The Walt Disney Co. theme parks historically have thrived on the basis of a formula stressing excellent customer service and a magnificent physical environment. The formula has proven successful in Japan, as well as the United States. With the controversial opening of Euro Disney in France, however, there has become reason to doubt the international appeal of the formula. The case documents issues involved with Euro Disney. Examines the transferability of a successful service concept across international boundaries.
Discusses the development of a chain of "theme" restaurants. The student is asked to evaluate the current operating strategy and suggest a long-term expansion strategy.
When asked to define the ideal leader, many would emphasize traits such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision--the qualities traditionally associated with leadership. Often left off the list are softer, more personal qualities--but they are also essential. Although a certain degree of analytical and technical skill is a minimum requirement for success, studies indicate that emotional intelligence may be the key attribute that distinguishes outstanding performers from those who are merely adequate. Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman first brought the term "emotional intelligence" to a wide audience with his 1995 book of the same name, and Goleman first applied the concept to business with this 1998 classic HBR article. In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that truly effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence.
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version. The case describes the dilemma of a marketing manager, Thomas Green, who, after being rapidly promoted, is harshly criticized by his boss, Frank Davis. Green and Davis disagree on work styles and market projections. Green believes the sales goals set by Davis are based on "creative accounting" and grossly overstate the current market environment. A mood of silent conflict develops quickly between the two men, and Green is concerned that Davis is building a case to fire him. Green's situation is one in which his failure to adapt his work style and fully understand the demands and boundaries of his new position may lead to his discharge. A factor in the background is Green's relationship with his boss's boss.
Describes the events that transpired during the May 1996, Mount Everest tragedy. Examines the flawed decisions that climbing teams made before and during the ascent.
Businesses hoping to survive over the long term will have to remake themselves into better competitors at least once along the way. These efforts have gone under many banners: total quality management, reengineering, rightsizing, restructuring, cultural change, and turnarounds, to name a few. In almost every case, the goal has been to cope with a new, more challenging market by changing the way business is conducted. A few of these endeavors have been very successful. A few have been utter failures. Most fall somewhere in between, with a distinct tilt toward the lower end of the scale. John P. Kotter is renowned for his work on leading organizational change. In 1995, when this article was first published, he had just completed a 10-year study of more than 100 companies that attempted such a transformation.
Winner of the 16th Annual MITX Interactive Award in eLearning, the largest awards competition in the country for interactive and web innovations. The simulation uses the dramatic context of a Mount Everest expedition to reinforce student learning in group dynamics and leadership. Students play one of 5 roles on a team of hikers attempting to summit the mountain. During each round of play they must collectively discuss whether to attempt the next camp en route to the summit. Ultimately, teams must climb through 5 camps in 6 simulated days totaling approximately 1.5 actual hours of seat time. Team members analyze information on weather, health conditions, supplies, goals, or hiking speed, and determine how much of that information to communicate to their teammates. Along the journey, the team must also decide how to effectively distribute supplies and oxygen bottles needed for the ascent--decisions which affect hiking speed, health, and ultimately the team's success in summiting the mountain.
In this single-player simulation, students play one of two roles at a sunglass manufacturing firm and face the challenges associated with implementing an organization-wide environmental sustainability initiative. The initiative seeks to change raw material inputs in order to make the company's products more "green," and also to address environmental waste issues. The simulation includes up to four scenarios with different combinations of two important factors for creating change: the relative power of the change agent and the relative urgency associated with the change initiative. In each scenario, students choose among different change levers in an attempt to persuade key members of the organization to adopt the change initiative.
The coach of the varsity Army crew team at West Point assembled his top eight rowers into the first crew team and the second tier of rowers into the second team using objective data on individual performance. As the second boat continually beat the first boat in races, the coach attempted to discern the team dynamics causing these aberrant results. By using very clean, objective performance data, the case makes clear that a team can be more (or less) than the sum of its individual parts, but allows students to analyze the factors that make this true.
