Case Detail

Case Summary

Driving Strategic Change at The Junior League (A)

Case Number: 5-413-760(A), Year Published: 2014

HBS Number: KEL816

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Authors: Michelle Shumate; Liz Livingston Howard; Sachin Waikar

Key Concepts

Board of directors, Change management, Communication, Decision making, General management, Innovation, Leadership, Nonprofit management, Organizational culture, Reputations


“Driving Strategic Change at the Junior League (A)” describes a troubled organizational environment. Challenges included a dissatisfied membership, declining membership numbers, a large diversity among local leagues, and limited resources to meet the organization’s overall objectives. The case describes a “participatory roadmap” approach, drawing on the insights of comprehensive research, and highlights a strategic-change approach that focuses on participation and local-level flexibility.

The (B) case examines how the Association of Junior Leagues International (AJLI) took initial steps to implement the participatory roadmap. Through a purposeful messaging strategy that involved many targets and various modes of communication, AJLI leaders sought to influence and inform active members, sustainers, and their local leaders. Further, through the use of design teams, AJLI gained deep insight into the ways that implementation might vary across local leagues. Finally, these design teams enabled AJLI to make initial gains in membership and develop a cross-league learning community.

Learning Objectives

After reading and analyzing the (A) case, students should be able to:

  • Describe the challenges of leading organizational change in a federated membership nonprofit
  • Appraise different forms of data to determine the types of changes needed in a large-scale nonprofit transformation
  • Identify ways to unfreeze the organization, encouraging individual members’ readiness for change
  • Formulate a plan for collaborative, large-scale organizational transformation, as opposed to a coercive strategy

Number of Pages: 13

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Organizational Behavior

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: United States

Industry: Nonprofit, Service, Community, Charity

Organization Name: Association of Junior Leagues International

Decision Maker Position: Executive Director

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2004