If at First You Don't Succeed -- Reorganize

Last Updated Jun 26, 2008 5:53 PM EDT

In the face of overwhelming competitive odds, hostile investors, and key employees jumping ship faster than a microprocessor can count, Yahoo management is taking the tried and true way to face adversity: reorganization -- its fourth in 18 months.

Yahoo Y!VentureBeat is finding the situation predictable because so much upper management has taken a hike in the last few weeks:

What exactly is going on behind the scenes with Yahoo/Microsoft/Google is not entirely clear, but Yahoo needed to make these moves to solidify its company. Oh, and billionaire investor Carl Icahn who is trying to lead a hostile takeover of Yahoo probably still wants cut off that pesky head entirely.
No wonder Icahn wants to see heads roll â€" it would take singleminded determination to intentionally make as many mistakes as Yahoo's management and board have done. (Portfolio.com has a pretty funny take on the latest shareholder letter from Yahoo.)

I don't even want to think about the new structure in detail, because the problem with this "tried and true" solution -- particularly if a company has used it multiple times in a short period -- is that it's tired and a trap. In such cases, reorganization is not an attempt to get to the root of a problem, or even to keep things temporarily afloat, so much as it is a search for a scapegoat and a delaying tactic to keep the people at the top where they are.

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.