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Case Studies by Gianpiero Petriglieri

33 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 26 Jul 2019

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
In December 2015, barely one year into his tenure as the head of the Paris Opera Ballet (POB), celebrity dancer, choreographer, and entrepreneur Benjamin Millepied was caught in a storm of controversy. Hired to bring energy and modernity to one of France’s oldest artistic institutions, Millepied laid out an inspiring vision of renewal and a strategy focused on developing new talent and enhancing the POB’s social relevance and global visibility. In the process, however, he created turmoil. Promoting younger dancers in defiance of the established hierarchy, advocating diversity and social engagement, presenting the work of American choreographers instead of French classics, and openly criticizing the POB’s restrained style pit Millepied against the established order . The case chronicles Millepied’s efforts to transform the POB, focusing on the interplay between responsible leadership and organizational culture. Most organizations seek to balance business goals with social impact, urging employees to be inspiring and innovative, and bringing in outsiders with a “global” outlook to shake up “local” mind-sets. The case explores a fundamental issue for such endeavors to succeed: Responsible leadership entails more than a compelling vision. It also means sustaining a strong institutional culture while fostering diversity and innovation.

Pedagogical Objectives:
1. The role of a ‘strong culture’ in defining and sustaining an organization. Students are challenged to consider the impact of a strong culture, which most will consider a positive feature of an organization, on employees’ experiences and on the organization’s development. 2. Responsible leadership in the context of dual aims. Students must consider what ‘responsible’ leadership entails in organizations that strive to pursue both commercial success and social impact, and that value tradition while clamouring for change. 3. The purpose and impact of organizational transformation. Organizational change is difficult, especially if it involves the defining aspects of an organization’s culture—its systems, norms, and signature style. The benefits of disruption are often taken for granted, but this case requires students to consider whether disruption is always desirable, valuable, or even necessary. 4. Talent management as a lever for cultural change. Students will likely be instrumental in identifying, managing, and promoting talent in their future firms. The case helps them realize the centrality of deciding who is called “talent” and how, to the replication or change of a firm’s culture. The case illustrates the contrast between opposite approaches, one based on formalized rules and processes and the other on a case-by-case assessment.

Keywords:
Leadership, Organizational Change, Organizational Culture, Talent Management, Digital Transformation, Responsible Leadership, Leadership Succession, National Culture, Diversity, Hybrid Organizations, Outsider Ceo, Globalization, Benjamin Millepied, Paris Opera Ballet

published: 22 Aug 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Retail, Technology, eCommerce
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
After 18 months of attempting to transition the company to holacracy, Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ celebrity CEO, decided it was time to make the change happen. In March 2015, he sent an email to all Zappos employees offering them 3 months’ severance pay if they felt that self-management was not for them. One month later, 14% of the workforce had quit, including 20% of the tech department, potentially putting at risk a complex transition to a new online platform mandated by parent company Amazon. The case recounts how Tony Hsieh financed, championed, and ultimately became CEO of online shoe retailer Zappos. A passionate entrepreneur who made millions at a young age, Hsieh was known for his penthouse parties, for what he referred to as his “tribe”. He brought the same sense of community to Zappos, which he moved from San Francisco to Las Vegas where employees could “be like family”. Despite the company’s unabashedly weird culture, it had the lowest employee turnover rate in the industry. Widely admired for its outstanding customer service, Zappos was repeatedly listed among Fortune’s “Best Places To Work.” When in 2009 Amazon acquired Zappos for $1.2 billion, it promised to preserve its management and culture. But Hsieh’s decision to implement holacracy – a form of organizational self-management that replaces job titles and hierarchy with “circles” that employees step in and out of according to their preferences and skills – was less popular than hoped. Hence his “rip the Band-Aid” approach, to ensure that only employees committed to the change remained at the company.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Analyzing the role of culture in developing an organization’s competitive advantage - Discussing the purpose and impact of structure on those within an organization - Understanding the emotional experience of organizational change - Evaluating leadership in the context of radical change

Keywords:
Organizational Culture, Structure, Organizational Change, Leadership, Leading Change, Management, Holacracy

