Term Paper Assignment Background
BUS 660 – 2017
Background on Quality Products, LLC: Quality Products, LLC (QP), our hypothetical company for
the Term Paper Assignment, is a private company (meaning its shares are not traded on a public
stock exchange) and primarily makes optical lenses. QP has two main product lines: lenses for
fashion eyewear; and lenses for applications like cameras, binoculars, telescopes, and digital
projectors. QP also sells lenses for specialty applications, like magnifying glasses and rifle
scopes, but this isn’t the main focus of the business. QP’s lenses are considered the absolute
best in the market and are the result of extensive development and use of technological
advances. Although QP has competitors, QP is by far the major company by sales and it is
dominant in its industry.
QP usually sells its products using its own sales force, but sometimes sells through sales agents
or other distributors.
Background on Bill Bright: Bill Bright is now three years out of school after getting his MBA. He
works at QP as a Marketing Strategy Associate. Quality Products is a medium sized company,
but is growing fast with expansion expected to continue within the U.S. and globally. Bill has
had a lot of success already at Quality Products and he’s clearly on a career fast track with the
company. Bill has been told by his current manager – Betty Brilliant – that his next promotion
will be to a junior manager position “If he continues to perform”. This would be a sizable jump
in pay and would set him up for a more senior position in the next five years, especially if the
company keeps growing.
Bill is just now starting to get control of his oppressive school debt. He is getting “serious” with
a woman who is just out of school and who wants to build her own business based on her art
history background.
Betty called Bill into her office last week and told him that he was “being evaluated” by senior
management and that part of this was a special assignment for another manager at the
company – Sam Sneekin. Betty sent Bill to talk with Sam on the Monday morning we join this
scenario.
Sam is explaining to Bill that the company is looking to expand overseas and that Bill is now a
part of a team to develop the expansion strategy. “They do things a little differently than we do
over there”, Sam is telling Bill. “They don’t have the same ridiculous regulations and red tape
we have to deal with.” “We can be a lot more ‘flexible’ in how we approach our potential
customers and market information.”
When he said the word “flexible”, Bill got a strange feeling in his stomach. Sam had a bit of a
bad reputation at Quality Products and Bill knew it. Sam progressed through the ranks fast himself and always “got the job done”. The rumors were about his tactics being less than
reputable. Bill knew Sam had also been investigated once for a sexual harassment allegation
raised by one of the company’s summer interns. Bill had only limited experience doing business
globally, so he didn’t know exactly what to make of Sam’s comments.
After explaining just how important this project was to the company, and how much it might
impact Bill’s career if this was a success (or a failure), Sam handed Bill a sealed envelope and
said “This stuff is going to make you look like a genius. I wish I was in your shoes on this one.”
With that, Sam gave Bill the name of the project team leader – Steve Lackee – and told him his
next stop should be to see him. As Bill was leaving, Sam said “Oh, and by the way, I’ve asked
Steve to get Emilee off that team… She’s ‘dead weight’ and she’s pulling all the guys on the team
down. See you around.”
[This conversation will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Betty Brilliant: Betty has been with Quality Products “since the beginning”. She
was hired by the company’s founder Rich N. Vestor and they became quite good friends, even
vacationing with their spouses together several times. Rich sold his interest in the company to a
new investor – Nouv O. Rich – and gave up any involvement in the business, about nine months
ago. Even though the company has been growing, Nouv has hinted that some cuts to the
company’s management workforce may be necessary “to get the right people on, and off, the
bus”, as he put it. Nouv has made no big changes yet, but seems to always be watching the
senior managers and asking a lot of questions.
Betty is a successful senior manager and has built much of her success on her own hard work
and ability to attract good people to her group. Part of this has been her ability to set realistic
goals for her marketing group. Meeting or exceeding these goals year in and year out has
meant that Betty and her group have received generous incentive payments from the
company’s incentive compensation program.
While some years her goals have been tougher to achieve than others, this year has been the
most difficult of all. In fact, with the company’s fiscal year closed on December 31, 2016, it is
not clear that her group has met even the “trigger” for the plan. If they didn’t meet the
“trigger”, they wouldn’t receive any payment at all under the plan.
Betty has been working with the company’s accountants on the final sales numbers. Betty had
told the sales force to get their sales in as fast as possible so that they would be counted before
the end of the fiscal year, but it seems that many sales were reported “late”, or have not even
been reported at all yet. One problem she faced with this is that the sales force reports up
through a different department of the company (the department headed by Sam Sneekin) so that she has no direct management control over those people. While Betty’s group does most
of the marketing strategy and projects the sales numbers, it is up to the employees in Sam’s
group to actually make and book the sales. Sam’s incentive compensation goals include other
company initiatives and his group had already clearly “triggered” before the end of the fiscal
year.
Although Betty has an excellent reputation for integrity, someone has been spreading rumors
that Betty is trying to pressure the accountants into “moving sales” to allow her incentive
compensation to “trigger”. Nouv has asked Betty to “join him” next week for a meeting to talk
about her goals and Betty needs to know where she stands on the incentive compensation
program for that meeting. So far the accountants have said “We can’t record the sales unless
we have the sales records from the reps in the field that show sales during our last fiscal year.”
[This scenario will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Nouv O. Rich: It’s now been a week and Betty’s group has just barely made the
“trigger” for the incentive compensation plan. While this means the group will get a payout, it
will be far less than what the employees are used to. Betty also worries, more than a little, that
this does not give her new boss the best image of her.
