values, and lastly carefully defined work environments (Heathfield, 2016). With these standards this shouldn’t make the  workplace level of expectations any higher just should be there to be known and recognized when needed. Coming into the workplace as a new employee you want to make yourself great and by doing this your first impression I feel is what makes you or breaks you. First impression to me is key and this is one thing I strive to do when meeting new people who possibly one day can help me out. This is one thing that got me to where I am with the Riddell. I went up there and talked to the people I needed to talk to and made myself and marketable as possible and gave my best impression.

Among the importance contribution to the study of social networks this is linked to centrality. Centrality is defined as the level of importance based on ones position within a given social network. Ones level of centrality or importance in a network is based upon the social relationships that he or she has. There are four types of centrality. The first is Degree. This is a quantitive measure of the number of relationships that a single employee has compared to all others. Next is Betweenness is defined as one’s level of importance based on his or her ability to socially connect previously disconnected people. Thirdly Closeness which is defined as the number of steps necessary to reach all other parts of a given social network. Lastly Eigenvector is an idea that rather than being connected to the most people (degree), or being able to connect otherwise disconnected people (betweenness), or being able to reach all others in the social network in the fewest steps possible (closeness), a persons importance is based on whether he or she is connected to people with degree, betweenness, and/or closeness centrality.

Social Networks are only becoming so big now a days. Company’s having there own social media sights market them up even more. According to the sight where they describe all the social media that specific company has and breaks them down into sections. I was able to find Riddell and all there social networks that they have. Having a wide variety of different websites you can find on Riddell. From Facebook, twitter, google plus, stumble upon, and lastly delicious (24 October 2016). Multiple likes and shares and reactions to all the different things Riddell is talking about and coming out with. Facebook being the number one site that is being used just because its one of the ones that have been around the longest. Taking up more then half of the percentage of the breakdown of twitter and Facebook.

Riddell being somewhere where I plan and hope to work one day with my career. Looking into all the new equipment and products that are out there trying to keep up with the knowledge of the company. Obviously known for there football helmets and something that I love looking into and seeing the new helmets that are coming out and also the information that is out there about each of the helmets that are made by them. I plan onto continue to do this and keep up with all the information that is out there for myself and to better my knowledge so one day I can be apart of there team and bring the knowledge that I can to make myself as marketable as possible to help better this company. Talking with head people within the company is just one of the ways I am making my dreams a reality one day.



Avtgis, T., Rancer, A.,&  Liberman, C. (2012). Organizational communication strategies for success.

Dubuque: Kendall Hunt.


Tichy, N., Tushman, M., & Fombrun, C. (3 September 2009). Social networks analyzing for organizations.

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(24 October 2016). Social media impact for Cool Social Website Social Media Analyzer. Retrieved from


Google: Meeting Needs to Keep Workers Satisfied and Motivated

iby Susanna Savage

What motivates people to take action? Why do we work tirelessly on some projects, but put out little effort on others? Why do we stay at some jobs for decades, but leave others after only a few months or years? A group of theories called “motivation theories” seek to develop answers to these questions. Organizational leaders often utilize motivation theories in determining how to motivate employees and increase job satisfaction. This case study focuses on David McClelland’s Acquired Needs Theory and explores how that theory is displayed in the way Google treats its employees.

Acquired Needs Theory

Acquired Needs Theory was developed by David McClelland to explain human motivation. McClelland proposed that humans acquire their needs over the course of their lives based on the experiences that they have had (Avtgis, Rancer, & Liberman, 2012). While studying these needs over time, McClelland was able to divide them into three categories, the need for achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation. These became the basis for what is now known as Acquired Needs Theory (McClelland’s human motivation theory). In its most general sense, the theory maintains that everyone has needs which fall into one or more of these three categories. The motivation to fulfill these needs determines what people will choose to do (Garrin, 2014). The ultimate goal of fulfilling these needs is what motivates us to act, and we will strive our hardest to meet those needs. We will put out much effort on tasks that lead us to fulfilling needs, and we will put out little or no effort on tasks that are not related to our needs (Garrin, 2014).

Acquired Needs Theory is often applied to organizations as a way of increasing job performance and satisfaction. The theory states that if people can fulfill their needs through their work, they will be motivated to work and to work hard. However, if they do not feel that they can fulfill their needs with their job, their motivation to do excellent work will decrease. The surest way to ensure high quality work, is to motivate employees by enabling them to fulfill their needs through the work that they do (Lazaroiu, 2015).

