Search for Cases
Case Code: CLHR001
Case Length: 5 pages 
Period: ---  
Pub Date: 2008
Teaching Note: Not Available
Subject : Human Resources/ Organization Behavior
Organization :--
Industry :Retail
Countries : --

Dilemma Promote from Within or Look Elsewhere?*



The decision of whether to promote from within or look elsewhere had always been an organizational dilemma. In 2004, JC Penney was faced with this dilemma while appointing the successor for its chairman and CEO, Allen Questrom. JC Penney surprised many by passing over Vanessa Castagna, who was instrumental in turning around the company between 1999 and 2004, in favor of an outsider.
Buy Now
To download this case click on the button below, and select the case from the list of available cases:
Short Case Studies
Express Checkout


  • Recruitment/Hiring
  • To promote from within or from outside
  • Job satisfaction/dissatisfaction
  • Employee reaction to job dissatisfaction
After running successfully for close to 90 years, JC Penney Corporation, Inc. (JCP), a chain of department stores in the US, got into trouble. By the late 1990s, the retail scenario in the US had changed considerably. JCP had to contend with the onslaught of giant retail chain Wal-Mart on the one side, and mall-based competitors like Dillards on the other. The youth started avoiding JCP as they considered its merchandise to be outdated and lacking in style.

Between 1999 and 2004, a turnaround was orchestrated at JCP by chairman and CEO Allen Questrom (Questrom) and COO, Vanessa Castagna (Castagna). Castagna joined JCP in 1999 as the COO and Questrom joined as the Chairman and CEO in 2000. Both of them were brought in from outside and were the first outsiders to join JCP in their respective positions.
Questions for Discussion:
1. Do you think JCP was justified in appointing Mike Ullman, an outsider, as CEO instead of Vanessa Castagna (Castagna) considering that Castagna was instrumental in turning around JCP in the early 2000s?
2. What are the pros and cons of ‘bringing in an outsider’ and ‘promoting from within’? Discuss the impact of such decisions on the morale of the employees.


Recruitment,Hiring,Penney Corporation,Allen Questrom

* This caselet is intended for use only in class discussions.
** More comprehensive case studies are priced at Rs.200 to Rs.700 (US $5 to US $16) per copy.