Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2014

WeaveTech: High Performance Change

by Michael Beer and Paul Swiercz

Abstract

WeaveTech, formerly Johnson-Ware, is a clothing company that produces jackets, coats, overalls, coveralls, and fire-resistant clothing for the military. A private equity firm renamed the company after it acquired Johnson-Ware several years ago. WeaveTech now faces a changing market, and its new CEO is planning to change its strategy. As part of this strategy, the CEO wants to cut the number of WeaveTech managers by 20%. He asks Frank Jennings, WeaveTeach's VP for Human Resources, to recommend how to do so. Jennings has done his best to balance these changes with the company's long history, its small-town culture, and its high-performance culture. The case presents information on the implicit lifetime employment contract, a significant change in strategic direction, and a problematic performance appraisal system. Jennings finds the decision to reduce headcount to be challenging. Is it ethical to discharge high-performing managers? Is the new strategy sound? How should Jennings respond to the managerial reduction mandate, and what should he recommend to the board?

Citation:

Beer, Michael, and Paul Swiercz. "WeaveTech: High Performance Change." Harvard Business School Brief Case 914-553, May 2014.