The Root Cause

By Maynard, John | The Journal of Employee Assistance, October 2005 | Go to article overview

The Root Cause


Maynard, John, The Journal of Employee Assistance


The relentless downward pressure on prices and budgets for employee assistance services is a serious concern for many in our profession. Each week brings more stories of how external EA providers are forced to lower prices to win new business or retain existing clients. Managers of internal programs say they are under increasing pressure to justify their budgets in the face of the considerable cost savings (as touted by benefits consultants) to be captured by outsourcing EA services.

Some have framed this price erosion as an ethical issue; others have seen regulation as the answer. It may be more productive to try to understand the problem--and its root cause--more completely before reacting to the most obvious manifestation of the problem.

The experience of the carpet industry, while seemingly very different from the EA profession, can offer us a useful lesson. From the beginning of the 20th century, rug and carpet manufacturers promoted their products as among the least expensive and most effective ways to improve the appearance and comfort of a home. While true, this message was not sufficient to stop the steady, long-term, and apparently irreversible decline of the industry. In the first half of the century, most homes had no more than a moderately priced rug in their living room.

Today, even the least expensive homes typically have wall-to-wall carpeting in most rooms. How did the carpet industry turn itself around? The carpet industry achieved its success not by trying to regulate rug prices or challenge those who sold rugs less expensively, but by thinking more carefully about who its real customers are and what would motivate them.

Traditionally, rug manufacturers had defined their customers as homeowners and particularly families buying their first home. But families buying a home, especially first-time buyers, seldom have much money left over for luxuries. If they buy a rug at all, they often look for the least expensive one that will get the job done. The industry realized that it would have to appeal to a different customer--namely, the mass home builder.

If the carpet industry could demonstrate to the commercial builder that incorporating carpet into new homes at the time of building could be profitable, it would have a significant new customer. Demonstrating potential profitability to builders required the carpet industry to switch from primarily selling individual rugs to selling wall-to-wall carpeting. In a traditional non-carpeted home, builders had to lay expensive finished floors; with wall-to-wall carpeting, builders could lay carpet over unfinished flooring, resulting in a more appealing home at a lower cost.

The carpet industry's shift in its primary customer group led to important advantages. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Root Cause
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.