Robin Ash and Printzhof Press Case Study And Analysis Help With Solution
On March 19, 2011, Robin Ash glanced at her watch, a gift from her parents to celebrate her promotion two and a half months ago. In January, Ash had been named chief operating officer (COO) of Philadelphia-based Printzhof Press and a vice president of its New York-based parent, Education and Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (EEH). Ash had been with EEH eleven years and was a rising star. On her last assignment, in the entertainment group, she had spent four years reviving and expanding Print Play, the smallest of the company’s six divisions (see Exhibit 1). Print Play published fiction books for children in a variety of genres. Prior to Ash’s arrival, Print Play had contributed less than 1% to EEH sales revenue and had been losing money. Under Ash’s leadership, the division broke even in 2008 and, by 2010, was contributing 6% to EEH sales and 3% net to EBIT.
Ash’s new assignment was a different challenge. Printzhof Press published college-level textbooks and was the most important division at EEH, accounting for 35% of its 2010 revenues and 43% of its net earnings before taxes (see Exhibit 1). For decades, authors had vied with one another to be published by Printzhof. Because only a minority of textbook authors earned substantial royalties from their books, prestige—rather than personal profit—drove many authors’ preferences, and most considered Printzhof the most prestigious textbook publisher in the country. But Printzhof had been slow to respond to changes in the higher education publishing market. In recent years, other companies had won recognition as “gold standard” publishers. Consolidation in the industry had created three global powerhouse players: Pearson, Cengage, and McGraw-Hill Education (see Exhibit 2). The digital revolution was transforming the industry—for example, authors now had the option of self-publishing materials on the web in open-source formats. In addition, cash-rich companies with high-tech expertise, such as Apple Computer, were considering entering the market. Ash’s charge was to reposition Printzhof so it would remain a major player in this complex and rapidly changing environment.
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Assignment Questions – Diagnosis and Action:
1. Robin Ash is faced by a number of competing mandates and values in her new role at Printzhof. Identify three of the most salient examples of such dilemmas and make recommendations about how these can be reconciled in a manner that benefits the organisation.
2. Robin Ash is expected to report back to EEH’s EVP of Education Group, Bob Richards, on her proposed strategy with regards to the three priority areas for change. Make recommendations based on the appropriate OB theory on how far and fast she should move in addressing these priorities to improve Printzhof’s culture and performance.
3. What impact is Printzhof Press’s history and organisational culture likely to have on Robin Ash’s efforts to revitalise the business? Analysis the case study using relevant OB theory/s and concepts and make recommendations regarding the type of organisational culture that would be best suited to Printzhof’s current competitive environment.
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