Case Study Retailmax

Case Study RetailMax: Role for Cam Archer and Regan Kessel Elizabeth Smith Grand Canyon University, LDR 610 April 10, 2013 Everyone has power to some degree. French and Raven (1959) distinguished five types of power: referent power, expert power, reward power, coercive power, and legitimate power and with each of the five types, the stronger the basis of power the greater the power. Power is defined in terms of the influence a person has over the ability to change behavior, opinions, attitudes, goals, needs, and values (French & Raven, 1959).
Cam Archer is in a position of power at RetailMax; she has the CEO’s support to accept either a more lucrative position in the Professional Services (PS) Department or a marketing position with Regan Kessel, the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing (PMM) (McGinn & Witter, 2006a). Which position will provide Archer with the power to meet her needs; will Kessel’s power be affected if Archer accepts the position within his department? The power bases and social influence of both Cam Archer and Regan Kessel will be evaluated to determine which of the two most effectively used their power sources.
Cam Archer is in an interim position as a retail account executive with RetailMax, Inc. , a software company based in Boston. Upon graduating with her MBA from a leading business school, Cam began working for RetailMax, a company providing merchandise optimization software. While working in business development where she was responsible for managing strategic alliances and partnerships, RetailMax was forced to downsize and all areas that were not directly involved with making or selling software were laid off.

Cam was asked to join the sales team, an avenue she was not interested in, but one she agreed to accept because of her belief and faith in the entrepreneurial culture and service commitment RetailMax could provide to retailers during the current recessionary period (McGinn & Witter, 2006a). Cam’s dedication, drive, sacrifice, and social influence paid off; within the first year of sales she had built solid internal and external customer bases. Cam’s potential power was great. She had the trust and respect of the executive team and the support to decide which position she would accept; her fate was in her own hands.
Cam’s referent and expert power is recognized by the CEO when he recruits her to handle an emergency situation with a new RetailMax customer who was one of the largest “big-box” retailers in the country (McGinn & Kessel, 2006a). Regan Kessel, a seasoned software executive, was recruited by Todd Elman, CEO of RetailMax to head product management and marketing because of his task, knowledge, and personal power. Kessel was put in place during Elman’s turnaround of RetailMax, and upon assessing his team he determined his product managers did not have the time or skill set to develop a consistent and clear marketing message.
Although Kessel had the legitimate power to determine a strategy for his marketing dilemma, the solution came through another avenue. An informal meeting with Elman and Archer led to a brainstorming session that produced a plan of how to move Cam into the marketing department and provided a product marketing strategy. A new position, Director of Product Marketing, would be created for Cam, a position that would utilize her knowledge and expertise (McGinn & Witter, 2006b).
Kessel is in the position to create a competitive compensation package, will Cam’s gender influence Kessel’s decisions because of stereotypical gender roles? It does not appear that Kessel made compensation decisions based on Archer’s gender; instead, his desire was to come up with a fair proposal based on Archer’s current and potential financial successes for the company, her skills, education, and qualifications; the same factors he utilized in determining the salary base for each of his employees.
But, Kessel was going to have to make a tough decision. What was he going to offer Archer to incentivize her to accept the Director position, and would there be negative social factors such as resentment and envy toward Archer for her relationship with the Executive team? Cam is in a position of power. Not only does she have power over which position she will take at RetailMax, she also has strong personal and relationship power with both internal and external customers in addition to her close and personal relationship with the CEO and VP of sales.
Kessel also possesses strong relationship power, if Cam accepts the position in Professional Services; he knows he can quickly locate a qualified candidate to replace her because of his strong ties and connections in the industry. What assumptions did Kessel make regarding Cam, and what if any assumptions did Cam have regarding Kessel? Kessel is aware that Cam does not want to stay in sales and she is tired of all the travel, he knows she is ambitious and assumes his compensation package will have to match the package being offered by Mangini (McGinn & Witter, 2006b).
Cam assumes Kessel may resent not being able to select his own candidate for the Director position. She has researched the salary structure for the product managers and assumes Kessel will offer her a compensation package that is in line with the market, but since her role will have a broader more strategic scope she hopes to be compensated for this. On the other hand if she accepts the professional service position she will not be in a position to receive any credit if she is able to help with the turnaround of a chaotic professional services department (McGinn & Witter, 2006a).
Cam has a decision to make, which position will strengthen her power? While the professional service position provides the opportunity to work closely with customers, involves revenue generation activities, and connects her compensation to revenue goals, Cam knows the position will require as much travel as her recent sales position, while the marketing position is a more stationary position which means the opportunity to reestablish friendships and social activities, something Cam has missed.
Cam is also drawn to the marketing position because it moves her toward her career goals of being in management. Although Cam would not have any direct reports, she would work with all five product managers to develop and implement marketing strategies for the corporate level, a level with more social networking, power, and prestige (McGinn & Witter, 2006b). Should Kessel be concerned with Archer’s career advancement, Archer does have the “ear” of the CEO, a close working relationship with the VP of
Sales, and now she is being recruited internally by another VP? The benefits of hiring Archer means Kessel will gain an intelligent, dedicated employee with proven success for RetailMax and whose social connections and charisma could bring positive attention and promotion to the department; while the deficits being related to the team’s morale and how they may respond to a socially connected internal transfer who had a position created for her.
Hiring an external candidate at a lower salary opens up the opportunity for Kessel to reward his current employees with a pay raise above cost of living, something they have not received in two years (McGinn & Witter, 2006b). Kessel has a decision to make. Kessel has put together his compensation package and made Archer an offer. Kessel reminded Archer of the benefits of the position: limited travel, social benefits and stability, and career advancement along with offering her a compensation package of $138,000 (15% above the market) because of her experience and proven success record for RetailMax (McGinn & Witter, 2006b).
Archer believes the marketing opportunity makes good use of her education and skills, meets her personal needs and career goals, and positions her with the power and information sources for the company; because of this she believes this is the best choice for her. Upon evaluation of both case studies, Cam Archer used social power most effectively through taking career risks that not only helped to develop and enhance her skills, but which brought visibility and attention to her reputation for being an innovative and resourceful employee whose charisma and business acumen brought much success to RetailMax.
References French, J. R. P. , & Raven, B. H. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed. ), Studies in Social Power (pp. 259-269). Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research Retrieved from http://www. communicationcache. com/uploads/1/0/8/8/10887248/the_bases_of_social_power_-_chapter_20. pdf McGinn, K. , & Witter, D. (2006a). RetailMax: Role for Cam Archer. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing McGinn, K. , & Witter, D. (2006b). RetailMax: Role for Regan Kessel. Boston,

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