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published: 30 Jul 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Technology
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
In April 2018, after it became known that Google was collaborating with the US Department of Defense on Project Maven, over 3,000 employees signed an internal memo asking CEO Sundar Pichai to (a) cancel the project immediately, and (b) enforce a policy stating that the company would never build warfare technology. Project Maven had been launched in early 2017 as part of the DoD’s efforts to integrate AI and machine learning into its defense strategies. Drones, robots and AI were increasingly deployed in intelligence gathering and combat operations in what was considered a 21st century “arms race.” While Google described its role as “non-offensive,” the memo argued that involvement in Project Maven might hurt its reputation and ability to attract talent at a time when public trust in technology was waning. The case puts students in the shoes of a recent hire faced with the choice of signing the memo. It also invites them to consider how they would respond, as CEO, to such a petition against one of the company’s contracts.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The purpose of the case is not necessarily to debate the merits of collaboration between private and public sector. Rather, it asks students to reflect on their opportunities and obligations as citizens and leaders of companies and society when pursuing innovation. As companies increasingly attract talent with the promise of work that has personal meaning and allow individuals to make a positive difference in the world, nothing is “just business.” This trend brings to the surface ethical and practical dilemmas at the social, organizational, and personal level. The case offers an opportunity to explore all three levels, touching on the relationship between business and government, the responsibility of a global organization and its leaders, and the expression, encouragement, and management of debate and dissent.

Keywords:
Responsible Leadership, Ethics, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Disruption, Google, Project Maven, Drones, Public Private Partnership, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Dilemma, Sundar Pichai, Us Department of Defense, Don’t Be Evil, Larry Page

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition, Responsible Leadership

Related:

published: 28 May 2018

  • Topic: Responsibility
  • Industry: Technology
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
In April 2018, after it became known that Google was collaborating with the US Department of Defense on Project Maven, over 3,000 employees signed an internal memo asking CEO Sundar Pichai to (a) cancel the project immediately, and (b) enforce a policy stating that the company would never build warfare technology. Project Maven had been launched in early 2017 as part of the DoD’s efforts to integrate AI and machine learning into its defense strategies. Drones, robots and AI were increasingly deployed in intelligence gathering and combat operations in what was considered a 21stcentury “arms race.” While Google described its role as “non-offensive,” the memo argued that involvement in Project Maven might hurt its reputation and ability to attract talent at a time when public trust in technology was waning. The (A) case puts students in the shoes of a recent hire faced with the choice of signing the memo. It also invites them to consider how they would respond, as CEO, to such a petition against one of the company’s contracts. After outlining what happened in the weeks after the internal controversy was made public, the (B) case raises the question of whether Google had “done the right thing” (its new motto) in discontinuing the project.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The Google and Project Maven case series can be used with MBA and executive audiences in modules on Responsible Leadership, Ethics, and Innovation. The purpose of the case is not necessarily to debate the merits of collaborations between private and public sector, including the military, which are widespread. It aims instead to help students reflect on their roles as citizens and leaders of companies and society—on the opportunities and obligations that come with both, especially when pursuing innovation. More and more companies attract talent with the promise of work that will give them personal meaning and allow them to make a positive difference in the world. Once they do, nothing is “just business”. This brings to the surface ethical and practical dilemmas at the social, organizational, and personal level. The case offers an opportunity to explore all three levels, touching on themes related to the relationship between business and government, the responsibilities of a global organization and its leaders, and the expression, encouragement and management of debate and dissent.

Keywords:
Responsible Leadership, Ethics, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Disruption, Google, Project Maven, Drones, Public Private Partnership, Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Dilemma, Sundar Pichai, Us Department of Defense, Don’t Be Evil, Larry Page

Prizes won:
- Winner 2018 EFMD Case Writing Competition, Responsible Leadership

Related:

published: 12 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

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Abstract:
The Executive Challenge is an experiential exercise in resolving two challenges that executives need to master to become competent leaders. The first is processing and making decisions on complex and delicate issues with limited information. The second is dealing sensitively with other people, including taking and offering accurate feedback. The roleplay pack for groups of 5 is no. 6376; for groups of 6 is no. 6377; for groups of 7 is no. 6378.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The exercise gives students the opportunity to put themselves in executive shoes and practice handling issues and decisions that senior managers deal with on a daily basis. It allows them to practice behavioural observation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This exercise allows students to: • Sense the pressure executives face balancing multiple demands in limited time. • Reflect and get feedback on their management style; give feedback to others on their styles. • Implement management skills and strategies taught in previous classes. • Experience how they take up management roles in relation to others.