The second edition of this popular simulation maintains the fast-paced and engaging student experience while enhancing the range of tools available to instructors for conducting a debrief session. Dynamic charts and graphs with class results are available for immediate download and presentation to class. In this fast-paced, multi-player simulation, students experience the effects of a supply chain dynamic called the "bullwhip" effect. Small changes in customer demand cause increasing oscillations in ordering patterns and inventory levels moving down the supply chain away from the customer. Students play one of four roles in a root beer supply chain: factory, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer. In each simulated week, they must examine inventory, anticipate demand, and send orders to the adjacent connection in the supply chain. Each student attempts to minimize inventory carrying costs while avoiding costly inventory shortages.
The case describes operations at a skiwear design and merchandising company and its supply partner. Introduces production planning for short-life-cycle products with uncertain demand and allows students to analyze a reduced version of the company's production planning problem. In addition, it provides details about information and material flows that allow students to make recommendations for operational improvements, including comparisons between sourcing products in Hong Kong and China.
The second release of this simulation adds a new scenario with multiple unanticipated events and the ability to add prototypes to the project plan. In this single-player simulation, students take on the role of a senior project manager and manage a team tasked with developing a new product for an electronics manufacturing company. The primary objectives are to execute a project plan successfully and deliver a competitive product on time and on budget. Instructors can assign up to 6 scenarios that expose students to realistic challenges that project managers often face, especially when working in a highly competitive industry. Some challenges require students to react to unanticipated outside events, such as a staffing crisis, while others require students to respond to strategic changes mandated by upper management. A new project lever for specifying prototypes allows students to explore the benefits of this essential component of agile project management.
In this single-player simulation, students explore the principles of operations and service management while working through a series of challenges set during a single evening at a busy Benihana restaurant. Customers start in the bar area for drinks and then move into the dining room where chefs prepare the food right at the table. Each simulation challenge examines a particular aspect of the restaurant operation beginning with the effect of batching customers from the bar into the dining room. Other challenges examine the effect of redesigning the bar area, reducing dining time, and boosting demand through advertising and special promotions. The final challenge requires students to consider the lessons learned in the previous challenges to design a strategy that maximizes utilization, throughput, and total profit for the evening. The simulation is designed to expand on the learning objectives of the Benihana of Tokyo case study (#673057).
To maximize their effectiveness, color cases should be printed in color. Describes IDEO, the world's leading product design firm, and its innovation culture and process. Emphasis is placed on the important role of prototyping and experimentation in general, and in the design of the very successful Palm V handheld computer in particular. A studio leader is asked by a business start-up (Handspring) to develop a novel hand-held computer (Visor) in less than half the time it took to develop the Palm V, requiring several shortcuts to IDEO's legendary innovation process. Focuses on: 1) prototyping and experimentation practices at a leading product developer; 2) the role of playfulness, discipline, and structure in innovation processes; and 3) the managerial challenges of creating and managing an unusually creative and innovative company culture. Includes color exhibits.
This interactive online simulation allows students to try their hands at managing the complexities of a global supply chain by putting them in the shoes of the supply chain manager of a mobile phone manufacturer. Students become responsible for the rollout of two models of mobile phones. Illustrates key concepts of supply chain management, such as: creating a balanced supply chain across suppliers with different lead times, building flexibility into the supply chain to avoid stock-outs and excess inventory, and evaluating and using demand forecasts. Student success is measured by company profits as well as through a dynamic evaluation process in which students answer probing questions from the company's board members. Students can use the simulation individually or in teams. Users must have an Internet connection (dial-up or other) and a personal computer that meets minimum technical requirements.
The essence of business success lies in making sure you're playing the right game. How do you know if it's the right game? What can you do if it's the wrong game? To help managers answer those questions, the authors have developed a framework that draws on the insights of game theory. The primary insight of game theory is the importance of focusing on others. In other words, companies should consider both cooperative and competitive ways to change the game. Who are the participants in the game of business? The authors introduce a schematic map that represents all the players and all the interdependencies among them.
