Image and Identity in High-profile Family Business Conflicts: Market Basket
GUY SACK, M.A., MANAGEMENT FELLOW
QUESTROM SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Image and Identity in High-Profile
Family Business Conflicts:
Stage 1: Netnography
Stage 2: Grounded Theory Analysis of Boston Globe
Netnography is the branch of ethnography that analyses
the free behaviour of individuals on the Internet that uses
online marketing research techniques to provide useful
insights. The word “netnography” comes from
“Inter[net]” and “ethnography” and was a process and term
coined by Dr. Robert V. Kozinets.
“faster, simpler, and less expensive than
ethnography, and more naturalistic and
unobtrusive than focus groups or interviews”
Ethnography as method
Ethnography as representation (Van Maanen, 1995)
Netnography: Initial Findings
Locations all over the country but a concentration in
Massachusetts and New Hampshire
Boston Globe is the major newspaper in the primary
region of operation
Google searches for letters to shareholders turned up
mostly letters from outsiders to shareholders to try
to tell them what to do.
Feud began in 1990
Devaney timeline (Devaney website 3 years old)
Boston Globe Timeline
Board room conversations
New Website vs. employee website
Generation of themes (Glaser & Strauss, 1967;
Strauss & Corbin, 1990; LaRossa, 2005)
Minutes from 5 board meetings from 2003 through
2012, totaling 206 pages
“What, are you going to run this like a third grade
“Excuse me. Did you say ‘Don’t interrupt?’ Then
don’t interrupt me. Okay? I see right through this.
You guys have your little games you play every single
“And between what we got accomplished this year
and what we have coming next year and the hard
work ethic and the momentum we have with our
people, we feel very confident that 20 percent is a
The family member who is there (Aurthur S usually
Long-term (reinvestment, not just bonuses)***
Maverick (acting without board approval)*
Pottymouth/namecaller (“little lady”, “bullshit”)
Optimist and Bully vs. Crusader
Who was present?
Image vs. Identity
Workers vs. Board members
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We Are Market Basket. (n.d.). Retrieved December 13, 2014, from http://wearemarketbasket.com.