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Nordstrom


            
             Nordstrom's department store is a nationwide company started in 1891 by John W. From the very beginning the company promoted to their employees a philosophy of being part of the Nordstrom family sharing in the 'Nordstrom Way'. They have engendered a culture within their organization among their employees of achievement and entrepreneurship. They have few rules and give their managers almost complete freedom to manager their departments as they see fit. Rather than thick rulebooks, the company uses a one-page sheet of paper to convey their ideas. This sheet tells the employees that they are to "Use [their] best judgement in all situations" and to "Do whatever it takes to make the customer happy". They are reported to pay among the highest salaries in the retail business and provide substantial sales commissions. In fact they formulate an employee's weekly salary based either on the base salary or their commissions, whichever is higher. .
             The company also wishes to create a sense of customer appreciation and goes to great lengths to do so. In many of their stores customers are greeted by the sounds of a live piano performance, wine and cheese and employees with great big smiles. The company goes to great lengths to create this atmosphere and requests their employees do the same. Many a story has surfaced of a Nordstrom employee taking off-work time to fill out and send personalized thank you notes, a chore Nordstrom expects of their employees but not done on company time. Additionally, there is mention of a 'Nordie' taking several hours out of their Easter Sunday to deliver chocolate to a customer. The pressure to perform can be intense with many sleepless nights and stomach ulcers as a result of working at Nordstrom's. At one point in time, with Union involvement, an 800 hotline was set up to handle the numerous complaints that had been lodged against the company. .
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             Issue:.
             Given all of the factors cited in this case, the issue is: the extent to which Nordstrom's goes to motivate their employees, is it appropriate given the many references to unfair working conditions.


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