Agfunds Case

Essay by kleintjeCollege, UndergraduateC+, April 2009

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INTRODUCTIONAgfunds is a financial services company based in Houston, dedicated to providing account¬ing services for farmers and farmer-owned cooperatives. AgFunds is a large investment firm, which relies on their competitive training programs to produce fully licensed, motivated sales representatives.

Cynthia Mitchell was once one of the best trainees, and is now one of AgFunds regional district managers. Cynthia, recruited by Peter Jones, the Houston-based regional vice president who oversaw eight southern districts, was expected to revive the Arkansas district.

PROBLEM DEFINITIONThe district, which Cynthia was chosen to manage, had been losing customers for 15 years. According to observers the sales force there wasn't the main cause of the problem; but rather the fact that it's been poorly managed for too long.

Cynthia Mitchell needs a powerhouse sales rep to help her win back customers in a conservative region of the South. Steve Ripley just might be the right guy for the job.

He's AgFunds' top trainee: talented, ambitious, intelligent, charming. Cynthia’s colleagues insinuated that that might not be in the best interest of the firm because of the racial issues involved. Should she hire him - and possibly set him up to fail - in an inhospitable district?ANALYSISAgFunds had just promoted, Cynthia Mitchell – a sales rep's, to the district manager of the Arkansas branch. The Arkansas firm was in a slump and was in dire need of change. Cynthia assessed the situation there and came up with a plan of action. A key factor of that plan was to get her hands on a powerhouse sales rep. So she was intrigued when she came across Steve Ripley credentials, this year's top trainee, who was surprisingly still available.

Cynthia addressed the issue with her superior, who did not share in her excitement. He suggested that Steve might not be the best fit for the job: He's African American in a company whose customer base is mostly conservative and white. This made Cynthia uncertain and forced her to recall her own experiences at AgFunds - she'd been rejected for a position in a territory that was deemed too unfriendly to female sales representatives. So she was faced with a difficult decision: Should she ignore her customers' biases and hire Steve, possibly setting him up to fail? Or would it perhaps be better to let Steve wait until a friendlier opportunity presents itself?In Cynthia’s first years at AgFunds she experienced struggles similar to what Steve might face. Working closely with her would allow him to see the possibilities for success, providing him with motivation. There was not a better person for him to work under if he was to succeed at AgFunds.

CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONSIn the end, it’s Cynthia and Steve’s decision. Cynthia should determine if the pros outweigh the cons…Steve Ripley is the most qualified applicant, he is highly motivated and there is much that he can accomplish there. Together they can make the necessary adjustments needed.

It would be a fair trade off, to take advantage of Steve’s strengths to accomplish company goals. And at the same time give Steve the opportunity of a lifetime. As long as agreements are made beforehand and Steve is aware of the possible objections that may occur as a result of him working there.

BIBLIOGRAPHY1. ethics_process.html