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Foreign Trade University
Faculty of Business Administration
Department of Management & Human Resource
Module: Management (QTRE303)
Lecturer: Ngô Quý Nhâm
Email: quynham@gmail.com
Case Application (Managerial Skills)
Source: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-09-04/microsoft-s-make-or-break-decision-selecting-the-next-ceo
Microsoft’s Make-or-Break Decision: Selecting the Next CEO
By Ram Charan September 04, 2013
The Microsoft board faces the enormous task of finding the right chief executive to replace Steve
Ballmer—not the most charismatic, tech savvy, illustrious, or even most accomplished leader, but
the one who fits the precise needs of the company in the future. Making this distinction is the
board’s most important task.
Nothing can overcome a wrong CEO selection. Yet for many boards, this fit has been elusive.
The average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is just 4.6 years. As we’ve seen at Yahoo!, J.C.
Penney , and Siemens, to name a few, the CEOs were very capable leaders with fantastic
performance records, but the fit was poor.
One wrong decision in a fast-moving game reduces the effectiveness of the company internally and
also its relationships with the ecosystem of suppliers, partners, and distributors that support the
organization and its products. Two consecutive failures can ruin the chances of catching up.
Witness the tough spot Yahoo is in.
Boards and headhunters always do their job in earnest, but they often seem to miss what is most
critical. Correctly defining those three to four nonnegotiable criteria is the Microsoft board’s
toughest challenge. These are the criteria the board will not compromise on. They will drive the
search and, provided they are accurate and sufficiently specific, will lead to the right successor.
This is the approach the IBM (IBM) board took to make the right decision at a critical juncture. The
company had a cash flow deficit and was eroding fast in the early 1990s. It was indecisive and
floundering. Its CEO was planning to cut it into seven pieces. Directors Tom Murphy and Jim
Burke did a heroic job in recruiting Lou Gerstner. They traveled the world to learn about the
company and its external context, then became very specific about what was needed: a leader with
business savvy, experience with and a passion for customers, especially enterprise customers, and a
record of successfully transforming a unit or company, with CEO experience and enormous
common sense. They were explicit that a technology background was not necessary. The results?
Gerstner’s record stands on its own.
Microsoft’s condition is different, as are the times. It has an unmistakably great brand and is
financially quite healthy, with enormous annual cash flow. Nobody matches its embedded base in
corporations. It has missed some bends in the road, however, such as the major shift to mobile
devices from PCs. Its ecosystem—companies that build apps or products using Microsoft
technology–is hurting. Demand for the products that generate the largest amount of cash flow is
So what are the new criteria for this game? First and foremost is ability to lead the integration of
hardware, software, and advanced analytics with a focus on the consumer, because these are the
elements going into devices as well as services. Building this integration capability faster than the
competition is essential. The course has been set, but the company has not done well here,
whereas Apple has succeeded. The Nokia acquisition brings new opportunity, but the CEO needs
to ensure that Microsoft/Nokia devices deliver a consumer experience more compelling than the
competition’s on an ongoing basis.
Second is the skills to mobilize the ecosystem. Google and Amazon passed Microsoft years ago,
but it’s not too late. Microsoft still casts a long shadow, and its partners expect it to take the lead.
They will jump on board when they see the new CEO has credibility, internally and externally, and
has the company on the move and won’t miss the next bend in the road. Showing a return on its $9
billion-a-year expenditure on R&D will make a difference. A move more deeply into hardware
through the Nokia acquisition might raise some eyebrows, but tensions and co-dependencies are
inherent in any ecosystem, especially in tech.
Third is a record of knitting together a divisive culture. Look at how CEO Alan Mulally has been
able to synchronize the top team at Ford , overcoming almost 100 years of divisiveness among
organizational silos. He brought his direct reports together every Thursday to get the team on the
same page strategically and operationally. Attendance was mandatory. Most of the people he
inherited stayed on, but Mulally changed their behavior. Ballmer’s recent reorganization might help
Microsoft, but any incoming CEO will look at the situation with fresh eyes and decide how to
achieve what’s needed.
