Case 7.1 Westwood Publishing
• Westwood Publishing is a magazine publishing company.
• Dan Cassidy is director of employee relations for Westwood Publishing.
• Catherine Callahan is the vice president of human resources.
• Catherine Callahan proposed that with the layoffs, offer a voluntary severance package or early retirement package.
• Westwood Publishing had never laid off anyone in the 13 years of their existence.
• Started in 1995 by Linda Bosworth with only $10,000 borrowed from her father.
• As business grew, Bosworth turned the day-to-day operations over to professional managers.
• Many of Westwood’s competitors had trimmed their workforces repeatedly after the dot-com bubble burst in early 2000.
• One-quarter of the American newspaper jobs that existed when Bosworth launched in 1995 disappeared by 2008.
• Westwood Publishing avoids the messy consolidation.
• Bosworth delivered a speech to all the Westwood employees that she outline the company’s philosophy saying that despite difficult times, she would never ask any of the employees to leave for economic reasons.
• Craig Stevens handles public relations.
• Eric Ridgway was a 25-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times, but was hired on as a favor to Bosworth’s father. He had no experience in the trade magazine business.
• CEO against the ‘voluntary’ severance package and early retirement program.
• Dan Cassidy asked Bosworth to be a part of the announcement to the employees.
• Bosworth leaving for New York the day after tomorrow for business.
• Dan Cassidy and Catherine Callahan in charge of letting all the employees know about the packages and the new plans for the company
The business problem facing management:
• Bosworth made an announcement early on in the year saying that her employees are everything to the company and she would not let them go due to economic times.
• Now the company needs to adopt new policies and when adopting these new policies, they have to unfortunately, layoff employees.
• The team of executives is trying to figure out how they should break the news to the long time employees of Westwood Publishing.
Objectives for management:
• Westwood Publishing needs to first, upgrade their technology system in order for top management to reach them more easily by email instead of in-office memos.
• Then, Dan Cassidy and all the top management, need to come in and announce to the employees, section by section or in small groups, the new plans for the company and slowly offer the severance package and early retirement programs
o Talk about the severance package and early retirement programs. Tell the employees who can take these offers and explain to them why the company had to go down this route.
• After the employees are informed, let the media know. Since this is a magazine publishing company, publish an article in the magazine, then move towards the newspapers.
• Make it known that this is not the direction that the company wanted to go down, but has do to what is best for the company to stay afloat.
Critical Issues in Order:
• Letting the employees know about the new policy that will take place.
• Offering them the severance package and early retirement program.
• Breaking the news to Ridgway, who was hired on as a favor to Bosworth’s dad.
• Figuring out how to tell the employees after Bosworth’s speech about not letting them go due to economic times.
Relevant information and underlying assumptions:
• Westwood Publishing has not laid off anyone in the 13 years of its existence.
• Bosworth is leaving for New York, while the others have to take care of business and break the news to the employees.
• Eric Ridgway would be affected by the current plan to...
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