Patagonia is a California based company that makes clothing and

Patagonia is a California based company that makes clothing and gear for outdoor sports like hiking and climbing. It has been called "the Coolest Company on the Planet" by Fortune magazine, and it has a consistent track record of being voted one of the best companies to work for. Patagonia employees are amongst some of the most passionate and long serving in the industry. In fact, with an annual turnover rate of only 4%, so few people leave the company that job seekers are hard pressed to find any opportunities. However, when the company does have a position to fill, it goes about selecting candidates very carefully. Patagonia places its commitment to protect and preserve the environment and its resources over anything else. This mind set is what drives the company and the people who work there. As Casey Sheahan, CEO and President of Patagonia observes, "It is critical that our employees, whether they are new hires or long standing employees, are totally in line with our philosophy and values". It is not enough for an applicant to simply enjoy outdoor activities. Patagonia looks for employees who are "fanatical" about protecting the environment and who are passionate about their hobbies and interests. The company looks carefully at the values, attitudes, and behaviours of potential employees in an effort to bring in new talent that will help the organization as a whole and be truly representative of the Patagonia brand. Patagonia uses a hiring process that is a mixture of both traditional and non-traditional approaches. Resumés are reviewed and sorted, and candidates are screened in-person and over the phone. However, in order to find an employee who will be the best fit for the organization, candidates also participate in extensive group interviews. The purpose of this strategy is to learn as much about the candidate's background as possible. As Lu Setnicka, Human Resources Director explains, group interviews provide an opportunity for Patagonia employees to test and assess whether or not a candidate would be comfortable working within the organization's value-driven and collaborative culture. By having a number of informal conversations together, both the candidate and the candidates take time to get to know each other. This helps Patagonia to maintain a base of employees who are highly engaged and who identify with the organization on an emotional level. Patagonia's mission statement to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental crises, drives the company's corporate strategy. The apparel and gear made by Patagonia employees are secondary to the company's commitment to resolving environmental issues. Jill Dumain, Patagonia's Director of Environmental Analysis, explains that the return on investments with environmental protocols is actually a much more efficient way of doing business from a cost stand point. The company harnesses the strengths and potential of customers who are aware of the plight of the environment and willing to take action. In this way, Patagonia promotes and encourages a lifestyle that honours nature, wildlife, and biodiversity. As illustrated in its Common Threads Initiative Video, Patagonia's message is very clear. The planet's resources are being depleted at a level that cannot be sustained. Urgent change is needed in order to allow nature time to heal. With these facts in mind, the company urges customers to think carefully and buy only what they "deeply need" and not "vaguely want". Company founder, Yvon Chouinard, explains that, "We are the first company to ask consumers to take a formal pledge and be partners in the effort to reduce consumption and keep products out of the landfill or incinerator". Patagonia's Common Threads Pledge states that Patagonia agrees "to build useful things that will last, to repair what breaks and recycle what comes to the end of its useful life." Customers who take the pledge agree "to buy only what [they] need and will last, repair what breaks, reuse (sell or share) what is [they] longer need and recycle everything else." Following its belief that recycling is one key factor in sustaining the environment, Patagonia partnered with eBay to create its Common Threads Initiative Store. This new approach enables and encourages customers who have taken the Common Threads Pledge to take an active role in the partnership. Patagonia says it will not receive any of the profits associated with the Common Threads Initiative storefront. Patagonia recognizes and supports employees who engage in projects as environmental activists. In 1993, the company started its Patagonia Employee Internship Program. It provided staff with an opportunity to leave their jobs for up to four weeks to work for an environmental group they identified with. Patagonia agreed to provide full pay and benefits to employees during their absence from the company. More than 850 employees have taken part in the program. Interns have helped to protect sea turtles in Kenya, pika in Colorado and sage grouse in Nevada. Employees who participate in the program further strengthen Patagonia's mission. Their stories and experiences help to inspire other employees and in the process, work to enrich and strengthen Patagonia's collaborative culture. In some cases, employees leave the company in order to concentrate all of their efforts toward preserving the environment. Patagonia applauds employees who leave the company to devote all of their time in support of environmental initiatives. The company views these kinds of employee resignations as organizational successes. On April 20, 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. That began what is now known as the biggest oil spill in history, with at least 185 million gallons of crude pouring into the Gulf. Patagonia responded to the disaster by sending seven teams of employees to seven communities in the Gulf. For one week, employees went door to door and asked residents along the coast in southern Louisiana towns how the oil spill had impacted them in terms of health, culture, and finances. Information from the survey helped to create a web-based Oil Spill Crisis Map that the government and wild life agencies could use to document the impact of the disaster. Patagonia's organizational culture places it in a leading role as a company devoted to the preservation and protection of the environment. Its unique approach of using and uniting its employees and customers in pursuit of its mission, offers hope and guidance to others who seek to live as citizens of the earth.
1. Explain the difference between "values", "attitudes", and "job satisfaction". How does each pertain to Patagonia and its employees? Give examples.
2. What is the difference between terminal and instrumental values? Which of the terminal and instrumental values shown in Exhibit 3-1 apply to Patagonia's employees?
3. Patagonia experiences a high level of organizational commitment from their employees which is demonstrated by their low annual turnover rate of 4%. Describe the three types of organizational commitment and explain how each pertains to Patagonia.
4. Patagonia gives employees paid time off to pursue their environmental passions. From a business perspective, do you think this is a good idea or not? How do you think it impacts Patagonia as an organization? Explain.
5. Patagonia has incorporated group interviews into their hiring process as they feel this is a good way "to assess whether or not a candidate would be comfortable working within the organization's value driven and collaborative culture". Do you agree with this assessment? Explain.


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