Case ID: UVAOB0814     Solution ID: 35315

BET The Edge on Talent Case Solution


The case attempts to touch upon a different perspective of people management and illustrates its significance, if organizations effectively use them for earning a competitive advantage. Robert L. Johnson’s staunch belief of been an entrepreneur has eventually made him a proud owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Black Entertainment Television (BET), which eventually became the only African-American operated cable network in the 1980s. It was in 1991 that BET was publicly acquired and only seven years later it was privatized and then 2001 it was formally taken over by Viacom in a $3 billion acquisitions. Even in those days Johnson always felt the urge to create business related opportunities for people like him. And for this purpose Debra Lee too joined him in 1986. Since the time when BET started off with its operations, majority of the company’s executives, entertainers and employees were black which made it apparent that the company was attempting to solely target the African-American community. Being dominantly controlled by the whites, Viacom’s acquisition of BET raised an inevitable question about what was going to happen after this unmatched merger takes place. When the time comes for Johnson to leave the company, what future laid ahead of them? How will Johnson and Debra ensure that BET continues to flourish under its original goal and that was to serve the black community? A drastic change was about to come and it was inevitable that this merger will bring about with it a massive transformation in BET’s culture, values, and human resource. Does it concludes that BET eventually has to let go of its ultimate purpose?

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