Building the Culture at Agilent Technologies: Back to the Future

By Charles O'Reilly III, Grace Yokoi
2001 | Case No. HR20
In 1999, Hewlett-Packard split into two companies. The issue facing HR had to do with creating loyalty and enthusiasm for a new company (Agilent) whose roots lay in an established institution with an extremely loyal workforce who identified with the HP brand. How could they create a new culture of more focus and accountability with the same people? Developing an organizational culture that supported business performance and accountability was the foremost HR task. The case provides detailed background on the company’s key initiatives and projects to transform HR organization and culture in the new company. The HR transformation marked a change from an egalitarian, safe culture to a performance culture characterized by a strong meritocracy and a results-based rewards program. In 2001, the company faced increasing financial challenges that would test the newly developing culture. How could top management continue building the Agilent culture – especially in the face of layoffs and restructuring?
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