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• The Need for Achievement

People who have a high need for achievement are driven to make personal accomplishments. They like to be put into positions of responsibility (McClelland’s human motivation theory). Achievers tend to set moderate goals for themselves. This is because goals that are easily achieved are not satisfying to them, but at the same time, goals that are very difficult to achieve hold the risk of failure. Because achievement is so important, they will set goals that they believe they can achieve, but that are not easily attainable for others (McClelland’s human motivation theory). To satisfy this need in the work place employees must be able to take on responsibility and set their own goals. They must be given creative freedom and recognizes for their achievements and accomplishments (McClellands human motivation theory).

• The Need for power

People who have a high need for power want to attain positions that give them power over others. They aspire to be figures of greatness and respect. These people want to be in control (McClelland’s human motivation theory). To fulfill this need in the work place, individuals must have the ability to rise in influence. This means the possibility of promotion to management positions that enable them to have power over other, lower employees (Avtgis, Rancer & Liberman, 2012). Fulfilling the need for power in the work place could also mean allowing employees to pitch ideas and give input that might influence the organization. People with a need for power must feel as if they are in control, so letting them make decisions on their own and ensuring that they have some kind of influence is key.

• The Need for affiliation

According to Avtgis, Rancer and Liberman (2012), this is the “need to develop and enjoy quality relationships with others, avoid conflict, and be less dogmatic and less assertive in an effort to maintain those relationships” (186). People with the need for affiliation are primarily motivated to develop and maintain positive relationships. They want to have many friends and be liked by others. They also need a strong group affiliated. This can be achieved in the work place when employees are encouraged to have strong relationships with one another. To accomplish this, organizations can stress bonding activities and a strong corporate ‘we’ culture. People who have the need for affiliation need to find social value in the time that they spend with their co-workers and in their group membership as part of the organization (McClelland’s human motivation theory).

Critical Analysis of Google

Google is well-known, not only for its financial success and innovative products, but also for the way it treats its employees. Google has been ranked among Fortunes top 100 places to work for the last 10 years, and this year was ranked number one. Not only do Google employees experience a staggering number of luxury perks, but Google also strives to maintain a healthy and nurturing environment and workplace culture. This facilitates the high job satisfaction that Google employees experience, and in turn, the success of the organization. One of Google’s primary goals is to be an excellent place for people to work (Google careers). And Google accomplishes this goal by making sure that whether an employee needs power, achievement or affiliation, those needs can be met on the job. This does a lot more than just making Google a great place to work. It also means that Google employees love their jobs and put forth excellent work, and this employee excellence contributes to the success of the organization.

• Googlers With The Need For Achievement

Google provides employees with ample opportunities to achieve. Being employed by Google, in and of itself, is a great accomplishment, because Google’s hiring process is highly selective. Beyond that, Google encourages achievement, even from its lowest level employees. A program that exemplifies this is Google’s 80/20 rule. According to Inc., “The 80/20 rule allows Googlers to dedicate 80% of time to their primary job and 20% working on passion projects that they believe will help the company” (D’onfro, 2015). Many of the ideas that are developed in that 20% of an employee’s time become successful assent to the company. For example, Gmail was developed by a Google employee during his 20% time (D’onfro, 2015). This rule allows employees to truly use their skills and talents to make achievements, whatever their job position might be.

Google also provides employees with opportunities to take on large responsibilities. Googlers have the ability to climb to higher positions within the company through promotions. Individuals who have a strong need for achievement are given the opportunity to fulfill that need as a Google employee. Google is filled with the brightest and best minds making it an ideal atmosphere for achievers to achieve great things.

Additionally, Google offers a large number of extensive perks to its employees. While these perks serve many purposes and are offered for a variety of reasons, many of them are intended to facilitate the employees’ achievement. Free massages and delicious meals and nap-pods are all examples of perks that are designed to facilitate employee success, giving them everything that they need to feel great and do well on the job.

• Googlers With The Need For Power

Google offers employees a workplace full of opportunities to hold positions in which they have power. Managers and higher level employees hold power over the employees who report to them. And those who do not hold positions of power have the opportunity to advance to those positions based on merit. Google puts extensive stress on career planning and encourages all employees to set goals and take steps to reach their career aspirations (D’onfro, 2015).

All employees, regardless of their level in the organization are given power with programs like Google’s TGIF. According to Forbes, TGIF is “Google’s weekly all-hands meetings, where employees ask questions directly to the company’s top leaders and other execs about any number of company issues” (He, 2013). This program allows all employees to have an impact on Google, and in doing so, gives them power.

