Business / Harrison Keyes Situation Analysis And Problem Statement

Harrison Keyes Situation Analysis And Problem Statement

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Autor:  anton  09 December 2010
Tags:  Harrison,  Situation,  Analysis,  Problem,  Statement
Words: 1700   |   Pages: 7
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Situation Analysis and Problem Statement

Harrison-Keyes, Inc. is a century-old company that specializing in publishing scientific, technical and business books and journals, professional and consumer books, textbooks, and other educational materials for all levels of study. During that century, Harrison-Keyes has shifted its focus from publishing the works well-established authors to publishing business, scientific, and technical materials. In the process, Harrison-Keyes has established itself as prominent company in the publishing industry; however, recently increased competition has caused profits to decrease, a new CEO to be hired, and the adoption of a new strategic approach. This new, wide-ranging strategy focused on e-publishing, promises to affect many groups associated with the organization differently, and the effects may not be all positive, but the ultimate goal of the strategy is to improve the organization. Senior leadership’s new strategy also has its ethical implications as well. This paper describes Harrison-Keyes’ current predicament.

Situation Background

Over the years, Harrison-Keyes claimed a substantial share of the publishing market by responding to customer demands as evidenced by its shift to publishing scholarly and business information in the mid-1950s. On the other hand, the entire industry has faced difficulties. Low-cost retail superstores are competing at higher levels than ever before, distribution channels are consolidating, and discounters are cutting into profits. In response to the problems, Harrison-Keyes’ Board of Directors hired a new CEO, Meg P. McGill, who developed a new strategy for the company centered on e-book publishing. Her strategy entailed producing digital versions of printed books and other works of its authors (Wikipedia, 2006).

Despite the best efforts of the entire organization to implement McGill’s e-publishing strategy, initial results have been less than stellar. Quite a few issues have arisen that indicate that Harrison-Keyes was not adequately prepared for its venture into e-publishing. In response, the Harrison-Keyes Board of Directors elected to fire CEO Meg McGill and hire William Guardo as her replacement. Mr. Guardo is in favor of more traditional publishing methods and is not a huge proponent of e-publishing; however, he is willing to give e-publishing a chance if certain issues can be dealt with accordingly.

Issue Identification

Dealing with the many issues related to implementing a successful e-publishing strategy will not be easy.. First, Harrison-Keyes faces the challenge of having to continue with its e-publishing strategy under the guidance of a new CEO who is not exactly in favor of it. Meg McGill, the recently fired CEO and champion of Harrison-Keyes’ e-publishing strategy, was replaced by William Guardo who is a supporter of more traditional publishing techniques. Mr. Guardo has indicated that he is willing to give e-publishing a chance, but it will be interesting to see he can effectively lead the implementation of the e-book strategy despite his reservations about it. The next issue facing Harrison-Keyes is dealing with the loss of its foreign partner, Asia Digital Publishing. In order to expedite the implementation of the new strategy and cut costs along the way, Harrison-Keyes outsourced the task of completing the technical formatting for the e-books—the layout in terms of font, style, and graphics—to the Indian company Asia Digital Publishing. Unfortunately, a recent storm in India has put Asia Digital under five feet of water and out of business for the foreseeable future. To make matters worse, Harrison-Keyes did not develop a contingency plan in the event that Asia Digital was unable to perform its duties. Consequently, Harrison-Keyes has yet to find a way to continue the formatting of its e-books.

Another challenge that Harrison-Keyes must deal with is low employee morale and the threat of turnover. The editorial staff within the company fears that the outsourcing of the task of formatting the e-books is only the beginning, and their jobs will soon be lost in favor of less expensive foreign labor. Some editorial staffers are considering offers from rival publishing companies who are promising more job security while a few have already taken positions with other publishing companies. In addition, Harrison-Keyes’ employees appear to be unhappy with the e-publishing plan due to lack of communication with management and fear of job loss. Specifically, there appears to be confusion amongst employees with regard to job functions, the goal of the new strategy, and layoffs. Harrison-Keyes must also find a way to alter its marketing campaign that has yet to produce the desired results. Initially, the company hired a marketing consultant who recommended that the company use e-marketing techniques such as pop-ups, emails, and banner ads to promote e-books. The consultant’s marketing techniques have not lived up to expectations. It appears that the initial market research on customer adoption of the e-publishing model was wrong; consequently, Harrison-Keyes will have to develop a new marketing plan that will attract e-book buyers. The final issue for Harrison-Keyes is the fact that a few of the e-publishing departments seem to lack integration—they either do not understand the process or refuse to cooperate. The company is going to have to get the various e-publishing departments to work together in order for the strategy to be a success.