It may be difficult to find a person who meets all these nonnegotiable attributes, but that should be
the board’s priority. If the board can’t find a candidate with the right attributes, there is another
option: Recruit an executive chairman who has the maturity and experience as a former CEO to
coach and guide a new chief executive who meets most but not all the criteria. That will give the
new CEO time to expand his or her capabilities without putting the company at risk of losing sight
of the big picture or the business fundamentals.
Of course, other leadership qualities—courage, humility, communication skills, ability to motivate
and select the right people—come into play, but the usual characteristics are just table stakes.
Speculation has begun about whether Stephen Elop, now Nokia’s former CEO, will succeed
Ballmer. My view is this: A robust board will go through a rigorous succession process. Correctly
defining the nonnegotiable criteria and assessing who meets them will test the quality of the
Microsoft board and define Microsoft’s future.
Discussion Questions
1. Compare the criteria for selecting the CEO in Microsoft discussed in the case and Katz’s
essential managerial skills models and identify the relevant between two. What are the
2. Why does ability to lead the integration of hardware, software, and advanced analytics with
a focus on the consumer became the first criterion used to select the next Microsoft's CEO?
Is it consistent with the the emphasis of interpersonal skills and conceptual skills for top
managers in Katz’s model. Do you think Microsoft over-emphasize on knowledge of IT
3. Microsoft has appointed the new CEO - Mr. Satya Narayana Nadella in February 2014.
Find information on the new CEO's competecies from the Internet and discuss wether they
match with the criteria mentioned in the case.
4. Which criteria can be used for selecting a CEO in an IT corporation in Vietnam, such as
FPT and/or Viettel?
Foreign Trade University
Faculty of Business Administration
Department of Management & Human Resource
Module: Management (QTRE303)
Lecturer: Ngô Quý Nhâm
Email: quynham@gmail.com
Case Application _unit02
Dell's Rebooted Asian Strategy
The computer maker can't expect instant results from its decision
to sell its products in retail stores
Earlier this month, the company broke a 23-year tradition when it unveiled plans to sell its products
at retail outfits across the Asia-Pacific region. The announcement is significant for a company that
had long marketed itself as the golden child of a direct sales model.
According to analysts ZDNet Asia spoke to, it was a move that was inevitable particularly in the
Asia-Pacific region, where consumers like to physically handle a product before they buy it.
Bryan Ma, IDC's Asia-Pacific director of personal systems research, described the move as
"necessary" because Dell was often criticized for pushing its direct model in a region where
consumers prefer to "feel and touch" their products and pay in cash.
"[The direct model] worked very well for them in the past because the bulk of their business has
been in the enterprise and public sectors," Ma explained. However, Dell has had limited success in
the Asia-Pacific consumer market, where its lack of physical retail presence was a disadvantage
particularly against competitors such as Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Acer.
Diptarup Chakraborti, Gartner India's principal analyst of Asia-Pacific client computing markets,
said Dell has been facing some resistance from users who do not buy or make advance payments for
expensive products such as a notebook, without first seeing the product. Chakraborti noted that this
has compelled Dell to change its strategy and enter the retail space.
In addition, Ma noted that a lot of growth in the last few years had centered on the consumer
market, with Acer and HP gaining a fair bit of market from their notebook shipments. "That's where
Dell has been left out of the game, so this decision is a good step forward," he said.
Chakraborti added that the PC maker has been "toying" with the possibility of going indirect for a
long time, and the wakeup call came when it lost its leading position to HP.
In a phone interview with ZDNet Asia, Paul-Henri Ferrand, Dell's president of Asia Pacific South,
acknowledged the company "may have overlooked" some areas in the past, including the consumer
and SMB (small and midsize business) market segments, but it is now seeking to address these
gaps. He said the company is placed 34th on the Fortune 500 list and remains profitable today,
amassing a fortune worth US$12.3 billion in cash and investments. The company is "number 1
where it matters", such as its leadership position in the global large-size business market with a 31
percent share, Ferrand said. He added that Dell has always been focused on growing its corporate
business, where 85 percent of its revenues come from businesses.
