W2 Assignment “Internet Postings aboutWhole Foods and Wild Oats”InternetPostings about Whole Foods and Wild OatsFromits beginnings as one small store in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market hasgrown into the world’s leading retailer of natural and organic foods, withhundreds of locations in North America and the United Kingdom. Whole Foods wasfounded by Craig Weller, Mark Skiles, and John Mackey, the current CEO. WholeFoods has expanded through the acquisition of numerous companies, including butnot limited to Wellspring Grocery, Fresh Fields, Bread of Life, Merchant ofVino, Allegro Coffee, Nature’s Heartland, and Harry’s Farmers Market, amongothers. The most recent acquisition was Wild Oats Markets.However,the acquisition of Wild Oats was not without its problems. The Federal TradeCommission (FTC) filed suit in June 2007 to block Whole Foods’ acquisition ofWild Oats out of antitrust concerns. Then in August 2007, a federal appealscourt turned down the FTC’s request to overturn a federal district court rulingallowing Whole Foods to complete its purchase of its rival.Interestingly,while conducting its antitrust review, the FTC discovered that, over a periodof several years, John Mackey had posted comments about Whole Foods and itscompetitors in the online stock forums of Yahoo! Finance. Mackey used thescreen name “Rahodeb”—an anagram of Deborah, the name of Mackey’s wife—toconceal his true identity. At least 240 of Rahodeb’s 1,300 or so postsmentioned Wild Oats, a company with which Mackey had a bitter rivalry.Theacrimony between Mackey and Perry Odak, CEO of Wild Oats, can be traced to thefirst time the two men met at a retailing conference in Manhattan in 2001. “I’mgoing to destroy you,” Mackey shouted at Odak. Whole Foods’ officials tell adifferent version of the story—with milder language—but the confrontation haspersisted as a food-industry legend.Fornearly eight years, John Mackey wrote his pseudonymous posts, some laudingWhole Foods’ financial results, and others castigating its rival Wild Oats. InJanuary 2005, Rahodeb posted this opinion: “No company would want to buy WildOats Markets Inc.” Rahodeb continued, “Would Whole Foods buy OATS? Almostsurely not at current prices. What would they gain? OATS locations are toosmall. [Wild Oats management] clearly doesn’t know what it is doing OATShas no value and no future.” Other comments that Mackey posted under theRahodeb alias included the following: “While I’m not a Mackey groupie I doadmire what the man has accomplished.” “I love the company and I’m in it forthe long haul. I shop at whole foods. I own a great deal of its stock. I’m alignedwith the mission and the values of the company are there something wrong withthis?”Mackeyasserts that his online comments were personal, not professional. However,Mackey’s friends and colleagues say there is little distinction between hispersonal and professional sides, and that he is straightforward andtransparent. Mackey’s defenders also say, “his anonymous comments—thoughboastful, provocative and impulsive—were no different from his public ones, andwere never intended to disclose insider information or move stock prices.”Ina statement published in mid-July 2007 on the Whole Foods’ Web site, Mackey“said his anonymous statements didn’t reflect his or the company’s policies orbeliefs. Some of the views Rahodeb expressed, Mr. Mackey said, didn’t match hisown beliefs.” Mackey further stated that he made the anonymous comments onYahoo Finance because he “had fun doing it.”Mackey’sonline activities were investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) and the FTC. As the legal wrangling unfolded, charges and counterchargeswere slung—not just by the direct participants, but by interested observers aswell—and utterly delicious twists and turns kept emerging. FTC lawyers wereshocked that their “‘gotcha’ haul of off-color statements by Mackey wasn’tenough to block his merger with Wild Oats in the absence of serious antitrustevidence.” However, Mackey asserted that the FTC was “running ‘a rigged game’that handcuffs retailers and other companies under its jurisdiction.”Somecommentators castigated Mackey. For instance, John Hollon, editor of theBusiness of Management blog characterizes Mackey as “a delusional apologist forhis own bad behavior.” Others, however, were less critical. The blogger AndresAcosta, disagrees with Hollon, saying, “I look at it differently. I appreciatehis transparency and willingness to admit to making a mistake. It’s the sign ofa great leader who can pick himself up after taking a hard fall and keep movingforward.” Chiming in with a nuanced argument that could be interpreted assupporting either a positive or negative view of Mackey is Adam Sarner, ananalyst at Gartner Inc., who says, “[t]he need for executive onlinetransparency depends on the context of the post.”HasJohn Mackey been vindicated in Whole Foods’ acquisition of Wild Oats? HallieMummert, writing in Target Marketing, says, “[w]hat some chalked up to abizarre display of self-aggrandizement, others pegged as unethical and possiblyillegal behavior.” And business blogger, Laurie Ruettimann, writes, “Greatcompanies operate on the right side of the ethical spectrum and have littletolerance for ‘spin.’” Mackey himself, quoted in The Wall Street Journal, says,“If I could get the money back, I’d take it. We would be better off today if wehadn’t done this deal—taking on all this debt right before the economycollapsed.” Even though Mackey has been described as “an opinionatediconoclast,” he “succeeded in buying out his largest competitor, Wild OatsMarkets, and has expanded overseas to London, the next stop on his quest forglobal dominance.”Write a 2-3 page paper. In your paper answer thefollowing questions:1. Using the ABC model of an attitude, discuss what you think JohnMackey’s online comments about Wild Oats reveal about his attitudes.2. In your opinion, did John Mackey act in an ethical or unethicalmanner? Why or why not?3. As an ethical, responsible leader, discuss the cognitive moraldevelopment level that John Mackey’s behavior should fit.4. According to Mr. Mackey, some of the statements attributed toRahodeb did not match his personal beliefs. Why do you think there is thisconflict between attitude and behavior?Includea title page and 3-5 references. Only one reference may be fromthe internet (not Wikipedia). The other references must be fromthe Grantham University online library. Please adhere to the PublicationManual of the American Psychological Association (APA), (6th ed., 2ndprinting) when writing and submitting assignments and papers.