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Dr.Madhumitha chatterji

P.Jai Pavan Manikanta
Considering the public debate, hows should brian soreasen react ?
was he right to think of provocation as a part of his company’s
culture ? Or should he work to change the cult mentality towards a
culture that took better care of girls,who felt wrong about what they
did at work ? Was it his responsibility to set clear limitations to how
they invested themselves at work ? Was it his responsibility to
nourish and maintain a sustainable gender image for his employees?
Responsible management is more than just charity. It’s the deliberate
management of a corporation’s impact on society. It’s about designing your
business processes and activities in a way that meet certain social and
environmental minimum standards.

About case
Brian Sørensen is the founder of the drinks company, CULT . It was established in
1998.CULT sold a variety of energy drinks and cider products and had a team of
30 full-time employees. The organisation had a youthful and unpretentious culture
underpinned by its slogan, ‘good energy always wins’
First, the case highlights the dilemma that ensues when the workplace also
becomes a primary sphere of self-development for individual employees – a
common theme in contemporary Northern European organisational life. The case
illustrates how difficult the ‘just be yourself’ task of self-management can
be.Second, the case explores the nature of responsible management when working
with self-managing employees.

How Brian Sørensen Should React

The marketing strategy employed by brian is the girls wearing sexy clothes and
they were asked to market the product.The dressing was okay for a section of
buyers,However remaining section of buyers found it inppropriate.Some of the
girls even felt that the custom was against their personal values and
ideologies.Finally,one of the girls who were selling the product came out saying
that she is being sexually harassed by the customer or clients , especially in night
clubs whenever they went out marketing the products.
Brian must employ the principles of responsible management when handling the
issue; otherwise, the public will develop a notion that his firm is irresponsible.
Such an idea is likely to ruin the reputation that CULT has built since its inception,
which will favour the competitors. Research shows that over time, the business
world has increasingly become competitive, hence, churning, which means that for
a firm to remain relevant in the eyes of the public, it must appeal to their demands.
It was evident from the general needs in regards to the "CULT Girls” issues that
many people were questioning the morality of executives of the company. Many
feel that the marketing approach that the business had adopted was portraying
women as “sex objects”; hence, they have an issue with it. It is unethical to use
people as a means to an end since by so doing; the firm fails to respect their human
values .
To show that the company cares about the feeling of the people and respects the
moral values of different members of the public, Brian needs to make a statement
acknowledging that he understands the seriousness of the issue. He also needs to
show the advantages or rather benefits of the job to the employees . It is important
for him to emphasise on the fact that his company respects all members of the
public, and advocates for an open management approach, where employees are
allowed to air their grievances without condemnation. By doing that, he will show
responsible management, which is one of the best strategies to form robust and
long-lasting relationships with people within the firm's business environment. All
along, he must remain calm in his reaction and must show that he understands the
sensitivity of the issue. It is also paramount to demonstrate that he is willing to do
what it takes to ensure that employees felt respected and valued at all times.

Provocation As Part Of Company’s Culture

Organizational culture is defined as the underlying beliefs, assumptions, values and
ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological
environment of an organization.Organizational culture includes an organization’s
expectations, experiences, philosophy, as well as the values that guide member
behavior, and is expressed in member self-image, inner workings, interactions with
the outside world, and future expectations. Culture is based on shared attitudes,
beliefs, customs, and written and unwritten rules that have been developed over
time and are considered valid .Culture also includes the organization’s vision,
values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.
Culture plays a great role in staff motivation and job satisfaction; It is one of the
primary determinants of whether an employee shares an excellent idea with his/her
manager and colleagues of not. The workplace should not be something that people
dread daily; otherwise, they will be forced to quit eventually . An organisation
must ensure that employees look forward to a new day at work, it should be
difficult for them to leave their job. It is already stressing enough for employees to
put their time into a job. Therefore, the culture of their employer should not add to
the burden they already have. Instead, culture should help workers alleviate the
work-related stress they have to overcome daily in their jobs. Therefore, culture
plays a significant role in sustaining the enthusiasm of employees .
Brian Sorensen indicated that being provocative was oaf of Cult’s culture . Sure
enough, even though some of the employees felt that the marketing strategy of the
business was threatening to their private lives, there were those who had a great
experience at their work. The main problem that caused issues in regards to the
culture of Cult was because Brian Sorensen did not necessarily hire people who fit
the firm's cultures. Most of the times, the company recruited the Cult girls based on
their looks, and not necessarily based on their personal values. It is evident in
Maria's and Amada's narrations of their experience with the company as Cult Girls
that one of the girls was okay with the cultures and marketing approach whereas
the other one felt devalued and abused. Provocation was working for the company
as a dominant strategy; however, it was also dreading to some of the girls,
especially those that were not used to the negative attention they got when selling
the products.
Brian was willing to go to greater lengths to build the company's reputation and
brand based on the provocative culture. Moreover, the target clientele of the
company was that of young men. The idea was to create sexual innuendo that
would persuade them to buy the firm's products. It is a result of the target client
and the nature of the products that the company was selling that Brian went beyond
the limits of the marketing approach. To him, all publicity was good publicity, as it
was getting the name of the company out to the public. However, he failed to
understand that a provocative culture is likely to be short-lived. Although the
sexual illusions sold for some time, in the long run, competitors of Cult that based
their cultures in the delivery of quality would out do Brian's company. Therefore,
as much as he was right that the culture of provocation was working for the firm,
he was wrong about it being a significant and viable culture.

