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CASE STUDY: CEO Pay in News
A recent campaign by organized labor unions brought the issue of executive compensation into the public eye. Media coverage of executive compensation concerns has been extensive over the last few weeks with articles in national publications and a featured story on a television special, in addition to stories on local news stations. This extensive coverage has highlighted public concerns of the high level of pay that top executive receive. The union promotes an executive compensation awareness campaign every year as a strategy to build awareness of perceived inequities between the pay of CEOs and the frontline employees. Such awareness often prompts employees to consider forming a union, resulting in the growth of national unions. The publicity has caused some turmoil at Oakwood lawns. For the first time, the company’s CEO Pay is featured as an example of perceived excesses in the executive suite. Several field managers have been in touch with Don Henry, the director of human resources, to report that employees are outraged at the rate of pay of the company CEO and other top executives. In addition to their desire to remain union free, Don also knows that such outrage could lead to low morale and other problems at Oakwood. The union targeted Oakwood because it is a big company that has faced some financial challenges. The landscaping company has more than 15000 employees in offices throughout the Midwest and most of their employees are frontline laborers. The media coverage has been extensive in the area and many company employees who viewed the story were surprised to learn the CEO is among the highest paid in the United States. The news was especially difficult to hear as the company recently announced that employees would not receive an annual pay increase due to the financial challenges the company is facing. The Oakwood CEO’s annual salary is $975000. Add in a bonus, stock awards, retirement
benefits, and other benefits and his total compensation is close to $10 million a year. The average landscaping technicians is paid $28000 annually. The disparity is clear and Don must
now plan a response to address the employees’ concerns.
1. What additional information about the CEO’s pay package should Don identify to
potentially share with the employees?
2. How can Don explain the pay disparity to the employees to ease their concerns about
the fairness of the CEO’s pay?