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Case Studies by Ludo Van der Heyden

22 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 31 May 2019

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case describes the Tata Group’s governance and the role it played in overseeing 150 years of growth of the Tata empire of companies. The Tata Group is one of India’s premier and oldest industrial and services conglomerates in India. The Tata Trusts (charitable foundations) own two thirds of the Group; private investors own the rest of it. The Mistry family is the largest individual private shareholder. This case describes the evolution of the group’s governance and businesses leading up to the 2012 appointment of Cyrus Mistry, the first non-family group chairman, and the transformations he attempted during his four-year reign before he was suddenly fired by the previous group chairman, Ratan Tata, who continues to be chairman of the Tata Trusts.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case illustrates how a business is affected and shaped by its governance, whether by family owners, and family or charitable trusts. It shows how owners define and intervene forcefully in governance for better or for worse. The owners’ primary responsibility is to establish clearly articulated and understood mission, values and governance procedures. Any ambiguity in these vital issues presents a “governance risk” and potential value destruction. This case emphasizes the degree to which key family members, rather than the board, play a decisive role in governing family-run businesses.

Keywords:
Corporate Governance, Industrial Groups, Ownership, Value Creation, Governance Risk, Reputation Risk, Internationalization, M&a, Leadership

published: 25 Mar 2019

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The board of directors of a charity has to decide whether to give the acting CFO a permanent appointment. The decision is not a vital one but is so poorly managed that it leads to a blowout between the board members, such that the charity ultimately has to be wound up. The case thus illustrates the vital importance of maintaining positive dynamics among board members.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The objective is to demonstrate the negative consequences of poor handling of a board discussion. The case analyses the shortcomings of the vice-chair of the board using a framework called Fair Process Leadership (FPL), asking participants to estimate how far the precepts of FPL are adhered to. An interesting dimension is to illustrate the fundamental asymmetry of FPL whereby we minimize the unfair way in which we impose leadership on others, while magnifying the unfairness of their leadership when we have to submit to it. The case is typically used as a “practice” case on FPL before turning to more complex settings.

Keywords:
Corporate Governance, Board Dynamics, Fair Process Leadership, Group Decision Making, Not-For-Profit Organization, Non-Executive Directors

published: 22 Jul 2016

  • Topic: Family Business
  • Industry: Plastics, Construction and Leather
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case charts the history of MöllerGroup, a longstanding family business in Germany, which designs, manufactures and markets components for the global automotive industry and construction parts for industrial applications. It makes functional parts for mechanical engineering, automotive technology and other sectors. The company sells moldings made of soft plastics, thermoplastics and elastomers; shock absorbers and damper elements; and lumbar support systems for truck seats and office chairs, to customers in Europe, North America and Asia.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case highlights the important role played by family businesses. In 2003, after 40 years as CEO, Peter von Möller, the majority shareholder (other family members being minority shareholders) asked Dr Axel Müller, the non-family CFE, to head the company, ending a 273-year tradition of family at the executive helm.

Keywords:
Henokiens, Peter Von Möller, Möllergroup, Möllertech, Kupferhammer, Felix Von Möller, Otto Sauer, Johannes Rudnitzki, Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance for Family Firms, Wicfe, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Succession, Next Generation

published: 27 May 2016

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Computers and printers
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The case presents describes the tumultuous leadership of Carly Fiorina at HP, from her nomination as CEO, then chair, and early attempts at strategic change (a move to buy PwC Consulting) to a major acquisition (Compaq) and ultimately her removal by a board coup. At the time she was fired (and replaced by Mark Hurd from NCR) the share price was rising and results were coming through. During that time, she had a major falling-out with Walter Hewlett, son of the founder and President of the Hewlett Foundation, which owed 10% of HP's stock. She also fell out with Dick Hackborn, the person who had hired her and then offered her the chair position despite doubting - he later admitted - her ability to turn around the company's fortunes.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case charts the leadership path of Carly Fiorina at the helm of HP, first as CEO coming from Lucent, and soon after as CEO and chair. It can serve multiple purposes. One is to discuss the boardroom dynamics during her term and whether she failed more as CEO or as Chair. The case provides an illustration of the Fair Process Leadership framework, with the conclusion that she was not a fair process leader, and underlines the need to manage the board, particularly in turbulent times. It also allows discussion of the particular governance features of US listed companies. A final angle is whether HP was still a family firm, either in spirit or reality (it no longer was in a legal sense) even when ownership had been been transferred to the foundation.

Keywords:
Governance, Leadership, Ceo Succession, Board - Executive Dynamics, Strategy, M&a, Wicfe, Succession, Next Generation, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards

published: 23 Sep 2015

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Entertainement and sports
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case describes the tragedy that occurred on Everest in 1996 - when teams led by highly-skilled guides got caught in a terrible storm, causing the death of the team leaders and several of the client climbers. It delves into the factors that help teams survive when they encounter turbulence, and why others in similar circumstances meet tragedy. The case builds on the experience of one of the team leaders who was on the mountain that year, and discusses three different teams on the mountain that year.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The main objective is to discuss high performance team leadership under turbulence. The recent financial crisis has provided a particularly vivid context for this case. It can be taken from different angles: leadership, collaborative team work (or not), crisis management, and managing under turbulent conditions. Further materials are being developed for the case (video excerpts, teaching note, transparencies).

