Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2012 (Revised August 2014)

Cisco in 2012: Reorganizing for Efficiency and Flexibility

by Ranjay Gulati, Alison Berkley Wagonfeld and Luciana Silvestri


In 2012, Cisco was under intense pressure to show results: growth in its core business was decelerating and a number of exploratory ventures and acquisitions had not proven as profitable as expected. CEO John Chambers vowed to restore the company's health in a way that would support the agility and entrepreneurial mindset required to be successful in emerging sectors while continuing to achieve efficiency and profitability in Cisco's core business. In a world where technologies and customer segments were rapidly evolving, Cisco executives realized that their emphasis on working collaboratively through councils and boards (the company's staple organizational structure in the 2000s) might be impacting Cisco's ability to be nimble and responsive. This case explores these challenges and Cisco's strategic and organizational response, with a particular focus on Cisco's comprehensive restructuring.

Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Restructuring; Adaptation; Performance Efficiency; Emerging Markets; Information Technology Industry;


Gulati, Ranjay, Alison Berkley Wagonfeld, and Luciana Silvestri. "Cisco in 2012: Reorganizing for Efficiency and Flexibility." Harvard Business School Case 413-069, November 2012. (Revised August 2014.)