Title

Cultural Transformation at Microsoft IT India: Too Fast or Just Right?

Publication Type

Case

Year Completed

1-2015

Abstract

This case is set in February 2014, at the Microsoft IT India headquarters in Hyderabad. This is the largest centre of Microsoft IT (“MSIT”) outside of Redmond, Washington, US, and the offshore arm of the Microsoft IT Engineering Divisions.

In 2010, when Raj Biyani, the managing director of Microsoft IT India, took over Microsoft IT India’s operations in Hyderabad, he found that the employee morale was low and the attrition was on the rise. The polls showed that employees were frustrated as they had very little control over the work they did. Moreover, they had to wait for tasks to be assigned on a project-by-project basis from teams in the Redmond, US headquarters. To manage this situation, Biyani spearheaded an initiative to develop the organisation into a Regional Talent Hub (RTH). This model was implemented in January 2013, and brought together engineering resources into a shared pool. All employees were combined under the leadership of three discipline leads who reported directly to Biyani.

When Apreeta Singh, the director of human resources at Microsoft IT India, was recruited in mid-2013 to join the organisation, the RTH model was well underway. The Redmond stakeholders, who had initially been sceptical about it, were now far more supportive, and internally, the employees at Microsoft IT India were clearly happier. But Biyani was not satisfied. He envisioned a more ambitious and aspirational agenda for Microsoft IT India. He wanted to transform the culture of the organisation – from one that was good at adding value by executing orders well – to one that comprised “game-changers”, who thought and acted in an empowered manner.

In October 2013, Biyani and Singh embarked on a cultural transformation project, and as a first step conducted an internal assessment of the culture within Microsoft IT India. The results showed that the employees were very competitive, hindering collaboration and creating inefficiencies. Biyani felt the time was right to work on the feedback received, and push the transformation process through while the momentum of change was still strong. However, Singh was not convinced about either the timing, or the pace, as she believed that the organisation had yet to settle down given the massive restructuring it had undergone over the past couple of years.

Was this really the right time for an organisational culture change at Microsoft IT India? And if so, what would be the right path, and pace, to make this change?

This case focuses on the key challenges associated with organisational transformation, and in particular, organisational culture. The aim of the case is to apprise the students of the dynamics and difficulties in changing the culture of an organisation - and the importance of getting the timing and pace of change right.

Keyword(s)

India, Cultural transformation, change management, restructuring, talent management, leadership, localisation, human resources, HR, human resources strategy, HR strategy, organisational culture

Discipline

Asian Studies | Human Resources Management | Organizational Behavior and Theory | Technology and Innovation

Data Source

Field Research

Industry

Information technology

Geographic Coverage

India

Temporal Coverage

2010-2014

Education Level

Executive Education; Postgraduate; Undergraduate

Publisher

Singapore Management University

Case ID

SMU-14-0033

Comments

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