Provides an overview of the seven elements of negotiation analysis. These elements include BATNAs (nonagreement walk-aways), parties, interests, value-creation, barriers to agreements, power, and ethics. Illustrations are drawn from a range of contexts (from buying a car and the sale of a business to dispute resolution and international diplomacy).
Discusses the negotiation of a possible trademark infringement involving a German conglomerate and a Taiwanese trading firm.
A second-year Harvard MBA student considers the pros and cons of three job offers. He identifies several concerns and evaluates each job in terms of how well they meet these concerns. He assesses probabilities for whether the jobs will be successful for him.
The case 'Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service' is accompanied by a Video Short that can be shown in class or included in a digital coursepack. Instructors should consider the timing of making the video available to students, as it may reveal key case details. Starbucks, the dominant specialty-coffee brand in North America, must respond to recent market research indicating that the company is not meeting customer expectations in terms of service. To increase customer satisfaction, the company is debating a plan that would increase the amount of labor in the stores and theoretically increase speed-of-service. However, the impact of the plan (which would cost $40 million annually) on the company's bottom line is unclear.
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version. Explores channel management issues in the U.S. food industry. Natureview Farm, a Vermont-based producer of organic yogurt with $13 million in revenues, is the leading national yogurt brand (24% market share) sold into natural foods stores. It has achieved this through its special yogurt manufacturing process and through cultivating personal relationships with dairy buyers in the natural foods channel. Set in 2000, when the company faces financial pressure to grow revenues to $20 million by the end of 2001 due to a planned exit by its venture capital investors. The immediate decision point that the protagonist, Natureview's vice president of marketing, faces is whether to achieve this revenue growth by expanding into the supermarket channel.
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version. Chris Prangel, a recent MBA graduate, has returned home to West Virginia to manage the marketing operations of the Mountain Man Beer Company, a family-owned business he stands to inherit in five years. Mountain Man brews just one beer, Mountain Man Lager, also known as "West Virginia's beer" and popular among blue-collar workers. Due to changes in beer drinkers' taste preferences, the company is now experiencing declining sales for the first time in its history. In response, Chris wants to launch Mountain Man Light, a "light beer" formulation of Mountain Man Lager, in the hope of attracting younger drinkers to the brand. However, he encounters resistance from senior managers. Mountain Man Lager's brand equity is a key asset for Mountain Man Brewing Company. The question is whether Mountain Man Light will enhance it, detract from it, or irreversibly damage it.
In this single-player simulation, students define and execute a business-to-business marketing strategy at a manufacturer for motors used in medical devices. Customers are divided into market segments based on their requirements for two key motor performance features and price. Students must analyze each market segment and decide which new customers they want to acquire while also considering the loyal customers they must retain. A successful go-to-market strategy requires careful consideration of a variety of interdependent factors. Students set a list price and then set discounts for each large market segment and for a segment of small customers who purchase through distributors. Students allocate sales and marketing resources for each targeted segment including setting the level of spending on marketing communications and market research. Students can listen to customer feedback through dynamic video interviews and gain important insights into the effectiveness of their marketing strategies. Ultimately students must achieve a sustainable revenue stream to maximize cumulative profit for the company. The second release of this simulation retains the immersive experience of the original while providing streamlined analysis tools for students and enhanced administrative features for instructors.
In 2002, the IKEA Group is the world's top furniture retailer, with 154 stores worldwide. In the United States, IKEA operates 14 stores, all of which have been enormously popular despite their self-service requirements. The company's goal is to have 50 stores in operation in the United States by 2013. Explores various options for managing this growth strategy.
When students have the English-language PDF of this Brief Case in a coursepack, they will also have the option to purchase an audio version. The new Senior Vice President of Marketing for The Fashion Channel (TFC), a cable television network dedicated to round-the-clock, fashion-oriented programming, is preparing to recommend a change in the company's traditional marketing approach by introducing a market segmentation program. This program is, in part, a response to the intensifying competitive environment for TFC, and it needs to strengthen the company's brand and positioning with viewers and advertisers. At the same time, the program must maintain consumer and distributor satisfaction with the network. Several segmentation options are being considered, each with pros and cons. Consumer research provides insights but does not give a simple answer regarding the best path to take. The reader must evaluate the research results, calculate financial scenarios, and make a recommendation. Also looks at change management issues. TFC has never done a program like this before, and the Senior Vice President of Marketing is new to the job. In addition to making a recommendation, she must manage the change process to insure that the organization and her leadership team peers are fully aligned.
