Chestnut Ridge Country Club (A)1
The Chestnut Ridge Country Club has long maintained a distinguished reputation as one
of the outstanding country clubs in the Elma, Tennessee, area. The club’s golf facilities are said
by some to be the finest in the state, and its dining and banquet facilities are highly regarded as
well. This reputation is due in part to the commitment by the board of directors of Chestnut Ridge
to offer the finest facilities of any club in the area. For example, several negative comments by
club members regarding the dining facilities prompted the board to survey members to get their
feelings and perceptions of the dining facilities and food offerings at ...view middle of the document...
The researchers met with the board of directors and key personnel at Chestnut Ridge to
gain a better understanding of the goals of the research and the types of services and facilities
offered at a country club. A literature search of published research relating to country clubs
uncovered no studies. Based solely on their contact with individuals at Chestnut Ridge, therefore,
the research team developed the survey contained in Figure 2.5.1. Because personal information
regarding demographics and attitudes would be asked of those contacted, the researchers decided
to use a mail questionnaire.
The researchers thought it would be useful to survey members from Alden, Chalet, and
Lancaster country clubs in addition to those from Chestnut Ridge for two reasons: (1) members of
these other clubs would be knowledgeable about the levels and types of services and facilities
desired from a country club and (2) they had at one time represented potential members of
Chestnut Ridge. Hence, their perceptions of Chestnut Ridge might reveal why they chose to
belong to a different country club. No public documents were available that contained a listing of
each club’s members. Consequently, the researchers decided to contact each of the clubs
personally to try to obtain a mailing list. Identifying themselves as being affiliated with an
independent research firm conducting a study on country clubs in the Elma area, the researchers
first spoke to the chairman of the board at Alden Country Club. The researchers told the chairman that they could not reveal the organization sponsoring the study but that the results of their
study would not be made public. The chairman was not willing to provide the researchers with
the mailing list. The chairman cited an obligation to respect the privacy of the club’s members as
his primary reason for turning down the research team’s request.
1 The contributions of David M. Szymanski to the development of this case are gratefully acknowledged.
The researchers then made the following proposal to the board chairman: In return for the
mailing list, the researchers would provide the chairman a report on Alden members’ perceptions
of Alden Country Club. In addition, the mailing list would be destroyed as soon as the surveys
were sent. The proposal seemed to please the chairman, for he agreed to give the researchers a
listing of the members and their addresses in exchange for the report. The researchers told the
chairman they must check with their sponsoring organization for approval of this arrangement.
The research team made similar proposals to the chairmen of the boards of directors of both the
Chalet and Lancaster Country Clubs. In return for a mailing list of the club’s members, they
promised each chairman a report outlining that club’s members’ perceptions of their clubs,
contingent on the research team securing...