In the HBR Case Study Solutions for Providing Responsive Learning, we cover this issue of how to deal with protesters. We decided to wait to see what Chick-fil-A’s response would be before deciding how to respond to protests, but as a question in our Case Study Group suggests, there are reasons we should have responded much sooner.
The full report from the Case Study Group is now available, as well as the Case Study analysis. A transcript of the members’ discussion of the Chick-fil-A Response can be found on the Chick-fil-A Case Study Group webpage. This is the group that we used as a case study for this study and is still used in Case Study Solutions for the HBR Case Solutions for Providing Responsive Learning. It will give you a good sense of the thoughts of the members as they researched this and prepared their responses.
An interesting thing about the Chick-fil-A Case Study Group is that their members’ discussions are very detailed information is available, so this is a good way to get a sense of how the participants feel about the situation. This is an informal way to talk about what you think about the Chick-fil-A response, so you may want to consider asking your group members to contribute their thoughts.
One member states “There’s a lot of noise in the public response to this and it could be confusing.” He also stated, “They should have been more clear about what they are trying to accomplish here, since, obviously, they think they’re helping poor people.”
Another member of the Case Study Group was concerned that the public has been misinformed about Chick-fil-A’s religious beliefs. Because of that misinformed public, he asked, “Is it only us or is there a bigger problem? How do we resolve this issue?”
Another member of the Case Study Group, this time from Minnesota, had her daughter protest at the H&R Block in Rochester. As a result of this, she decided to speak up and share her story with other family members and friends. “They feel like it’s our right to do that. They feel like they’re living in a racist nation and therefore they’re expressing their right to protest.
The following member of the Case Study Group voiced his concern over the protests. He was worried that people were protesting Chick-fil-A, especially those who were young children:
“They need to realize that if they stand up and yell and protest in front of their kids, their kids will be hearing them and, obviously, will be embarrassed by it. It could influence their perception of us as parents, how we raise our kids.”
One of the things that many Case Study Group members found when they looked at the transcripts of the discussion was that some of the protesters were parents of young children, and they were using them as bargaining chips. Although a little bit distasteful, it is understandable that parents would consider using their children in a protest situation.
One of the Case Study group members noted that while they were unhappy with this kind of tactic, “they’re not the only ones who can use kids in protests. There are people who are right out there with their guns, or are threatening bodily harm and wanting to intimidate. Those are very disturbing in their own rights, but it is their right to do that. We can’t be there to protect them or to tell them to stop.”