From your perspective did John Mackey act in an ethical or unethical manner?

From its beginnings as o Show more Rahodeb (or John Mackey): Internet Postings about Whole Foods and Wild Oats From its beginnings as one small store in Austin Texas Whole Foods Market has grown into the worlds leading retailer of natural and organic foods with hundreds of locations in North America and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods was founded by Craig Weller Mark Skiles and John Mackey the current CEO. Whole Foods has expanded through the acquisition of numerous companies including but not limited to Wellspring Grocery Fresh Fields Bread of Life Merchant of Vino Allegro Coffee Natures Heartland and Harrys Farmers Market among others. The most recent acquisition was Wild Oats Markets. However the acquisition of Wild Oats was not without its problems. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit in June 2007 to block Whole Foods acquisition of Wild Oats out of antitrust concerns. Then in August 2007 a federal appeals court turned down the FTCs request to overturn a federal district court ruling allowing Whole Foods to complete its purchase of its rival. Interestingly while conducting its antitrust review the FTC discovered that over a period of several years John Mackey had posted comments about Whole Foods and its competitors in the online stock forums of Yahoo! Finance. Mackey used the screen name Rahodeban anagram of Deborah the name of Mackeys wifeto conceal his true identity. At least 240 of Rahodebs 1300 or so posts mentioned Wild Oats a company with which Mackey had a bitter rivalry. The acrimony between Mackey and Perry Odak CEO of Wild Oats can be traced to the first time the two men met at a retailing conference in Manhattan in 2001. Im going to destroy you Mackey shouted at Odak. Whole Foods officials tell a different version of the storywith milder languagebut the confrontation has persisted as a food-industry legend. For nearly eight years John Mackey wrote his pseudonymous posts some lauding Whole Foods financial results and others castigating its rival Wild Oats. In January 2005 Rahodeb posted this opinion: No company would want to buy Wild Oats Markets Inc. Rahodeb continued Would Whole Foods buy OATS? Almost surely not at current prices. What would they gain? OATS locations are too small. [Wild Oats management] clearly doesnt know what it is doing OATS has no value and no future. Other comments that Mackey posted under the Rahodeb alias included the following: While Im not a Mackey groupie I do admire what the man has accomplished. I love the company and Im in it for the long haul. I shop at whole foods. I own a great deal of its stock. Im aligned with the mission and the values of the company are there something wrong with this? Mackey asserts that his online comments were personal not professional. However Mackeys friends and colleagues say there is little distinction between his personal and professional sides and that he is straightforward and transparent. Mackeys defenders also say his anonymous commentsthough boastful provocative and impulsivewere no different from his public ones and were never intended to disclose insider information or move stock prices. In a statement published in mid-July 2007 on the Whole Foods Web site Mackey said his anonymous statements didnt reflect his or the companys policies or beliefs. Some of the views Rahodeb expressed Mr. Mackey said didnt match his own beliefs. Mackey further stated that he made the anonymous comments on Yahoo Finance because he had fun doing it. Mackeys online activities were investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FTC. As the legal wrangling unfolded charges and countercharges were slungnot just by the direct participants but by interested observers as welland utterly delicious twists and turns kept emerging. FTC lawyers were shocked that their gotcha haul of off-color statements by Mackey wasnt enough to block his merger with Wild Oats in the absence of serious antitrust evidence. However Mackey asserted that the FTC was running a rigged game that handcuffs retailers and other companies under its jurisdiction. Some commentators castigated Mackey. For instance John Hollon editor of the Business of Management blog characterizes Mackey as a delusional apologist for his own bad behavior. Others however were less critical. The blogger Andres Acosta disagrees with Hollon saying I look at it differently. I appreciate his transparency and willingness to admit to making a mistake. Its the sign of a great leader who can pick himself up after taking a hard fall and keep moving forward. Chiming in with a nuanced argument that could be interpreted as supporting either a positive or negative view of Mackey is Adam Sarner an analyst at Gartner Inc. who says [t]he need for executive online transparency depends on the context of the post. Has John Mackey been vindicated in Whole Foods acquisition of Wild Oats? Hallie Mummert writing in Target Marketing says [w]hat some chalked up to a bizarre display of self-aggrandizement others pegged as unethical and possibly illegal behavior. And business blogger Laurie Ruettimann writes Great companies operate on the right side of the ethical spectrum and have little tolerance for spin. Mackey himself quoted in The Wall Street Journal says If I could get the money back Id take it. We would be better off today if we hadnt done this dealtaking on all this debt right before the economy collapsed. Even though Mackey has been described as an opinionated iconoclast he succeeded in buying out his largest competitor Wild Oats Markets and has expanded overseas to London the next stop on his quest for global dominance. Essay Questions: Using the ABC model of an attitude analyze what John Mackeys online comments about Wild Oats reveal about his attitudes. Using the concepts of instrumental values and terminal values explain John Mackeys blogging behavior relative to the Wild Oats acquisition. Using the same concepts explain the reaction of the SEC FTC and interested observers to Mackeys blogging behavior. From your perspective did John Mackey act in an ethical or unethical manner? Consider the perspective of those that defend and oppose his actions.Explain the reasoning behind your answer. At what stage of cognitive moral development is John Mackey apparently operating? Explain your answer. What insights regarding John Mackeys attitudes values and ethics are provided by his use of the pseudonym Rahodeb to disguise his extensive online commentary about Wild Oats? As an ethical responsible leader describe the cognitive moral development level that John Mackeys behavior should fit. Please justify your answer. According to Mr. Mackey some of the statements attributed to Rahodeb did not match his personal beliefs. Explain this conflict between attitude and behavior. Show less