Box: The Evolution of Management Practices in a Start-up

By Kathryn Shaw, Debra Schifrin
2015 | Case No. HR43 | Length 17 pgs.

This 2015 case focuses on the evolution of Box’s management practices as the company grew from a small start-up to an organization with over 1,000 employees in five major locations.  The online file sharing and cloud content collaboration service company was founded in 2005, and a decade later it was valued at $2.4 billion. During that time, Box was evolving its approaches to and processes for hiring, compensation, promotions, and performance evaluations.  A driving factor in its management practices was the need to attract and retain top-quality entrepreneurial employees.  However, as the company pivoted strategy to focus more on the lucrative enterprise market, its management practices had to evolve to be able to attract and retain more experienced employees with specific expertise in that segment.  Box found it need to address tensions that arose as the company grew, including the slower speed of promotions, the changing compensation mix (cash versus equity), and the changing company culture as more seasoned employees joined the Box team.

Learning Objective

The objective is for students to learn about the people management practices and strategies that they will need to navigate as they take on leadership positions in a company. The lessons presented in the case apply to all companies, but are especially applicable to rapidly growing start-ups.
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