Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2003 (Revised April 2004)

Cat is out of the Bag, The: KANA and the Layoff Gone Awry (A)

by Leslie A. Perlow and David Ager


Vicki Amon-Higa, vice president of KANA, a publicly traded, midsize development company, was working with Bryan Kettle, KANA's CFO, to plan a layoff in which KANA would reduce the size of its workforce by nearly 40%. Despite the best of intentions, news of the layoff leaked before the planned announcement. The situation quickly deteriorated as a series of irate managers called Amon-Higa, demanding to know why they weren't aware of the layoff and asking her how to handle the situation. She must quickly assess the situation, figure out what went wrong, and decide how to manage each of the company's stakeholders, including Chuck Bay, KANA's CEO.

Keywords: Crisis Management; Employees; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Problems and Challenges; Business and Stakeholder Relations; Conflict Management;


Perlow, Leslie A., and David Ager. "Cat is out of the Bag, The: KANA and the Layoff Gone Awry (A)." Harvard Business School Case 403-117, January 2003. (Revised April 2004.)