Keywords:
Team Work, High Performance Teams, Crisis Management, Collaboration, Project Management, Goal Setting, Wicfe, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

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published: 24 Feb 2014

  • Topic: Operations
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case documents the epic race to the South Pole, with Amundsen, Scott and Shackleton competing to conquer what was considered the "last frontier on earth for explorers to discover." It allows for a comparison of three very different 'project managers', each with their own leadership styles, battling it out in the same hostile setting. Although these events occurred 100 years ago, the lessons are timeless.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The importance of leadership styles and of the fit between leadership type and project type (exploration or execution). Structuring a team for high performance from the start, and the importance of goal definition. The role played by values and the "rules of the game" when forming a team. The foundation of performance: roles and processes. And the final element: individual commitment. The case offers an illustration of the Goudsmet-Van der Heyden model for high performance teams.

Keywords:
Managing Project Teams, Project Planning and Control, Project Leadership, High Performance Teams

published: 28 Sep 2011

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Entertainment and Sports
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
This case describes the tragedy that occurred on Everest in 1996 - when teams led by highly-skilled guides got caught in a terrible storm, causing the death of the team leaders and several of the client climbers. It delves into the factors that help teams survive when they encounter turbulence, and why others in similar circumstances meet tragedy. The case builds on the experience of one of the team leaders who was on the mountain that year, and discusses three different teams on the mountain that year.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The main objective is to discuss high performance team leadership under turbulence. The recent financial crisis has provided a particularly vivid context for this case. It can be taken from different angles: leadership, collaborative team work (or not), crisis management, and managing under turbulent conditions. Further materials are being developed for the case (video excerpts, teaching note, transparencies).

Keywords:
Team Work, High Performance Teams, Crisis Management, Collaboration, Project Management, Goal Setting, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation, Wicfe, Fair Process, Communication, Psychology, Gender, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

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published: 26 Jul 2010

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Telecom
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The Open Seamless Alliance is a collaboration initiative set up by Mobistar, a partly-owned subsidiary of France Telecom to administer and federate roaming activities (interfaces, pricing, service features, etc) in a club-like open alliance. Members adhere to a fair process of collaboration. The case focuses on the challenges facing the management and leadership of the alliance as it widens its geographic scope and attemps to move from shared "back office" services to value-differentiating "front office" services.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The objective is to illustrate the concept of a multilateral alliance where agreement on a fair shared process precedes specific substantive collaboration efforts. In particular, the case focuses on how trust is built by the alliance leaders and on how the commitment and roles of various members are affected by geographic and demographic characteristics. It also allows students to review the challenges involved in moving from a "back-office" utility alliance to a "front-office" value-creating alliance.

Keywords:
Alliances, Fair Process, Collaboration Processes, Company Globalization, Telecom Services, Alliance Leadership, Roaming Services, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

published: 14 Jan 2010

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
One observes that despite the continued application of superior personal strategies and leadership throughout Napoleon's lifetime, success eluded him in the end. A pattern is observed of meteoritic rise in the early stages (victories in the battle of Lodi, Marengo, Austerlitz) and a downfall later (Russian invasion, Waterloo). What is behind this rise and fall? Can any reasonable explanations be found? Exploring these questions is the motivation of this case.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The ultimate aim of the case is to realize that a good strategy should have both good content and good execution. To produce a good strategy, a proper interaction with people or more accurately, a proper decision-making process, during the strategy formulation is critical.

Keywords:
Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation, Wicfe, Education, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Governance, Parallel Planning, Strategy, Boards

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published: 31 Oct 2008

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
Alguém observou que, para além da execução contínua de estratégias pessoais superiores e da liderança exercida por Napoleão ao longo da sua vida, no final, o sucesso acabara por lhe escapar. Assim, num primeiro momento, iremos observar o exemplo de uma ascensão meteorítica (vitórias das Batalhas de Lodi, de Marengo e de Austerlitz) e, posteriormente, da sua queda (invasão Russa, Batalha de Waterloo). O que está por detrás desta ascensão e queda? Será que podemos encontrar uma explicação sensata? São estas as questões que motivaram a elaboração deste caso.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Nesse sentido, o objectivo final do caso é o de levar a entender que uma boa estratégia deve conter dois componentes: um bom conteúdo e uma boa execução. A formulação da estratégia é algo de essencial para produzir uma boa estratégia, uma interacção mais adequada com as pessoas ou, mais concretamente, para fomentar um processo de tomada de decisão mais adequado.

Keywords:
Equidade Do Processo, Estratégia, Estratégia Militar, Gestão Dos Conhecimentos, Napoleão Bonaparte, Inovação Do Valor, Estratégia Europeia, Regras Processuais

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