This case is accompanied by a Video Short that can be shown in class or included in a digital coursepack. Instructors should consider the timing of making the video available to students, as it may reveal key case details. Examines the evolution of Dove from functional brand to a brand with a point of view after Unilever designated it as a masterbrand, and expanded its portfolio to cover entries into a number of sectors beyond the original bath soap category. The development causes the brand team to take a fresh look at the cliches of the beauty industry. The result is the controversial Real Beauty campaign. As the campaign unfolds, Unilever learns to use the Internet, and particularly social network media like YouTube, to manage controversy. Video Supplement available for purchase through Harvard Business Publishing's customer service department.
The case, set within the European organization of a giant multinational breakfast foods company, describes a launch decision for a new cereal product. As the case evolves, the decision has major strategic and organizational implications for Lora Brill, European VP. The case focuses especially on two important decisions facing Brill: Should Healthy Berry Crunch become the company's first Eurobrand and be introduced in a coordinated manner Europewide? And, from an organizational perspective, should she create Eurobrand Teams to implement her proposed Eurobrand concept?
Greg James, a global manager at Sun Microsystems, Inc., sets out to meet with his entire 43-member customer implementation team spread across India, France, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America to resolve a dire customer system outage as required by a service agreement. Rather than finding a swift resolution to the rapidly escalating customer situation that motivated his trip, he finds himself facing distributed work, global collaboration, conflict and management issues that are threatening to unravel his team.
Winner of a 2013 ecch Case Award Just weeks into her new job, Mia Foster, a first time CEO with no international management experience, is faced with a major challenge at Levendary Café, a $10 billion US-based fast food chain. Strategically, many of her corporate staff have become concerned that the company's major expansion into China is moving too far from Levendary's well-defined concepts of store design and menu. Organizationally, Foster has been frustrated by the apparent unwillingness of Louis Chen, president of Levendary China, to conform to the company's planning and reporting processes. Meanwhile, financial evidence shows that Chen's efforts have produced strong results and suggests that he knows China far better than U.S headquarters does. The entrepreneurial Chen has resisted attempts by Foster and others to discuss corporate plans for China. As Foster flies to China to meet with Chen she faces a decision that will determine the future of Levendary China and perhaps the entire globalization effort: can she manage Chen at all, and if so, how?
Traces the history of IKEA's response to a TV report that its Indian carpet suppliers were using child labor. Describes IKEA's growth, including the importance of a sourcing strategy based on its close relationships with suppliers in developing countries. Details the development of IKEA's strong culture and values that include a commitment "to create a better everyday life for many people." Describes how, in response to regulatory and public pressure, IKEA developed a set of environmental policies that grew to encompass a relationship with Greenpeace and WWF on forest management and conservation. Then, in 1994, Marianne Barner, a newly appointed IKEA product manager, is surprised by a Swedish television documentary on the use of child labor by Indian carpet suppliers, including some that supply IKEA's rugs. She immediately implements a strict policy that provides for contract cancellation if any IKEA supplier uses child labor. Then Barner is confronted by a German TV producer who advises her that he is about to broadcast an investigative program documenting the use of child labor in one of the company's major suppliers. How should she react to the crisis? How should the company deal with the ongoing issue of child labor in the supply chain?
In January 2010, Google threatened in a public statement to stop censoring its search results on its google.cn website, as required by Chinese authorities. Should Google exit China? Or attempt a compromise with the Chinese government?