About changing Cult Mentality

Brian's strategy was based on going beyond limits. Although some girls such as
Maria was okay with the approach there were those that felt what they were doing
was unethical. It is never pleasing to play with people's emotions just to get them
to buy products they do not even require. Some of the Cult girls such as Amanda
regret taking up the work in the first place. They indicate that it changed their
behaviours and perceptions about life. They felt demoralised and humiliated for
what they had to do for hours in the night to sell the products of the company.
Maria also agrees that it can be devaluating to work as Cult girl . The team
building activities and training that Brian talks about never really took good care of
the girls. The aim of the exercise was to alleviate fear hoping that the girls who
were not comfortable with their job would finally let go their ethical values and
adapt to the provocation culture .

The girls were instrumental in pushing the sales of the company; therefore, Brian
should have worked towards changing the mentality about the Cult girls. Their
private lives after the job were suffering at the expense of his firm's products. A
good company culture does not affect employees' private lives negatively since that
will eventually affect their productivity in the business . It is never pleasing for an
employee to know that he/she can be replaced at any time. Brian Sorensen should
have used an open dialogue management approach, where the girls would suggest
some other alternative strategist that would work for them and their reputation.
Although Brian is convinced that he took good care of the girls through the
training and team building activities, it is evident from the excerpts of Amanda and
Maria that most of the girls were not happy with their jobs. Before starting to work
as cult girls, they had a mentality of an excellent piece of work with close
attention, whoever, after they go the job reality would dawn on them that they were
being viewed as “sluts” . Employees need to feel respected and valued by both the
employer and clients ; hence, Brian should have worked towards changing the
mentality people had regarding the cult girls if the strategy was to work in the long

Self-Management And limitations on Investment At Work

The introduction of self-management at the workplace aims at replacing the

traditional superior rank and authority accorded to managers. The idea is to share
the decision-making role to employees and empower them to invest themselves in
the workplace as they deem necessary . Contemporary discussions on the
subjectivity of employees indicate that self-management is an effective way of
governing the behaviours of workers . In some situations, however, the
understanding and identity of the workers vary to what the firm expects of them.
Therefore, self-management ends up failing since the conduct of employees
regarding how they invest themselves in the jobs harms the reputation of the
company . Moreover, several scholars have argued against the approach indicating
that it can be demotivating; especially because of the ambiguity that surrounds it.

In light of the discussion of what self-management entails and its shortcoming, as

the manager, Brian was responsible for how his employees invested themselves in
the workplace. The reason some of the cult girls managed to make high sales
without necessarily being unethical was that they understood their jobs and role in
the marketing process. They also attached heir self-identity and values to the job,
hence, operated by what they were comfortable doing, On the other hand, Brian
did not give clear limitations of what the girls should do and not do when selling
the products. The lack of clarity caused significant disparities in how the girls
approached their work and the image they developed for the firm . At the same
time, some of the cult girls felt that they had to act as “sluts” for them to convince
men to buy their products. For employees to contribute effectively in the work
process, it is important for the manager to lay out clear guidelines of what they
should and should not do when working. In other words, as the manager, Brian had
the duty of setting clear limitations of how the girls invested themselves at work. 
Nourshing and Maintaining Sustainable Gender Image

It is the duty of every organisation to show equality between the sexes and respect
for people of either gender. Organisations need to ensure that the gender image that
its employees create is sustainable and equitable. Environmental sustainability has
over time become an integral aspect of every business plan. Many corporations
now have to consider the views and perceptions of people within their
environment. They must show that they respect the ideologies, lives and agendas
of these people. Many companies have failed as a result of ignoring the factors
within their environment. In Denmark and other parts of the world women's
empowerment and gender equality have become increasingly paramount however,
most businesses are yet to take a similar shift towards the issues of equality
between the sexes like they have when it comes to responsible social aspects.

Nonetheless, with women empowerment, many businesses are finding themselves

in an awkward position as they failed from the onset to appeal to the female
gender. Currently, women are major determinants of whether a firm sells its
products or not. Research shows that women are making more and more purchase
decisions in their homes. Considering that other energy drinks are targeting both
the party goers and the non-partying clients if Cult was to remain relevant in the
long run, Brian had the duty of nourishing and maintaining a sustainable gender
image for the employees. The fact that he objectified the women who were
marketing the projects indicates that he was creating a negative image, which was
likely to affect the operations of his business in the long run. gender issues are
major determinants of how a company performs in the longl term. Therefore, it is
necessary for managers to ensure that they strive to create a sustainable gender
image for their employees. It is not only ethical for a firm to develop a sustainable
sex model for the employees, but also a sign of responsible management, which is
crucial to the long-term success of the business .


It is necessary for an organisation to position itself as socially responsible. Over
the years, the issue of corporate social responsibility has increasingly become
popular in the business world. Most managers assume that corporate social
responsibility only entails giving back to the society. However, research suggests
that this notion is not correct, as responsible management is also part and parcel of
corporate social responsibility. How a business handles its employees tells a lot
about how responsible the managers of the entity are, and affects the productivity
of the firm as well . From the discussion in this paper, it is evident that Brian
Sorensen’s management technique was irresponsible. Despite him making attempts
to train employees and his advocacy for team work the provocative work culture
was doing more harm than good. Responsible management should motivate
employees to love their jobs and be proud of working for the firm, which was not
the case in Cult.