Select Page

Instructions
Cases should be 2-3 pages in length and include a one-page summary and review of the case prior to answering any and all discussion or review questions. The case summary is meant to inform the reader of what the case was about and and what the main themes and points of the case were. 
The subsequent one to two pages should focus on answering the questions posed, including personal insight, example, and opinions, This should be done in the same style and format as your first page summary. The questions themselves should not be included.
*****Find the case study and questions attached*****

Planning a New Program Launch at LDCClosing Case

“P
am” (a disguised name but a real
person) was director of training at
a large, Midwestern training com-
pany—Leadership Development Center
(LDC). One of Pam’s responsibilities

was to plan the launch of LDC’s new training pro-
grams. The company had a reputation for excellent
programs targeted at mid-level managers. However,
LDC’s top executives felt that the company should
offer more training programs for senior executives,
arguing that if senior executives personally experi-
enced the quality of the firm’s training, they would be
more likely to recommend and approve training
requests for their mid-level managers.

Pam discussed the program objectives for the new
Senior Executive Leadership Program with her boss and
her peers. Some thought the program should be a “loss
leader” or in other words, that it should lose money but
pay for itself by generating more participants for LDC’s
mid-level managerial programs. Others thought that the
new program should break even financially. Everyone
agreed, however, that the program should be of suffi-
cient quality that participants would have a very favor-
able impression of LDC. As a result, they would be more
likely to encourage their employees to attend LDC pro-
grams and approve their requests to do so.

Pam determined that the program’s success would be
measured in three ways. First, the number of participants
taking the first program would be monitored. Pam calcu-
lated it would take about 18 participants for the program
to break even financially. Second, she would survey all par-
ticipants regarding their satisfaction with the program, its
content, materials, facilities, administration, and instruc-
tors. Finally, LDC would track the number of mid-level
managers from the companies of those attending the
senior executive program to determine if there was an
increased participation level over time.

In launching the program, Pam examined the past
marketing costs of other new programs. Previous new
launches had cost about $30,000 in brochure and mailing
expenses. She expected that an extra $5,000 ought to be
enough to launch the new senior executive program.

The current budget did not anticipate the launch of
the senior executive program, but another program in
marketing had been cancelled. Consequently, $20,000
remained in the budget for that program, which Pam
thought she could spend on the new senior executive
program. In addition, she thought she could access
$15,000 from the general contingency budget of
$30,000.

One of the first things she needed to do was to talk to
LDC’s possible instructors and select a “faculty director.”

This person would design the specific content of the pro-
gram and coordinate the other instructors along with the
content of their training efforts. After the faculty director
was chosen, the program would need to be designed
and, based on the design, a brochure created. She esti-
mated that the program design would require about three
weeks and that the development of the brochures would
take an additional two weeks. Printing the brochures
would require four days, and assembling them for mailing
would take another three days. Delivery of the mailed
brochures would take about a week. Normally, LDC
allowed about 12 weeks between the time people
received brochures and the due date for their program
applications. In general, program applications were due
(along with the program fees) three weeks before the
start of the program. Two weeks before the program
starts, all materials (handouts, notebooks, etc.) would
need to be assembled.

Pam had two people who reported directly to her
and could assist in the implementation of the plan.
Tammy would be responsible for contacting the
brochure design firm and the printing company and
ensuring that the brochure would be ready on time. In
addition, she would secure the mailing list and arrange
for an outside contractor to stuff the envelopes with
brochures for mailing. Dan would be responsible for
venue details. LDC had its own training facilities and
had contracts with several nearby hotels for lodging
arrangements. Dan would also be responsible for the
assembly of all training materials, which required
obtaining the handouts and other materials from the
instructors on time.

As the plan was put into action, everything seemed
to go fine. A faculty member was selected to be the fac-
ulty director, and the program design and content were
ready in two rather than the anticipated three weeks.
The outside design firm quickly produced a brochure
that with a few modifications was ready for mailing.
Tammy obtained several mailing lists that had the names
of senior executives in medium-to-large companies. The
mailing was sent out about five days early.

Inquiries regarding the program were 100 percent
higher than those for other new programs LDC had
launched in the past. However, as the program’s start
date drew nearer, the ratio of inquiries to registrations
was not good. Traditionally, one in ten people who con-
tacted LDC for further information regarding a particular
program ended up registering for it. However, eight
weeks before the program’s start, the inquiry to registra-
tion ratio was 100 to 1 (not 10 to 1). Four weeks before
the start of the program, only ten had signed up. Pam
was stressed about what she should do.

129

Questions
1. What adjustments would you make at this point?

Would you cancel the program or run it at a loss?
2. Draw a Gantt chart of the sequence and timing of

key activities. What insights does this give you
regarding the plan and its implementation?

3. What do you think went wrong? What do you see
as the strengths and weaknesses of the planning
process used in this case?

4. LDC seemed to follow a planning process that had
worked well for its mid-level managerial programs.
Are there differences between senior executives and
mid-level managers that might explain why the plan
did not seem as successful as anticipated? Could
these differences have been anticipated? Should
they have been?

130

References
1. R. Adner and P. Zemsky, “A Demand-based Perspective on

Sustainable Competitive Advantage,” Strategic Management
Journal 27 (2006): 215–239; J. A. Pearce III, “How Companies
Can Preserve Market Dominance after Patents Expire,” Long
Range Planning 39 (2006): 71–87.

