FAMILY ISSUES OF EMPLOYEES: THE CASE OF
EXCEL INDUSTRIES, INC.
A Conflict with Public Perceptions in the United States
James S. O'Rourke
This is an authentic case study dealing with corporate communication, media relations, community relations, and the operation of an employee child care center on the premises of a company in the Midwestern United States known as Excel Industries, Inc. The company is a supplier of window systems to the automotive industry that acquired a subsidiary firm known as Nyloncraft, Inc. The decision of Excel Industries executives to close a child care center operated by Nyloncraft, Inc. caused great harm to the reputation of the company, largely because of media coverage and community reaction. Corporate executives acknowledge that careful planning and a different approach to communicating the message might have saved them from considerable grief and criticism.
1. Family Issues and the American Workplace
The workforce in North America, particularly in the United States and Canada, is becoming increasingly female, reflecting a general trend toward two-paycheck families.
According to a study entitled Workforce 2000 from The Hudson Institute, an increasing number of women are entering the North American job market. Between 1990 and 2000, two-thirds of all new workers will be women. And, by 2000, some 61 percent of all working-age women will be employed.
Most studies also indicate that these women are entering the job market more for economic than for professional reasons. While the number of women
P. Ulrich and C. Sarasin (eds.), Facing Public interest, 241-250. Â© 1995 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
with college degrees and professional credentials is rising, so is the number of single-parent families headed by women. These families are, for the most part, well below average in income and education, and are more likely than two-parent households to require public assistance.