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3 Management Lessons from a Supermarket Debacle

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2014

Nurse leaders and other hospital and health system executives can take several lessons from a regional grocery chain's unusual and unresolved management nightmare.


Market Basket

There's something unprecedented going on in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine: Thousands of non-unionized employees of the Market Basket grocery store chain have walked off the job after the company's CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas, known as Artie T., was voted out by the company's board of directors.

The CEO's ouster is the latest incident in a year's-long feud between two rival factions of the family that owns the company, but employees are refusing to work for anyone but Artie T.

Under his oversight, Market Basket employees enjoyed unusually good benefits, pay, and bonuses; decades-long careers; and the opportunity to rise up the ranks of the company into management positions.

On the customer end, the store is well-known not only for its low prices, but also for its helpful, knowledgeable, and incredibly loyal staff. The store is profitable, too, raking in an estimated $4.6 billion annually.

As Market Basket's employees protest the board's action, they've also encouraged a boycott of the stores, and customers are listening. As a result, operations at the chain's 71 stores have nearly ground to a halt. Shelves are bare.

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