This case describes a wallet maker's application of seven Internet marketing technologies: display ads, algorithmic search, sponsored search, social media, interactive content, online distributors, and A/B testing. It provides concise introductions to the key features of each technology, and asks which forms of online marketing the company should prioritize in the future. Also discusses similarities and differences between online and offline marketing, as well as issues of marketing campaign evaluation.
This article includes a one-page preview that quickly summarizes the key ideas and provides an overview of how the concepts work in practice along with suggestions for further reading. This widely debated article now includes 14 Letters to the Editor. As information technology has grown in power and ubiquity, companies have come to view it as evermore critical to their success; their heavy spending on hardware and software clearly reflects that assumption. Chief executives routinely talk about information technology's strategic value, about how they can use IT to gain a competitive edge. But scarcity, not ubiquity, makes a business resource truly strategic--and allows companies to use it for a sustained competitive advantage. You gain an edge over rivals only by doing something that they can't. IT is the latest in a series of broadly adopted technologies--think of the railroad or the electric generator--that have reshaped industry over the past two centuries. For a brief time, these technologies created powerful opportunities for forward-looking companies.
Describes an IT security crisis, and raises issues of risk management, preparation for crisis, management of crises, computer security, and public disclosure of security risks.
Describes Harley-Davidson's decision process for defining and selecting an enterprise-wide procurement software package and the institutional changes introduced as part of this process. Tells the story of Harley-Davidson's approach in developing integrated business processes and information systems to meet the needs of a visionary procurement strategy. Central to this activity was the evaluation and selection of an enterprise software package and implementation partner to support the strategy. Describes managerial reasoning and tactics to introduce significant organizational change into a setting where team-based responsibility and a culture of autonomy are prominent.
The case 'Hitting the Wall: Nike and International Labor Practices' is set in the mid-1990s, when Nike, one of the world's most successful footwear companies, is hit by a spate of alarmingly bad publicity. After years of high-profile media attention as the company that can "just do it," Nike is suddenly being portrayed as a firm that relies on low-cost, exploited labor in its overseas plants. Nike officials vigorously deny the charges, claiming that Nike has no control over the independent contractors who manufacture Nike shoes. But the activists will not retreat. Eventually, Nike must learn to deal with the activists' claims and with the tangle of conflicting data that surrounds the concept of a "fair" or "living" wage.
Each Case Flash Forward provides educators and students with a brief, 2-page update of key changes at a particular company covered in a related case study. It is a compilation of publicly-available content prepared by an experienced editor. This Case Flash Forward provides an update on GE since 2005, including significant developments, current executives, key readings, and basic financials.
Reviews Cisco System's approach to implementing Oracle's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software product. This case chronologically reviews the diverse, critical success factors and obstacles facing Cisco during its implementation. Cisco faced the need for information systems replacement based on its significant growth potential and its reliance on failing legacy systems. The discussion focuses on where management was particularly savvy in contrast to where it was the beneficiary of good fortune.
Focuses on Inditex, an apparel retailer from Spain, which has set up an extremely quick response system for its ZARA chain. Instead of predicting months before a season starts what women will want to wear, ZARA observes what's selling and what's not and continuously adjusts what it produces and merchandises on that basis. Powered by ZARA's success, Inditex has expanded into 39 countries, making it one of the most global retailers in the world. But in 2002, it faces important questions concerning its future growth.
Today's dynamic markets and technologies have called into question the sustainability of competitive advantage. Under pressure to improve productivity, quality, and speed, managers have embraced tools such as TQM, benchmarking, and reengineering. Dramatic operational improvements have resulted, but rarely have these gains translated into sustainable profitability. And gradually, the tools have taken the place of strategy. As managers push to improve on all fronts, they move further away from viable competitive positions. Michael Porter argues that operational effectiveness, although necessary to superior performance, is not sufficient, because its techniques are easy to imitate. In contrast, the essence of strategy is choosing a unique and valuable position rooted in systems of activities that are much more difficult to match.
