JC Penney's People Strategy: Setting the Right Climate for Human Resource Development

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR274
Case Length : 16 pages
Period : 2004-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : JC Penney Corporation, Inc.
Countries : USA

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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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Background Note

The origin of JCP can be traced back to The Golden Rule (TGR), a dry goods and clothing store, in Kemmerer, Wyoming, set up in 1902 by James Cash Penney (Penney)...

The Need for a Change in Culture

On October 27, 2004, JCP announced that Ullman would succeed Questrom as chairman and CEO of JCP on December 1, 2004.

Ullman was chosen ahead of Castagna due to what Questrom described as his "superior record of success in retailing" and the leadership that he had demonstrated at Macy's, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and the DFS Group (Duty Free Shoppers). The management at JCP expected Ullman to take JCP to the next level...

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Changing a Century-Old Culture a Big Challenge

However, analysts felt that the challenge before Ullman was immense. New blood had to be infused in JCP without the existing employees being alienated. The organizational culture at Penney had not changed much since the time of its founder Penney...

Intitiatives Taken by JCP

Though Ullman had rich experience in the industry, he desisted from introducing sweeping changes at JCP based on what he thought was right.

For the first few months, he patiently listened to the employees. He also looked outside for ideas.

He talked with people who had led turnarounds in other companies and even sent a team to International Business Machines Corp (IBM)...

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