Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Hack Attack at Winter's Tale Publishing: The Management Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Hack Attack at Winter's Tale Publishing: The Management Perspective

Article excerpt


The case can be examined across a business program in multiple courses to provide students with a holistic approach to evaluating the ramifications of business decisions to multiple dimensions of an organization. The case can also be addressed in an individual course. Upon reading, analyzing and discussing the case from the management perspective, students should be able to:

1. Discuss appropriate actions to take in starting a business.

2. Discuss appropriate actions to take in the hiring process.

3. Evaluate the owner's approach to managing the company and his employees.

4. Recognize the problems associated with having few employees and lacking separation of duties.


The case can be taught from multiple perspectives in several different courses such as upper level marketing, business strategy, business law, management, forensic accounting/auditing, and information technology management. The course can also be taught in a capstone course containing a classroom of diverse business majors. The following case notes address the issues from the perspective of management. Case coverage should take approximately 30 to 45 minutes of course time. Senior level students may be asked to analyze and write up the case using a case analysis template such as:


Main Problem

Minor Problems (stemming from main problem)

Possible Solutions

Recommended Solution and Implementation

Recommended Precautionary Measures and Implementation (What should have been done to prevent this situation?)

A series of questions may be provided to junior level students such as the following.

1. What should John have done to get the company started?

Although John's personal experience in the publishing market led him to find a niche and marketing approach to personal publishing, a more thorough evaluation of the industry to examine the competition might have given him a better understanding of how small publishers were operating. John could have used Porter's Competitive Forces model to evaluate the publishing industry.

John should also have developed a vision and mission for Winter's Tale Publishing to drive their operations.

1. A vision for Winter's Tale Publishing might have been something like, "An organization to help future authors get noticed."

2. Winter's Tale Publishing mission might be something like, "A publishing house that will help authors develop and market their books online."

3. From the mission, Winter's Tale Publishing might craft business strategies and operational plans such as:

3.1. "We will build a strong foundation of client authors."

3.1.1. Ads will be placed on writing web sites and social media outlets to market to current writers.

3.1.2. An ad for authors will be included in the rotating banner ad on the company's homepage and social media outlets.

3.2. "We will use a thorough approach to advertising our published books."

3.2.1. Book excerpts will be rotated in a banner ad on the web site every 30 seconds.

3.2.2. Comments on client books and authors will be posted on company social media pages every month.

3.2.3. Reviews of client books will be posted to appropriate industry social media sites every day.

2. What problems do you see with John Winter's approach to the hiring process?

Although details are not provided, we do not know if John created a set of criteria and an evaluation instrument to use to compare all of the applicants. We also are not told whether or not he evaluated all of the applications that were received before contacting Will. John could have conducted an Internet search to see what was posted about Will, how Will represented himself in social media and if there was any information available about Will on his former employers' online presences. …

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