Best Buy: Discontinuing ‘Results Only Work Environment’|Human Resource|Organization Behavior|Case Study|Case Studies

Best Buy: Discontinuing ‘Results Only Work Environment’

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB164 For delivery in electronic format: Rs.400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Human Resource Policy / Flexible Work Options / Work-Life Balance
Case Length : 11 pages
Period : 2003-2013
Organization : Best Buy
Pub Date : 2014
Teaching Note : Not available
Countries : US
Industry : Retail


This case is about a revolutionary workplace program called the Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) which was introduced and subsequently withdrawn at the retailer Best Buy. The ROWE was introduced in the year 2003 by two executives in the HR department of the company. Best Buy faced severe attrition of its employees due the demanding work environment which was prevalent at the company. Under the ROWE, flexible work scheduling was introduced and managers were encouraged to trust their employees. Employees were given full autonomy to choose their working hours as long as they could show their productivity.

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The program showed good results and led to a 90 percent decline in attrition accompanied by a 35 percent increase in productivity. Despite the good results that the program gave to the company, the ROWE was discontinued in 2013. The discontinuation of the program was part of a turnaround strategy introduced by the company’s new CEO, Hubert Joly. Joly was of the view that making the employees work together was more crucial than just delegating key tasks to them.


»Understand the issues and challenges faced by companies in introducing a revolutionary workplace program like the ROWE.
»Understanding the associated concepts of workplace flexibility, work-life balance, etc.
»Appreciate the importance of flexible working policies in reducing attrition levels and improving the productivity of employees.
»Analyze the reasons for the popularity of the ROWE and the reasons for its discontinuation at Best Buy.
»Discuss the possible impact that discontinuing the ROWE at Best Buy might have on the future of the company.
»Discuss and debate the HR strategies that should be followed by Best Buy to prevent high employee turnover rates after the discontinuation of the ROWE.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Results Only Work Environment Introducd 3
Working Of Rowe 4
Outcome Of The Program 5
Rowe Discontinued 6
Outlook 7
Exhibits 8

Key Words:

HR policy, Workplace flexibility, Flexible work options, Work-life balance, Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), Talent retention; Productivity, Stress, Attrition, Control, Accountability, ‘All Hands on Deck’, Work culture, Best Buy

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