Case Study 1- Jenson Shoes
The story begins with an African-American man named Lyndon Brooks, an employee at Jensen Shoes. Recent trends have identified a shortcoming in the company’s casual wear department. Brooks is therefore reassigned under the leadership of Jane Kravitz, much to his dismay. Several strategic objectives are formed to handle this shortcoming. Of these, two of the strategic objectives were assigned to Brooks, the Latino and African American markets. He was given a four month period to complete both objectives. According to a report pertaining to Brooks’ thoughts and impressions, he felt as if both the time allotted and the quality of manpower assigned to these two tasks were unreasonably lacking. Therefore the completion of both strategic objectives within the given timeframe to Brooks was infeasible. After several heated discussions between Brooks and Kravitz, Jane agreed to reassign the African-American strategic objective leaving only the Latino vertical markets to Brooks. Identifying the problem: Brooks vs. Jensen Shoes
An important aspect to remember is that this case may contain a slight bias due to the fact that it is represented through merely Brooks’ perspective. Lyndon Brooks, a well educated Sociology graduate, is assigned to work under Jane Kravitz, manager of casual wear at Jenson Shoes. We see from analyzing the given report that Brooks had expressed disdain from the beginning. Initially assigned as a “Product Promotions Manager,” Brooks had already taken on the task of appealing to the Latino and African American vertical markets. According to Brooks’ report, he had raised concerns to the head of the Product Promotions campaign, Chuck Taylor, regarding the “severity of budget cuts and the inexperience of the staff” (Gentile and Maus 3). However, these concerns were brushed aside and after a critical point in the project’s execution, the task force suffered a major reassignment which left Brooks with the impression that he had been demoted.
From this information we can see that before Brooks’ time under Kravitz had even commenced, Brooks was already in a poor frame of mind. He saw this reorganization as a gross underestimation of his abilities. One might even go so far as to say that Brooks had an external locus of control, which by definition means a person that believes their fate to be determined by outside forces that is not in their control. In this circumstance, Brooks had already witnessed two poor turns in his career at Jenson Shoes which he never attributed himself as the main reason for the failure. Instead, he blamed the lack of resources and time for the incompleteness of his two strategic objectives. Although at times, he reluctantly admits to a minor flaw of his own, he is quick to point out other factors that might have attributed to that flaw.
Now under the leadership of Jane Kravitz, Brooks is once again assigned to the Latino and African-American vertical markets. This leads to another possible cause of the current problem-- stereotyping. Several times throughout this article, Brooks voices his concerns towards his assignment to these markets as he “never had any professional experience marketing to these groups” causing the problem of what seems as stereotyping (Gentile and Maus 2). Despite Brooks’ opinions on the matter, his superiors were persistent to assign him on the projects which might have implied a certain prejudice towards him. Perhaps he was assigned to these markets twice, not because he was experienced and well educated in Sociology, but because he is of the African-American descent. Therefore he was stereotyped to have a better understanding of what minorities would prefer compared to the majority of society. Some of the preliminary problems that contributed to the issue consisted of poor communication skills and misunderstandings that took place throughout the course of the project. Previous...
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