While the PC manufacturer recognized it has had a challenging last few quarters, Ferrnad stressed
that Dell is unconcerned about how its competition are doing in the market, and is instead focused
on how it can improve its customer proposition. "Consumers is a market by itself... We recognize
that while we have been delivering products to consumers, we never had the strategy or
organization to go after this market," he said. Dell has since formed a global consumer business unit
to ensure its resources are "aligned to serve consumers", he noted. "Right now, everything will
revolve around consumer behavior and so on." He added that Michael Dell's return to the helm
helped spark the recognition that the company needed to have a bigger presence in this market
Indirect inexperience will show
Chakraborti said: "This move [toward an indirect model] does not reflect negatively on Dell as it
shows the organization has the gumption to recognize their weakness and take steps to correct the
same. "However, the fact that Dell has no experience in channels and with some really stiff
competitors in Lenovo, HP and Acer in the market, Dell will have to be really innovative if they
[want] to win back market share," he said.
IDC's Ma agreed, adding that the challenge the company faces lies in its lack of retail expertise
compared to an old-hand such as HP. "HP is so well-entrenched... It'll be a slow-going process for
Dell, and they will have to learn from their mistakes," he said, noting that it will take at least
another year or more for Dell to figure it out.
Chakraborti warned though that it will need to take a gradual approach in implementing its channel
strategy to avoid failure, which will hurt the company more than its absence in the reseller market.
"Dell should be cautious in its retail venture and take a step-by-step approach, rather than do
everything at the same time," he said. "[Its] competition will leave no stone unturned to make Dell
fail in this venture, and Dell should be guarded against this."
Its archrival HP, appears ready to meet the challenge. With Dell's impending move to adopt the
indirect sales model, running on a channel strategy may no longer be HP's differentiator.
In spite of this, the current PC market leader seems unfazed.
Dennis Mark, vice president of marketing for SMB and TQS (total quality service), HP AsiaPacific's personal systems group, said the company feels "vindicated" when its competitors start
looking at indirect and retail channels because this demonstrates HP's strategy to offer customers
"choice of channel, products and solutions was the right one".
"Partnering is in our DNA," Mark said, adding that HP has over 40,000 channel partners in the
Asia-Pacific region and 250,000 channel partners worldwide. This network allows both enterprise
customers and consumers to buy HP's products through a channel partner, online or retail shops, he
Unperturbed by Dell's pending onslaught, Mark said HP believes its "most complete" channel
network will become "an even bigger differentiator" for the company. He noted that the company is
already in 420 cities in China, and will be looking to increase this number to 600 over the next few
quarters. HP is also present in 425 cities in India, and is targeting to up the number to 525 in the
next few quarters, he added. Mark further described the company as "streets ahead of competition"
in terms of its partner network and customer support. "We feel great about our current [market]
position globally, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region," he added. "Over last year, HP broke away
from the competition...on the back of our multi-channel, partner-driven, customer-focused global
strategy to deliver products...designed and innovated to deliver a truly personal computing
experience to users."
New hybrid sales model
However, Dell is placing its bets on a model that is a blend of both direct and channel sales. Ferrand
stressed that Dell is not abandoning its direct model, which has helped provide the cost advantage it
has over the competition. "We're not going direct like everybody else, where they're simply pushing
their products on retailers or resellers to sell," he said.
Rather, Dell will continue to preserve and improve its supply chain which, he said, will prove to be
a critical competitive differentiator for the company as Dell makes its play in the retail market.
"We're going to leverage our build-to-order capabilities so our resellers won't have to carry
inventory, and we can still have a winning strategy without being a HP or Lenovo," Ferrand said.
"Our competitors typically don't have the supply chain that we have, and would [stock] thousands of
their [computer] systems on the shelf," he explained, noting that this adds to their inventory cost. In
addition, consumers can only choose from specific configurations available on the retail shelf. "So
it's a traditional supply-driven model," Ferrand said. In contrast, Dell's new retail strategy will be
supported by a network of VARs (value added resellers) and retail chains that can leverage the PC
maker's already-proven supply chain, he said.
He noted that the company's retail strategy in the Asia-Pacific region will be a mix-and-match of
both the direct and indirect sales models, where Dell's go-to-market strategy will likely differ
between countries.
