“Managers should do everything they can to enhance the job satisfaction of their employees.” Do you agree or disagree? Support your position.

Albertsons is a huge grocery and drug company. It has more than 2,400 supermarkets, and its Osco and Sav-on brands make it the fifth-largest drugstore company in the U.S. In a typical year, shoppers will make 1.4 billion trips through its stores.

Alberstons competes in tough businesses. Wal-Mart, in particular, has been eating away at its market share. In 2001, with revenues flat and profits falling, the company hired Larry Johnston to turn the business around.

Johnston came to Albertsons from General Electric. And it was while he was at GE, that Johnston met a training specialist named Ed Foreman. Foreman endeared himself to Johnston when the latter hired Foreman to help him with a serious problem. At the time, Johnston had been sent to Paris to fix GE Medical Systems’ European division. The division made CT scanners. Over the previous decade, four executives had been brought into turn the division around and try to make it profitable. All had failed. Johnston responded to the challenge by initiating some important changes – he made a number of acquisitions, he closed down inefficient plants, and he moved factories to Eastern European countries to take advantage of lower labor costs. Then he brought in Ed Foreman to charge up the troops. “After we got Ed in,” says Johnston, “people began to live their lives differently. They came to work with a spring in their step.” In three years, the division was bringing in annual profits of $100 million. Johnston gives a large part of the credit for this turnaround to Foreman.

What is Foreman’s secret? He provides motivation and attitude training. Here’s an example of Foreman’s primary program – called the Successful Life Course. It lasts 3 days and begins each morning at 6AM. The first day begins with a chapter from an inspirational handout, followed by 12 minutes of yoga-like stretching. Then participants march up a hill, chanting, “I know I can, I know I can.” This is followed by breakfast and then a variety of lectures on attitude, diet, and exercise. But the primary focus of the program is on attitude. Says Foreman, “it’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” Other parts of the program include groups hugs, team activities, and mind-control relaxation exercises.

Johnston believe strongly in Foreman’s program. “Positive attitude is the single biggest thing that can change a business,” says Johnston. He sees Foreman’s program as being a critical bridge linking employees with customers: “We’re in the business of maintenance and acquisition of customers.” And with so many shoppers going through his stores, Johnston says this “provides a lot of opportunities for customer service. We’ve got to energize the associates.” To prove he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is, Johnston committed $10 million to the training. By the end of 2004, approximately 10,000 manager had taken the course. They, in turn, trained all 190,000 Albertsons “associates,” with the help of tapes and books.

Foreman claims his program works. He cites success at companies such as Allstate, Milliken & Co., and Abbott Labs. “The goal is to improve mental, physical, and emotional well-being.” he says. “We as individuals determine the success of our own lives. Positive thoughts create positive actions.”

Source:Based on M. Burke, “The Guru in the Vegetable Bin,” Forbes,March 3, 2003, pp. 56-58.


In groups of three (3), you will fully address the following questions, following proper APA formatting with your paper NOT exceedingTHREE (3)pages in length.

Fully explain the logic as to how Foreman’s 3-day course could positively influence Albertsons’ profitability.
Johnston says, “Positive attitude is the single biggest thing that can change a business.” How valid and generalizable do you think this statement is?
If you were Johnston, what could you do to evaluate the effectiveness of your $10 million investment in Foreman’s training program?
If you were an Albertsons’ employee, how would you feel about going through Foreman’s course? Fully explain your position.
“Managers should do everything they can to enhance the job satisfaction of their employees.” Do you agree or disagree? Support your position.
In diagnosing the problem at Albertsons, using an employee opinion survey could have helped monitor job satisfaction. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using an employee opinion survey.

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