Rodale Press (a)

16 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2010

See all articles by Catherine Elliot

Catherine Elliot

affiliation not provided to SSRN

L. J. Bourgeois

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Marcien Jenckes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Daren Samuels

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

Maria Rodale, heir apparent to Rodale Press (Runners' World, Bicycling, Organic Gardening, Prevention Magazine) is about to begin a sabbatical to prepare herself for her as-yet-to-be-determined leadership role. She must consider several challenges: ascertaining her new job and convincing the chairman (her mother) to share power, gaining the confidence of more-experienced senior management, navigating family (shareholder) politics, and charting a new corporate direction and strategy.

Excerpt

UVA-BP-0393

Rev. May 2, 2014

RODALE PRESS (A)

Maria Rodale hung up the telephone with a look of concern on her face. It was April 15, 1996, and she was one month into her developmental leave from her family's company, Rodale Press. She had just spoken to John Griffin about her first Letter from Main Street, a monthly communication that she planned to continue over the coming year to update senior management and her family on her progress, status, and ideas (Exhibit 1). Griffin was the head of the Rodale Press magazine division. He told Maria that her letter “scared him.” It was “too abstract,” and he was worried that Maria was going to insist that the company go back to its “hippie ways,” thereby driving away advertisers and hurting the business.

Concerned that he had missed the point, Maria explained that she was not trying to recreate the past, but rather to position the company for an uncertain and rapidly changing future. She was not trying to tell him what to do, but just get people thinking. “Sometimes it is scary to think too much,” she thought to herself. She had a lot to prepare for in the coming months, and she wondered if she would be ready to lead the company from its recent success into the challenges that lay ahead.

Company History

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Keywords: change implementation, family business, leadership, power, strategy formulation

Suggested Citation

Elliot, Catherine and Bourgeois, L. Jay and Jenckes, Marcien and Samuels, Daren, Rodale Press (a). Darden Case No. UVA-BP-0393, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1583271

Catherine Elliot

affiliation not provided to SSRN

L. Jay Bourgeois (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924 -4833 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/bourgeois.htm

Marcien Jenckes

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Daren Samuels

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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