Another program that gives Google employees power is the survey. Google employees are regularly surveyed about their managers. This gives them the opportunity to express their preferences and provide feedback on the performance of their superiors. Google takes these surveys into account when evaluating management and makes crucial decisions based on them. The best managers are publicly rewarded and given the task of coaching the worst managers who are enrolled in intensive training to improve their management skills (He, 2013). This gives all employees to opportunity to take a position of power, even over their superiors. It gives them a sense of control and ensures that their voice is heard and will have an impact on the company and their own work environment (Crowley, 2013).

• Googlers With The Need For Affiliation

Google provides ample opportunity for employees to find affiliation, with a strong sense of unity and a social culture. Google employees are empowered to think of themselves as a group of people who are bound together by their skill and extraordinaire. To be employed by Google one must be among the brightest and best in one’s field. Being a Googler means belonging to a subset of the population that is known for being excellent and so Googler group membership is, by itself, incredibly affirming to employees.

Aside from this, Google employees enjoy perks that set them apart from the rest of the world and increase group solidarity. And once you become a Googler, you are a Googler for life. People who no longer work at Google are considered alumni and enjoy perks as well as support and continued group membership (D’onfro, 2015). By making it clear that Googlers are special, and set apart from others, Google makes employees feel proud to be part of a unique social group.

Another way that Google fulfills the need for affiliation is by encouraging social interactions in the work place. Many of the perks that Google offers to employees are socially oriented and designed to assist in building strong, healthy relationships between Googlers. For example, Googlers are given free access to a gym on site with fitness classes and they are encouraged to participate in organized sports with their fellow Googlers (D’onfro, 2015). Google makes employees feel like they are members of a special group of people, a group of people that they can be very proud to belong to. Within that group, Googlers are validated by strong work place relationships, encouraged by a social workplace culture.

Google effectively aligns employees’ needs for achievement, power, and affiliation with high job performance. In the framework of Acquired Needs Theory, this should mean that employees are highly motivated to fulfill their needs, and since fulfilling those needs and being an excellent Google employee are aligned, employees’ motivation to fulfill needs should translate into motivation to do an excellent job at Google. Considering Google’s success, not just in terms of business prosperity, but also in employee job satisfaction, it is safe to say that Google has successfully used Acquired Needs Theory to capture its employees’ motivations and guide them in ways that help the company and the employees themselves prosper.

Many organizations focus solely on issues that directly impact the wellbeing of the company. Things such as productivity or maximizing profits are valued above issues that seem less relevant, such as employee job satisfaction. However, it is important to understand that one cannot have a successful organization without employees who are motivated to put forward their best work. Some people believe that motivating employees is quite simple. They use rewards and punishments to encourage ideal behavior. While this strategy may work on small children, adults are much more complex beings, and this type of management may lead to resentment, high employee turnover, and low workplace motivation. Acquired Needs Theory abolishes this simplistic view of humans, by explaining motivation as the complex and sophisticated process that it is. As Google has demonstrated, when an individual’s needs can be achieved by being an excellent employee that individual will be highly motivated to be excellent (Moore, 2016). Satisfied, motivated employees are an essential component to any successful company, and following Google’s model can greatly benefit organizations of all kinds.


Avtgis, T. A., Rancer, A. S., & Liberman, C. J. (2012). Organizatioinal communication: Strategies for success. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

Crowley, M. C., (2013, March 21). Not a happy accident: How Google deliberately designs workplace satisfaction. Fast Company. Retrieved from

D’onfro, J., (2015, September 21). An inside look at Google’s best employee perks: Current and former employees sound off on the most attractive benefits the tech giant has to offer. Inc. Retrieved from

Garrin, J. M. (2014). The power of workplace wellness: A theoretical model for social change agency. Journal Of Social Change, 6(1), 109-117.

Google careers. (n.d.). Retrieved from

He, L., (2013, March 19). Google’s secrets of innovation: Empowering its employees. Forbes. Retrieved from

Lazaroiu, G. (2015). Work motivation and organizational behavior. Contemporary Readings In Law & Social Justice, 7(2), 66-75.

McClelland’s human motivation theory: Discovering what drives members of your team. (n.d.). Mind Tools. Retrieved from

Moore, C. (2016). The future of work: What Google shows us about the present and future of online collaboration. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 60(3), 233-244.


