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

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB092 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Organization Culture and Change Management
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


This case discusses a workplace program called the 'Results only Work Environment' implemented by US based electronics retailer Best Buy in 2003-2004. ROWE initially started as an experiment to stem attrition in two departments at the corporate headquarters of Best Buy, but after its initial success, began to be implemented more widely. The basic premise of ROWE was that productivity was the cornerstone of work, and work meant the achievement of results and not presence at the workplace. Accordingly, employees working under ROWE were allowed to work when they wanted and where they wanted, as long as they achieved their targets. This case discusses the factors that led to the implementation of ROWE at Best Buy, the working of ROWE, and the advantages and disadvantages of the program.

It talks about the challenges Best Buy faced in implementing the rather radical program, and the prerequisites for its success. It also discusses whether Best Buy would be able to implement ROWE in its retail stores as it planned to, and the challenges the company might face in attempting to do so. The case concludes with a commentary on the prospects of ROWE, and whether the program had the potential to become a workplace standard.


To understand some of the issues in change management, and how change relates to employee morale and organizational effectiveness

To examine the implementation of an innovative workplace program at a large retail company

To study the factors that led to the implementation of the program, and whether the program was eventually successful in addressing the issues that led to its implementation

To study the various elements in the working of the program and the prerequisites for its success

To analyze the challenges in the implementation of a radical change initiative and to study the steps taken in this case to address these challenges

To analyze the prospects of the program, and to discuss whether it had the potential to become a workplace standard


  Page No.
A New Kind of Workplace 1
Background 2
Best Buy's Work Culture 3
The "Results Only" Work Environment 4
The Working of Rowe 5
Not an Easy Road 6
The Outcomes 7
ROWE's Limitations 8
Outlook 9
Exhibits 11


Best Buy Co., Results Oriented Work Environment, Organizational culture, Change management, Workplace flexibility, Work/life balance, Culture Rx, Retail industry, Employee morale, Work stress, Productivity, Attrition

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