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What Mistakes Did Steelcase Make in Its Past Ir Efforts?

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Case Question #4

What mistakes did Steelcase make in its past IR efforts?

Investor relations is a strategic management responsibility that integrates finance, communication, marketing, and securities law compliance to enable the most effective two-way communication between a company, the financial community, and other constituencies, which ultimately contributes to a company's securities achieving fair valuation (Bushee & Miller, 2012). Usually this is handled by the public relations officer and he reports to the Chief Financial Officer or the Treasurer (Gillies & Dennis, 2012). This type of organizational layout is also called Financial public relations (Laskin, 2009). Investor relations are important because, depending on the positive or negative image of the company, a number of parties directly or indirectly will be affected. Investor relations should be separately handled with a public relations officer who is well informed and has done a detailed study of the company, mainly finance. I think there is a lot to be covered where investor relations are concerned and a lot of time and effort should be concentrated only on it, as they are extremely essential and comprised of an important aspect of corporate communication. The finance department would be better informed. The communication would include everything from the understanding of balance sheets accounts, profit and loss accounts, and cash flow accounts. It should be taken into consideration that prospective shareholders are as important as the current shareholders.

This level of organization from the investor relations personnel at Steelcase was virtually nonexistent. Gary Malburg served as the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer as well as the head of investor relations (Argenti, 2008, p. 226). This was a major mistake by Steelcase. These three positions should not be held by one person. The positions are very demanding by themselves and warrant the leadership and time of one person. Steelcase at this point was a large organization and was structured as a public company even before its IPO (Argenti, 2008, p. 227).

The company also made other mistakes such as not providing enough information to investors. Steelcase still acted as if it were a private company from a communications standpoint. Information provided to investors was difficult to obtain and provided little detail of the company's finances. Although the company was considered to be a company of high integrity, they were just not ready for the level of communication that external investors demanded. Steelcase needed someone who was a good orator; a person that was from the outside who would be able to refrain from the "inner circle" mentality. Exodus 4:14-16 provides an example of a great speaker that was chosen by God to communicate HIS orders. "Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and



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