During the week, Betty spoke to all employees in her group. She took time to explain the
situation and answer their questions, and made it clear that the ultimate decision on what
should be included as sales for the last fiscal year was up to the accountants and that she
supported them in whatever they decided. She had prepared the employees for the possibility
that they would receive no incentive compensation, but thanked them for their efforts. She
took “the high road” by not pointing the finger at Sam and his group for their predicament or
the rumors about her. Betty was more than a little surprised to see Nouv in the back of the
room during the presentation.
We rejoin Betty as she is waiting to see Nouv. Betty is surprised to see Bill Bright also waiting to
see Nouv. “What brings you here Bill?”, she says. “I don’t know,” says Bill “I was asked to come
and so here I am. I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with me taking a memo to the legal
people for them to review.” Nouv opens his office door and says “Come on in.”
“Congratulations on making the ‘trigger’”, Nouv says to Betty with a smile. “Thank you,
although I had hoped we could do better”, Betty responds. “Not at all bad in my view”, Nouv
responds, “But we should all try for better this year. That’s part of what I wanted to talk with
you about.”
“Betty, I asked you and Bill to be here today because I have something I need your help on. I’ve
been careful to not make big changes right away when I took over leadership of this company. You have enjoyed quite a bit of success without me and I didn’t want to destroy what you’ve
built. That being said, the company has been going through lots of changes, not even counting
me coming in as the owner. We have lots of new employees, we are outgrowing our office
space, we are expanding geographically and in places where the business practices aren’t
familiar to us, and we have so many new initiatives in so many different areas that we are losing
focus on what really matters for our future success.
Betty, I’m going to ask you to continue to lead the marketing group, but also to take over Sam’s
sales force. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have those functions split at this point. We’re
going to be working on a comprehensive marketing plan that you control from the ground up. I
know that this will be a heavy burden, but from what I’ve seen of your leadership qualities, you
can handle it. Let’s talk in a week about what staffing you’ll need and, once we get the ball
rolling, we’ll talk about an appropriate bump up in your compensation. How does that sound to
you?” Betty could hardly believe it, she hadn’t prepared for this, all she could say was, “I’ll give
it my best.” Later she’d kick herself for her loss of words. “I can’t talk about the reasons, but I
want you to know that I’ll be letting Sam go right after this meeting. I just needed to know you
were ready to take this responsibility on before I made that move.”
Talking to Betty, but turning to Bill, Nouv went on, “I’m leaving Bill in your group but asking him
to take on a special project, with you as the sponsor.” Bill sat up a little straighter. “Bill, I’m
convinced that we have a strong overall culture at this company. There are a lot of great people
here. To enhance that though, I’m asking you to lead a company-wide effort to identify the
values and principles that have made this company so successful and that will take us to the
next level, including our global expansion. I’m not sure exactly how to do this, but you’re a
bright person – pardon the pun – so I want you to dig into this and find what is best for the
company. We need to use this as a way to get everyone pulling in the same direction and
refocused on what really matters to us, so I’m asking you to work with our Human Resource
Director and our head of Strategic Planning. I have already talked with them about this and
they are going to provide you with team members and their personal support. Your objective is
to incorporate these values and principles somehow into an updated Code of Conduct.” There
was a pause. “So do you think you’re up for that?” said Nouv. “Yes…. I am, but what about my
role on the new territory sales team?”, said Bill. “Well, it looks like you were going to replace
Emilee Ethics and I have specifically asked her to continue on that team. I need you on this new
project.”

Term Paper Assignment Background
BUS 660 – 2017
Background on Quality Products, LLC: Quality Products, LLC (QP), our hypothetical company for
the Term Paper Assignment, is a private company (meaning its shares are not traded on a public
stock exchange) and primarily makes optical lenses. QP has two main product lines: lenses for
fashion eyewear; and lenses for applications like cameras, binoculars, telescopes, and digital
projectors. QP also sells lenses for specialty applications, like magnifying glasses and rifle
scopes, but this isn’t the main focus of the business. QP’s lenses are considered the absolute
best in the market and are the result of extensive development and use of technological
advances. Although QP has competitors, QP is by far the major company by sales and it is
dominant in its industry.
QP usually sells its products using its own sales force, but sometimes sells through sales agents
or other distributors.
Background on Bill Bright: Bill Bright is now three years out of school after getting his MBA. He
works at QP as a Marketing Strategy Associate. Quality Products is a medium sized company,
but is growing fast with expansion expected to continue within the U.S. and globally. Bill has
had a lot of success already at Quality Products and he’s clearly on a career fast track with the
company. Bill has been told by his current manager – Betty Brilliant – that his next promotion
will be to a junior manager position “If he continues to perform”. This would be a sizable jump
in pay and would set him up for a more senior position in the next five years, especially if the
company keeps growing.
Bill is just now starting to get control of his oppressive school debt. He is getting “serious” with
a woman who is just out of school and who wants to build her own business based on her art
history background.
Betty called Bill into her office last week and told him that he was “being evaluated” by senior
management and that part of this was a special assignment for another manager at the
company – Sam Sneekin. Betty sent Bill to talk with Sam on the Monday morning we join this
scenario.
Sam is explaining to Bill that the company is looking to expand overseas and that Bill is now a
part of a team to develop the expansion strategy. “They do things a little differently than we do
over there”, Sam is telling Bill. “They don’t have the same ridiculous regulations and red tape
we have to deal with.” “We can be a lot more ‘flexible’ in how we approach our potential
customers and market information.”
When he said the word “flexible”, Bill got a strange feeling in his stomach. Sam had a bit of a
bad reputation at Quality Products and Bill knew it. Sam progressed through the ranks fast himself and always “got the job done”. The rumors were about his tactics being less than
reputable. Bill knew Sam had also been investigated once for a sexual harassment allegation
raised by one of the company’s summer interns. Bill had only limited experience doing business
globally, so he didn’t know exactly what to make of Sam’s comments.