Opportunity Identification

In addition to the issues facing it, Harrison-Keyes can also create a number of opportunities for itself by successfully implementing its new strategic approach and becoming a more web-based organization (Pearce & Robinson, 2005). First, if all goes well and consumers are as interested in e-books as Harrison-Keyes anticipates, the company will be able to reclaim its position as a leader in the publishing industry. Specifically, the company predicts that in the first year it should earn $32 million which will increase to $102 million in three years. Also, by successfully implementing its e-book strategy, Harrison-Keyes will be able to expand its customer base to include virtually anyone around the globe with a computer—essentially becoming a “boundaryless” organization (Pearce & Robinson, 2005). Also, becoming a worldwide organization will stabilize the company because Harrison-Keyes will be less affected by market fluctuations in certain nations. In addition, by improving its relationship with its employees, Harrison-Keyes can create an environment conducive to becoming a top publishing company. By addressing the concerns of its workforce, particularly job security, Harrison-Keyes will be able to gain the trust and loyalty of its employees. Finally, if the new strategy is a success, the company will attract investors that can help fund new expansion efforts. Recent negative publicity will definitely have an effect on the number of people willing to invest in Harrison-Keyes; however, if the company is able to improve its performance through e-book publishing, investor confidence will improve.

Stakeholder Perspectives/Ethical Dilemmas

There are many of groups who have a vested interest in Harrison-Keyes’ predicament, first of which would be its senior leadership group. Their interest is to ensure that the company is viable and profitable while maintaining good corporate citizenship. Their ethical dilemma lies in their choice of whether or not to continue with the e-publishing strategy despite initial difficulties and sub-par profits. The e-publishing strategy was intended to make the company more profitable, but if recent performance is any indicator, e-publishing may end up costing more money than it generates. Another stakeholder within the senior leadership group is Harrison-Keyes’ CEO, William Guardo. He is not overly impressed with the company’s implementation of the e-publishing initiative, and has never been a fan of the more innovative publishing techniques. There is no doubt that he will not hesitate to scrap the e-publishing strategy if difficulties continue. The next stakeholder group would be Harrison-Keyes’ employees. This group values job security, comparable pay, fair treatment, a safe workplace, and open communication with management. Harrison-Keyes employees must determine if they want to continue working for a company who they feel is not effectively communicating the direction of the company, and may ship their jobs overseas. In other words, some employees may feel that the organizational culture and values are changing in ways that do not necessarily go along with their personal values and ethics. As a result, organizational commitment may become low, which could lead to turnover. Additionally, Harrison-Keyes’ competitors will be interested in the new strategy as well. The competition will want to know what, if anything, is Harrison-Keyes doing to create a competitive advantage. Furthermore, there are Harrison-Keyes’ customers. They must first decide if they are interested in e-books, and then decide if they want to purchase Harrison-Keyes’ e-books as opposed to other publishers who unveiled their e-books long before Harrison-Keyes. The final stakeholder group, Harrison-Keyes’ potential investors, are interested in receiving maximum value for the money they invest in the company. They must decide whether or not to invest in the publishing company, in light of recent difficulties.

Problem Definition

By resolving the issues that have arisen during the implementation of its e-publishing initiative, Harrison-Keyes will not only be able to successfully enter the e-book market, but improve profitability, ensure long-term organizational success, and facilitate worldwide expansion as well.

End-State Goals

By resolving the issues that have arisen during the implementation of its e-publishing initiative, CEO William Guardo hopes to get the e-publishing initiative on the right track towards success. Specifically the company goals include:

• Resolve all issues related to e-publishing within one month

o Find a replace for Asia Digital

o Improve employee satisfaction (95% on bi-monthly surveys)

o Develop marketing campaign that will capture target demographics

o Integrate e-publishing departments

• Earn $32 million from e-books in the first year

• Earn $102 million from e-books in three years

• Improve public perception and investor confidence


Harrison-Keyes’ current situation presents both challenges and opportunities for the organization. CEO William Guardo’s decision to continue with the e-publishing strategy shows that he can see the potential in e-books. He understands that there is a certain amount of uncertainty associated with the implementation of any new organizational strategy, and his company is simply dealing with those unforeseen circumstances. Harrison-Keyes’ challenge as an organization is to resolve the issues that have arisen in order to make its e-publishing initiative a success. If the issues cannot be resolved, the e-publishing strategy should be abandoned before any more company resources are expended; however, if successful, Harrison-Keyes will be able to regain its position as a leading publishing company.


Gray, C., & Larson, E. (2006). Project Management: The managerial process, 3rd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pearce, J., & Robinson, R. (2005). Strategic management: Formulation, implementation, and control. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wikipedia. (2006). Initial Public Offerings. Retrieved February 25, 2006, from .

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