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« Emergency Management Solutions: Effective Presentations November 2010 | Main | Emergency Plans: Are They Really Necessary? »



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However, there is a good chance that the "other side" of the story may further indict the corporation of Scrooge-like behavior and a political correctness/over-reaction syndrome gone wild.

Clearly Mr. Toomey was a part-time, seasonal hire and to some extent his reputation and popularity was exploited by Macy's in attracting customers. I cannot see a temporary (seasonal) employee hired for only a couple of weeks per year being the subject of classic "progressive discipline" culminating in his termination for cause as the result of his comments to two adults.

If he was a problem last Christmas season, Macy's could have simply not rehired him this season. My guess is that it was a knee jerk over reaction and that Macy's silence speaks volumes. Santa gets the last laugh as it appears he was hire, for more money, down the street at Lefty's. Ho-Ho-Ho.

Lucien Canton

Oh, I quite agree - knowing human nature, I'm inclined to think this really was an over-reaction.

The issue for me, though, is not the merits of the case but the tendency of organizations to increase reputation damage by refraining from making any comment at all. You don't have to tell the other side of the story, just remind the public that there is another side.

Or they could just have said, "oops, bad call!" and rehired the guy before things got out of hand.

Kevin Schaller

Reputation damage control may be difficult to measure financially, but you can be sure there are executives at Macy's very concerned at how many sales lost to this incident. It is also an example of poor crisis management, as Macy's appears to have ignored the opportunity to immediately frame a message from their perspective. As Gary pointed out, the company's actions may further tarnish its' situation.

The study of viral marketing is crucial in the business continuity sector. A seemingly thoughtless decision can quickly spread to produce disastrous consequences to an organization that ignores, or is slow to respond to these incidents.

Lucien Canton

Kevin -

You're right on target. The growth of social media and viral marketing has definitely been a game changer for businesses. It's more important than ever to think through the potential consequences of your actions and have a crisis management plan in place. While I can't speak to whether Macy's should or should not have terminated an employee, firing "Santa Claus" at the height of the Christmas season was bound to grab media attention. Add to that the popularity of the man and it's a no-brainer that the story would play very big on the Internet. Macy's should have had a better response than "no comment."

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