Quick-Cook Ovens: A Public Relations Perspective

3 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by William T. Stewart

William T. Stewart

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

D.J. Paustenbach

Purdue University

Lynn Paine

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

The product manager is informed by the quality control manager of radiation leakage in the microwave ovens shipped in the last several months that could possibly pose a health hazard to the consumer. If a recall is instituted, a severe loss of consumer confidence could result in a sharp decline in market share. Meanwhile, the cause of the defect has been uncovered, and current units being shipped fall within federal limits. The product manager decides to talk confidentially to an acquaintance in the firm's public relations department before deciding what to do. The case raises issues of "the right thing to do" on the part of both the product manager and the public relations department.

Excerpt

UVA-E-0048

QUICK‑COOK OVENS: A PUBLIC RELATIONS PERSPECTIVE

On January 31, 1982, Beverly Stevens, product manager for Quick‑Cook Ovens of LDF Corporation, convened the scheduled monthly meeting of her production personnel. Stevens had been the product manager for the Quick‑Cook microwave oven since its introduction two years earlier. At that time, she had enthusiastically accepted responsibility for bringing the new microwave to market as part of a broad consumer line to be marketed in large discount stores. Given her special interest in marketing consumer products, this assignment, her first since receiving an MBA from a southern business school, seemed ideal.

The quality-control manager's report was first on the agenda that morning. After reviewing the production data, which showed a 10 percent increase in output over the previous month, the quality-control manager casually mentioned that the leakage problem had been remedied. Surprised at hearing for the first time of a leakage problem, Stevens asked him to explain. He related the following background and chronology of events.

Background

Studies had shown that animals exposed to levels of microwave radiation exceeding 200 milliwatts per square centimeter were susceptible to certain harms—specifically, harm to male sex organs and an increased incidence of cataracts. Because microwave ovens were widely used in small businesses and in homes, where the potential for damaging effects on users was significant, federal regulatory agencies had placed tight controls on radiation leakage.

. . .

Keywords: product quality, diversity

Suggested Citation

Stewart, William T. and Paustenbach, D.J. and Paine, Lynn, Quick-Cook Ovens: A Public Relations Perspective. Darden Case No. UVA-E-0048, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1277017

William T. Stewart

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

D.J. Paustenbach

Purdue University

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

Lynn Paine (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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