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Growing Pains at Stroz Friedberg Abridged Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
739 2094 Words (8 Pages) David A. Garvin, Michael Norris Harvard Business School : 313023
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In late spring of 2009, the co-presidents at Stroz Friedberg had to establish the growth targets of the company for the year 2010. The Stroz Friedberg is a worldwide leading consulting firm. The company had specialized in managing digital risk and uncovering digital evidence and had been very successful in growing its operations in recent years. The CFO of the firm and the two presidents believed that the company could be raised from $58 million to $72 million.

The company is faced with the major problems of organizational structure, lack of responsibilities among its employees and no sense of direction regarding the company goals. To overcome all these problems, the company had a few alternatives at hand. For instance, Stroz Friedberg could have focused on only one section of the company, in this case, e-discovery. On the other hand, the company could have opted for external consultancy, i.e. partnering with a similar company in the industry for optimal resource utilization to its own goals. However, it is recommended that the company must follow the solution of assigning a strategic leader within its senior executive management. The idea behind the leadership is to make sure that the person is an authority with a sense of company’s problems and objectives.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution:

  1. Executive Summary

  2. Introduction and Statement of Problem

  3. Causes of the Problem

  4. Decision Criteria and Alternative Options

  5. Recommended Action Plan

Growing Pains at Stroz Friedberg Abridged Case Analysis

Introduction and Statement of Problem

Stroz Friedberg was established in the year 2000. The company is operating at an international scale, providing services in the specialized areas of digital risk management, which includes the electronic discovery, digital forensics, cybercrime response and data breach. Moreover, it also provides consultancy and advisory services in the fields of investigations and business intelligence. Many of its staff of digital forensic examiners, electronic security professionals, electronic discovery specialists, and private investigators joined Stroz Friedberg following careers in law enforcement, the intelligence community, and consulting.

To start with, Stroz Friedberg is faced with three main problems. First of all, the company is trying to increase its revenue to $72 million. However, the company has not certain direction to achieve this goal of company growth. Similarly, office management at the company does not comprehend the main purpose of the new strategic plans set out by the top management. The managers are confused about their roles and responsibilities in helping the company to achieve its goals. Lastly, the company is at the danger of losing corporate control in the long run. This means that the top management is losing its influence on the employees, who are lower in the hierarchy.

Causes of the Problem

The company was not being able to achieve its goals because the managers failed to identify the exact needs and goals set out by the senior management. The operating officers did not understand the ideas and goals established by their senior officers. This was due to the fact that the company did not have any proper communication channel to convey messages effectively down the hierarchy. This can be further seen by the scenario that newly hired staff was appointed to work immediately without any proper guidelines and work orientation. Hence, the staff failed to understand the functioning of the company and their role in achieving the goals of the company.

Secondly, the company was focusing towards achieving the sole goal of company growth. However, the company did not seem to comprehend the underlying ideas that lead to the growth. Therefore, it can be said that the Stroz Friedberg mistakenly assumed the growth as an independent goal. Several management theories establish the fact that myriad internal and external factors lead to the accomplishment of growth and not the other way around. The company lacked the main focus, which should have been clarifying and amending other problems that lead to the growth of the company. Senior management did not realize the root-cause that was hindering in the growth of Stroz Friedberg.

However, it is necessary to mention that to succeed in the future, the company must solve the most major problem of providing a solid and clear structure of the organizational processes. If the company does not gather its influence and control back, then it is likely that the company will be doomed in the near future. Catering to this problem will benefit the company in the long run as much as the short term problems faced by the company.

Decision Criteria and Alternative Options

In the overall situation, the company is doing well operationally as well as strategically in the industry. It will not be wrong to assume that care to motivate employees to achieve the aggressive goals of the company will be beneficial. Company has following alternative solutions upon which it can base its decisions to overcome the problems faced at the moment.

One possible solution at the disposal of the company is to supplement the large potential of EDG acquisition. If following e-discovery would generate more revenue than the digital forensic than the company must pursue in targeting e-discovery acquisition to bring the target.

The main advantage of doing so is that it will help the employees to feel more motivated as the goal of achieving $72 million will feel more realistic and accomplishable. Moreover, this will enable the employees at managerial positions in understanding their defined roles. Under this scheme, managers will be able to get the employees at lower levels to act in an effective manner aligned with the goals of the company. To get employees attention, a good manger can revise a colored crisis or a sense of urgency.

However, the solution does pose significant disadvantages to the company, as well. For instance, steering the company into the suggested direction will force the company to lay off its employees to a certain extent. This will pass on a fear and dreadful message to the work force, resulting in their poor performance and lack of motivation. Moreover, it will distract the employees from the work flow and process of achieving objectives. It will trigger a strong wake up call to get employees to face the situation in a negative manner. However, once the employees start to get engaged, management can cover up the bridge between superiors and subordinates by running company-wide presentations, providing regular updates about the company’s new strategic moves. This will be time consuming in terms of implementation and getting back the confidence of employee after the lay off period. Moreover, it may not have the proportionate effect on the cost savings of the company that leads to increase in revenue to achieve $72 million goal.

On the other hand, to steer the company out of the problem, Stroz Friedberg has an option to assign a superior senior manager as a strategic leader. The appointed leader must be an influential person, who will be respected by all employees in the company. The main purpose of the selected leader will be to lead the workforce from the front. The person must have an exemplary and charismatic personality.

The main advantage of going with this solution is that the company can assign a member of executive management this responsibility, as the assigned leader will have the best knowledge and understanding of the company’s structures and processes. In addition to that, the leader will be appointed from within the company which will save extra time and costs from external hiring. It is important for the company to understand that retaining talent is very crucial as the industry is growing in terms of competition. 

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