MGMT 5900 Exam

Hollis Hardware and Centerville Supermarket

Matt Hollis stared at the telephone number for Bill Harrington, the Supermart executive who had called two days earlier. Supermart was coming to town and wanted Matt to play a big part in the opening and management of a new local store. 

For twenty-two years, Matt had owned and operated Hollis Hardware and Centerville Supermarket, the collective offspring of a family business started one hundred years earlier. He knew that if he accepted Supermart’s offer it would not only be the end of his family business but that also of a majority of the other proprietorships in town. The economic consequences would be severely felt in a community long rooted in local business and patronage. However, if he turned down Supermart, Matt knew he might never fulfil the other Hollis family tradition dating back 100 years:  providing a college education to his children.

Would he fight to continue the legacy of the store that his great grandparents had started 100 years ago, or would he call Mr Harrington to accept the offer? Matt knew either choice had serious consequences for both his family and his community.


Matt Hollis, 48, was born and raised in Centerville, Kansas. Like the four generations before him, he had lived in Centerville all his life. He and his wife, Sarah, had four children, ages 14 to 20.

Matt’s great grandparents had opened the Centerville General Store in 1896.  The store had been handed down from generation to generation, and Matt had taken it over twenty-two years ago. Although it had always provided a good source of income for the Hollis family, over the past decade profits had slowly declined as a result of a weak economy in the Midwest. The Hollis’s had to work long and hard just to make ends meet.

Aside from his vested interest in his stores, it was very important to Matt to secure a college education for each of his children; yet, lately, the uncertainty of the business made this goal seem less attainable. The eldest, James, was entering his sophomore year at Boston University. The other children had also shown an interest in leaving Centerville for college and had talked of settling elsewhere, too.

The Supermart Call

Two days ago, Matt received a call from Supermart. It had stunned him. Supermart had plans to come to Centerville.  It was still very much a community where everyone knew everyone else and liked doing business at local stores.

Bill Harrington, the executive responsible for the development of Supermart in the Midwest region, had called. He explained to Matt that Supermart was still in the planning stages for moving into the Centerville area and was familiarizing itself with Centerville and the surrounding area to determine how best Supermart could “penetrate” the area. He then got right to the point: he wanted to recruit Matt to help in the planning of the store when it opened. Supermart felt that utilizing a local businessman in this capacity would help establish the new store and make the opening smoother. Supermart’s salary offer to manage the new store would be over twice the amount Matt was currently taking out of the business for family and personal expenses.

Matt thought this would radically alter both the business landscape and the civic identity of the town. As a two-term president of the local merchant association, Matt knew how important locally owned businesses were to Centerville and how they fostered a strong community. Instead of profits being re-invested into the community, profits would now end up in some state two thousand miles away. Matt also thought about the employment consequences of Supermart moving in. He, along with numerous other local business people would inevitably be driven out of business. Although Matt knew that many could expect to find jobs in the new store, he also knew not everyone laid off could be absorbed by Supermart; many would be left without jobs. Matt also thought about how his decision would affect his own standing in town. Many would blame him for the failure of several long-standing businesses and for helping to create so much uncertainty in the community.

Matt quickly envisioned the option of organizing a united front to block Supermart’s arrival. He knew several members on the city council and was close friends with the mayor. As a leader of the merchant community, maybe he could rally the town and city council to pass an ordinance effectively blocking Supermart.

Matt also knew that if he didn’t take the general manager position then someone else would. Or Supermart might just send one of their own people to open and manage the store.

The Meeting

Bill had asked Matt if he could meet with him. He wanted to meet close to Centerville, but not in the town, so as to avoid any exposure of Supermart’s plans to the local community. Matt was to call him back so that they could set up a meeting to discuss his decision. As he thought about calling, his future, his family’s future, and the community’s future weighed heavily on his mind.

In no more than three (5) pages address the following:

  1. Analyze this case utilizing the “stakeholder analysis” by providing the following:
    • Identify stakeholders.
    • Assess and explain the “nature” of each stakeholder’s interest in Matt’s decision by explaining whether each stakeholder would be: for Supermart, against Supermart, “mixed” (could be for or against), or have a marginal interest (would not care either way whether Supermart came to town).
    • Assess and explain the type of power each stakeholder may have in Matt’s decision in these three categories: financial power, voting power or legal power.
    • Identify possible stakeholder coalitions that could be formed.
  2. Explain the course of action you would take if you were in Matt Hollis’ position.  Incorporate in your answer two (2) or more of the following concepts: utilitarianism, universalism, rights and justice.

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