9 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008
In this disguised case, newly appointed Vice President for Corporate Communication Andrea Tilman must choose among different strategies to align corporate philanthropy programs with long-term corporate philosophy and business strategy at the U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese multinational corporation. The guiding corporate philosophy is the principle of kyosei, or "living and working together for the common good." In selecting the strategy, Tilman must consider factors such as the company as a whole, straightforward measurement of results, budget size, and how and to whom she should communicate the new program once it was implemented. This case illustrates the key strategic role of corporate communication and philanthropy in enacting social responsibility. The topic leads to spirited discussions about the value of corporate philanthropy and whether it is in the shareholders' financial interest.
As Andrea Tilman packed up for the day, she realized she had just one week left to finalize her recommendations for Optix USA's new corporate philanthropy program. In February 1998, the CEO appointed Tilman as the new vice president of Corporate Communications with high hopes that she would be a key player in revitalizing employee morale and the image of the organization, particularly in the United States and Canada. Tilman had been with the company for five years, including a stint at Optix Worldwide's headquarters in Japan, and was well aware of the importance of this initiative and the complexity of the decisions she would have to make in the coming week. Not only did this corporate communications' initiative involve rebuilding the Optix USA's corporate philanthropy program, but it also involved aligning Optix Worldwide's kyosei corporate philosophy with Optix USA's corporate identity and strategy.
Optix USA, headquartered in upstate New York, was a multi-billion dollar industry leader in professional and consumer imaging equipment and information systems. Optix USA operations were supported by five product categories: Office Imaging Products, Computer Peripherals Products, Business Systems, Cameras, and Optical Products, with the first three grouped under Business Machines. Exhibit 1 presents examples of the kinds of products offered in each category, whereas Exhibit 2 presents sales by product category. About half ($ 12.1 billion) of Optix USA's sales came from its Computer Peripherals category (including printers and scanners), but the vast majority of this category's sales came from “consumables” such as toner.
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Keywords: environment, communication strategy, social responsibility, strategy formulation
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