After explaining just how important this project was to the company, and how much it might
impact Bill’s career if this was a success (or a failure), Sam handed Bill a sealed envelope and
said “This stuff is going to make you look like a genius. I wish I was in your shoes on this one.”
With that, Sam gave Bill the name of the project team leader – Steve Lackee – and told him his
next stop should be to see him. As Bill was leaving, Sam said “Oh, and by the way, I’ve asked
Steve to get Emilee off that team… She’s ‘dead weight’ and she’s pulling all the guys on the team
down. See you around.”
[This conversation will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Betty Brilliant: Betty has been with Quality Products “since the beginning”. She
was hired by the company’s founder Rich N. Vestor and they became quite good friends, even
vacationing with their spouses together several times. Rich sold his interest in the company to a
new investor – Nouv O. Rich – and gave up any involvement in the business, about nine months
ago. Even though the company has been growing, Nouv has hinted that some cuts to the
company’s management workforce may be necessary “to get the right people on, and off, the
bus”, as he put it. Nouv has made no big changes yet, but seems to always be watching the
senior managers and asking a lot of questions.
Betty is a successful senior manager and has built much of her success on her own hard work
and ability to attract good people to her group. Part of this has been her ability to set realistic
goals for her marketing group. Meeting or exceeding these goals year in and year out has
meant that Betty and her group have received generous incentive payments from the
company’s incentive compensation program.
While some years her goals have been tougher to achieve than others, this year has been the
most difficult of all. In fact, with the company’s fiscal year closed on December 31, 2016, it is
not clear that her group has met even the “trigger” for the plan. If they didn’t meet the
“trigger”, they wouldn’t receive any payment at all under the plan.
Betty has been working with the company’s accountants on the final sales numbers. Betty had
told the sales force to get their sales in as fast as possible so that they would be counted before
the end of the fiscal year, but it seems that many sales were reported “late”, or have not even
been reported at all yet. One problem she faced with this is that the sales force reports up
through a different department of the company (the department headed by Sam Sneekin) so that she has no direct management control over those people. While Betty’s group does most
of the marketing strategy and projects the sales numbers, it is up to the employees in Sam’s
group to actually make and book the sales. Sam’s incentive compensation goals include other
company initiatives and his group had already clearly “triggered” before the end of the fiscal
year.
Although Betty has an excellent reputation for integrity, someone has been spreading rumors
that Betty is trying to pressure the accountants into “moving sales” to allow her incentive
compensation to “trigger”. Nouv has asked Betty to “join him” next week for a meeting to talk
about her goals and Betty needs to know where she stands on the incentive compensation
program for that meeting. So far the accountants have said “We can’t record the sales unless
we have the sales records from the reps in the field that show sales during our last fiscal year.”
[This scenario will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Nouv O. Rich: It’s now been a week and Betty’s group has just barely made the
“trigger” for the incentive compensation plan. While this means the group will get a payout, it
will be far less than what the employees are used to. Betty also worries, more than a little, that
this does not give her new boss the best image of her.
During the week, Betty spoke to all employees in her group. She took time to explain the
situation and answer their questions, and made it clear that the ultimate decision on what
should be included as sales for the last fiscal year was up to the accountants and that she
supported them in whatever they decided. She had prepared the employees for the possibility
that they would receive no incentive compensation, but thanked them for their efforts. She
took “the high road” by not pointing the finger at Sam and his group for their predicament or
the rumors about her. Betty was more than a little surprised to see Nouv in the back of the
room during the presentation.
We rejoin Betty as she is waiting to see Nouv. Betty is surprised to see Bill Bright also waiting to
see Nouv. “What brings you here Bill?”, she says. “I don’t know,” says Bill “I was asked to come
and so here I am. I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with me taking a memo to the legal
people for them to review.” Nouv opens his office door and says “Come on in.”
“Congratulations on making the ‘trigger’”, Nouv says to Betty with a smile. “Thank you,
although I had hoped we could do better”, Betty responds. “Not at all bad in my view”, Nouv
responds, “But we should all try for better this year. That’s part of what I wanted to talk with
you about.”
“Betty, I asked you and Bill to be here today because I have something I need your help on. I’ve
been careful to not make big changes right away when I took over leadership of this company. You have enjoyed quite a bit of success without me and I didn’t want to destroy what you’ve
built. That being said, the company has been going through lots of changes, not even counting
me coming in as the owner. We have lots of new employees, we are outgrowing our office
space, we are expanding geographically and in places where the business practices aren’t
familiar to us, and we have so many new initiatives in so many different areas that we are losing
focus on what really matters for our future success.
Betty, I’m going to ask you to continue to lead the marketing group, but also to take over Sam’s
sales force. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have those functions split at this point. We’re
going to be working on a comprehensive marketing plan that you control from the ground up. I
know that this will be a heavy burden, but from what I’ve seen of your leadership qualities, you
can handle it. Let’s talk in a week about what staffing you’ll need and, once we get the ball
rolling, we’ll talk about an appropriate bump up in your compensation. How does that sound to
you?” Betty could hardly believe it, she hadn’t prepared for this, all she could say was, “I’ll give
it my best.” Later she’d kick herself for her loss of words. “I can’t talk about the reasons, but I
want you to know that I’ll be letting Sam go right after this meeting. I just needed to know you
were ready to take this responsibility on before I made that move.”