2. M. A. Hitt, L. Bierman, K. Uhlenbruck, and K. Shimizu,
“The Importance of Resources in the Internationalization of
Professional Service Firms: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,”
Academy of Management Journal 49 (2006): 1137–1157;
M. A. Hitt, L. Bierman, K. Shimizu, and R. Kochhar, “Direct
and Moderating Effects of Human Capital on Strategy and
Performance in Human Service Firms: A Resource-based
Perspective,” Academy of Management Journal 44 (2001):
13–28.

3. M. Forsythe, “How GE Helps China Build Business Leaders.”
BusinessWeek, May 16. 2010, 24–25.

4. “Largest U.S. Corporations.” Fortune, May 3, 2010, F-1–F-27.
5. M. A. Hitt, R. D. Ireland, and R. E. Hoskisson, Strategic

Management: Competitiveness and Globalization (Cincinnati:
South-Western Publishing Co., 2011).

6. G. S. Yip, A. M. Rugman, and A. Kudina, “International
Success of British Companies,” Long Range Planning
39 (2006): 241–264.

7. H. E. Hodges and T. W. Kent, “Impact of Planning and Control
Sophistication in Small Business,” Journal of Small Business
Strategy 17 (2006/2007): 75–87.

8. G. Colvin, “On the Hot Seat,” Fortune, December 11, 2006, 75–82.
9. A. Burke, S. Fraser, and F. J. Greene, “The Multiple Effects of

Business Planning on New Venture Performance.” Journal of
Management Studies 47 (2010): 391–415.

10. V. F. Misangyi, H. Elms, T. Greckhamer, and J. A. LePine,
“A New Perspective on a Fundamental Debate: A Multilevel
Approach to Industry, Corporate, and Business Unit Effects,”
Strategic Management Journal 27 (2006): 571–590.

11. R. Van Wingerden, “Managing Change,” International Journal
of Technology Management 21, nos. 5, 6 (2001): 487–95.

12. O. Sorenson, S. McEvily, C. R. Ren, and R. Roy, “Niche Width
Revisited: Organizational Scope, Behavior, and Performance,”
Strategic Management Journal 27 (2006): 915–936.

13. P. Jarzabkowski and J. Balogun, “The Practice and Process of
Delivering Integration through Strategic Planning,” Journal
of Management Studies 46 (2009):1255–1288; D. Rheault,
“Freshening Up Strategic Planning: More than Fill-in-the-Blanks,”
Journal of Business Strategy 24, no. 6 (2003): 33–38.

14. G. Dowell, “Product Line Strategies of New Entrants in an
Established Industry: Evidence from the U.S. Bicycle Industry,”
Strategic Management Journal 27 (2006): 959–979.

15. J. E. Mathieu and W. Schulze, “The Influence of Team Knowledge
and Formal Plans on Episodic Team Process-Performance
Relationships,” Academy of Management Journal 49 (2006):
605–619.

16. J. Carnillus, “Reinventing Strategic Planning,” Strategy and
Leadership (May–June 1996): 6–12.

17. J. Block, “Family Management, Family Ownership and
Downsizing: Evidence from S&P 500 Firms,” Family Business
Review 23 (2010): 109–130.

18. Company Web site, “Ethisphere Names Best Buy to 2010 List of
World’s Most Ethical Companies,” http://www.bestbuy.com,
accessed March 24, 2010.

19. “Best Buy,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Buy,
May 19, 2010.

20. M. A. Peteraf and M. E. Bergen, “Scanning Dynamic Competitive
Landscapes: A Market-based and Resource-based Framework,”
Strategic Management Journal 24 (2003): 1027–1041;
M. D. Watkins and M. H. Bazerman, “Predictable Surprises:
The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming,” Harvard Business
Review 81, no. 3 (2003): 72–80.

21. E. A. Boyd and I. O. Bilegan, “Revenue Management and
E-commerce,” Management Science 49 (2003): 1363–1386;
M. Spann and B. Skiera, “Internet-based Virtual Stock Markets for
Business Forecasting,” Management Science 49 (2003):
1310–1326.

22. P. Navarro and P. Bromiley, “Business Cycle Management
and Firm Performance,” Journal of Strategy and Management 3
(2010): 50–71.

23. U. Lichtenthaler, “Absorptive Capacity, Environmental
Turbulence, and the Complementarity of Organizational
Learning Processes,” Academy of Management Journal
52(2009): 822–846.

24. V. H. Hoffman, T. Trautmannand, and J. Hamprecht,
“Regulatory Uncertainty: A Reason to Postpone Investments?
Not Necessarily,” Journal of Management Studies 46 (2009):
1224–1253; E. M. Reid and M. W. Toffel, “Responding to Public
and Private Politics: Corporate Disclosure of Climate Change
Strategies,” Strategic Management Journal 30 (2009): 1157–1178.

25. J. A. Zuniga-Vicente and J. D. Vicente-Lorente, “Strategic
Moves and Organizational Survival in Turbulent Environments:
The Case of Spanish Banks (1983–1997),” Journal of
Management Studies 43 (2006): 485–519.

26. A. S. Cui, D. A. Griffith, S. T. Cavusgil, and M. Dabic,
“The Influence of Market and Cultural Environmental Factors
on Technology Transfer between Foreign MNCs and Local
Subsidiaries: A Croatian Illustration,” Journal of World Business
41 (2006): 100–111.

http://www.bestbuy.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best_Buy