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Tanglewood Company Strategic Staffing Decisions Case Study

The Tanglewood Department Store chain was founded in 1975 by Tanner Emerson and Thurston Wood, and today the chain specializes in retailing such products as clothing, different types of appliances, and various electronics, but the chain’s strategic distinction remains to be the distribution of ‘outdoors’ products such as camping goods and clothing for the outdoor activities (Tanglewood casebook, 2012).

At the current stage of the development, the company orients to expansion and needs the reformation of the staffing strategies to respond to the modern trends and increase of the company’s profitability; that is why, it is necessary to focus on the discussion of the strategic staffing decisions related to Tanglewood’s case in order to choose the appropriate path for the company’s further progress.

Organizational Background

Tanglewood started to develop as the store orienting to middle- and upper-income customers. Today, Tanglewood is a wide chain including 243 stores, and the company plans to continue the expansion. The company’s success is based on the specific management strategy where the aspect of the active employee participation plays the key role.

To operate the wide chain effectively, it is necessary to develop the successful central planning body and to reform the current management system which is based on the hierarchy presenting 12 regional managers, 20 store managers per region, 3 assistant store managers in each store. Assistant Store Managers lead Department Managers who work with shift leaders (Tanglewood casebook, 2012). Thus, managers work not as supervisors, but as team leaders to listen to the each employee’s opinion.

The basic human resource functions are performed by the corporate HR directors and by Assistant Store Managers for Operations and HR in departments. Such an approach to distributing the HR functions challenges following the corporate management strategy effectively. As a result, it is necessary to find the balance between centralization and the intense focus on the local HR leadership.

Reforms in the management system of Tanglewood can be based on the analysis of thirteen strategic staffing decisions associated with the staffing levels and staffing quality (Heneman & Judge, 2011, p. 17).

Staffing Levels

Acquire or Develop Talent

Tanglewood plans to create the organizational system where all the employees have the opportunity to think like managers and to be heard by managers, but the focus should be on following the company’s main strategy and basic philosophy. As a result, Tanglewood can benefit from both the variants of the strategy associated with acquiring and developing talents.

Tanglewood should focus on acquiring new talents while speaking about regular hiring processes. Acquiring externally, the company can respond to stating the new principles of the management strategy, and new employees will follow them without arguing.

However, the company can also benefit from training the internal human resources to develop their vision of the company’s philosophy to improve the local leadership and central management principles (Heneman & Judge, 2011, p. 17). While developing the talents internally, the company should pay more attention to responding to the employees’ motivation.

Hire Yourself or Outsource

Tanglewood’s management is based on the developed system which should be carefully reformed, but the reformation process needs the proper analysis of the company’s effective and ineffective staffing strategies.

In spite of the fact that the most detailed analysis can be performed by the person who works for the company during a long period of time and can concentrate on all the strategies’ strengths and weaknesses, it is rational to hire the outside consultant to point at the aspects which should be changed according to the current trends in the sphere.

Thus, the outside consultant can decide on the effectiveness of lag or lead system for this company more efficiently, and he can propose following the lag system because of the necessity to make the company adequately centralized.

External or Internal Hiring

Tanglewood concentrates on expansion and developing the stores’ organization. As a result, HR managers pay much attention to hiring externally when new stores open and internally when new management-level positions are created. Moreover, the company depends on following the company’s philosophy and mission (Tanglewood casebook, 2012). The work commitment is developed and encouraged.

Thus, the focus on the internal hiring process is more important for Tanglewood to contribute to forming the company’s strong organization based on the ideas of the company’s culture and value. However, Tanglewood cannot avoid hiring externally because it is the necessary condition for opening new stores developed according to company’s philosophy.

Core or Flexible Workforce

It is the principle of Tanglewood to focus on the core workforce in order to develop the ideas of the company’s values and culture and to contribute to the work commitment.

Thus, Tanglewood needs to create the central planning body related to staffing, and it is more appropriate for the company to continue relying on the use of core workforce.

Hire or Retain

Tanglewood supports the idea of the strong management related to the core workforce principle. That is why, there are more opportunities to focus on retaining and training employees in order to take higher positions instead of hiring new employees.

The focus on hiring new employees in newly opened stored is necessary, but it can lead to negative outcomes associated with the development of the company’s core strategy. From this point, to avoid the extensive turnover, it is necessary to promote the retaining strategies.

National or Global

Tanglewood opens many stores in different regions with the focus on hiring the employees from the local territories to support the regional culture. To promote the company’s philosophy, it is important to spread the core principles among all the employees in regional stores.

However, it is unnecessary to hire the professionals globally. Thus, to respond to the idea of centralization and support of the company’s traditional philosophy, it is necessary to hire the employees nationally.

Attract of Relocate

Tanglewood opens stores in different regions in order to attract more customers, but it is also necessary to attract more labour to the company.

It is inappropriate for a company to relocate if this situation is not associated with idea of opening a new store. Thus, the strategy of attracting the labour is more rational for Tanglewood.

Overstaff or Understaff

Referring to the industry in which Tanglewood operates, it is possible to note that overstaffing is the necessity.

However, while reforming the staffing strategies and focusing on the new organizational model, it is possible to change the strategy and concentrate on understaffing to provide employees with more responsibilities and power.

Short or Long-Term Focus

Currently, Tanglewood focuses on the long-term goals related to the staffing decisions. This approach is rather effective to develop the effective and properly organized management system.

Thus, to build the central planning body and improve the organization in the whole chain, it is necessary to refer to the long-term focus which provides the company with the opportunity to set the clear goal and to try to achieve them during a long period of time.

Staffing Quality

Person/Job or Person/Organization Match

The advantage of Tanglewood is based on promoting the ideals of the important culture, value, and philosophy among the staff, and they are the core elements of the organizational strategy.

Thus, to complete the set goal of the effective expansion, Tanglewood should focus on the person/organization match because the majority of the company’s staff should not have high qualifications.

Specific or General KSAOs

Tanglewood operates within the industry where general KSAOs are valuable more than specific ones.

That is why, to improve the organizational system, it is relevant to focus more on hiring employees with general KSAOs because of the necessity to adapt to the organizational culture, principles, and philosophy supported in Tanglewood.

Exceptional or Acceptable Workforce Quality

Tanglewood focuses on the development of the core workforce, and employees are expected to work in the company during a long period of time (Tanglewood casebook, 2012).

In this situation, the reference to the exceptional workforce quality is more appropriate variant to avoid the turnover as a result of seeking the employees with necessary skills and knowledge.

Active or Passive Diversity

Tanglewood plans to expand within the market, as a result, the much attention will be paid to opening a lot of regional stores where employees come from different backgrounds and follow different cultures.

Thus, passive diversity addresses the company’s goal more obviously, but the focus on active diversity is the way to develop the employees’ motivation and to attract more customers.


Tanglewood can benefit from reforming the staffing organization while making the focus on the company’s culture and value prioritized. As a result, more attention should be paid to the approaches effective to increase the employees’ commitment and motivation.


Heneman, H., & Judge, T. (2011). Staffing organizations. USA: McGraw-Hill Publishers.

Tanglewood casebook for using with Staffing Organizations. (2012). Web.

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1. IvyPanda. "Tanglewood Company Strategic Staffing Decisions." May 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/tanglewood-company-strategic-staffing-decisions/.


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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Tanglewood Company Strategic Staffing Decisions'. 8 May.

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