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Selected Case

published: 06 Nov 2017

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

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


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