Blowing The Whistle On Planned Parenthood


by Samm Stutzman

At one time or another we have seen something that was not morally agree with happen. For most of us this incident was probably very minor, but for some it is very major. When faced with these situations there are many different actions that can take place. Depending on the situation and everyone’s own moral compass those actions can be very different from person to person. Though for those who do take action to put a stop to something that they feel is morally wrong have a special name. These bold individuals are called whistleblowers, and through their actions they can be either viewed as heroes or traitors depending on who is asked. This case study will look over one particular whistleblowing incident that happened a few years ago to a well-known nonprofit called Planned Parenthood. Not only will this case study go over what whistleblowing is all about, but also take a look at the particular case and what the moral issue in question has to deal all about.

What is whistleblowing? GAP or the Government Accountability Project defines it as when “an employee who discloses information that she/he reasonably believes is evidence of illegality, gross waste or fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, general wrongdoing, or a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety” (What is a Whistleblower, n.d.). This has been seen a few times throughout history where a brave individual goes against, usually a large company, and exposes their wrong doings. The consequences that come with being a whistleblower can be very sever. In some cases whistleblowers have even lost their lives because of the actions they took to enlighten the public on the wrongs that were being done. In a popular incident of whistleblowing that has been seen in the news is with Edward Snowden. When he blew the whistle on NSA for keeping track of people’s phone records. By exposing the NSA for their actions he was ultimately forced to flee the country and take asylum in Russia.

Though whistleblowing has mostly been seen done to military and government agencies it has been done recently to a widely known nonprofit, Planned Parenthood. This nonprofit is known for delivering “vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information for millions of women, men, and young people worldwide” (Who We Are – Planned Parenthood, n.d.). Though this company provides a safe and affordable place for young men and women to come and take an active role in protecting their reproductive health, Planned Parenthood has come into the news for a very controversial topic. One of the medical services given at all Planned Parenthood’s is abortion. By making an appointment and discussing the options with a doctor, and taking a few days to think through those options a woman can ultimately decide to end her pregnancy at one of these facilities. With great backlash by Pro-Life groups, a movement against abortion of babies, Planned Parenthood has come under fire over the years just for carrying out these procedures. Though the case in particular that will be looked at in this case does not totally have to do with why they do abortions but what they do after an abortion.

The cause of this whistleblowing incident happened because of Planned Parenthood’s seemingly lack of ethical standards. In 2015 “two journalist set up complex and high-level sting against top Planned Parenthood executives; they took undercover video of their meetings with those executives” (Shapiro, 2016). In these meetings with executives seen on these videos shows a very disturbing side to what is supposed to be a helpful organization. These videos show not only aborted baby parts displayed in unsanitary locations, but also shows “executives laughing and joking about sale of these baby parts to research facilities” (Shapiro, 2016).

When the videos were finally broadcasted to the public the shock was overwhelming. Though by surprise the law enforcement’s actions did not go as some people would have expected it to. After the tapes were released the two journalist were placed under arrest for multiple different counts for crimes they “committed”; while the Planned Parenthood was not charged with any crime. The reason for this being that no selling of human body parts actually occurred but instead was just suggested and agreed to. Though after a confusing and rather unprofessional trial the two whistleblower’s charges were dropped. Afterwards Daleiden, one of the journalist, and his attorneys “claimed victory for the anti-abortion movement, saying they were satisfied with the decision” (T., 2016). However, with the coming out of these videos Planned Parenthood has taken some recent legal steps to try and prevent something like whistleblowing from ever happening to them again. Their step into actions is by supporting California‘s new bill “that would make it a crime to distribute a recording or even a transcript of a private conversation with a healthcare provider” (A., 2016). Though within that same year another whistleblower came forward with information about the non-profit but with different content though with equally troubling of an issue.

This whistleblower had been a true employee for Planned Parenthood, for almost 11 years, when an incident happened that shocked her. Carla Murray, a nurse at the time for Planned Parenthood, says that one day in 2015 a young thirteen year old girl and her stepmother came into Planned Parenthood looking for the birth control shot. Though what made this matter troubling to Murray is the fact that the young girl was very against getting the shot, while the stepmother insisted. After much arguing with the stepmother the facility finally gave in and forced the girl to receive the birth control shot. (Hodges, 2015) Murray knowing this went against Planned Parenthood’s mission statement went above her supervisors and reported the incident to Planned Parenthoods risk management department. It is after reporting the incident that Murray was then fired from the facility, their reasoning because she was not officiant at her job. Murray fought the termination in court saying that she was a very good nurse but that the reason for firing her was because she blew the whistle on the facilities lack of ethical standards. (Hodges, 2015)

With Planned Parenthood being under the microscope for some serious issues and being the subject to wide criticism throughout its entire history, it might be surprising to some to find out that as a non-profit they are great at embodying the concept of organizational communication. Both in internal and external organizational communication they make sure to do their best to keep people informed, respected, and heard. To keep track of how well they are doing both with their employees and patients they deliver surveys. As mentioned in the book, “Organizational surveys are popular method of assessing a number of issues associated with organizational life, including employee attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors” (Avtgis, Rancer, & Madlock). Through these surveys they can see areas on which they need to improve on and areas that they are excelling in.

