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How a High Flyer Fell at Walmart

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Wall Street Journal, Monday, December 11th, 2006 page A1 and A16

The title of the article is "How a High Flyer in Marketing Fell at Wal-Mart" by Gary McWilliams, Suzanne Vranica, and Neal E. Boudette. Wal-Mart hired a 36 year old executive away from car maker Daimler-Chrysler AG in January to shake up its marketing department. Julie Roehm was known for her aggressive and contemporary ideas. Her ads with the car maker Chrysler were saucy and memorable. In her new job as Wal-Marts senior vice president for marketing communications she moved swiftly with hiring a new advertising agency, Interpublic Group's Draft FCB. Roehm was ready for the resistance to bolder ideas and change.

Last week Wal-Mart fired Roehm and Sean Womack and a few days later dumped Draft. Wal-Mart questioned whether Roehm and Womack had a personal relationship or accepted gifts from ad agencies. Both parties deny they behaved improperly. "The suggestion that Ms. Roehm violated Wal-Mart's gratuity policy is incredibly hard to believe," says Ann Fandozzi, a Chrysler manager. "I've personally seen Julie ask her administrative assistant to send back a small gift that she received at Chrysler." Ms Roehm says she believes that Wal-Mart decided that it no longer wanted to pursue the approach created by the new advertising agency.

This article relates to chapter 9 Strategic Human Resource Management. Wal-Mart recruited Julie Roehm to be the new vice president of marketing communications. What Wal-Mart did was called external recruiting which states "attracting job applicants from outside the organization." (K&W pg 285) The human resource management consists of the activities managers perform to plan for, attract, develop, and retain an effective workforce. (K&W pg 278) When hiring the company has to make sure that both the employee and company are a good fit. Wal-Mart apparently decided that Roehm as their VP of marketing communications was not a good fit.

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