The Ethics of Downsizing Marketing Research Help

The effects of a softened economy in 2008 forced many U.S. companies to downsize. A study was recently conducted on the differences between employee and CEO perceptions on whether downsizing is ethical or not. A total of 410 surveys were mailed to employees of U.S. corporations and 231 completed surveys were returned, but 53 were determined to be unusable. The surveys were unusable because they either contained incomplete responses to questions or were filled by unqualified respondents. This resulted in an employee sample size of 178.The survey was also mailed to 179 CEOs of companies that had been identified as going through at least one downsizing during the last five years. Out of the 179, only 36 surveys were returned, of which five CEOs indicated they had never actually been with a company during a downsizing. Therefore, only 31 CEO surveys were determined to be usable in the study. This is example of ethical editing of the data. The criterion for unusable or unsatisfactory responses is clearly stated, the unsatisfactory respondents are identified before the analysis, and the number of respondents eliminated is disclosed

The findings of this study were that the employees and CEOs hold different perceptions about downsizing. and different factors can influence someone’s perceptions of downsizing. The employees found the downsizing to be unethical when they had been a casualty of the downsizing, when information was withheld. and when the downsizing was done around the holiday season. These perceptions may often affect an employee’s work if they cause the employee to view the company in a negative manner

While analyzing the data, the researcher may also have to deal with ethical issues. The assumptions underlying the statistical techniques used to analyze the data must be satisfied to obtain meaningful results. Any departure from these assumptions should be critically examined to determine the appropriateness of the technique for analyzing the data at hand. The researcher has the responsibility of justifying the statistical techniques used for analysis. When this is not done, ethical questions can be raised. Moreover, there should be no intentional or deliberate misrepresentation of research methods or results. Similarly, ethical issues can arise in interpreting the results, drawing conclusions, making recommendations, and in implementation. Although interpretations, conclusions, recommendations, and implementations necessarily involve subjective judgment, this judgment must be exercised honestly, free ftom personal biases or agendas of the researcher or the client

Banana Republic: Going Bananas over a Makeover

The Situation 

For most of its time as a leading retailer, Gap Inc. has carefully honed its image through ill>in-house resources, starting from the design of its clothing to the look of its ads. But that changed as soon as Jack Calhoun, Banana Republic’s new chief nwXeting officer, took over.

Mr. Calhoun was one of the first marketing hires by former Walt Disney executive Paul Pressler. who took over as Gap Inc. president-CEO, succeeding Millard “Mickey” Drexler. One of Mr. Pressler’s first acts was to hire Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, to oversee segmentation’ studies of the three Gap brands, including Banana Republic and Old Navy. Mr. Calhoun reported to newly hired Banana Republic President Marka Hansen, most recently Gap’s head of adult merchandising.

The Banana Republic makeover will be the second in the history of the chain, which started out as a travel catalog and opened safari-therned stores with beat-up jeeps in its storefronts. After the chain was purchased by Gap Inc., Mr. Drexler, known for his ability to spot fashion trends, remade it into an upscale version of Gap.

But in recent months, Banana Republic’s buzz has quieted and sales have not recovered at a pace that’s up to speed with siblings Old Navy and Gap. “Tbe challenge for Banana is the repetition of the fashion lines and marginal quality for the price,” said Burt Flickinger, managing director. Strategic Resource Group/ Flickinger Consulting, New York

Mr, Calhoun said he and Gap management are carefully building a new positioning for Banana Republic, which traditionally had advertising echoing that of the lower-priced Gap. “We want to build an architecturally sound and beautiful house,” said Mr. Calhoun of the makeover. “We don’t want a Cape Cod with a lot of additions.”

A telephone survey as conducted to determine consumers’ perceptions of the Banana Republic brand and how the brand could be positioned to offer more value to the consumers.

The Marketing ResearchDecision 

  1. 1. The telephone survey resulted in a sample size of 1,008. As the data were being prepared for analysis, it was realized that 132 respondents had missing values. However, the variables with unsatisfactory responses were not the key variables. How should the missing values be treated?
  2. 2. Discuss how the treatment of missing values you recommend influences Jack Calhoun’s decision ‘\ to enhance the image of Banana Republic.

The Marketing Management Decision 

  1. What should Jack Calhoun do to enhance the perceived value of the Banana Republic brand?
  2. Discuss how the marketing management decision action that you recommend to Jack Calhoun is influenced by the treatment of missing values that you suggested earlier and by the findings of the telephone survey

Statistical Software 

Major statistical packages such as SPSS (www.spss.com), SAS (www.sas.com), MINITAB (www.themarketingresearch.com), and EXCEL (www.themarketingresearch.com) have Internet sites that can be accessed for a variety of information. We discuss the use of SPSS and SAS in detail while Exhibit 14.1 describes the use of MINITAB and EXCEL to make consistency checks. These packages also contain options for handling missing responses and for statistically adjusting the data. In addition, a number of statistical packages can now be found on the Internet. Although some of these programs may not offer integrated data analysis and management, they can nevertheless be very useful for conducting specific statistical analyzes.

Information useful for formulating a data analysis strategy is readily available on the Internet. A lot of information can be obtained about the appropriateness of using certain statistical techniques in specific settings. It is possible to surf the Internet for new statistical techniques that are not yet available in commonly used statistical packages. Newsgroups and special-interest groups are useful sources for a variety of statistical information.

SPSS and SAS Computerized Demonstration Movies

We have developed computerized demonstration movies that give step-by-step instructions for running all the SPSS and SAS Learning Edition programs that are discussed in this book. These demonstrations can be downloaded from the Web site for this book. The instructions for running these demonstrations are given in Exhibit 14.2

SPSS and SASScreen Captures with Notes 

The step-by-step instructions for running the various SPSS ana SAS Learning Edition programs discussed in this book are also illustrated in screen captures with appropriate notes. These screen captures can be downloaded from the Web site for this book.

Posted on November 30, 2015 in Data Preparation

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