Reed Hastings founded Netflix with a vision to provide a home movie service that would do a better job satisfying customers than the traditional retail rental model. But as it encouraged challenges it underwent several major strategy shifts, ultimately developing a business model and an operational strategy that were highly disruptive to retail video rental chains. The combination of a large national inventory, a recommendation system that drove viewership across the broad catalog, and a large customer base made Netflix a force to be reckoned with, especially as a distribution channel for lower-profile and independent films. Blockbuster, the nation's largest retail video rental firm, was initially slow to respond, but ultimately rolled out a hybrid retail/online response in the form of Blockbuster Online. Aggressive pricing pulled in subscribers, but at a price to both it and Netflix. But a new challenge was on the horizon: video-on-demand. How should Netflix respond?
In 1979, a young associate professor at Harvard Business School published his first article for HBR, "How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy." In the years that followed, Michael Porter's explication of the five forces that determine the long-run profitability of any industry has shaped a generation of academic research and business practice. In this article, Porter undertakes a thorough reaffirmation and extension of his classic work of strategy formulation, which includes substantial new sections showing how to put the five forces analysis into practice. The five forces govern the profit structure of an industry by determining how the economic value it creates is apportioned. That value may be drained away through the rivalry among existing competitors, of course, but it can also be bargained away through the power of suppliers or the power of customers or be constrained by the threat of new entrants or the threat of substitutes.
The 'Cola Wars Continue: Coke and Pepsi in 2010' case examines the industry structure and competitive strategy of Coca-Cola and Pepsi over 100 years of rivalry. The most intense battles of the cola wars were fought over the $74 billion CSD industry in the United States, where the average American consumes 46 gallons of CSD per year. In a "carefully waged competitive struggle," from 1975 to the mid-1990s, both Coke and Pepsi had achieved average annual growth of around 10%, as both U.S. and worldwide CSD consumption consistently rose. However, starting in the late 1990s, U.S. CSD consumption started to decline and new non-sparkling beverages become popular, threatening to alter the companies' brand, bottling, and pricing strategies. The case considers what has to be done for Coke and Pepsi to ensure sustainable growth and profitability. A rewritten version of an earlier case.
On April 4, 2010, Apple Inc. launched the iPad, the company's third major innovation released over the last decade under its iconic CEO Steve Jobs. Apple's strategy of shifting its business into non-PC products had thrived so far, driven by the smashing success of the iPod and the iPhone. Yet challenges abounded. Macintosh sales in the worldwide PC market still languished below 5%. Growth in iPod sales was slowing down. iPhone faced increasing competition in the smartphone industry. And would Apple's latest creation, the iPad, take the company to the next level?
This case is accompanied by a Video Short that can be shown in class or included in a digital coursepack. Instructors should consider the timing of making the video available to students, as it may reveal key case details. Starbucks, the world's leading specialty coffee company, developed a strategic alliance with Conservation International, a major international environmental nonprofit organization. The purpose of the alliance was to promote coffee-growing practices of small farms that would protect endangered habitats. The collaboration emerged from the company's corporate social responsibility policies and its coffee procurement strategy. The initial project was in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and resulted in the incorporation of shade-grown coffee into the Starbucks product line, providing an attractive alternative market for the farmer cooperatives at a time when coffee producers were in economic crisis due to plummeting world prices. Simultaneously, the company had to deal with growing pressures from nonprofit organizations in the Fair Trade movement, demanding higher prices for farmers. Starbucks was reviewing the future of its alliance with Conservation International and its new coffee procurement guidelines aimed at promoting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable coffee production. The nature of the industry puts the case in the global context from both the supply and demand sides.
Working with Shell's country manager for Nigeria, the company's Committee of Managing Directors must decide how to respond to the Nigerian government's decision to impose the death sentence on Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other leaders of a movement for the rights of the Ogoni (one of Nigeria's 240 ethnic groups). As the case opens, Saro-Wiwa and his codefendants have just been found guilty of inciting murder in a trial that international observers have criticized as deeply flawed. Saro-Wiwa, an environmentalist, writer, businessman, television producer, and human rights activist, has been a vocal critic of not only the Nigerian government but also Shell. Provides background on Shell, on its business in Nigeria, and on environmental and human rights issues in the Niger Delta.
