Augusta National Golf Club Controversy (A)

Case Solution

Herman B. Leonard, Marc J. Epstein, Melissa Tritter
Harvard Business School ()

The secret membership of the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club is widely believed to exclude women. When feminist lawyer Martha Burk receives a mysterious list of “members”, she has to decide how best to use this information to break the glass ceiling. Burk of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) takes on Hootie Johnson of the Augusta National Golf Club (ANGC). Both organizations use the media strategically to influence interest groups and each tries to frame the debate in their own way. The NCWO sees the problem as a statement by members of how (little) they value women, while the ANGC sees it as an attack on a private club’s right to freedom of association. The controversy raises a multitude of issues that are important for companies to deal with NGOs, associations and corporate values.

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