Talking to Betty, but turning to Bill, Nouv went on, “I’m leaving Bill in your group but asking him
to take on a special project, with you as the sponsor.” Bill sat up a little straighter. “Bill, I’m
convinced that we have a strong overall culture at this company. There are a lot of great people
here. To enhance that though, I’m asking you to lead a company-wide effort to identify the
values and principles that have made this company so successful and that will take us to the
next level, including our global expansion. I’m not sure exactly how to do this, but you’re a
bright person – pardon the pun – so I want you to dig into this and find what is best for the
company. We need to use this as a way to get everyone pulling in the same direction and
refocused on what really matters to us, so I’m asking you to work with our Human Resource
Director and our head of Strategic Planning. I have already talked with them about this and
they are going to provide you with team members and their personal support. Your objective is
to incorporate these values and principles somehow into an updated Code of Conduct.” There
was a pause. “So do you think you’re up for that?” said Nouv. “Yes…. I am, but what about my
role on the new territory sales team?”, said Bill. “Well, it looks like you were going to replace
Emilee Ethics and I have specifically asked her to continue on that team. I need you on this new
project.”

Term Paper Assignment Background
BUS 660 – 2017
Background on Quality Products, LLC: Quality Products, LLC (QP), our hypothetical company for
the Term Paper Assignment, is a private company (meaning its shares are not traded on a public
stock exchange) and primarily makes optical lenses. QP has two main product lines: lenses for
fashion eyewear; and lenses for applications like cameras, binoculars, telescopes, and digital
projectors. QP also sells lenses for specialty applications, like magnifying glasses and rifle
scopes, but this isn’t the main focus of the business. QP’s lenses are considered the absolute
best in the market and are the result of extensive development and use of technological
advances. Although QP has competitors, QP is by far the major company by sales and it is
dominant in its industry.
QP usually sells its products using its own sales force, but sometimes sells through sales agents
or other distributors.
Background on Bill Bright: Bill Bright is now three years out of school after getting his MBA. He
works at QP as a Marketing Strategy Associate. Quality Products is a medium sized company,
but is growing fast with expansion expected to continue within the U.S. and globally. Bill has
had a lot of success already at Quality Products and he’s clearly on a career fast track with the
company. Bill has been told by his current manager – Betty Brilliant – that his next promotion
will be to a junior manager position “If he continues to perform”. This would be a sizable jump
in pay and would set him up for a more senior position in the next five years, especially if the
company keeps growing.
Bill is just now starting to get control of his oppressive school debt. He is getting “serious” with
a woman who is just out of school and who wants to build her own business based on her art
history background.
Betty called Bill into her office last week and told him that he was “being evaluated” by senior
management and that part of this was a special assignment for another manager at the
company – Sam Sneekin. Betty sent Bill to talk with Sam on the Monday morning we join this
scenario.
Sam is explaining to Bill that the company is looking to expand overseas and that Bill is now a
part of a team to develop the expansion strategy. “They do things a little differently than we do
over there”, Sam is telling Bill. “They don’t have the same ridiculous regulations and red tape
we have to deal with.” “We can be a lot more ‘flexible’ in how we approach our potential
customers and market information.”
When he said the word “flexible”, Bill got a strange feeling in his stomach. Sam had a bit of a
bad reputation at Quality Products and Bill knew it. Sam progressed through the ranks fast himself and always “got the job done”. The rumors were about his tactics being less than
reputable. Bill knew Sam had also been investigated once for a sexual harassment allegation
raised by one of the company’s summer interns. Bill had only limited experience doing business
globally, so he didn’t know exactly what to make of Sam’s comments.
After explaining just how important this project was to the company, and how much it might
impact Bill’s career if this was a success (or a failure), Sam handed Bill a sealed envelope and
said “This stuff is going to make you look like a genius. I wish I was in your shoes on this one.”
With that, Sam gave Bill the name of the project team leader – Steve Lackee – and told him his
next stop should be to see him. As Bill was leaving, Sam said “Oh, and by the way, I’ve asked
Steve to get Emilee off that team… She’s ‘dead weight’ and she’s pulling all the guys on the team
down. See you around.”
[This conversation will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Betty Brilliant: Betty has been with Quality Products “since the beginning”. She
was hired by the company’s founder Rich N. Vestor and they became quite good friends, even
vacationing with their spouses together several times. Rich sold his interest in the company to a
new investor – Nouv O. Rich – and gave up any involvement in the business, about nine months
ago. Even though the company has been growing, Nouv has hinted that some cuts to the
company’s management workforce may be necessary “to get the right people on, and off, the
bus”, as he put it. Nouv has made no big changes yet, but seems to always be watching the
senior managers and asking a lot of questions.
Betty is a successful senior manager and has built much of her success on her own hard work
and ability to attract good people to her group. Part of this has been her ability to set realistic
goals for her marketing group. Meeting or exceeding these goals year in and year out has
meant that Betty and her group have received generous incentive payments from the
company’s incentive compensation program.
While some years her goals have been tougher to achieve than others, this year has been the
most difficult of all. In fact, with the company’s fiscal year closed on December 31, 2016, it is
not clear that her group has met even the “trigger” for the plan. If they didn’t meet the
“trigger”, they wouldn’t receive any payment at all under the plan.
Betty has been working with the company’s accountants on the final sales numbers. Betty had
told the sales force to get their sales in as fast as possible so that they would be counted before
the end of the fiscal year, but it seems that many sales were reported “late”, or have not even
been reported at all yet. One problem she faced with this is that the sales force reports up
through a different department of the company (the department headed by Sam Sneekin) so that she has no direct management control over those people. While Betty’s group does most
of the marketing strategy and projects the sales numbers, it is up to the employees in Sam’s
group to actually make and book the sales. Sam’s incentive compensation goals include other
company initiatives and his group had already clearly “triggered” before the end of the fiscal
year.
