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Case Studies by Frederic Godart

11 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 06 Nov 2017

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Bakery products
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case highlights a failed attempt to ‘liberate’ management and employees from traditional business practices at a factory in France. It closely follows the events that took place at Poult during a 10-year period that began in 2006. It draws on the astute reflections of the last CEO at Poult, who, until his dismissal in 2017, was actively engaged in building an alternative culture among the firm’s 800 factory workers, machine operators and technicians. Thanks to detailed analysis, the case offers insight into the matrix of activities that constitute a ‘liberated enterprise’, from building autonomous teams to driving innovation from the bottom up.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case offers instructors a rare opportunity to discuss an alternative approach to traditional top-down management techniques. With a neutral voice, the case recounts a 10-year experiment in organizational design that changed the behaviour of hundreds of factory employees in France. Students may be surprised to learn that the main protagonist ultimately lost his job as CEO as a result of his commitment to the employees, who had embraced the radically new organizational design he had introduced 10 years earlier. The case serves to inspire students to align their beliefs with their career aspirations.

Keywords:
Entreprise Libérée, Poult, Semco, Ricardo Semler, Charles Van Der Haegen, Mehdi Berrada, Carlos Verkaeren, Banketgroep, Panier-Tanguy, Michel Et Augustin, W.l. Gore, Liberating Leadership, Isaac Getz, Biscuits

published: 25 Sep 2017

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Retail trade
  • Region: North America

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Abstract:
The case documents the emergence of Artsy, a digital solution to the sale of artwork. Once the preserve of the elite, the art market has been democratized by the founder Carter Cleveland, who in 2012 created an online catalogue of painting, photography, sculpture, film and video, and design. The curated platform features works by 70,000 artists, including Pablo Picasso and even a drawing by Vincent Van Gogh. How the young Princeton graduate became the go-to art player for museums and major auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s is attributed to a business model based on a network of gallery owners, museum curators, art fair organizers and auctioneers, and the creation of a unique database that renders artwork accessible. A truly global powerhouse, Artsy offers art lovers a secure portal to the world’s leading purveyors of art.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be taught in executive education seminars and elective MBA courses in the following courses: luxury management, art history, e-commerce, digital marketing, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. It allows instructors to focus on a wide range of issues related to the sale of artwork—e.g., as a means to discuss the power and diversity of e-commerce solutions, a way to look at innovation in entrepreneurship, the methodology of forging powerful alliances, and the need to offer continuous education to customers.

Keywords:
Artsy, E-Commerce, Carter Cleveland, Artwork, Art Dealers, Sebastian Cwilich, Online Platform, Auctionata, Auction Houses, Museums, Larry Gagosian, Art Genome Project, Christie’s, Sotheby’s

published: 28 Aug 2017

  • Topic: Entrepreneurship
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
This case illustrates solutions to a) the vexing problem of how to stop counterfeit luxury goods from being sold on the Internet; and b) the larger issue of how to sell lots of pre-owned personal luxury goods without fear of undermining their lofty prices. When the “fake luxury goods” problem first appeared in the mid-2000s, brands like L’Oreal, Hermès and Tiffany responded by taking one of the biggest online marketplaces, eBay, to court. The big brands won millions in damages and dragged eBay’s name through the mud for years to come. But on the sidelines were three different sets of entrepreneurs, almost all French, who saw in this scandal the opportunity of a lifetime. Separately they launched three competing digital platforms where pre-owned luxury products can be bought and sold on the condition that they are fully authenticated by experts. While all three are still in business, the company that started with six co-founders has been the most successful. This case examines the role of all six people and why eight years later the two “techies” were able to leave the company on good terms.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be taught in executive education and elective MBA courses in luxury management, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. With the case, instructors can focus on a wide range of issues related to both the sourcing and distribution of second-hand personal luxury goods within a global market. When sellers first offer goods for sale on the Vestiaire Collective platform, curators take them through a number of steps to ensure that the products are suitable for inclusion in the catalogue. Matching supply with demand is a key variable of success in this business, since fashion products have an especially unique set of characteristics that vary from one region to another, from one designer to another and from one epoch to another. Once a purchase is concluded, curators then ascertain if the actual product conforms to the seller’s description and is a genuine item. Creating trust among customers is also an absolute necessity in this business. In sum, instructors can use the case to discuss the essentials of business and management in an easily accessible setting.