Though Planned Parenthood is great in some aspects of organizational communication there are some areas that they lack in. An example can be seen in their mission “stickiness”. This phrase is used in an article done by Harvard Business Review. The article looks at some non-profit organizations and how they can either be too broad with their mission statement or not be flexible with it. They use the example of how during the 1990’s Planned Parenthood experienced a change in how their patients paid. Up until the 1990’s most women how can for reproductive healthcare at these locations were able to pay a majority of their bill. While after the 90’s this changed and took a big effect on the non-profits revenue.

To figure out for their problem they needed to find a solution fast. So “in 1993 Planned Parenthood commissioned a task force to consider its response to the decrease in paying customers and the increase in nonpaying ones” (Rangan, 2004). After the task force was given some time they came up with some beneficial changes for the non-profit, but they were ultimately turned down. The reason why, those in charge felt that the changes went against the mission statement. This not only is an example of mission stickiness but also a great example of failed internal organizational communication. Though lack of internal organizational communication can lead any company or non-profit down a slippery slope, this one luckily did not end in disaster. With some time Planned Parenthood did listen and made some necessary changes to not only improve their revenue but also the quality of care they can give to their customers.

Today Planned Parenthood seems to be exceling with their organizational communication with their employees and customers. However, with the growing backlash of Pro-Life groups, and with this recent incident on their hands it will be interesting to see if how they handle it. Founded by a woman who was very stubborn in her ways, and wanted to make sure all women were given the opportunity to take responsibility of their reproductive health I will find it difficult to see this non-profit not go out without a fight.



A. (2016, August 31). New Bill To Protect Planned Parenthood Is Bad For For Whistleblowers. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

Avtgis, T. A., Rancer, A. S., & Madlock, P. E. (2012). Organizational communication: Strategies for success. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Pub.

Hodges, M., Fr. (2015, July 10). Whistleblower says Planned Parenthood injected 13-year-old … Retrieved October 27, 2016, from

Rangan, V. (2004, March). Lofty Missions, Down-to-Earth Plans. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

Shapiro, B. (2016, January 26). Here’s What You Need to Know About The Ridiculous Indictment of The Planned Parenthood Whistleblowers. Retrieved October 25, 2016, from

T. (2016, July 26). Charges Dropped Against Planned Parenthood Whistleblower. Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

What is a Whistleblower? | GAP. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2016, from

Who We Are – Planned Parenthood. (n.d.). Retrieved October 25, 2016, from

How Whistleblowing Closed ITT Tech’s Doors

By : Tony Snider

ITT Technical Institution was a for-profit technical institute with 130 campuses nationwide.  This institution has recently closed all of its campuses as of September 6, 2016, and ITT Tech as a whole filed for bankruptcy on September 16, 2016.  The closing of this institution was long overdue, as ITT Tech had racked up many legal issues under their belt.  ITT Tech had been known for charging incredible prices for more than 20 years as it took millions in federal grant money, buried low-income and first-generations students in insurmountable debt, and evaded regulators since the early 1990’s, all while its CEO and other executives personally profited hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fraudulent service.  This institution would have continued to stay in business if it was not for former employee and whistleblower Dan Graves, who brought a lawsuit alleging that the company had systematically violated the law governing compensation of sales representatives over 17 years earlier (A Whistle Was Blown On ITT).

