Island Learning Systems Ben Garrison: CEO

5 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2009

See all articles by Alexander Horniman

Alexander Horniman

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


The key figure in the case has been CEO for several years. The organization has improved over that time. The CEO has received very negative feedback from an employee attitude survey. What does he do with the information? What does his board do?



Rev. Nov. 11, 2011

Island Learning Systems

Ben Garrison: CEO

Ben Garrison remembered when the idea for an employee attitude survey had first come up, and he had thought it was a good idea. After all, Island Learning Systems was a New Zealand enterprise committed to learning and education, and an attitude survey could certainly provide a learning opportunity.

Garrison had joined Island Learning Systems in 1993. As the new CEO he discovered an organization that was lacking in focus and was “in the red” financially. During the next seven years, Garrison had seen the organization gain perspective, grow in terms of clients served, and become profitable. There had been hard times and numerous challenges, but Garrison had always stepped up and taken charge. See Exhibit 1 for the organizational structure.

Garrison was a “take charge” kind of person. If things needed to be done, Garrison saw to it that they got done. This was not always easy because the funding sources and the operational requirements frequently imposed change demands that had to be dealt with in very short time frames. Sometimes actions had to take place with inadequate or no explanations, and yet the organization had survived and, by the usual external criteria, had done well.

This background of change, turmoil, and apparent success made the results of the attitude survey difficult for Garrison to understand. The survey results were presented in three sections. The first section, entitled Your Organization, reflected the employees' views of Garrison and senior leadership issues (Exhibit 2). The second section, Your Job, reflected the employees' views of their jobs as they fit into Island Learning Systems (Exhibit 3). The third section, Your Manager/Team Leader, had to do with how the employees viewed their immediate managers or team leaders (Exhibit 4).

. . .

Keywords: leadership, survey feedback, change, style, development, appraisal

Suggested Citation

Horniman, Alexander, Island Learning Systems Ben Garrison: CEO. Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0707, Available at SSRN:

Alexander Horniman (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


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