Robert L. Simons, Natalie Kindred
Finance & Accounting
This case illustrates a CEO-led organizational transformation driven by stretch goals, performance measurement , and accountability. When Kasper Rorsted became CEO of Henkel, a Germany-based producer of personal care, laundry, and adhesives products, in 2008, he was determined to transform a corporate culture of “good enough” into one singularly focused on winning in a competitive marketplace. Historically, Henkel was a comfortable, stable place to work. Many employees never received negative performance feedback. Seeking to overturn a pervasive attitude of complacency, Rorsted implemented a multi-step change initiative aimed at building a “winning culture.” First, in November 2008, he announced a set of ambitious financial targets for 2012. As financial turmoil roiled the global economy, he reaffirmed his commitment to these targets, sending a clear signal to Henkel employees and external stakeholders that excuses were no longer acceptable. Rorsted next introduced a new set of five company values-replacing the previous list of 10 values, which few employees could recite by memory-the first of which emphasized a focus on customers. He also instituted a new, simplified performance management system, which rated managers’ performance and advancement potential on a four-point scale. The system also included a forced ranking requirement, mandating that a defined percentage of employees (in each business unit and company-wide) be ranked as top, strong, moderate, or low performers. These ratings significantly impacted managers’ bonus compensation. In late 2011-the time in which the case takes place-Henkel is well on its way to achieving its 2012 targets. Having shed nearly half its top management team, along with numerous product sites and brands, Henkel appears to be a leaner, more competitive, “winning” organization.
Change management, Collaboration, Executive compensation, Financial analysis, Organizational culture, Performance measurement, Personnel policies, Social responsibility, Strategy execution, Work-life balance
Jay W. Lorsch, John J. Gabarro
Leadership & Managing People
Entrepreneurship, Human resource management , Leading teams, Organizational culture, Work-life balance
John J. Gabarro
Presents the problem facing a newly appointed high-school principal. Raises issues about interpersonal and group behavior including lack of open conflict resolution and the need to intervene in an interpersonal conflict. Also raises the issue of intergroup conflict between headmasters and department chairmen, as well as value questions concerning the need for discipline and innovation. Discusses several structural questions concerning the existing “house system” organization. A rewritten version of an earlier case.
Conflict, Government, Organizational culture, Organizational structure, Social enterprise
Anne Donnellon, Joshua D. Margolis
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version.Key topics include designing teams, managing teams, managing conflict, group dynamics, project management, product development , interdepartmental relations, and organizational change. MediSys, a U.S.-based medical equipment maker, has been developing IntensCare, a new medical system for monitoring intensive-care patients. MediSys has invested heavily in IntensCare, which is eagerly awaited by the market. The product development team, representing several functional areas of the company, has been working on the product for six months but is now running into significant problems with the product design, the schedule, and their own group dynamics. Recently, pressure increased when they learned that two more powerful competitors had begun work on their own products for this market. Several team members are concerned about meeting the team’s targets. Struggling especially hard to overcome the various problems is the marketing manager who has profit-and-loss responsibility for IntensCare.
Communication, Conflict, Leadership, Organizational culture, Product development, Project management
Michael Beer, Elizabeth Collins
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version.In May 2007, the Engstrom Auto Mirrors plant, a relatively small supplier based in Indiana, faces a crisis. The business was in the second year of a downturn. Sales had started to decline in 2005; a year later, plant manager Ron Bent had been forced to lay off more than 20 percent of the work force. Plant productivity was dropping, employee morale was low, and product-quality issues had begun to surface. Relationships with key customers were at risk. Downturns were not new at Engstrom. When the plant had reached a similar crisis point years earlier, the institution of a Scanlon Plan, a company-wide employee incentive program, had proven critical in building morale, increasing productivity and product quality, and leading Engstrom into a turnaround. For several subsequent years, Engstrom workers had received regular Scanlon pay bonuses. But the bonuses had stopped in 2006, and now Ron Bent must determine how to get the plant back on track. Should he revise the Scanlon setup? Remove Scanlon and try another plan? Identify and change other organizational factors that may be sabotaging Scanlon?
Human resource management , Labor, Leadership, Manufacturing, Motivating people, Organizational culture
Michael Beer, Sunru Yong
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version.TerraCog, a successful privately held high-tech firm that develops GPS (global positioning system) and similar products for consumer markets, has recently been caught off-guard by a competitor’s new product that makes novel use of satellite imagery. When TerraCog pursues development of a directly competing product, dubbed Aerial, the projected costs threaten to scuttle the project. The key unit managers gather in a pair of contentious meetings that feature anger, blame, and bewilderment, but produce no effective conclusion. At the end of the case it falls to Emma Richardson, a newly-promoted executive vice-president, to push the group toward a go/no-go decision.
Conflict, Crisis management, Decision making, Human resource management , Leadership, Leading teams, Meetings, Organizational culture, Technology
Boris Groysberg, John D. Vaughan, Matthew Preble
Leadership & Managing People
Scott and Ally Svenson, the founders of MOD Pizza, had to make a number of decisions in planning how to scale their small company. They wanted to grow MOD from 45 stores as of May 2015 to 200 stores by the end of 2016, and while the two believed that MOD could manage this growth from an operational standpoint, they wanted to make sure that MOD’s culture was sufficiently strong to survive this rollout. The company had developed a strong culture, and the Svensons did not want MOD’s core values and philosophies to be compromised as it rapidly expanded. To that end, they considered what the company needed to do in order to protect its core culture. Should it put rigid safeguards in place or trust that MOD could successfully scale its culture by hiring the right people and helping them develop as employees? The Svensons also discussed the possibility of an IPO at some point in the near future; what would this mean for its ability to stay true to its core values?
Entrepreneurship, Growth strategy, Labor, Leadership, Managing people, Marketing, Organizational culture, Social responsibility, Supply chain
Thomas J. DeLong, Vineeta Vijayaraghavan
Retaining talent is an issue for any company whose success relies on the creativity and excellence of its employees. This is especially true for Cirque du Soleil, the spectacularly successful “circus without animals,” whose 2,100 employees include 500 artists–mimes, clowns, acrobats, gymnasts, musicians, and production professionals. Managing a company full of creative people is a juggling act in itself, between keeping its artists happy and pursuing a successful strategy for attracting more business and talent.
Organizational culture, Supply chain
Robert S. Huckman, Raffaella Sadun, Michael Norris
Strategy & Execution
In the fall of 2012, Hurricane Sandy forced a full evacuation of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. The institution, which comprised NYU Medical School and several teaching hospitals, had been on an upward trajectory for several years under the leadership of Dr. Robert I. Grossman. Grossman’s central initiative, which he credited with helping to create a performance-driven, transparency-focused culture was an information technology dashboard system that provided managers and front line workers with a wealth of real-time information. Would the disruption posed by the hurricane throw NYU Langone off track?
Health, IT, Organizational culture
Eric J. Van Den Steen
Strategy & Execution
To maximize their effectiveness, color cases should be printed in color.In mid-2013, Tesla Motors was riding a wave of success: It had launched its first really mass-produced car-the model S-to rave reviews; had recently raised first-year production targets; and had started taking orders for its next car, the Model X. Tesla seemed to be on its way to defying the skeptics and becoming the first US company to enter the car industry with a mass-produced car since WWII and the first to successfully launch a fully electric car. Or was it not?
Economics, Innovation, Marketing, Organizational culture, Strategy execution