Best Buy's 'Results Only Work Environment': Changing the Productivity Paradigm?

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB092
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 2003-2006
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Best Buy Co. Inc.
Industry : Electronics Retail
Countries : The US

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A New Kind of Workplace Contd...

Moreover, it was said that Americans worked longer hours than any other workforce in the world.5 In this scenario, many reputed companies set up work/life balance programs, which allowed employees to prioritize their activities. ROWE was the most radical of these programs.


Best Buy's history starts in 1966, when Richard Schultz (Schultz), and his partner opened an audio specialty store called 'Sound of Music' in St. Paul, Minnesota. Business grew, and the partners opened two new stores near the University of Minnesota in 1967. In 1969, Sound of Music stock began to be traded publicly, and the company also established its first employee stock option plan. The next year, the company breached the one million dollar6 sales mark for the first time. Over the next decade, Sound of Music grew rapidly, and improved its offerings by including the latest video and laser disc equipment in its product lineup (it was also the first retailer in the US to sell video equipment).

In 1983, Sound of Music's board of directors approved a proposal to change the company's name to Best Buy. The company's first superstore under the 'Best Buy' name opened in Burnsville in Minnesota.

The superstore was much larger than most electronics stores and featured an expanded product and service range including a wide assortment of discounted brand-name goods, central service, and warehouse distribution. The store also started selling consumer appliances. Best Buy was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1987. In the late 1980s, the company adopted the unique 'yellow tag' design for its logo (Refer to Exhibit I for the logo). In 1989, Best Buy implemented a new policy where it stopped paying commissions to its sales staff, shifting them instead to a salary. This did not go down well with both the sales staff as well as electronics and appliance companies like Toshiba Corporation and Hitachi Ltd., which depended on sales staff to push their premium-priced products...

Excerpts >>

5] Lesley Stahl, "Working 24/7," CBS News, July 23, 2006.

6] Dollars ($) refers to US dollars.


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