Case Analysis: Leading Culture Change at Seagram Essay

2073 WordsMar 18, 20129 Pages
Joseph E. Seagram Sons, Inc., a major alcohol distilling company of its time encountered new business challenges in the 1990s; increased government regulation and taxation on liquor, the 90’s recession, decline in sales, criticism of spirits marketing, and an eroding core market as the business plateaued. The President and CEO of Seagram Company, Edgar Bronfman Jr., recognized the crisis at hand and embarked upon a new vision to reposition and redefine the company’s competitive advantage based on changing its core values. Bronfman took crucial actions to differentiate company’s products and activities by taking ownership in other various industries such as an oil company, Martell USA (cognac), Tropicana (fruit juice beverages), DuPont…show more content…
He began by communicating his new values corporate wide, asking the “how” questions; how to implement and sustain this new culture, how to reward value-based behavior, how to conduct the evaluation process, and how to institutionalize values into everyday behavior? But in doing so, he lacked to clearly state the “why” questions throughout his firm. He briefly mentioned signs of maturity and eroding markets at Seagram in an executives meeting where the action to implement change is more top-down than bottom-up as the top 15 executives draft the final output of the process. Notably, focus groups were formed from 300 employees along with 200 top managers to debate the process for nine months prior to concluding the agreement on what is the “right wording.” Either way, the final draft is bias as there are no employees or middle managers present in the actual craftsmanship of the final output. Exactly who are the top 15 executives? Seagram is a family owned company, sharing the profits and visions as so. The executives it hires and chose to put at the top should share its ideas (Graham, 2006) and support Bronfman come rain or shine. But the plan for the change program process is to “lead not control,” easier said than done. Attempts were made companywide to aim at productively training employees and managers using the activity based approach in creating two value programs; Leading with Values and The Seagram Challenge. Again, these trainings and

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