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Case Studies by Lisa Duke

10 case studies

by Publication Date
published: 21 Feb 2019

  • Topic: Marketing

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Abstract:
This case illustrates the challenges for a non-digital player adjusting to digital disruption in the travel and tourism industry. The rise and fall of Kuoni illustrates the ‘boiling frog’ syndrome – i.e., while threats to its business multiplied, there was no ‘wake up’ moment where managers made decisive changes before it was too late.
More generally, the case considers the challenges of digital disruption: leading transformation and change-management skillsets, and the mindset/culture required to embrace new technology. By identifying what Kuoni did and did not do, students understand what it takes to transform into an agile organisation by leveraging digital trends and technologies.

Pedagogical Objectives:
. Understand the growth opportunities and threats of digitalisation for industries and individual companies
. Compare the merits of the incumbent business model (exemplified by Kuoni) with that of digital disruptors (exemplified by Expedia, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, priceline.com)
. Discuss business model adaptation and strategic partnership opportunities in industries facing digital transformation (from an incumbent’s perspective)
. Analyse the factors and parties (internal and external) in Kuoni’s failure to digitalize - and implications for the students’ own industry
. Understand the importance of leadership and culture in an organization’s transformation
. Hindsight teaches us that by insisting on ‘business as usual’ we may fail to heed catalysts for change

Keywords:
Digital Disruption, Digital Transformation, Business Model Innovation, Digital Strategy, Digital Transformation Failure, Customer Centricity, Marketing Strategy, Leadership in an Agile World, Change Management, Culture Change, Ecosystems, Travel

published: 30 Oct 2017

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Real Estate
  • Region: Asia

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Abstract:
Longfor, a real estate company in China, treats every customer as an individual with distinctive tastes, preferences and needs; the homes it designs emphasize aesthetics, comfort, landscaping and lifestyle in a holistic way. Likewise, its organizational culture emphasizes equality and professionalism in a country where hierarchy and deference to authority are the norm. Its approach to HR (recruitment, training, evaluation, compensation, role-modeling) is completely at odds with common practice in China. The case asks: Is it possible to succeed in business with an organizational culture that is alien to the society in which the company operates? How can emotional capital be generated and embedded in a company to facilitate strategic innovation?

Pedagogical Objectives:
Understand how corporate strategy is bolstered by an organization’s culture, together with HR practices and an organizational structure that are consistent with it. Understand how emotional capital serves as a mediator between organizational culture and strategy to facilitate creativity and innovation.

Keywords:
Organizational Culture, Differentiation Strategy, Human Resource, Organizational Structure, Emotional Capital, Real Estate Industry, China, Equality, Professionalism, Innovation, Creativitity

published: 26 Sep 2016

  • Industry: Technology, Smartphones
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
The case examines the downward spiral of Nokia, the mobile technology giant that once conquered the world, seen from the perspective of ‘insiders’ – based on interviews with Nokia executives at top and middle management level. They describe the emotional undercurrents of the innovation process that caused temporal myopia – an excessive focus on short-term innovation at the expense of longer-term more beneficial activities. Nokia’s once-stellar performance was undermined by misaligned collective fear: top managers were afraid of competition from rival products, while middle managers were afraid of their bosses and even their peers. It was their reluctance to share negative information with top managers – who thus remained overly optimistic about the organisation’s capabilities – that generated inaccurate feedback and poorly adapted organizational responses that led to the company’s downfall. The case covers the period from the early 2000s to 2010, with a focus on 2007 (the introduction of the iPhone) to 2010, when the CEO left.

Read a related Knowledge article "Who Killed Nokia? Nokia Did" by Quy Huy.

Pedagogical Objectives:
After reading and analysing the case, students will understand (i) how emotional dynamics influence hard technological and strategic decisions in organizations as they translate into challenges for innovation, (ii) how emotional dynamics can undermine innovation and performance.

Keywords:
Emotion, Attention, Innovation, Top and Middle Management, Strategy, Cognition, Iphone, Nokia, Smartphone, Mobile Phone, Radical Change, Fear, Strategic Agility, Temporal Myopia

published: 24 Feb 2016

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Abstract:
The telecommunications manufacturing industry has seen massive consolidation in the past 10 years. This is the story of how two major telecom providers, Alcatel and Lucent, merged and positioned themselves for the future. It focuses on the leadership challenges of the final years, just before the company was sold. Alcatel-Lucent was at high risk of failure around 2012, but it managed to find its way forward and create a new future with Nokia.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The focus of the case is on the ongoing challenges of strategic alignment: how senior leaders attempt to fit the organization to its strategy, and ultimately to the environment.

