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Footwear International Case Study Analysis

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Case Summary

Based on case, Footwear is a multinational manufacturer and marketer of footwear. It have more than eighty-three companies in seventy countries and head office acts as a service center also got staffed with specialists drawn from all over the world. Besides required standardization in technology and design of facilities, it also encourages a high degree of decentralization and autonomy in its operations. They use a concept of partnership at the local level has made the company welcome internationally.

Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world. Although that country is fertile but has a tropical monsoon climate and suffer from the ravages of periodic cyclones. In Bangladesh, have 85 percent Moslem of population and Islam was made in 1988. Bangladesh also has had a turbulent history in the twentieth century is include related with Pakistan and India until they got independence. Footwear Bangladesh became active at East Bengal in the 1930s. Until end of 1988, the company in Bangladesh was perceived as offering Footwear enormous potential for growth both through consumer education and competitive pressure. The managing Director of Footwear Bangladesh was John Carlos it is one of only four foreigners working for the company.

Started on June 22, 1989 the incident was happen when John Carlson was shown a copy of Meillat in newspaper with title "Footwear's Unpardonable Audacity", that design on the insole of one model of sandal produced by the company include the Arabic spelling of the words "Allah" .The Story highlighted the fact when the design wan only the insole of the sandal and therefore, next to the bottom of the foot, a sign of great disrespect to Moslems. Following of investigation, the supervisor reported that the design had been based on a set of Chinese temple bells that the designer had purchased in the local market.

Following the conservation Carlson was compared the design to the word Allah, which he had arranged to have written in Arabic. As the day progressed the situation got worse. Carlson was shown a translation of a proclamation that had been circulated by two youth groups calling for demonstrations against Footwear. More than that, calls had been made for charges to be laid against Carlson and four others under section 295 of the criminal code.

In addition, Carlson also received a copy of a statement that had been filed by a local lawyer, although no warrants were immediately forthcoming. Lastly, his secretary informed him that the Prime Minister was being quoted as calling the sandals incident an "unforgivable crime".

Problem Statement

There are some problems raise in this case study that has a big effect to the company especially to the reputation and sales performance of that company. The problem started when a newspaper closely linked to the political opposition printed a story starting that a sandal produced by Footwear had the word Allah (God In Arabic) as part of the design on the insole and that this was an insult to all Moslems /Muslims .

The story went on to link Footwear with Salman Rushdie and an international Jewish conspiracy against Muslim. The situation deteriorated rapidly and soon involved the threat of student demonstrations and criminal charges against John Carlson, the Managing Director, and three other Footwear managers' .The threat of student demonstrations especially in a country such as Bangladesh can have long reaching implications as the country is small poor, densely populated and low literacy level. There could be cases of self immolation in the name of Allah, and riots and frenzied demonstrations in the name of the same cause. This could also spread to other Muslim nations and cause uprisings in other countries where Footwear has subsidiaries.

The filing of criminal charges against John Carlson, the Managing Director, and three other Footwear managers could cause a large scale turnover in the human resources world over with panic resignations. This incident would also lead to a series of doubts about the product, company and its ventures, maybe causing financers to back out. Bad news followed when Carlson and the four other had been charged in the criminal code that forbade "deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage feeling of any class by insulting its religion or religious believers.

We also believe that the situation is very serious because religion and culture are very sensitive subjects to people of any civilization. Also, youth groups stated that they were even willing to risk their lives to protect their religion. The problem was more stressful when The Prime Minister was being quoted as calling the sandal incident as an 'unforgiveable crime'.

"Based on case, we have detected that main or actual problem that facing Footwear International and Bangladesh are that of potential boycott of the product world over especially by the Muslim community". The boycott of the product will affect the company's sales, and the company will lose confidence.

Alternative strategies

There some strategies that we believe that can help Carlson and his subordinates to solve or ease their burden of the stress they are facing. We have chosen four alternative strategies that are should be taken in action:

I. Come out and talk to the society through medias

All of the accused include the Managing Director, Production Manager and Marketing manager and the calligrapher and other responsible parties have to seat together. They have to make press conference to make apologized and clear explanation to all concern parties that have been feeling insulted from this issue especially for the Muslim. Invite all press all over the world and clearly state apologize sincerely and describe the real situation and show that you are highly regretted for the problem happened and promise to be careful in the future to not repeat the same offence. Beside, demonstrate well how we interpret the symbol without touch the sensitivity of the Muslim. Be very sincere in the explanation.

II. Eradication the entire particular product and replace

Stop and close the production and marketing department and eradicate the entire sandals that have the word Allah (God in Arabic) and replace it with the one. Carlson and his subordinates are responsible to ensure that entire sales on the market of this product will be stopped immediately and take strict action



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