Whistleblowing is commonly defined as “revealing questionable organizational practices to an outside audience that can bring justice or increase awareness in an affected public” (Avtgis, 2012).  Whistleblowing is a common ethical dilemma because of the amounts of repercussions the whistleblower and institution could face, but also because of the obvious need for change that would not happen if it were not for a whistleblower.  Most commonly, whistleblowers will go to the media, law enforcement, or regulating agencies with the problems they see in their organization or institution to make the problem public and to try and resolve the issue.  Whistleblowing is typically only used when the offense by the organization or institution is great, the risk of retaliation on the whistleblower is low, and that the whistleblower themselves has a high perception that the whistleblowing will bring change. There are also two types of whistleblowers, internal and external whistleblowers.  Internal whistleblowers report misconduct to another person within the organization.  External whistleblowers report misconduct to a person outside the organization, such as law enforcement or media (What is a Whistleblower).   Whistleblowers can also be sorted by the type of whistleblowing.  Federal whistleblowers are government employees who reveal misconduct committed by their employers or can also be private-sector employees who inform about the misconduct of their employers that is committed in relation to the federal government.  For these people working for the federal government, the Whistleblower Protection Act, or WPA, was created to protect disclosures of misconduct (Information on Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act).  Corporate whistleblowers are employees of corporations or other private businesses that disclose statutory or regulatory violations by the employers.  Corporate whistleblowers are more commonly heard of in your everyday news, as they are those workers in corporate America fighting for fairness and equality in the workplace.  In the case of Dan Graves, the whistleblower from ITT Tech, he would have been a corporate whistleblower, as he was an employee at the institution at the time he brought the lawsuit against ITT Tech.  Whistleblowing will forever be the most difficult ethical decision to make.  As a whistleblower one may risk pariah within the organization, being blackballed from the industry as a whole, or one could face legal punishment if they admit to being aware of the action taking place within the organization previously.  When it comes to whistleblowing one first must understand the importance of being a whistleblower if action is genuinely needed, or whether finding an internal and discrete way of fixing the problem would be more beneficial.  Studies have shown that whistleblowing will most often occur when employees feel that the communication climate of the organization is highly supportive and low in defensiveness, whereas other research has shown that the severity of the offense and relational closeness to the perpetrator are the best indicators.  Although few things statistics and trends have been proven in regards to whistleblowing, it is true that the closer we are to a coworker who does the wrongdoing, the less likely we will be to blow the whistle on them.

Previously stated, ITT Tech was a well-known technological institution before closing its doors in September of 2016.  ITT Tech was owned and operated by ITT Educational Services Inc., a publicly traded company headquartered in Carmel, Indiana.  The main problem with ITT Tech was the incredibly high tuition rates they charged.  ITT Tech had the highest tuition rates in the industry and had the industry’s highest rate of loans go into default in student’s first two years of attending the school.  The institution stayed in business far longer than every should have, but finally closed its doors following a federal crackdown led by the Department of Education, which revealed that the school was earning the vast majority of its revenue from taxpayer dollars.  It was estimated following the investigation that over 70 percent of the school’s money gained in 2015 was from federal financial aid funds.  ITT Tech was also under fire for allegedly purposefully recruiting students who were not qualified to attend the school – including one puzzling incident where a student was accepted that could not write a coherent sentence was enrolled – so that the school could lockdown more federal financial aid money. This led to the Department of Education blocking ITT Tech’s access to any more federal aid.  Following the Department of Education blocking the school’s access to federal aid, the school was essentially forced to stop enrolling students from that point on.  ITT Tech attempted to quietly shut down the operation of some campuses across the nation ahead of Labor Day weekend, but was forced to announce the decision publicly to shut down all operations of all campuses nationwide the following Tuesday.  Less than a week after announcing the ceasing of operations at their campuses, ITT Tech filed for bankruptcy.


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Dan Graves, the former employee at ITT Tech and eventual whistleblower that ended the school’s fraudulency, still wondered what had taken the government so long.  It had been over 17 years since Graves and another former ITT Tech employee had brought up the suit alleging that the company had been violating numerous compensation laws dealing with sales representatives.  Initially, Graves’ case was taken with great interest by 6 federal prosecutors and regulators.  Graves explained that they expressed great interest initially, as the government was estimated to be able to recover over 400 million dollars in damages from the case. Somehow, by 2004, the lawsuit was all but dead and Grave’s was unable to continue to provide the government with more influential evidence, so his efforts were seemingly for nothing (Nunez, 2016)

Graves was devastated and confused following the closing of the case.  He explained how he thought he brought up a very good case and how ITT Tech was abusing the system and ripping off the government for billions of dollars.  Bringing to light how ITT Tech was pocketing millions of federal financial aid dollars and how they were enrolling students that were obviously not qualified for the institution to do so only brought out more of the bad from the school.  Because of Graves’ whistleblowing on his own employer, the suit also claims that ITT Tech unlawfully employed recruiters that were paid sales commission to provide false information to potential and current students regarding their financial obligations, how transferable ITT Tech credits would be to other schools or programs, and about future employment opportunities as well.  In one student’s case, they were told that upon graduation from ITT Tech  in forensic science that they could be employed to scientist jobs similar to those in CSI shows or other criminal justice shows, but ITT Tech did not give any of the basic training necessary to work as a forensic scientist, so this student was unable to find a job at all with the worthless degree he had obtained (Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses ITT Tech Of Defrauding Government).

