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Susan De Passe Case Study

Essay by   •  October 21, 2015  •  Case Study  •  1,922 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,740 Views

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary 2

Problem (issue) statement 3

Data Analysis 5

Key Decision Criteria 7

Alternatives Analysis 8

Recommendations 9

Action and implementation Plan 9

Exhibits 9

Executive Summary

In this case study we evaluated the effectiveness of Suzanne de Passe current leadership style while simultaneously analyzing alternatives and recommendations that would ultimately change the operational structure and profitability of Motown Productions. (Exhibit 1)

Suzanne de Passe President of Motown Productions (MP) having gained recognition for her leadership in business and the arts was honored as woman of the year. Although, filled with enthusiasm and great joy she realized that she was faced with a daunting task of steering this celebrated company into a new era of diversification and rapid growth without losing the “Motown Mystique”

The Problem Statement gives an overview of the challenges facing Suzanne de Passé in her effort to diversify Motown Productions into other markets.

In the Data Analysis section we looked at Motown’s history and operational structure to determine the strategic direction the company would need to take to adapt to the rapidly growing Industry of television and movies.

We determined the Key Decision Criteria to be de Passe’s style of leadership needed to change to adapt to the shifting needs of the company.

The Alternative Analysis looks at the advantages and disadvantages of the key decision criteria verses the alternative analysis.

After review of the alternative analysis, we recommend that she change her leadership style in order to be successful in diversifying the company.

The Action and Implementation plan, details how we put our recommendation into action.

Problem (issue) statement

As president of Motown Productions, Suzanne de Passe was able to produce and went on to win two Emmy awards for a number of highly acclaimed productions, particularly Motown 25: Yesterday, Today and Forever, and Motown returns to the Apollo Her accomplishments lead to her being recognized for her talent as a producer. She also gained recognition for successfully rebuilding the reputation of Motown Productions.

Filled with enthusiasm and great joy after receiving such an auspicious award, she realized that she faced a daunting year of challenges as she had the task of leading her Company through a transitional period. She recognized that if Motown Productions was to become a major power in independent productions, they would have to quickly grow and live up to a number of commitments. The increased growth and new opportunities presented several challenges for de Passe as Motown’s leader. Her company’s operational structure was not conducive to the rapid growth and new opportunities presenting themselves. They had to move from single productions to being able to maintain a multiple range of productions simultaneously and develop new projects. Key timing and a smooth transition would prove crucial for Motown Productions.

The problem touches on a number of related functional areas, namely, operational structure and processes, financing, and human resources. The company’s operational structure was not conducive to the rapid growth and new era of diversification that the changing industry environment was providing. To execute this task, she would have to weather the company through the following issues which encompassed;

• Diversifying the company into other markets such as television, cable and the movies.

• Separating the Executives to work on multiple productions as opposed to working on one production at a time as a team.

• Maintaining the strong bond between the present team and the newly hired executive team. Noting that family like unity would increase productivity.

• Ensuring quality and the ability to produce multiple productions concurrently, opposed to a single production as in the previous years.

• Maintaining her ability to lead as president of the Company and be a producer with the numerous changes taking place.

Data Analysis

Over time, Suzanne de Passe built a reputation in the record industry for spotting and developing talent. She became legendary and her assessments of artists highly valued, making de Passe undertakings during the 1970’s one of the successes for Motown. It was during that same period when producers and musicians who had gained critical acclaim under Motown were leaving Gordy’s label under dire circumstances for greater financial gain and creative freedom at other record companies. Shortly thereafter, during the early 1980’s there was a general slump in the record industry, which further hurt Motown’s musical division.

In the late 1960’s Gordy’s interest was now directed to movie and television opposed to the record business. He was resolute in expanding to the production of the film industry with first rate films. Once again, 1980 Gordy again looked to de Passe to take over Motown’s failing production interests, due to her un-deniable success with the record label. He gave her free reign hoping she would be able to turn their losses into gains. De Passe was open minded and optimistic that she could turn the company around, as she saw its hidden potential, similar to that of the record business. She took on the task assigned by Gordy, and restructured Motown Productions and went on to become an independent subsidiary with a $10 million budget. This phenomena achievement gained de Passe the title of President.

With this new undertaking, Suzanne knew that her leadership skills would be stretched and tested, as there were many decisions to be made in turning around the Company. The first decision being staffing; she had a big budget and was at liberty to hire popular known producers from the outside that would provide an immediate boost, however she decided to start small and build her staff slowly.

She looked to previous Motown employee with minimal or no industry experience to join her at Motown Productions. She did this primarily



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