Although Betty has an excellent reputation for integrity, someone has been spreading rumors
that Betty is trying to pressure the accountants into “moving sales” to allow her incentive
compensation to “trigger”. Nouv has asked Betty to “join him” next week for a meeting to talk
about her goals and Betty needs to know where she stands on the incentive compensation
program for that meeting. So far the accountants have said “We can’t record the sales unless
we have the sales records from the reps in the field that show sales during our last fiscal year.”
[This scenario will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Nouv O. Rich: It’s now been a week and Betty’s group has just barely made the
“trigger” for the incentive compensation plan. While this means the group will get a payout, it
will be far less than what the employees are used to. Betty also worries, more than a little, that
this does not give her new boss the best image of her.
During the week, Betty spoke to all employees in her group. She took time to explain the
situation and answer their questions, and made it clear that the ultimate decision on what
should be included as sales for the last fiscal year was up to the accountants and that she
supported them in whatever they decided. She had prepared the employees for the possibility
that they would receive no incentive compensation, but thanked them for their efforts. She
took “the high road” by not pointing the finger at Sam and his group for their predicament or
the rumors about her. Betty was more than a little surprised to see Nouv in the back of the
room during the presentation.
We rejoin Betty as she is waiting to see Nouv. Betty is surprised to see Bill Bright also waiting to
see Nouv. “What brings you here Bill?”, she says. “I don’t know,” says Bill “I was asked to come
and so here I am. I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with me taking a memo to the legal
people for them to review.” Nouv opens his office door and says “Come on in.”
“Congratulations on making the ‘trigger’”, Nouv says to Betty with a smile. “Thank you,
although I had hoped we could do better”, Betty responds. “Not at all bad in my view”, Nouv
responds, “But we should all try for better this year. That’s part of what I wanted to talk with
you about.”
“Betty, I asked you and Bill to be here today because I have something I need your help on. I’ve
been careful to not make big changes right away when I took over leadership of this company. You have enjoyed quite a bit of success without me and I didn’t want to destroy what you’ve
built. That being said, the company has been going through lots of changes, not even counting
me coming in as the owner. We have lots of new employees, we are outgrowing our office
space, we are expanding geographically and in places where the business practices aren’t
familiar to us, and we have so many new initiatives in so many different areas that we are losing
focus on what really matters for our future success.
Betty, I’m going to ask you to continue to lead the marketing group, but also to take over Sam’s
sales force. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have those functions split at this point. We’re
going to be working on a comprehensive marketing plan that you control from the ground up. I
know that this will be a heavy burden, but from what I’ve seen of your leadership qualities, you
can handle it. Let’s talk in a week about what staffing you’ll need and, once we get the ball
rolling, we’ll talk about an appropriate bump up in your compensation. How does that sound to
you?” Betty could hardly believe it, she hadn’t prepared for this, all she could say was, “I’ll give
it my best.” Later she’d kick herself for her loss of words. “I can’t talk about the reasons, but I
want you to know that I’ll be letting Sam go right after this meeting. I just needed to know you
were ready to take this responsibility on before I made that move.”
Talking to Betty, but turning to Bill, Nouv went on, “I’m leaving Bill in your group but asking him
to take on a special project, with you as the sponsor.” Bill sat up a little straighter. “Bill, I’m
convinced that we have a strong overall culture at this company. There are a lot of great people
here. To enhance that though, I’m asking you to lead a company-wide effort to identify the
values and principles that have made this company so successful and that will take us to the
next level, including our global expansion. I’m not sure exactly how to do this, but you’re a
bright person – pardon the pun – so I want you to dig into this and find what is best for the
company. We need to use this as a way to get everyone pulling in the same direction and
refocused on what really matters to us, so I’m asking you to work with our Human Resource
Director and our head of Strategic Planning. I have already talked with them about this and
they are going to provide you with team members and their personal support. Your objective is
to incorporate these values and principles somehow into an updated Code of Conduct.” There
was a pause. “So do you think you’re up for that?” said Nouv. “Yes…. I am, but what about my
role on the new territory sales team?”, said Bill. “Well, it looks like you were going to replace
Emilee Ethics and I have specifically asked her to continue on that team. I need you on this new
project.”

Term Paper Assignment Background
BUS 660 – 2017
Background on Quality Products, LLC: Quality Products, LLC (QP), our hypothetical company for
the Term Paper Assignment, is a private company (meaning its shares are not traded on a public
stock exchange) and primarily makes optical lenses. QP has two main product lines: lenses for
fashion eyewear; and lenses for applications like cameras, binoculars, telescopes, and digital
projectors. QP also sells lenses for specialty applications, like magnifying glasses and rifle
scopes, but this isn’t the main focus of the business. QP’s lenses are considered the absolute
best in the market and are the result of extensive development and use of technological
advances. Although QP has competitors, QP is by far the major company by sales and it is
dominant in its industry.
QP usually sells its products using its own sales force, but sometimes sells through sales agents
or other distributors.
Background on Bill Bright: Bill Bright is now three years out of school after getting his MBA. He
works at QP as a Marketing Strategy Associate. Quality Products is a medium sized company,
but is growing fast with expansion expected to continue within the U.S. and globally. Bill has
had a lot of success already at Quality Products and he’s clearly on a career fast track with the
company. Bill has been told by his current manager – Betty Brilliant – that his next promotion
will be to a junior manager position “If he continues to perform”. This would be a sizable jump
in pay and would set him up for a more senior position in the next five years, especially if the
company keeps growing.