Ferrand explained that retailers can choose to have a handful of system configurations on the store
shelf for consumers to see and touch. If a customer wants a model that is not available on the shelf,
or that may not be in the inventory, the retailer can still place an order configured to the customer's
requirements and have the system delivered to his doorstep. "That's an example of how a distributor
or retailer will not need to carry much inventory, but is still able to leverage our supply chain
model," he said. "They can have bigger profit margins, split between them and Dell, and consumers
also have more choice." Ferrand declined to elaborate on such revenue-sharing models because the
company is still working out the details behind their retail sales strategy for the region.
According to Gartner's Chakraborti, rather than simply take the reseller route in the Asia-Pacific,
the company should focus on establishing alliances with large retail chains similar to its partnership
with Wal-Mart in the United States.
What Dell must do
Chakraborti said Dell should also consider zooming in on its competition with Lenovo in countries
outside the latter's stronghold in China, especially since Lenovo is currently "also a bit shaky".
"India would be an ideal launch pad," Chakraborti said. He suggested that Dell needs to activate a
strategy to enter smaller cities in India, as well as China, and expand its AMD-based portfolio to
penetrate these smaller towns. He added the company does not need to abdicate its direct model,
which it is "still a master at", as it can help Dell reach smaller towns in countries such as India and
China, as well as enhance its visibility and trust among consumers.
IDC's Ma said: "It's not just about having a presence in channels, it's also about building the brand.
Dell's brand isn't weak but it needs to convey the message that it's hip and an attractive brand.
"Marketing to consumers isn't the same as to enterprises, which don't usually want change whereas
consumers want something that shows their status and [ability] to look cool," he said. Dell needs to
be perceived not as a clunky enterprise box maker, but one that produces products that are hip, Ma
said, adding that its latest Inspiron notebook series—available in multiple colors—shows some
efforts in moving toward this direction.
Chakraborti added that growing a services division that is as strong as IBM's and HP's will also add
to Dell's overall margins.
According to Ferrand, services will indeed be a significant part of the company's growth strategy. In
fact, Dell currently operates a US$6 billion services business and the company believes it can
outplay the likes of HP and IBM, he said.
"There's immense opportunity for us to grow, around the box, around client management as well as
the IT architecture," he added. "It's a huge business and it's the fastest-growing division in Dell."
The company clocks 38 million technical calls a year, has 55 million systems under warranty, and
hires 12,000 service personnel worldwide, Ferrand said.
"It's a massive organization, but we think we can do more," he noted. He added that Dell wants to
establish a stronger link between its products and services business, allowing for service offerings
such as Dell Connect, to be extended "beyond the box" of its SMB PC customers.
Source: Business Week, Technology July 23, 2007
Identify business environment factors mentioned in the case that possibly impact on Dell.
Why has Dell changed its strategy and business model in Asian market ?
Which factors that possibly affect the success of Dell’s new strategy implementation?
What are implications for businesses who are successful in domestic market when they
decide to go internationally?
Foreign Trade University
Faculty of Business Administration
Department of Management & Human
Module: Management (QTRE303)
Lecturer: Ngô Quý Nhâm
Email: quynham@gmail.com
Websites: www.ngoquynham.net
Case Application (Decision Making): Manchester City: Football
In most football teams, the minutes before the match are spent in the locker room where
the coach provides last minute tips and delivers a motivational speech to the players.
However, for Manchester City Football Club the ritual is a bit different. The team spends
15 minutes before each match meeting the club’s performance analyst team, discussing
things they had done well or wrong in previous matches. For instance, the defense
examines several factors—the number of crosses, effective or ineffective tackles, balls lost
or recovered, the relationship with midfield, and movements in protecting their penalty
The day after the match, the analysis team, headed by Gavin Fleig, gives each player a
detailed and personalized report of all their movements during the match, thus, enabling
each player to get an accurate feedback on improvements required. In a 2012 interview
released to Forbes, Fleig declared that the goal of the performance analysis unit is both to
help the club make smarter decisions by relying on objective and more informative data,
and to enhance players’ performance by helping them to become more reflective and aware
of their unique features, actions, and movements on the pitch.
