Media, Communication & Publishing

Cultural Change & Performance Management,
Pearson (UK)

SG - Case Study -  Pearson - Cultural Change & Performance Management

SG - Case Study - Pearson - Cultural Change & Performance Management - Financial Times

SG - Case Study - Pearson - Cultural Change & Performance Management  Education


Pearson is an international media company with market-leading businesses in education, business information & consumer publishing. They have more than 40,000 staff in over 70 countries, focusing on making the reading & learning experience as enjoyable & as beneficial as it can possibly be.

In 2014/15 they had sales of £4,9bn & an adjusted operating profit of £720m. Our work with Pearson began in 2000 & we have completed several projects for them over the years. We have worked with senior managers across each of their 3 main businesses: Pearson in Education; Financial Times Group; & Penguin Group.
black Pearson in Education – the world’s leading education company (pre-school to high school, early learning to professional certification) helping to educate more than 100 million people worldwide.
black Financial Times (FT) Group – one of the world’s leading business information companies provides a broad range of multimedia services to the growing audience of internationally-minded business people.
black Penguin Group has become Penguin Random House since Bertelsmann & Pearson merged their respective trade publishing companies, Random House & Penguin, with the parent companies in 2013. Penguin Random House is the world’s first truly global trade book publisher, the label of quality of fiction & non-fiction, bestsellers & classics around the world.


We were initially approached to advise on a variety of organisational development issues, which included helping with the design, development & facilitation of Pearson Global High Flyers Leadership Program. At the heart of everything Pearson has 3 core values: bravery, decency & imagination. These define the culture of the organisation & now underpin the way the company does business. Bravery has always distinguished their publishing businesses. Penguin was the proud publisher of Lady Chatterley’s Lover & The Satanic Verses, Pearson Education stands up for its authors every year in the face of special interest groups who seek to influence the content of school books, & the FT’s formidable reputation is built on the impartiality, accuracy & integrity of its reporting. Pearson believe that their role is to help people reach their potential. In return, we expect their staff to show a high level of personal motivation & commitment, as well as a willingness to take responsibility & pride in their work – whatever that work is. In 2001 we were asked to partner with Pearson’s internal OD Team & help them to identify core competences plus underpin their performance management system with organisational values & behaviours.


Having reviewed many internal documents & interviewed staff at all levels, we helped to develop a robust process for assessing how well leaders were doing when ‘walking the talk’ including how they might be financially rewarded for improved values-based leadership. Whilst we recognise that winning the hearts & minds of people is not purely a financial matter, remuneration is a lever for behavioural change.


Client accepted our report for implementation, along with our recommendations for leadership workshops, to help engage managers at all levels in making the values come alive at operational level.
As Pearson are in the information business, they expect their staff to be forward-looking & creative in their thinking. They also assume that they will have a genuine passion for the business – which they do.

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