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Published by:
Harvard Business Publishing (1994)
14 April 1995
20 pages
Data source:
Field research
A compensation case about a small, high-tech firm based in Silicon Valley with eleven offices throughout the country. Visionary Design Systems (VDS) began as a sales company selling Hewlett-Packard's Computer Aided Design systems, and grew rapidly into a full-service systems integrator. All employees, including engineers, administrators, and receptionists, received a significant portion of their income from commissions and bonuses, and all were shareholders. The company espoused a philosophy of empowerment, under which all employees were given substantial decision-making authority, and were expected to act in the interests of the firm. Examines in detail one group that, although it had both the authority and the incentives to exploit a new market opportunity, continued to wait for top management's instructions and approval before making decisions or taking action.
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