Case Overview2 Essay Example

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Social Cultural Incompatibility at Time Inc

Case study

Dismissal of Time Inc CEO due cultural incompatibility

As reported in The Washington Post, Jack Griffin, the CEO of Time Inc was sacked on 17th February 2010 after six months of service where he had replaced Anne Moore who retired after working with the company for over thirty years (Bradt 2011). The owners, Time Warner, stated that «Although Jack is an extremely accomplished executive, I [the chairman] concluded that his leadership style and approach did not mesh with Time Inc and Time Warner (Kurtz 2011).» Prior to joining Time Inc. Griffin had served as CEO with Meredith Corp, a competitor to Time Inc’s magazine publishing business (Adams and Schuker 2011). At Meredith Corp he turned the firm to remarkable profitability.

Early into his appointment, Griffin brought in external consultants to aid his strategic plans. He also reshuffled the top executives and reorganized the management structure (Chief Executive Group 2011). His independent decision making contrasted group decision-making he found at the firm. In 2010, the company reported slight growth in its revenue.

Time Inc is global publisher of magazines with strong brands such as Time Magazine, People, Sports Illustrated and People Style Watch (Time Inc, 2011). The company is owned by Time Warner that is headed by Jeff Bewkes as Chairman and CEO.

Statement of Relevance

The case illustrates existence of organizational culture, its nature, layers, cognition, variation and cultural clustering. It further discusses cultural distance, costs of foreignness and its effect in doing business.


This is a case of cultural conflict in an organisation which fails four of every ten externally-sourced top executives within eighteen months (Thomas 2011). Time Inc’s social orientation tended towards collectivism by encouraging group decision-making by its top leadership (Hofstede 1997) whereas Griffin’s style of independent decisions was individualism (Bradt 2011). Having tried radical reforms at Meredith Corp, Griffin accepts uncertainty whereas Time Inc having built stable business structures avoids uncertainty. Based on time orientation, Griffin’s timeframe was short since in six months he had initiated reorganization of the corporate structure by reshuffling top executives; conversely, Time Inc had not changed their CEO in a long time with Griffin’s predecessor having risen through the ranks internally (Bradt 2011). From the perspective of goal orientation, Griffin’s style was tough and keen on replicating his radical strategies whereas Time Inc’s culture valued strong relationship built across the organization to be preserved (Hofstede 1997). As Griffin continued with his individualistic style, this resulted in moral exclusion of his colleagues (Adams and Schucker 2011)

Griffin and his predecessor Anne Moore belong in Anglo-cultural cluster as Americans without psychic distance of geography or politics (House et al 2004). The cultural foreignness of Griffin incurred Time Inc an administration cost since with untimely dismissal he had to be compensated fully. Some of Griffin’s initiatives had some indirect cost too. Some top executives in Griffin’s team experienced some stress since they were bothered by the recommendations of external consultants engaged by Griffin (Chief Executive Group 2011).

List of References

Adams, R. & Lauren, S. (2011) Time Inc. CEO ousted after Six Months, Wall Street Journal. [online] Available from: <> [6 April 2011]

Bradt, G. (2011) Timeless Lessons from Time Inc: How Griffin set the stage for his own ouster,

Washington Post, March 1, 2011. [online] Available from: <> [6 April 2011]

Chief Executive Group, (2011) Questions Raised by the Firing of Jack Griffin at Time, Feb. 21, 2011. [online] Available from: <> [6 April 2011]

Hofstede, G. (1997) Cultures and organizations: software of the mind. London: Mc Graw Hill.

House, R. et al., (2004) Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. Sage Publications.

Kurtz, H. (2011) Jack Griffin Out: Inside Time’s CEO Debacle, The Daily Beast,

February 18, 2011. [online] Available from: <>

Thomas, R. (2011) A Lesson at Time Inc: How Long Do We Keep Those Out of Touch With the Culture? TLNT, Feb 22, 2011. [online] Available from: <> [6 April 2011]

Time Inc, (2011) Trusted Journalism, the Best Brands in the Business. [online]

Available from: <> [6 April 2011]