Leading from the whole: values-based integrated leadership at EILEEN FISHER, Inc.

Susan D. Sampson (School of Management, Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Bonita Lynn Betters-Reed (School of Management, Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)
Tessa G. Misiaszek (Empathetics Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

The CASE Journal

ISSN: 1544-9106

Publication date: 12 September 2016



The case is set in the Fall of 2008 as Susan Schor, Chief Culture Officer, at EILEEN FISHER Inc. is meeting with the other two members of the Facilitating Leader Team, Jim Gundell, Vice President of Retail and e-Commerce and Jonci Coukier, Vice President of Design and Merchandising Processes, as well as founder, Eileen Fisher. Faced with significant projected financial loss in 2009, Susan reflected on the evolution of the company as influenced by her perspective with her organizational behavior expertise and collaborative leadership that embraced a values-based culture. Stories, voices and structures are examined in this retrospective view as Dr Schor sets the stage for how this example of best practice leadership will tackle the challenge at hand.

Research methodology

The research for this case was conducted over an 18-month period with over 40 interviews, extensive observation of the various teams at EILEEN FISHER Inc., and review of corporate communications, publications and other secondary sources. This case focuses on stories and voices that explain the unique leadership of EILEEN FISHER. The use of extensive quotes allows for an authentic “hearing” of the experiences and values as well as allowing the students to better understand the nature of qualitative data. Some of the discussion questions are posed as experiential exercises as this method allows the students to better relate to understand and apply values concepts.

Relevant courses and levels

Graduate and undergraduate organizational behavior, leadership, retail management and ethics.



Sampson, S.D., Betters-Reed, B.L. and Misiaszek, T.G. (2016), "Leading from the whole: values-based integrated leadership at EILEEN FISHER, Inc.", The CASE Journal, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 335-351. https://doi.org/10.1108/TCJ-06-2015-0015



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