Keywords:
Leadership, Change Management, Fair Process Leadership, Strategic Alignment, Corporate Governance, Value Creation, Strategy and Implementation

published: 01 Apr 2015

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
BP CEO Tony Hayward (UK) faced intense public scrutiny from many different constituencies in the US in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The case focuses on how his words and actions were perceived by the US media and government, and how these perceptions had critical business and personal outcomes.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Corporate leaders face the mounting challenge of having to inspire and motivate employees to achieve their business objectives, as well as external constituencies who do not perform economic transactions with the company, but can significantly influence its economic performance and leaders' legitimacy. The way in which Hayward's words and actions were perceived by these non-market constituencies, the outcome, and the conclusions to be drawn about managing such perceptions in a crisis bring into focus issues such as national politics, collective emotions, impression and symbolic management that many leaders fail to heed when managing a business.

Keywords:
Crisis, Public Perception, Symbolic Management emotion, Impression Management, Top Management, National Identities, Politics

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published: 23 Feb 2015

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Finance and Banking
  • Region: Europe

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Abstract:
The case describes the spectacular rise of UBS in the period 2000-2008 and its decline in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. CEO Ospel led an ambitious growth strategy, abandoning UBS's traditional risk-averse culture in favour of a more risk-taking form of investment banking in the USA.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case brings into focus the tensions between different concepts of ambitious leadership, different approaches to strategy execution in international settings, and different organizational cultures (Swiss-style conservative banking vs. the risk-seeking culture of investment banking). The implicit question is whether the expansion strategy into the US have been executed differently.

Keywords:
Strategy Execution, International Expansion, Visionary Leadership, Banking and Finance, Organizational Culture, Investment Banking, Global Financial Crisis, Hedge Fund, European Competitiveness, Europe

published: 26 Aug 2013

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

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Abstract:
This case allows a rich and nuanced discussion of the various leadership dimensions of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers, who was widely regarded as a visionary leader but could be harsh with people working around him. The case raises the strategic question of profit sustainability and organizational resilience. Could Apple thrive as a creative company without Jobs? Was Jobs an emotionally intelligent leader? (why/why not) Was Jobs a good leader?

Pedagogical Objectives:
This case allows a rich and nuanced discussion of the various leadership dimensions of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers, who was widely regarded as a visionary leader but could be harsh with people working around him. The case raises the strategic question of profit sustainability and organizational resilience. Could Apple thrive as a creative company without Jobs? Was Jobs an emotionally intelligent leader? (why/why not) Was Jobs a good leader? The case enables students to evaluate his leadership competence by using different theories of leadership.

Keywords:
Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Emotion, Strategy, General Management, Technology, Social Media, Computer

published: 28 Sep 2011

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Furniture
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case describes how IKEA's distinctive strategy was formed over a period of about 30 years (late 1940s to late 1970s). It describes how the various elements of its strategy were created gradually, with the help of many people other than the founder Kamprad, and how these elements were ultimately integrated with each other thanks to the creation of IKEA's organizational culture that came much later.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case illustrates a process view of strategy creation. Many students of strategy think that an integrated and effective strategy is the outcome of some systematic, highly analytical process performed centrally by a group of strategic planners. In fact, this case shows how it can emerge from a series of creative small steps by frontline managers, overcoming constraints one by one, over 30 years in a highly competitive industry. Despite the competitive environment, creative strategies continue to emerge through persistent attempts to circumvent existing barriers.

Keywords:
Strategy, Core Competence, Activity System, Culture, Leadership, Values, Competition, Multinational, European Competitiveness, Europe, Best Practices

published: 28 Sep 2011

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Industry: Furniture
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
This case describes IKEA's strategy, aiming to show how the Swedish company has developed and maintained its competitive advantage over decades while expanding its business worldwide.

Pedagogical Objectives:
The case can be used to teach the key elements of business strategy, including mission, scope, organizing logic, and sources of competitive advantage. It shows how the company organizes itself to create value for specific customer segments while maintaining a competitive cost structure. It also illustrates how organizational culture can be a source of competitive advantage.

Keywords:
Strategy, Core Competence, Activity Systemculture, Leadership, Values, Competition, Multinational, European Competitiveness, Europe, Best Practices

published: 28 Sep 2011

  • Topic: Strategy
  • Region: Global

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Abstract:
BP CEO Tony Hayward (UK) faced intense public scrutiny from many different constituencies in the US in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The case focuses on how his words and actions were perceived by the US media and government, and how these perceptions had critical business and personal outcomes.

Pedagogical Objectives:
Corporate leaders face the mounting challenge of having to inspire and motivate employees to achieve their business objectives, as well as external constituencies who do not perform economic transactions with the company, but can significantly influence its economic performance and leaders' legitimacy. The way in which Hayward's words and actions were perceived by these non-market constituencies, the outcome, and the conclusions to be drawn about managing such perceptions in a crisis bring into focus issues such as national politics, collective emotions, impression and symbolic management that many leaders fail to heed when managing a business.

Keywords:
Crisis, Public Perception, Symbolic Management, Emotion, Impression Management, Top Management, National Identities, Politics, Corporate Governance, Board Process and Remuneration at the Top, European Competitiveness, Europe

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