Keywords:
Digital Platforms, E-Commerce, Fashion, Product Certification, Authentic Goods, Counterfeit Goods, Personal Luxury Goods, Premium Designer Clothes, Vintage Clothes, Curation, Concierge Service, Videdressing, Vestiaire Collective, Instantluxe

published: 25 Apr 2017

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Abstract:
The case investigates the role of creative directors in the luxury fashion industry. When in October 2015 Raf Simons quit Christian Dior, industry observers wondered why anyone would voluntarily walk away from such an esteemed fashion house, and who would replace him. Beneath the glamorous veneer, the luxury and fashion industry puts tremendous stress on creative directors. Some crack up (John Galliano), other commit suicide (Alexander McQueen), and many launch proprietary labels.!
Please visit the dedicated case website.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to
(i) evaluate the role played by creative directors in a luxury fashion house;
(ii) understand the economics of the business and how haute couture drives profitability down and across associated business lines such as ready-to-wear and accessories;
(iii) learn about the growing influence of fast fashion and e-commerce on the fashion calendar that creative directors are expected to live.

Keywords:
Raf Simons, John Galliano, Bernard Arnault, Alexander Mcqueen, Christian Dior, Haute Couture, Creative Director, Luxury Fashion

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published: 29 Mar 2017

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Abstract:
This case illustrates the key role played by a local distributor in the luxury goods industry in the Middle East. By partnering with the Chalhoub Group, western firms have built a competitive advantage across the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). While not typical of western luxury brands selling to global markets other than the Middle East, their alliances with the Chalhoub Group offer access to a vast network of 650 stores in prime locations in the GCC, many in new shopping malls. Chalhoub has retail outlets in 14 countries in the MENA region. Since its establishment in 1955, the Dubai-based Chalhoub has developed partnerships with Christian Dior, Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and many others. In so doing it has laid the foundations for the creation of own-concept stores, where it sells its own branded products.
Please visit the dedicated case website to access supplementary material.

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case can be taught in executive education and elective MBA courses in luxury management. The focus is on the marketing and distribution of personal luxury goods in the Middle East, a region that outperformed the global luxury market until the collapse of oil prices in 2014. The case examines consumer characteristics in the Middle East, the unique business model of the Chalhoub organization, which employs over 12,000 people in the region – including Saudi Arabia where women play a surprisingly big role in its workforce – and its investment in employee training to a degree rarely seen among retail distributors in the West.

Keywords:
Chalhoub, Beauty, Fashion, Ghawali, Level Kids, Katakeet, Wajooh, Level Shoes, Tanagra, Gcc, Wassim Eid, Fadi Jabbour, Tdesign

published: 29 Mar 2017

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Shang Xia is a story of a female entrepreneur whose goal is to open the Chinese luxury-goods market to products proudly made in China. It is the story of a young Chinese designer named Jiang Qiong Er who was convinced that the craft of making luxury goods, which had been deeply rooted in ancient Chinese culture, could be revived by Chinese artisans working to her modern designs. By the sheer force of her convictions, the seasoned CEO of Hermès was won over to her business plan. The story starts in 2007, when Shang Xia was first born in a small workshop in Shanghai, and continues to the present day when the brand is expanding its footprint in other cities in China and the surrounding region. Although Shang Xia has not yet turned a profit since it opened its first boutique in Shanghai in 2010, Hermès is patiently convinced that the value proposition is sound and continues to own a 90% stake in the company.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Shang Xia offers students an exciting opportunity to participate in a brand strategy that is challenging perceptions in the fast-growing personal luxury goods sector in China. The case is designed to encourage students to think about the role that country of origin plays in building brand awareness. While luxury goods are most often associated with Western brands, the case challenges students to dig deeper into leadership as a force for change. Benefiting from her education at a well-known Parisian fashion school, Jiang Qiong Er has developed a vision of reverse innovation that is unlike that of any of her contemporaries. In addition to the important role that leadership plays, students will examine the retail strategy of Shang Xia as it expands from an unknown player on the streets of Shanghai already crowded with established retail networks. As Shang Xia opens new retail spaces on the mainland and in nearby cities off mainland, students can consider in real time whether the founder’s limited resources are being best allocated to build market share. Students who are interested in the personal luxury goods sector in China will find this to be an exceptional case putting them in the shoes of an entrepreneur who shows an incredible appetite for innovation.

