DTE Energy (B): Transformation of an Organization

by: Robert Quinn

Publication Date: May 14, 2018
Length: 12 pages
Product ID#: 9-850-955

Core Disciplines: Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Strategy & Management, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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This case focuses on DTE Energy’s transformation into a high-performing positive organization. When the case opens in 2010, DTE Energy has not only survived the 2008 recession but has had one of its most successful financial years in the company’s history. CEO GerryAnderson had asked people to contribute ideas to save the company and avoid layoffs, and they had willingly done so. But now that the crisis is over, he wonders: can that energy be sustained? What can he, as a leader, do to maintain the momentum?  The case traces the birth of DTE’s new vision and execution of it, particularly with regard to HR practices, authentic communications, and metrics. The case covers 2010-2015 and includes exhibits of the tools the organization used.

This is Case B of a three-case series which can be taught sequentially or as stand-alone cases.  The cases describe the organizational transformation of energy utility company DTE Energy into a positive organization, focusing first on the personal transformation of DTE’s CEO, Gerry Anderson (Case A); then on the transformation of the company (Case B) and finally on DTE Energy’s advancement to the “next level” – positive social issues to improve the wider community and societal context in which the company operates (Case C).


Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Identify “levers” that a leader can use to transform an organization into a positive organization
  • Discuss the role of communication and leadership signals in an organizational change effort