Case | HBS Case Collection | March 1996

Ernst & Young United Kingdom (A) (Abridged)

by John J. Gabarro and Samantha Graff


Intended to be a robust example of the challenges encountered during the early stages of a large-scale organizational transformation effort in a professional service firm. Describes a massive change program initiated and led by the new managing partner along with a small group of firm leaders. The first half outlines the conceptual phase, the process of obtaining firm-wide "buy-in" to the idea of change, and the launching of 10 change initiatives. The second half explores three challenges identified by the change leadership that they intended to address in the coming year. The first concerned the organization of the London office (which accounted for over half of the firm's revenues and professionals). The London office's large size and functional structure seemed to be impeding its ability to position itself effectively vis-a-vis its market and to pinpoint internal lines of accountability. The second problem was the increasingly frequent feedback that many people were overwhelmed by the number of change initiatives or were confused by how the initiatives related to one another. There was a general call for the change leadership to offer a clearer vision.

Keywords: Change Management; Leading Change; Management Teams; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Restructuring; Problems and Challenges; United Kingdom; London;


Gabarro, John J., and Samantha Graff. "Ernst & Young United Kingdom (A) (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 496-049, March 1996.