Keywords:
Shang Xia, Hermès International, Chinese Luxury Goods, Luxury Goods, Lacquer Silk, Zitan Wood, Guimet Museum, Style, Jiang Qiong Er, Patrick Thomas, Axel Dumas, Guillaume Brochard, Bamboo Teaware, Cashmere Felt

published: 15 Dec 2016

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Fashion
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
WGSN is the world’s largest fashion trend forecasting agency, supplying services to 95% of the Fortune 500 fashion brands. The case examines the global strategy of WGSN, which strives to enrich its robust online platform while adding more physical presence in the markets where it is growing, particularly in North America and Asia. The case examines the role of style in fashion by focusing of the content it provides to fashion designers, buyers, merchandizers and executives. The flagship market for WGSN, the fashion industry, is divided into 14 product categories each of which require a high level of expertise on the part of the firm’s trend analysts. WGSN covers all aspects of the fashion calendar from the collections to the catwalks, from ads to in-store displays. Clients use WGSN’s curated platform to design, buy and price products in line with market trends. The case also examines a gap in WGSN’s global presence, the French market, where local competitors defend their market share with a combination of trend books and online data. A pure player like WGSN faces strong headwinds in this key location.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case is designed to encourage students to think about the role of style in fashion. Trend forecasting agencies play an increasingly important role for global apparel companies like Inditex (Zara), Nike, Under Armour and many more. Students will examine the users of trend forecasting agencies, including fashion designers, buyer and merchandisers. Creative directors also rely on trend forecasting agencies to shape their strategic choices. With the arrival of big data and quantitative approaches that can better predict trends in the fast-fashion industry, students interested in fashion will find the case a refreshing look at an industry that has grown very quickly.

Keywords:
Wgsn, Trend Books, Trend Forecasting, Fashion House, Catwalks, Collections, Fashion Buyers, Style, Peclers Paris, Lifestyles, Fashion Agencies, Nellyrodi, Fashion Designers, Merchandiser

published: 22 Jul 2016

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Abstract:
The case investigates the role of creative directors in the luxury fashion industry. When in October 2015 Raf Simons quit Christian Dior, industry observers wondered why anyone would voluntarily walk away from such an esteemed fashion house, and who would replace him. Beneath the glamorous veneer, the luxury and fashion industry puts tremendous stress on creative directors. Some crack up (John Galliano), other commit suicide (Alexander McQueen), and many launch proprietary labels.
Please visit the dedicated case website

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will be able to (i) evaluate the role played by creative directors in a luxury fashion house; (ii) understand the economics of the business and how haute couture drives profitability down and across associated business lines such as ready-to-wear and accessories; (iii) learn about the growing influence of fast fashion and e-commerce on the fashion calendar that creative directors are expected to live

Keywords:
Raf Simons, John Galliano, Bernard Arnault, Alexander Mcqueen, Christian Dior, Haute Couture, Creative Director, Luxury Fashion

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published: 24 Feb 2014

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case explores the career development of professionals with strong leadership potential within an international business group - LVMH. It follows the career progression of an MBA graduate, her exposure to networks and mentors, and her international mobility.

Pedagogical Objectives:
To understand that each industry has its codes - specific formal and informal rules, tacit and explicit knowledge - which must be mastered. The culture of LVMH is also specific, with a focus on harnessing passion, agility, excellence, etc.

Keywords:
Leadership, Luxury Industry, Networks, Mobility, European Competitiveness Initiative, European Competitiveness, Europe, Best Practices

published: 24 Feb 2014

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case shows 1) the strategic importance of talent management 2) the best practice of LVMH in this regard. It illustrates how LVMH extracts synergies across maisons (“houses”).

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be used to illustrate the concepts of "industry analysis" and "competitive advantage" especially as applied to analyzing drivers of differentiation strategy. It can be used as a part of core strategy sequence in MBA or EMBA programmes as well as in Executive Education.The key teaching point is that when well-managed, employee mobility within a business group is valuable for the internal benefits it provides (e.g., the transfer of best practices across the group) and its external positive effects (e.g., attracting the right talent). It thus gives firms a competitive advantage when pursuing a differentiation strategy in the luxury industry.

Keywords:
Strategic Talent Management, Luxury Industry, Networks, Business Groups, European Competitiveness Initiative, European Competitiveness, Europe, Best Practices

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