Workforce Diversity at Nordstrom

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Case Details:

Case Code : HROB099
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1988-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Nordstrom Inc.
Countries : US

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Introduction Contd...

Nordstrom strictly prohibited "discrimination or harassment based on sex, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical, mental or sensory disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other basis protected by federal, state and/or local laws."8 It added that "it was committed to recruiting, hiring and promoting qualified applicants and employees, as well as giving people of all backgrounds an opportunity to work and contribute to the company and community."9 Nordstrom believed that diversity benefited the company, and said that it was dedicated to building a work environment where diversity was valued. (Refer to Exhibit I for Nordstrom's Diversity Mission Statement).

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies


John Nordstrom, the founder of Nordstrom, was born in Sweden. In 1887, at the age of sixteen, he immigrated to the US. In 1897, after laboring in mines and logging camps for ten years, John Nordstrom heard of the Klondike Gold Rush10 and decided to try his luck. By 1899, he had made $13,00011 from his stake in a goldmine at Klondike and returned to Seattle, Washington.

In 1901, John Nordstrom partnered with Carl Wallin (Wallin), a shoemaker, and opened a shoe store in Seattle called 'Wallin & Nordstrom.' On the first day the store sold shoes worth $12.50. By 1905, the annual sales were $80,000.

Then in 1923 they opened a second store in Seattle. John Nordstrom retired in 1928 and passed on his stake in the company to his sons Everett and Elmer. Wallin, who retired in 1929, also sold his share to John's sons. In 1930 the shoe stores, now solely owned by the Nordstrom family, adopted a new name, 'Nordstrom's.' Despite the Great Depression,12 the two stores made $250,000 in sales in 1930. In 1933, John's third son, Lloyd joined the business...

 Excerpts >>

8] "Employee Code of Conduct," (accessed on June 25, 2007).

9] "Employee Code of Conduct," (accessed on June 25, 2007).

10] The Klondike Gold Rush occurred in the late 1800s in Northern America (

11 Dollars ($) refers to US dollars in this case study.

12] The 'Great Depression' was a decade of unemployment, low profits, low prices, great poverty and stagnant trade that affected the entire world in the 1930s (


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