Bill is just now starting to get control of his oppressive school debt. He is getting “serious” with
a woman who is just out of school and who wants to build her own business based on her art
history background.
Betty called Bill into her office last week and told him that he was “being evaluated” by senior
management and that part of this was a special assignment for another manager at the
company – Sam Sneekin. Betty sent Bill to talk with Sam on the Monday morning we join this
scenario.
Sam is explaining to Bill that the company is looking to expand overseas and that Bill is now a
part of a team to develop the expansion strategy. “They do things a little differently than we do
over there”, Sam is telling Bill. “They don’t have the same ridiculous regulations and red tape
we have to deal with.” “We can be a lot more ‘flexible’ in how we approach our potential
customers and market information.”
When he said the word “flexible”, Bill got a strange feeling in his stomach. Sam had a bit of a
bad reputation at Quality Products and Bill knew it. Sam progressed through the ranks fast himself and always “got the job done”. The rumors were about his tactics being less than
reputable. Bill knew Sam had also been investigated once for a sexual harassment allegation
raised by one of the company’s summer interns. Bill had only limited experience doing business
globally, so he didn’t know exactly what to make of Sam’s comments.
After explaining just how important this project was to the company, and how much it might
impact Bill’s career if this was a success (or a failure), Sam handed Bill a sealed envelope and
said “This stuff is going to make you look like a genius. I wish I was in your shoes on this one.”
With that, Sam gave Bill the name of the project team leader – Steve Lackee – and told him his
next stop should be to see him. As Bill was leaving, Sam said “Oh, and by the way, I’ve asked
Steve to get Emilee off that team… She’s ‘dead weight’ and she’s pulling all the guys on the team
down. See you around.”
[This conversation will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Betty Brilliant: Betty has been with Quality Products “since the beginning”. She
was hired by the company’s founder Rich N. Vestor and they became quite good friends, even
vacationing with their spouses together several times. Rich sold his interest in the company to a
new investor – Nouv O. Rich – and gave up any involvement in the business, about nine months
ago. Even though the company has been growing, Nouv has hinted that some cuts to the
company’s management workforce may be necessary “to get the right people on, and off, the
bus”, as he put it. Nouv has made no big changes yet, but seems to always be watching the
senior managers and asking a lot of questions.
Betty is a successful senior manager and has built much of her success on her own hard work
and ability to attract good people to her group. Part of this has been her ability to set realistic
goals for her marketing group. Meeting or exceeding these goals year in and year out has
meant that Betty and her group have received generous incentive payments from the
company’s incentive compensation program.
While some years her goals have been tougher to achieve than others, this year has been the
most difficult of all. In fact, with the company’s fiscal year closed on December 31, 2016, it is
not clear that her group has met even the “trigger” for the plan. If they didn’t meet the
“trigger”, they wouldn’t receive any payment at all under the plan.
Betty has been working with the company’s accountants on the final sales numbers. Betty had
told the sales force to get their sales in as fast as possible so that they would be counted before
the end of the fiscal year, but it seems that many sales were reported “late”, or have not even
been reported at all yet. One problem she faced with this is that the sales force reports up
through a different department of the company (the department headed by Sam Sneekin) so that she has no direct management control over those people. While Betty’s group does most
of the marketing strategy and projects the sales numbers, it is up to the employees in Sam’s
group to actually make and book the sales. Sam’s incentive compensation goals include other
company initiatives and his group had already clearly “triggered” before the end of the fiscal
year.
Although Betty has an excellent reputation for integrity, someone has been spreading rumors
that Betty is trying to pressure the accountants into “moving sales” to allow her incentive
compensation to “trigger”. Nouv has asked Betty to “join him” next week for a meeting to talk
about her goals and Betty needs to know where she stands on the incentive compensation
program for that meeting. So far the accountants have said “We can’t record the sales unless
we have the sales records from the reps in the field that show sales during our last fiscal year.”
[This scenario will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Nouv O. Rich: It’s now been a week and Betty’s group has just barely made the
“trigger” for the incentive compensation plan. While this means the group will get a payout, it
will be far less than what the employees are used to. Betty also worries, more than a little, that
this does not give her new boss the best image of her.
During the week, Betty spoke to all employees in her group. She took time to explain the
situation and answer their questions, and made it clear that the ultimate decision on what
should be included as sales for the last fiscal year was up to the accountants and that she
supported them in whatever they decided. She had prepared the employees for the possibility
that they would receive no incentive compensation, but thanked them for their efforts. She
took “the high road” by not pointing the finger at Sam and his group for their predicament or
the rumors about her. Betty was more than a little surprised to see Nouv in the back of the
room during the presentation.
We rejoin Betty as she is waiting to see Nouv. Betty is surprised to see Bill Bright also waiting to
see Nouv. “What brings you here Bill?”, she says. “I don’t know,” says Bill “I was asked to come
and so here I am. I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with me taking a memo to the legal
people for them to review.” Nouv opens his office door and says “Come on in.”
“Congratulations on making the ‘trigger’”, Nouv says to Betty with a smile. “Thank you,
although I had hoped we could do better”, Betty responds. “Not at all bad in my view”, Nouv
responds, “But we should all try for better this year. That’s part of what I wanted to talk with
you about.”
