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The Frozen Production Line

Anton Massman (U.S. Air Force)
Elaine Davis (Herberger College of Business St. Cloud State University)
Janell M. Kurtz (Herberger College of Business St. Cloud State University)

The CASE Journal

ISSN: 1544-9106

Publication date: 1 May 2008

Abstract

Workforce diversity is a reality and offers many benefits to business. Nevertheless, managing diversity poses numerous challenges. This case involves religious diversity, focusing on employers' legal duty to accommodate religious practices. In the case, the assembly line at Electrolux's Frigidaire plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota hummed with activity when suddenly a group of Somali workers walked off the line. The Somali employees were new immigrants and introduced cultural and religious customs which were for the most part unfamiliar to management. The employees were Muslim and left the work stations to observe sunset prayers, one of the five daily prayers central to the Islamic faith. The management dilemma presented in the case is balancing the demands of assembly line production with the religious requirements of Muslim workers in a legal and effective manner. There is a substantial epilogue detailing Electrolux response to the situation which can be used as the basis for further class discussion. To help guide this dialogue, a “mini-instructors manual” follows the epilogue.

Citation

Massman, A., Davis, E. and Kurtz, J.M. (2008), "The Frozen Production Line", The CASE Journal, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 135-138. https://doi.org/10.1108/TCJ-04-2008-B005

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited