Changing the Culture at Yahoo!: Marissa Mayer's Challenge|Human Resource|Organization Behavior|Case Study|Case Studies

Changing the Culture at Yahoo!: Marissa Mayer's Challenge

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB154 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Organizational Culture/ Change Management/ Strategic Human Resource Management
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 2012
Organization : Yahoo!, Inc.
Pub Date : 2013
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : Global
Industry : Information Technology


This case is about the initiatives taken by Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, Inc. after she joined as its CEO in the year 2012. Yahoo had been plagued with problems and had lost its dominance in internet services. Yahoo's board appointed Marissa, a former executive at Google, as the new CEO of Yahoo and assigned her the task of reviving the fortunes of the company. As soon as she took over as the CEO, Marissa started to focus on changing the culture at Yahoo as a major strategy to turn around the company and make it competitive again. Over the years, Yahoo had gained a notorious reputation for being an organization with a bureaucratic culture which stifled innovation and growth.

Marissa started a number of initiatives to make the organization more democratic. She recruited many new people for key posts and aimed at changing the culture at Yahoo. One of the important initiatives started by her was the PB&J program which encouraged people to give suggestions on making Yahoo the best place to work. Apart from the PB&J program, Marissa also started initiatives aimed at reducing bureaucracy at Yahoo and introducing better compensation structures. But analysts had mixed opinions regarding the ability of the new initiatives to change the company’s culture in a short time. Some of them opined that it was very difficult to change organizational culture in such a short span of time, particularly since the company had witnessed a leadership crisis with successive CEOs. This case is meant for MBA/MS students as a part of the Strategic Human Resource Management/Organizational Behavior curriculum. It is also suitable for the Strategic Management curriculum...


Appreciate the importance of culture as a key organizational context for strategic change and the long-term success of companies.
Understand the link between an organization’s culture and business strategy.
Analyze the reasons for the problems faced by Yahoo in the years before Marissa Mayer joined as its CEO.
Discuss and debate whether the new steps taken by Marissa Mayer to change the culture at Yahoo will help in reviving the fortunes of the company.
Analyze the effectiveness of the strategies followed by Marissa Mayer in improving the performance of Yahoo.
Suggest the future strategies that should be followed by Marissa Mayer to improve the fortunes of Yahoo.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Fifth CEO in Five Years 3
Changing Culture at Yahoo 4
New Leadership for a New Culture 5
The PB&J Program 6
Other Proposed Initiatives 7
Looking Ahead 8
Exhibits 9

Key Words:

Organizational culture; Bureaucratic culture; Culture of innovation; Geek creed; Strategy culture relationship; Strategic change management; Leadership; Strategic human resource management; Innovation; Organizational structure; Matrix structure; Talent management; 'Four Cs' strategy to nurture talent; Process, Bureaucracy, and Jams or 'PB&J'; Performance measurement; Goal metrics; Yahoo;

Introduction - Next Pages >>


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