Banning Flexible Work Options: Yahoo's New Controversial HR Policy

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Case Details:


Case Code : HROB162 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Human Resource Policy / Organizational Culture/ Change Management
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 2012-2013
Organization : Yahoo!, Inc.
Pub Date : 2013
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : Global
Industry : Information Technology


This case is about a new HR Policy initiative started by Marissa Mayer (Mayer) at Yahoo!, Inc. (Yahoo) shortly after she joined the company. Yahoo was plagued with many problems and lost its dominance in internet services. Yahoo's board appointed former executive at Google, Inc., Mayer, as the new CEO of Yahoo and assigned her the task of reviving the company's fortunes. As soon as she took over as the CEO of Yahoo, Mayer started to focus on changing the culture at Yahoo as a major strategy to turn around the company and make it competitive again.

Human Resource and Organization Behavior | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Human Resource and Organization Behavior, Case Studies

One of the new HR policies she implemented was cancelling the work from home option for Yahoo’s employees. The new HR policy was severely criticized by both analysts and employees of Yahoo on the grounds that it would take away the flexibility enjoyed by its employees. Some analysts even said that this new HR policy could have negative results on a company which was looking to hire more talented people. But Mayer defended the new HR policy saying that it was necessary given the present condition of the organization.


Discuss and debate the pros and cons of Yahoo's new HR policy which banned the work from home option for all its employees.
Analyze the reasons which led to Yahoo implementing the new HR policy asking all its employees to work from their offices.
Understand issues and concepts related to work-life balance and how HR policies can be formulated to support work-life balance.
Appreciate the importance of culture for the long term success of companies.
Understand the link between an organization's culture and its business strategy.
Suggest future initiatives that should be followed by the HR team at Yahoo.


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Yahoo Gets a Fifth CEO in Five Years 4
Addressing Issues Related to Organizational Culture 4
Yahoo Bans Work From Home 6
Yahoo Defends its New Policy 7
Looking Ahead 8
Exhibits 9

Key Words:

HR policy; Flexible work options; Work-life balance; Organizational culture; Culture of innovation; Geek creed; Motivation; Strategic change management; Leadership; Talent management; Four Cs strategy to nurture talent; Process, Bureaucracy, and Jams or PB&J; Performance measurement; Goal metrics; Yahoo

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