MSLO Case Study

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Institution of Learning


  1. To what extent do you think Dan Dienst was facing a crisis leadership situation when he was appointed the CEO of the Martha Stewart Company?

Thecrisis leadership situation that Dan Dienst was facing was to a bigextent because he was appointed as CEO of the Martha Stewart Companyat a time when it was facing some lawsuit problems from competitorslike Macy’s and J.C. Penny Co. The extent of his crisis stemmedfrom the fact that in the last ten years before his appointment, thecompany had six different CEOs. This is attributed to their fallingout with the founder, Martha Stewart. Consequently, the company hadalso been faced with the departures of other senior executivesleaving it in a leadership crisis. The financial deficits the companywas facing increased the extent of this crisis leadership situation.

  1. So what leadership steps should Dienst take to begin “rolling up his sleeves? ”

Tobegin ‘rolling up his sleeves’ Dienst should take the followingleadership steps: first, he should understand the context he isworking in. This involves understanding the company’s culture,strategy and structure, knowing his management team and otheremployees, and getting to know the customers. Next, he should observethe physical aspects of the company to analyze what is working, whatis not and what needs to be changed before he can settle to work. Thethird step is to exert his influence. This is by setting some groundrules and engaging with the staff so they can get to know him and howhe intends to run the company. He should begin rebuilding hismanagement team at this step.

  1. What steps do you recommend that Dienst take to avoid becoming another senior executive who departs the company?

Toavoid departing the company, Dienst should first consider buildingsupport from the company’s founder and non-executive chairman,Martha Stewart. He can do this by engaging with her on a personallevel so that she can understand him as a person and his policies.Next, he should inquire from her if she approves of his intendedaction plan before he begins implementing it. This will avoid futureclashes. Then, he should seek support from the other staff bybuilding a relationship with them. After being assured of supportfrom all stakeholders, the last step is to ensure he understandseverything about the company’s policies, culture and strategies toensure he does not contradict anything MSLO stands for. By doingthis, he will prove to all stakeholders that he is different from allthe other six CEOs before him.

  1. What situational factors might make running a media and merchandise business quite different from running a metal recycling company?

Runninga media and merchandise business is different from running a metalrecycling company because of the environment around. A metalrecycling company cannot operate near schools, hospitals and crowdedplaces due to pollution unlike a media company. The new CEO of MSLOhas to contend with running a company near people. This is anothersituational difference since Dienst has to ensure he maintains theimage of the company to avoid criticism from the people around them.A media company is more likely to breed controversy since it operatesin the spotlight while a metal company is considered to be ‘underthe radar.’ This means that the metal company is not under thewatch of the public eye like a media company.

  1. Based on current media reports, how success-full has Dienst been in turning around MSLO?

Diensthas been hugely successful in turning around MSLO according tocurrent media reports. This success can be attributed to the factthat he reduced the staff leading to cut costs. He also eliminated‘cumbersome internal hierarchies’ as quoted by Szalai Georg inThe Hollywood Reporter (2014). He ferociously protected andinvested in the company’s brand. He managed to save the companyfrom external distractions, particularly in relation to settlingdisputes with their competitors, J.C. Penny and Macy’s. He referredto these companies as ‘esteemed partners’ proving to besuccessful at diplomacy. He also increased digital revenueopportunities and help the company recover from making loses toregistering increased profitability.


Szalai,Georg. &quotMartha Stewart Living CEO: Company`s Best Years AreStill Ahead.&quot The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., 25 Feb.2014. Web. 29 Mar. 2017.