Martha McCaskey, a project leader at a consulting firm, is asked to complete a project at a crucial point in her career. Successful completion of the project would gain McCaskey a promotion and a significant raise. McCaskey, however, cannot see a way to complete the project without compromising her values. She must decide whether to maintain the high degree of integrity that has always characterized her work or to compromise and "play the game."
This case analysis traces the establishment and subsequent operation of FIJI Water LLC and its bottling subsidiary, Natural Waters of Viti Limited, the first company in Fiji extracting, bottling and marketing, both domestically and internationally, artesian water coming from a virgin ecosystem found on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. The case reviews the growth and market expansion of this highly successful company with the brand name FIJI Natural Artesian Water (FIJI Water). The company has grown rapidly over the past decade and a half, and now exports bottled water into many countries in the world from its production plant located in the Fiji Islands. In 2008, FIJI Water was the leading imported bottled water brand in the United States. In the context of great marketing success of the FIJI brand, particularly in the U.S. market, the case focuses on how the company has responded to a number of corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues, including measuring and reducing its carbon footprint, responsibilities to key stakeholders, and concerns of the Fiji government with regard to taxation and transfer pricing issues. The case provides a compelling illustration of how CSR challenges may jeopardize the sustainability of a clever marketing strategy.
The principal players in WorldCom's accounting fraud included CFO Scott Sullivan, the General Accounting and Internal Audit departments, external auditor Arthur Andersen, and the board of directors. The case provides sufficient detail to allow for a full discussion of the pressures that lead executives and managers to "cook the books," the boundary between earnings smoothing or management and fraudulent reporting, the role for internal control systems and internal audit to prevent or rapidly detect accounting fraud, the expectations about governance processes performed by external auditors and the board of directors, and the pressure and consequences when middle managers follow orders that they know are wrong. Written from the public record, the case contains numerous quotes from an individual involved in the WorldCom fraud that were reported by the Investigative Committee and Wall Street Journal articles about several of the individuals caught up in the situation.
The company's management is faced with long-term questions regarding the rate and manner of growth in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and general industry malaise.
In just seven days, the Ritz-Carlton transforms newly hired employees into "Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen." The case details a new hotel launch, focusing on the unique blend of leadership, quality processes, and values of self-respect and dignity, to create award-winning service.
JetBlue Airways shows how an entrepreneurial venture is able to use human resource management, specifically a values-centered approach to managing people, as a source of competitive advantage. The major challenge faced by Ann Rhoades is to grow this people-centered organization at a rapid rate, while retaining high standards for employee selection and maintaining a small company culture.
Illustrates how Four Seasons manages hotels in countries with strong and distinct national cultures. Focuses on how the chain meets its exacting service standards in a variety of settings worldwide, with special attention on France.
Reed's Supermarket is among prominent food retail chains of USA with a strong presence in Columbus region of Ohio. The retail chain commands around seventeen percent of market share in the Columbus region. Columbus is the largest city and the state capital of the US state of Ohio. It is considered among the most important region for Reed Supermarkets with respect to the size of the market and having the greatest impact on revenue growth of the business. There is growing competition in the retail industry of this city with the emergence of newer pattern of stores, recessionary cycle of the economy and decreasing differentiation between stores.
The case is about Dow Chemicals’ bid for the privatization of Petroquimica Bahia Blanca (PBB). PBB, a producer of both Ethylene and Polyethylene in Argentina, is being privatized by the local government. Dow holds a leading market position in Ethylene and Polyethylene, and wants to utilize this opportunity to expand into Argentina. Dow has developed a three-stage operational strategy for expansion of its polyethylene operations in Argentina. The acquisition of PBB represents the first stage of the strategy and provides a gateway to the second and third stage. The cash flows from each stage of the project have been valued using the discounted cash flow (DCF) approach.