The closing of ITT Tech is obviously beneficial to the society we live in.  The investigation against ITT Tech and its findings expose some of the large problems with for-profit institutions like ITT Tech.  This investigation exposed the true, alarmingly low graduation rates and job placement rates of ITT Tech (Comulada, 2016).  Another reason this was beneficial was because it showed how much money ITT Tech was bringing in yearly of federal aid.  Now, because of ITT Tech being exposed publicly, other for-profit schools will be less likely to be able to get away with pocketing our taxpayer dollars and will be scrutinized much more closely.

Taking ITT Tech’s investigation into hand, work policies and ethical standards were definitely the problems put on the forefront.  For decades ITT Tech had been employing recruiters, that were payed based on commission, to bring in as many students as they could that they knew were obviously not qualified and would hopefully fail out or drop out.  This process was what ITT was able to make so much money off of the government off of, bringing in so much money in federal aid and grants. Ethically that obviously wrong for many reasons; ITT Tech was giving false hope to those who were destined to fail and were already in financial trouble and was employing specific people just to recruit these specific people.

At ITT Tech it was obvious that they were doing all that they could to stay in business and continue their ways following Dan Graves’ whistleblowing almost 20 years ago.  In all of my time growing up, seeing all of the ITT Tech commercials and even knowing handful of people that attended the institution itself, I was still personally unaware of the unethical and illegal operations going on at ITT Tech.

This scenario will hopefully bring to light any similar cases with higher education institutions or even any other similarly ran companies.  ITT obviously was not an honorably ran school, so few similar institutions can learn much of anything from them, other than what not to do.  ITT Tech was run by money-hungry cowards that took advantage of the American system.  Thankfully, because Dan Graves whistleblew on his employer, no more American citizens will be duped by recruiters looking for the poor, ill qualified students that they know how little chance of success just so that they can continue to rake in federal aid money.


M. (2016, October 21). A Whistle Was Blown on ITT; 17 Years Later, It Collapsed. Retrieved October 27, 2016, from®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0

@. (2016). Whistleblower Lawsuit Accuses ITT Tech Of Defrauding Government, Using Deceptive Recruitment Practices. Retrieved October 27, 2016, from

Nunez, M. (2016). How ITT Tech Screwed Students and Made Millions. Retrieved October 27, 2016, from

Comulada, J. (2016). Why ITT Tech closing down is a good thing for all of us. Retrieved October 27, 2016, from

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Avtgis, T. A., & Rancer, A. S. (2012). Organizational communication: Strategies for success. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Pub.


Daivon Barrow


Growing up I can always remembering going to Block Buster to get the latest rental on the movies. The store was so beneficial for people because you can watch a movie by renting the movie. Over time as things changed, and a new & improved software was created. It allowed people to watch many of movies from their location. Netflix was the name of the new software that made a difference in people’s leisure time.  In 1997 Reed Hastings, and Mark Rudolph changed the dynamics, and culture of streaming media, video on demand online, and DVD through email. These two young men had a remarkable dream, and made it more accessible for everyone. Netflix purpose was to become the best global entertainment distribution service, licensing entertainment content around the world, and creating markets that are accessible to film makers according to Netflix Inc”.

Of course by having an impactful creation worldwide it would establish a sense of culture expectancy. Netflix has seven key culture component that they abide by. The seven things are values are what we value, high performance, freedom & responsibility, context, not control, and highly aligned loosely coupled, pay top market, promotions and development.  Those are the seven key assets that typically that makes the reputation of this successful company. First they have implemented some very important rules that they stand by. These rules makes the employee’s job more accessible, and flexible. The reasoning behind that statement is because two of the aspects are high performance, and freedom & responsibility. Netflix expects maximum effort, and assets around their company not liabilities. Netflix also states they have a certain type of skills and behavioral characteristics they have installed for their employees to follow. Showing, and teaching the employees etiquette is another reason why this company is unique. Netflix stands out with different things that they require within their employees.  This shows that the company have some intensity for being competitive. They require these different characteristics in their employees to recruit and hire the best.   It also lets you know that they have high expectations for their employees.