To illustrate how the performance analysis team helps better the team’s performance, let’s
look at Manchester City’s performance and the set-piece goals scored in the 2010–11
According to the analyst team, City was underperforming more than any other club in
Premier League with only one set-piece goal scored over 21 matches. To understand what
led to the goals scored across several European leagues, the analyst team studied more than
500 corner kicks. The players were then presented with videos illustrating the best tactics
and movements applied by other teams. This helped City to score 9 goals in the first 15
matches of the next season from corners, which represents a tremendous improvement in
their performance. Data analysis is a critical decision-making support tool for Manchester
City’s managers at all levels, including for youth teams. For example, future young players
are helped in understanding their strengths and weaknesses within the different formation
plays and what aspects they need to focus on to develop their talent. It is important to note
that big data is just a means to facilitate the achievement of Manchester City’s strategic
goals concerning youth team development, which is to integrate young homegrown-talents
into the first team’s formation. The performance analysts have helped the team to become
very successful—Manchester City got the best defensive records for two consecutive years
since 2012, and it won the title in the seasons 2011–12 and 2013–14 after more than four
decades of no wins. Of course, big data is not the only factor behind these successes, but
it was very important.
To continue being a leader in football big data, in 2016, Manchester City organized a global
Hackathon, with more than 400 applications received from all over the world, where data
and football experts created algorithms and simulations using data from real players that
have never before been available to external actors. The challenge was to create algorithms
that could help identify new movements, passes, runs and pressure to be more effective on
the pitch. The winning team, who received a cash prize of £7000 and the promise to
collaborate with the performance analysis team, created a learning machine algorithm that
tracks decision-making during games.
1. What types of decisions are made by football managers? Would you characterize
these decisions as structured or unstructured problems? Explain.
2. Describe how big data can help football managers to make better decisions and how
this has an effect on the decision-making process.
3. What type(s) of conditions are more likely to influence the performance analyst
team’s work: certainty, uncertainty, or risks? Explain.
4. Do you think it is appropriate for football managers to use only quantitative
information to evaluate their players’ performance during a season? Why or why
5. How can big data transform football decisions in the future?
Foreign Trade University
Faculty of Business Administration
Department of Management & Human Resource
Module: Management (QTRE303)
Lecturer: Ngô Quý Nhâm
Email: quynham@gmail.com
Case Application (Structure)
Strategy Implementation at Dell Computer
Dell Computer was one of the fastest-growing companies of the 1990s, and its stock price
increased at the rate of 100% per year, delighting its stockholders. Achieving this high return has
been a constant challenge for Michael Dell. One of his biggest battles has been to manage and
change Dell’s organizational structure, control systems, and culture as his company grows.
Michael Dell was 19 in 1984, when he took $1,000 and spent it on the computer parts he
assembled into PCs that he sold over the phone. Increasing demand for his PCs meant that within a
few weeks, he needed to hire people to help him. Soon he found himself supervising three
employees who worked together around a six-foot table to assemble computers while two more
employees took orders over the phone.
By 1993, Dell employed 4,500 workers and was hiring more than 100 new workers each week
just to keep pace with the demand for the computers. When he found himself working 18-hour
days managing the company, he realized that he could not lead the company single-handedly. The
company’s growth had to be managed, and he knew that he had to recruit and hire strategic
managers who had experience in managing different functional areas, such as marketing, finance,
and manufacturing. He recruited executives from IBM and Compaq. With their help, he created a
functional structure, one in which employees were grouped by their common skills or tasks they
performed, such as sales or manufacturing, to organize the value chain activities necessary to
deliver his PCs to customers. As a part of this organizing process, Dell’s structure also became
taller, with more levels in the management hierarchy, to ensure that he and his managers had
sufficient control over the different activities of his growing business. Michael Dell delegated
authority to control Dell’s functional value chain activities to his managers, which gave him the
time he needed to perform his entrepreneurial task of finding new opportunities for the company.
Dell’s functional structure worked well and, under its new management team, the company’s
growth continued to soar. Moreover, Dell’s new structure had given functional managers the
control they needed to squeeze out costs, and Dell had become the lowest-cost PC maker. Analysts
also reported that Dell had developed a lean organizational culture, meaning that employees had
developed norms and values that emphasized the importance of working hard to help each other
find innovative new ways of making productst o keep costs low and increase their reliability.
Indeed, Dell rose to the top of the customer satisfaction rankings for PC makers because few
customers complained about its products. Its employees became known for the excellent customer
service they gave to PC buyers who were experiencing problems with setting up their computers.
