Business Case Studies, Managing in Troubled Times Case Study, Pitney Bowes, 2006

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Managing in Troubled Times Case Study

Case Title:

Pitney Bowes in 2006

Publication Year : 2006

Authors: Joel Sarosh Thadamalla, Dr. A.V Vedpuriswar

Industry: Consulting


Case Code: TRT0035A

Teaching Note: Not Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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Pitney Bowes (Pitney) which controlled 60% of the worldwide postage-meter market and 80% of the US market ever since, it was authorised by postal authorities in 1920, to rent postage meters, had dominated the business. But in 1959, the US Department of Justice challenged Pitney’s monopoly. And by 1964, Pitney was facing sixteen competitors in the market. It gradually fell apart faced with competition. Fred Allen’s leadership put Pitney back into business and George Harvey, who succeeded Allen, consolidated adopting new technologies and products. Now Pitney provided office technologies and services that helped companies gain efficiencies and capitalise on opportunities. Pitney’s solutions included a wide range of mailing and document technologies, efficiency management services and one-to-one management expertise.

Unlike other businesses the postal industry was changing dramatically. It was driven by technological, social and regulatory changes. The competition intensified with each passing day and market segments began to fragment. As the postal business changed, operators responded by reshaping their businesses. New technologies altered the established industry standards and market liberalisation opened the way for new competitors. There was a significant shift in what was once sent by physical mail to other media such as financial prospectuses were now posted on Internet than sent by mail.

Pitney was in the final stage of a major makeover, turning from an old-fashioned US postal meter company into a cutting-edge global solution provider of integrated mail and document management systems and services. Michael J Critelli, a 57 year old Harvard Law School graduate who became CEO in 1996, had grown Pitney through quiet effective leadership had a daunting task to put a modern stamp on Pitney’s 85-year old business.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the challenges and opportunities in store for the world postage system
  • To understand the concept of peripheral vision of corporate leaders
  • To illustrate change management, 360 degrees turnaround, re-branding strategies, quiet leadership, restructuring etc.

Keywords : Peripheral vision; Postal meters; Franking; Stamps; Document Technologies; Office solutions; Fax machines; Business communication; Managing in Troubled Times Case Study; e-mail; Snail mail; Quiet leadership; Mail; Postal Reform; Digital Stamps; USPS; 360 degree;, Mail-sorting; Re-branding; Restructuring; World; Global Postal Systems; Document Delivery


  • The Rise of Monopoly
  • Changing with the world
  • Quiet Leadership
  • Re-Branding

  • New Organizational Structure
  • Changes in the World Postal Systems
  • Road Ahead

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