Keywords:
Experiential Exercise, Decision Making, Management Skills, Management Strategies

Related:

published: 12 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

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Abstract:
The Executive Challenge is an experiential exercise in resolving two challenges that executives need to master to become competent leaders. The first is processing and making decisions on complex and delicate issues with limited information. The second is dealing sensitively with other people, including taking and offering accurate feedback. The roleplay pack for groups of 5 is no. 6376; for groups of 6 is no. 6377; for groups of 7 is no. 6378.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The exercise gives students the opportunity to put themselves in executive shoes and practice handling issues and decisions that senior managers deal with on a daily basis. It allows them to practice behavioural observation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This exercise allows students to: • Sense the pressure executives face balancing multiple demands in limited time. • Reflect and get feedback on their management style; give feedback to others on their styles. • Implement management skills and strategies taught in previous classes. • Experience how they take up management roles in relation to others.

Keywords:
Experiential Exercise, Decision Making, Management Skills, Management Strategies

Related:

published: 12 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

Show details ...

Abstract:
The Executive Challenge is an experiential exercise in resolving two challenges that executives need to master to become competent leaders. The first is processing and making decisions on complex and delicate issues with limited information. The second is dealing sensitively with other people, including taking and offering accurate feedback. The roleplay pack for groups of 5 is no. 6376; for groups of 6 is no. 6377; for groups of 7 is no. 6378.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The exercise gives students the opportunity to put themselves in executive shoes and practice handling issues and decisions that senior managers deal with on a daily basis. It allows them to practice behavioural observation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This exercise allows students to: • Sense the pressure executives face balancing multiple demands in limited time. • Reflect and get feedback on their management style; give feedback to others on their styles. • Implement management skills and strategies taught in previous classes. • Experience how they take up management roles in relation to others.

Keywords:
Experiential Exercise, Decision Making, Management Skills, Management Strategies

Related:

published: 12 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

Show details ...

Abstract:
The Executive Challenge is an experiential exercise in resolving two challenges that executives need to master to become competent leaders. The first is processing and making decisions on complex and delicate issues with limited information. The second is dealing sensitively with other people, including taking and offering accurate feedback. The roleplay pack for groups of 5 is no. 6376; for groups of 6 is no. 6377; for groups of 7 is no. 6378.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The exercise gives students the opportunity to put themselves in executive shoes and practice handling issues and decisions that senior managers deal with on a daily basis. It allows them to practice behavioural observation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This exercise allows students to: • Sense the pressure executives face balancing multiple demands in limited time. • Reflect and get feedback on their management style; give feedback to others on their styles. • Implement management skills and strategies taught in previous classes. • Experience how they take up management roles in relation to others.

Keywords:
Experiential Exercise, Decision Making, Management Skills, Management Strategies

Related:

published: 12 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

Show details ...

Abstract:
The Executive Challenge is an experiential exercise in resolving two challenges that executives need to master to become competent leaders. The first is processing and making decisions on complex and delicate issues with limited information. The second is dealing sensitively with other people, including taking and offering accurate feedback. The roleplay pack for groups of 5 is no. 6376; for groups of 6 is no. 6377; for groups of 7 is no. 6378.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The exercise gives students the opportunity to put themselves in executive shoes and practice handling issues and decisions that senior managers deal with on a daily basis. It allows them to practice behavioural observation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This exercise allows students to: • Sense the pressure executives face balancing multiple demands in limited time. • Reflect and get feedback on their management style; give feedback to others on their styles. • Implement management skills and strategies taught in previous classes. • Experience how they take up management roles in relation to others.

Keywords:
Experiential Exercise, Decision Making, Management Skills, Management Strategies

Related:

published: 12 Mar 2018

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations

Show details ...

Abstract:
The Executive Challenge is an experiential exercise in resolving two challenges that executives need to master to become competent leaders. The first is processing and making decisions on complex and delicate issues with limited information. The second is dealing sensitively with other people, including taking and offering accurate feedback. The roleplay pack for groups of 5 is no. 6376; for groups of 6 is no. 6377; for groups of 7 is no. 6378.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The exercise gives students the opportunity to put themselves in executive shoes and practice handling issues and decisions that senior managers deal with on a daily basis. It allows them to practice behavioural observation skills, and giving and receiving feedback. This exercise allows students to: • Sense the pressure executives face balancing multiple demands in limited time. • Reflect and get feedback on their management style; give feedback to others on their styles. • Implement management skills and strategies taught in previous classes. • Experience how they take up management roles in relation to others.

Keywords:
Experiential Exercise, Decision Making, Management Skills, Management Strategies

Related:

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