Managing Diversity at Spencer Owens & Co.

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Managing Diversity at Spencer Owens & Co.
by Robin J. Ely, Ingrid Vargas
5 pages. Publication date: Dec 10, 2004. Prod. #: 405048-PDF-ENG Spencer Owens & Co, a disguised consulting firm, focuses on domestic and international economic development. As an extension of the firm's commitment to social justice, 20 years ago, Spencer Owens management introduced an affirmative action hiring and promotion program. Within 10 years, the firm had achieved the most diverse support and professional staff in the industry. Yet, despite management's good intentions, Spencer Owens--and, increasingly, its work--suffered from acrimonious staff relations and frequent recriminations around racial issues. The protagonist of the case tries to diagnose the problem.

Leo Burnett Company Ltd is a global advertising agency. The company is working with one of its largest clients to launch a new line of hair care products into the Canadian and Taiwanese test markets in preparation for a global rollout. Normally, once a brand has been launched, it is customary for the global brand centre to turn over the responsibility for the brand and future campaigns to the local market offices. In this case, however, the brand launch was not successful. Team communications and the team dynamics have broken down in recent months and the relationships are strained. Further complicating matters are a number of client and agency staffing changes that could jeopardize the stability of the team and the agency/client relationship. The global account director must decide whether she should proceed with the expected decision to modify the global team structure to give one of the teams more autonomy, or whether she should maintain greater centralized control over the team. She must recommend how to move forward with the brand and determine what changes in team structure or management are necessary.
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