Also they suggest, and require you to get your freedom, but be responsible. This rule is a reminder for employees to allow them to get their freedom, but be responsible while you are doing it. The culture foster a successful organization because it allow one to be comfortable at all times. The organization employees loving working for them. The more everyone is comfortable, and enjoying it, the company will continue to be successful.

Netflix culture Is similar to my organization that I have started. Brothers in Action is an organization that was created to help with the division in conversations, and dialogues through all men on campus. It was created to allow some males to have a sense of comfortability through an organization on campus. In comparison Netflix have a sense of similar organization.   If everyone if feeling involved in the organization, and everyone is comfortable it will increase the effectiveness of the organization. After a small comparison of Netflix and Brothers In Action culturally I found another similarity. High performance is something we take deep pride in. Whenever we are preparing for an event or doing community engagement projects we urge for high performance. When you perform highly, and complete a task that you prepared yourself for you gain confidence collectively, and it’s a great feeling. In my opinion for you to have a successful organization or work well in a group everyone needs to be involved.

As shown Netflix is a company that is moving forward, and finding new ways and ideas for it to improve. Over the years it has made remarkable innovations, and as technology increases I am excited to see what Netflix has in store.

USAA: More Than Just Insurance

By: Tyler Starr



There are a lot of insurance companies throughout the country, and for the most parts they are all ran very similarly. USAA does not choose to conform to the rest of those insurance companies. In this case study we will look at the way that USAA trains their employees to handle and deal with the unique wants and needs of their clients. At more than 13,000 employees they have quite a large workforce (McGregor, 2005). They have a different clientele than most, since they work with former and current members of the US military.

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Organizational Culture

The USSA Standard is the main set of goals that they want their employees to operate under (USAA, 2015). The first of these six goals is to keep their membership and their mission first. This means that the biggest factor when making a decision should always be what is best for the member and the mission of the company, not themselves. The second and third goals go hand in hand with their four values of service, loyalty, honesty and integrity, followed by their will to build trust with the members. If the members can fully trust the employees investing their money then they will have a much stronger relationship with the employees. The fourth, fifth, and sixth goals can be summed up by saying that they want their employees to always be looking for improvements (USAA, 2015). Whether that is adapting to a change in their customer’s needs and modifying their tactics or just being innovative for the company. Just like any large corporation, USAA is always looking for the next best thing.

The USAA standard follows the relationship-based perspective of ethical decision making. This is because the choices that the employees make are to help develop a stronger bond and relationship with the members. Having strong employee to member relationships within the company is something that USAA holds very highly and it has helped them to be as successful as they are. Each one of their members has very different needs than the next so knowing the member well is an important aspect of their policy. If the policy needs to change in a short amount of time the employee will be ready to make the adjustment.

The training that goes into becoming a USAA employee is vastly different than the training of almost any other company. The employees are put through a boot camp for 10 weeks to give them a little bit of a look into what some of their customers go through being in the military (Fleurke, 2009). They do everything from wearing ten pounds of gear to eating MRE’s for lunch. They are also put through a normal PT workout that includes pushups, sit-ups, and running (Shevory, 2014). This is to give the employees an idea of where their members are coming from. This helps the employees to make the right decisions for the members because they gain an added understanding of where the members are coming from and what their specific needs are.

Critical Analysis

Working at a golf course on the grounds crew is a job that I have worked at previously that, like USAA, has a very specific group of people to work for. The people that you are trying to satisfy are the members of the golf course and your mission is to make their experience on the course as nice as possible. The four ethical standards that I would put in place at the golf course would be to always put the members’ wants before your own, always treat any member like they are your superior, always conduct your job in the most respectful way possible, and to build relationships with the members of the course that will last a lifetime.

I would instill these 4 ethical standards in training by making sure that the employees knew who a lot of the members of the course were before they were sent out on solo jobs around the course. I would also make sure everyone has proper training on any job that a member of the course could ask them to do and not just the job that they are sent out on. Finally, I would train every employee the absolute best way to do each job on the course so they would make the smallest mess that they could. With those standards put in place, the relationship between the members and the grounds crew would greatly improve. The course would be run a lot smoother than it is today.


Fleurke, X. (2009, January). Walking a Mile in the Shoes of Your Customer. Retrieved from

McGregor, J. (2005, October 1). Employee Innovator: USAA. Retrieved from

Shevory, K. (2014, September 1). Boot Camp for Bankers. Retrieved from

USAA. (2015). The USAA Standard. Retrieved from