“Betty, I asked you and Bill to be here today because I have something I need your help on. I’ve
been careful to not make big changes right away when I took over leadership of this company. You have enjoyed quite a bit of success without me and I didn’t want to destroy what you’ve
built. That being said, the company has been going through lots of changes, not even counting
me coming in as the owner. We have lots of new employees, we are outgrowing our office
space, we are expanding geographically and in places where the business practices aren’t
familiar to us, and we have so many new initiatives in so many different areas that we are losing
focus on what really matters for our future success.
Betty, I’m going to ask you to continue to lead the marketing group, but also to take over Sam’s
sales force. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have those functions split at this point. We’re
going to be working on a comprehensive marketing plan that you control from the ground up. I
know that this will be a heavy burden, but from what I’ve seen of your leadership qualities, you
can handle it. Let’s talk in a week about what staffing you’ll need and, once we get the ball
rolling, we’ll talk about an appropriate bump up in your compensation. How does that sound to
you?” Betty could hardly believe it, she hadn’t prepared for this, all she could say was, “I’ll give
it my best.” Later she’d kick herself for her loss of words. “I can’t talk about the reasons, but I
want you to know that I’ll be letting Sam go right after this meeting. I just needed to know you
were ready to take this responsibility on before I made that move.”
Talking to Betty, but turning to Bill, Nouv went on, “I’m leaving Bill in your group but asking him
to take on a special project, with you as the sponsor.” Bill sat up a little straighter. “Bill, I’m
convinced that we have a strong overall culture at this company. There are a lot of great people
here. To enhance that though, I’m asking you to lead a company-wide effort to identify the
values and principles that have made this company so successful and that will take us to the
next level, including our global expansion. I’m not sure exactly how to do this, but you’re a
bright person – pardon the pun – so I want you to dig into this and find what is best for the
company. We need to use this as a way to get everyone pulling in the same direction and
refocused on what really matters to us, so I’m asking you to work with our Human Resource
Director and our head of Strategic Planning. I have already talked with them about this and
they are going to provide you with team members and their personal support. Your objective is
to incorporate these values and principles somehow into an updated Code of Conduct.” There
was a pause. “So do you think you’re up for that?” said Nouv. “Yes…. I am, but what about my
role on the new territory sales team?”, said Bill. “Well, it looks like you were going to replace
Emilee Ethics and I have specifically asked her to continue on that team. I need you on this new
project.” Term Paper Assignment Background
BUS 660 – 2017
Background on Quality Products, LLC: Quality Products, LLC (QP), our hypothetical company for
the Term Paper Assignment, is a private company (meaning its shares are not traded on a public
stock exchange) and primarily makes optical lenses. QP has two main product lines: lenses for
fashion eyewear; and lenses for applications like cameras, binoculars, telescopes, and digital
projectors. QP also sells lenses for specialty applications, like magnifying glasses and rifle
scopes, but this isn’t the main focus of the business. QP’s lenses are considered the absolute
best in the market and are the result of extensive development and use of technological
advances. Although QP has competitors, QP is by far the major company by sales and it is
dominant in its industry.
QP usually sells its products using its own sales force, but sometimes sells through sales agents
or other distributors.
Background on Bill Bright: Bill Bright is now three years out of school after getting his MBA. He
works at QP as a Marketing Strategy Associate. Quality Products is a medium sized company,
but is growing fast with expansion expected to continue within the U.S. and globally. Bill has
had a lot of success already at Quality Products and he’s clearly on a career fast track with the
company. Bill has been told by his current manager – Betty Brilliant – that his next promotion
will be to a junior manager position “If he continues to perform”. This would be a sizable jump
in pay and would set him up for a more senior position in the next five years, especially if the
company keeps growing.
Bill is just now starting to get control of his oppressive school debt. He is getting “serious” with
a woman who is just out of school and who wants to build her own business based on her art
history background.
Betty called Bill into her office last week and told him that he was “being evaluated” by senior
management and that part of this was a special assignment for another manager at the
company – Sam Sneekin. Betty sent Bill to talk with Sam on the Monday morning we join this
scenario.
Sam is explaining to Bill that the company is looking to expand overseas and that Bill is now a
part of a team to develop the expansion strategy. “They do things a little differently than we do
over there”, Sam is telling Bill. “They don’t have the same ridiculous regulations and red tape
we have to deal with.” “We can be a lot more ‘flexible’ in how we approach our potential
customers and market information.”
When he said the word “flexible”, Bill got a strange feeling in his stomach. Sam had a bit of a
bad reputation at Quality Products and Bill knew it. Sam progressed through the ranks fast himself and always “got the job done”. The rumors were about his tactics being less than
reputable. Bill knew Sam had also been investigated once for a sexual harassment allegation
raised by one of the company’s summer interns. Bill had only limited experience doing business
globally, so he didn’t know exactly what to make of Sam’s comments.
After explaining just how important this project was to the company, and how much it might
impact Bill’s career if this was a success (or a failure), Sam handed Bill a sealed envelope and
said “This stuff is going to make you look like a genius. I wish I was in your shoes on this one.”
With that, Sam gave Bill the name of the project team leader – Steve Lackee – and told him his
next stop should be to see him. As Bill was leaving, Sam said “Oh, and by the way, I’ve asked
Steve to get Emilee off that team… She’s ‘dead weight’ and she’s pulling all the guys on the team
down. See you around.”
[This conversation will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Betty Brilliant: Betty has been with Quality Products “since the beginning”. She
was hired by the company’s founder Rich N. Vestor and they became quite good friends, even
vacationing with their spouses together several times. Rich sold his interest in the company to a
new investor – Nouv O. Rich – and gave up any involvement in the business, about nine months
ago. Even though the company has been growing, Nouv has hinted that some cuts to the
company’s management workforce may be necessary “to get the right people on, and off, the
bus”, as he put it. Nouv has made no big changes yet, but seems to always be watching the
senior managers and asking a lot of questions.