However, Michael Dell realized that new and different kinds of problems were arising. Dell was
now selling huge numbers of computers to different kinds of customers, for example, home,
business, and educational customers and different branches of government. Because customers
were demanding computers with different features or more computing power, the company’s
product line broadened rapidly. It became more difficult for employees to meet the needs of these
customers efficiently because each employee needed information about all product features or all
of Dell’s thousands of different sales offers across its product range.
By the late 1990s, Michael Dell moved to change his company to a market structure and created
separate divisions, each geared to the needs of a different group of customers: a consumer
division, a business division, and so on. In each division, teams of employees specialized in
servicing the needs of one of these customer groups. This move to a more complex structure also
allowed each division to develop a unique subculture that suited its tasks, and employees were able
to obtain in-depth knowledge about the needs of their market that helped them to respond better to
their customers’ needs. So successful was this change in structure and culture that by 2000, Dell’s
revenues were more than $35 billion and its profits in excess of $3 billion, a staggering increase
from 1984.
Michael Dell has continued to change his company’s structure in the 2000s to respond to
changing customer needs and increasing competitive challenges from Apple and HP. For example,
Michael Dell realized that he could leverage his company’s strengths in materials management,
manufacturing, and Internet sales over a wider range of computer hardware products. He decided
to begin assembling servers, workstations, and storage devices to compete with IBM, Sun, and HP.
The increasing importance of the Internet also led him to pay more attention to more specialized
groups of customers and find the best way to customize its approach to best meet each group’s
specific needs over the Internet. Today, for example, Dell can offer large and small companies and
private buyers a complete range of computers, workstations, and storage devices that can be
customized to their needs.
To help coordinate its growing activities, Dell is increasingly making use of its corporate Intranet
to standardize activities across divisions and integrate its activities across functions to reduce
costs. Dell’s hierarchy is shrinking as managers increasingly delegate decision making to
employees who use its advanced IT to access the information they need to provide excellent
customer service. To reduce costs, Dell has also outsourced most of its customer service function
to India. As a result of these moves, Dell’s smaller United States workforce has become even more
committed to maintain a low-cost advantage.
Its cost-conscious culture is more than ever an important factor affecting its competitive advantage
that has been threatened by the many cost-saving moves made by competitors such as Apple and
HP that have imitated and even improved on its cost-saving strategies.
Case Discussion Questions
1. Given information in the case and possible sources from the Internet, identify the types of
Dell’s organizational structure and draw the charts in each of its period of time.
2. Why has Dell moved to different kinds of organizational structures over time?
3. Has Dell’s performance been improved thank to its changes in organizational structure?
4. Search the Internet to find out how Dell has been trying to increase its performance and
how its competitors such as Apple and HP have also been working to improve theirs.
Foreign Trade University
Faculty of Business Administration
Department of Management & Human Resource
Module: Management (QTRE303)
Lecturer: Ngô Quý Nhâm
Email: quynham@gmail.com
Case Application (Leadership)
The Vision Failed
High Tech Engineering (HTE) is a 50-year-old family-owned manufacturing company with 250
employees that produces small parts for the aircraft industry. The president of HTE is Harold
Barelli, who came to the company from a smaller business with strong credentials as a leader in
advanced aircraft technology. Before Harold, the only other president of HTE was the founder
and owner of the company. The organizational structure at HTE was very traditional, and it was
supported by a very rich organizational culture.
As the new president, Harold sincerely wanted to transform HTE. He wanted to prove that new
technologies and advanced management techniques could make HTE one of the best
manufacturing companies in the country. To that end, Harold created a vision statement that was
displayed throughout the company. The two-page statement, which had a strong democratic
tone, described the overall purposes, directions, and values of the company.
During the first 3 years of Harold’s tenure as president, several major reorganizations took place
at the company. These were designed by Harold and a select few of his senior managers. The
intention of each reorganization was to implement advanced organizational structures to
bolster the declared HTE vision.