Betty is a successful senior manager and has built much of her success on her own hard work
and ability to attract good people to her group. Part of this has been her ability to set realistic
goals for her marketing group. Meeting or exceeding these goals year in and year out has
meant that Betty and her group have received generous incentive payments from the
company’s incentive compensation program.
While some years her goals have been tougher to achieve than others, this year has been the
most difficult of all. In fact, with the company’s fiscal year closed on December 31, 2016, it is
not clear that her group has met even the “trigger” for the plan. If they didn’t meet the
“trigger”, they wouldn’t receive any payment at all under the plan.
Betty has been working with the company’s accountants on the final sales numbers. Betty had
told the sales force to get their sales in as fast as possible so that they would be counted before
the end of the fiscal year, but it seems that many sales were reported “late”, or have not even
been reported at all yet. One problem she faced with this is that the sales force reports up
through a different department of the company (the department headed by Sam Sneekin) so that she has no direct management control over those people. While Betty’s group does most
of the marketing strategy and projects the sales numbers, it is up to the employees in Sam’s
group to actually make and book the sales. Sam’s incentive compensation goals include other
company initiatives and his group had already clearly “triggered” before the end of the fiscal
year.
Although Betty has an excellent reputation for integrity, someone has been spreading rumors
that Betty is trying to pressure the accountants into “moving sales” to allow her incentive
compensation to “trigger”. Nouv has asked Betty to “join him” next week for a meeting to talk
about her goals and Betty needs to know where she stands on the incentive compensation
program for that meeting. So far the accountants have said “We can’t record the sales unless
we have the sales records from the reps in the field that show sales during our last fiscal year.”
[This scenario will continue in the Term Paper Assignment.] Background on Nouv O. Rich: It’s now been a week and Betty’s group has just barely made the
“trigger” for the incentive compensation plan. While this means the group will get a payout, it
will be far less than what the employees are used to. Betty also worries, more than a little, that
this does not give her new boss the best image of her.
During the week, Betty spoke to all employees in her group. She took time to explain the
situation and answer their questions, and made it clear that the ultimate decision on what
should be included as sales for the last fiscal year was up to the accountants and that she
supported them in whatever they decided. She had prepared the employees for the possibility
that they would receive no incentive compensation, but thanked them for their efforts. She
took “the high road” by not pointing the finger at Sam and his group for their predicament or
the rumors about her. Betty was more than a little surprised to see Nouv in the back of the
room during the presentation.
We rejoin Betty as she is waiting to see Nouv. Betty is surprised to see Bill Bright also waiting to
see Nouv. “What brings you here Bill?”, she says. “I don’t know,” says Bill “I was asked to come
and so here I am. I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with me taking a memo to the legal
people for them to review.” Nouv opens his office door and says “Come on in.”
“Congratulations on making the ‘trigger’”, Nouv says to Betty with a smile. “Thank you,
although I had hoped we could do better”, Betty responds. “Not at all bad in my view”, Nouv
responds, “But we should all try for better this year. That’s part of what I wanted to talk with
you about.”
“Betty, I asked you and Bill to be here today because I have something I need your help on. I’ve
been careful to not make big changes right away when I took over leadership of this company. You have enjoyed quite a bit of success without me and I didn’t want to destroy what you’ve
built. That being said, the company has been going through lots of changes, not even counting
me coming in as the owner. We have lots of new employees, we are outgrowing our office
space, we are expanding geographically and in places where the business practices aren’t
familiar to us, and we have so many new initiatives in so many different areas that we are losing
focus on what really matters for our future success.
Betty, I’m going to ask you to continue to lead the marketing group, but also to take over Sam’s
sales force. It just doesn’t make sense to me to have those functions split at this point. We’re
going to be working on a comprehensive marketing plan that you control from the ground up. I
know that this will be a heavy burden, but from what I’ve seen of your leadership qualities, you
can handle it. Let’s talk in a week about what staffing you’ll need and, once we get the ball
rolling, we’ll talk about an appropriate bump up in your compensation. How does that sound to
you?” Betty could hardly believe it, she hadn’t prepared for this, all she could say was, “I’ll give
it my best.” Later she’d kick herself for her loss of words. “I can’t talk about the reasons, but I
want you to know that I’ll be letting Sam go right after this meeting. I just needed to know you
were ready to take this responsibility on before I made that move.”
Talking to Betty, but turning to Bill, Nouv went on, “I’m leaving Bill in your group but asking him
to take on a special project, with you as the sponsor.” Bill sat up a little straighter. “Bill, I’m
convinced that we have a strong overall culture at this company. There are a lot of great people
here. To enhance that though, I’m asking you to lead a company-wide effort to identify the
values and principles that have made this company so successful and that will take us to the
next level, including our global expansion. I’m not sure exactly how to do this, but you’re a
bright person – pardon the pun – so I want you to dig into this and find what is best for the
company. We need to use this as a way to get everyone pulling in the same direction and
refocused on what really matters to us, so I’m asking you to work with our Human Resource
Director and our head of Strategic Planning. I have already talked with them about this and
they are going to provide you with team members and their personal support. Your objective is
to incorporate these values and principles somehow into an updated Code of Conduct.” There
was a pause. “So do you think you’re up for that?” said Nouv. “Yes…. I am, but what about my
role on the new territory sales team?”, said Bill. “Well, it looks like you were going to replace
Emilee Ethics and I have specifically asked her to continue on that team. I need you on this new
project.”

Answers

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