Yet the major outcome of each of the changes was to dilute the leadership and create a feeling of
instability among the employees. Most of the changes were made from the top down, with little
input from lower or middle management. Some of the changes gave employees more control in
circumstances where they needed less, whereas other changes limited employee input in contexts
where employees should have been given more input. There were some situations in which
individual workers reported to three different bosses, and other situations in which one manager
had far too many workers to oversee. Rather than feeling comfortable in their various roles at
HTE, employees began to feel uncertain about their responsibilities and how they contributed to
stated goals of the company. The overall effect of the reorganizations was a precipitous
drop in worker morale and production.
In the midst of all the changes, the vision that Harold had for the company was lost. The
instability that employees felt made it difficult for them to support the company’s vision. People
at HTE complained that although mission statements were displayed throughout the company,
no one understood in which direction they were going.
To the employees at HTE, Harold was an enigma. HTE was an American company that
produced U.S. products, but Harold drove a foreign car. Harold claimed to be democratic in his
style of leadership, but he was arbitrary in how he treated people. He acted in a nondirective
style toward some people, and he showed arbitrary control toward others. He wanted to be seen
as a hands-on manager, but he delegated operational control of the company to others while he
focused on external customer relations and matters of the board of directors.
At times Harold appeared to be insensitive to employees’ concerns. He wanted HTE to be an
environment in which everyone could feel empowered, but he often failed to listen closely to
what employees were saying.
He seldom engaged in open, two-way communication. HTE had a long, rich history with many
unique stories, but the employees felt that Harold either misunderstood or did not care about that
Four years after arriving at HTE, Harold stepped down as president after his operations officer
ran the company into a large debt and cash-flow crisis. His dream of building HTE into a worldclass manufacturing company was never realized.
1. If you were consulting with the HTE board of directors soon after Harold started making
changes, what would you advise them regarding Harold’s leadership from a transformational
2. Did Harold have a clear vision for HTE? Was he able to implement it?
3. How effective was Harold as a change agent and social architect for HTE?
4. What would you advise Harold to do differently if he had the chance to return as president of
Foreign Trade University
Faculty of Business Administration
Department of Management & Human Resource
Module: Management (QTRE303)
Lecturer: Ngô Quý Nhâm
Email: quynham@gmail.com
Case Application (Motivation)
It gets more than 3,000 applications a day.96 And it’s no wonder! With a massage every other
week, onsite laundry, swimming pool and spa, free delicious all-you-can-eat gourmet meals,
what more could an employee want? Sounds like an ideal job, doesn’t it?
However, at Google, many people are demonstrating by their decisions to leave the company that
all those perks (and these are just a few) aren’t enough to keep them there. As one analyst said,
“Yes, Google’s making gobs of money. Yes, it’s full of smart people. Yes, it’s a wonderful place
to work. So why are so many people leaving?”
Google has been in the top five list of “best companies to work for” by Fortune magazine for
four years running and was number one on the list for two of those four years. But make no
mistake. Google’s executives decided to offer all these fabulous perks for several reasons: to
attract the best knowledge workers it can in an intensely competitive, cutthroat market; to help
employees work long hours and not have to deal with time-consuming personal chores; to show
employees they’re valued; and to have employees remain Googlers (the name used for
employees) for many years. But a number of Googlers have jumped ship and given up these
fantastic benefits to go out on their own.
For instance, Sean Knapp and two colleagues, brothers Bismarck and Belsasar lepe, came up
with an idea on how to handle Web video. They left Google, or as one person put it, “expelled
themselves from paradise to start their own company.” When the threesome left the company,
Google really wanted them and their project to stay. Google offered them a “blank check.” But
the trio realized they would do all the hard work and Google would own the product. So off they
went, for the excitement of a start-up.
If this were an isolated occurrence, it would be easy to write off. But it’s not. Other talented
Google employees have done the same thing. In fact, there are so many of them who have left
that they’ve formed an informal alumni club of ex-Googlers turned entrepreneurs.
Discussion Questions
1. What’s it like to work at Google? (Hint: Go to Google’s Web site and click on About Google.
Find the section on Jobs at Google and go from there.) What’s your assessment of the company’s
work environment?
2. Google is doing a lot for its employees, but not enough to retain some talented employees.
Using what you’ve learned from studying the various motivation theories, what does this
situation tell you about employee motivation?
3. What do you think is Google’s biggest challenge in keeping employees motivated?
4. If you were managing a team of Google employees, how would you keep them motivated?