AES has been using a single discount rate for all of its operations – an equity discount rate of 12% based on US data. This discount rate was quite appropriate in the past when most of the operations were based in US. However, the recent expansion of AES into different geographical areas has exposed the diverse operations of the company to varied amounts of risk. The company is now contemplating the use of different discount rates for each of its projects. It is suggested that the costs of equity and debt are adjusted for sovereign spread – the difference in the riskfree rates of the local country and the US. The WACC is later adjusted for the project-specific risks based on a broad range of seven categories including exchange rates, regulatory environment, and operational complexities. It is determined that the new methodology results in a broad range of discounts rates – ranging from around 10% to 30%.
In 2013, Nokia sold its Device and Services business to Microsoft for ?5.4 billion. For decades Nokia had led the telecommunications (telecom) industry in handsets and networking. By the late 2000s, however, Nokia's position as market leader in mobile devices was threatened by competition from new lower-cost Asian manufacturers. Apple's 2007 release of its iPhone established an entire new category-the smartphone-immediately popular with users. What were Nokia's missteps over the years? What should Nokia have done differently?
Reed Hastings founded Netflix to provide a home movie service that would do a better job satisfying customers than the traditional retail rental model. But as it encountered challenges it underwent several major strategy shifts, ultimately developing a business model and an operational strategy that were highly disruptive to retail video rental chains. The combination of a large national inventory, a recommendation system that drove viewership across a broad catalog, and a large customer base made Netflix a force to be reckoned with, especially as a distribution channel for lower-profile and independent films. Blockbuster, the nation's largest retail video rental firm, was initially slow to respond, but ultimately rolled out a hybrid retail/online response in the form of Blockbuster Online.
The case 'Google Inc. in 2014' describes Google's history, business model, governance structure, corporate culture, and processes for managing innovation. Reviews Google's recent strategic initiatives and the threats they pose to selected competitors. Asks what Google should do next.
Narrates the story of Emirates, an airline founded in 1985 in Dubai that by 2013 was among the three largest commercial airlines in the world. The case emphasizes how Emirates capitalized on its location-a small city-state strategically located to reach ¾ of the world population in a flight of less than eight hours-to build a fast-growing and profitable hub-based business model. The case details how Emirates' chooses new routes, technology, and equipment and manages its human resources, marketing and branding, and government relationships-together forming an internally consistent strategy that capitalizes on opportunities across geographic markets. Importantly, students are asked to evaluate if the airlines' strategy will be sustainable as Emirates faces technical and political challenges to expand and must compete with numerous new players from the Middle East.
At the end of 2014, Apple Inc. recorded the most profitable quarter of any firm in history, and its market capitalization soon topped $700 billion. 'Apple Inc in 2015' explores the history of Apple, its successes under Jobs, its continued growth under Tim Cook, and the challenges facing the company in 2015. With iPod sales continuing their freefall, tablet sales in decline, and the Macintosh's market share remaining small, Apple was increasingly dependent on the iPhone to drive its growth. Could Cook continue Apple's dominance in the smartphone market in the face of growing competition? Could he revitalize the iPad business, become a leader in payments, with Apple Pay, and replicate Apple's success in other device categories, such as the Apple Watch, the first new product the company had released since 2010?
In 2013, Aldi - the world's 8th largest retailer - planned to accelerate its US expansion. Aldi was a German-based hard discounter that sold a limited assortment of private-label groceries and household items in barebones stores. Despite its presence with 1200 stores in 32 states, Aldi was still relatively unknown in the US. But it was often cited as one of the reasons for Walmart's exit from Germany. Could it compete with Walmart in the US, Walmart's home market?
Valve, one of the world's top video game software companies, has also become an iconic example of an organization with virtually no hierarchy. A 400-person organization, Valve's unique organizational form (described in detail in the case and accompanying employee handbook) includes 100% self-allocated time, no managers (and therefore no managerial oversight), a structure so fluid that all desks have wheels to allow free movement between "cabals" (teams) on a regular basis (which happens frequently enough that Valve created a homegrown tracking app to allow peers to find each other), a unique hiring apparatus that supports recruitment of T-shaped individuals, and a purely peer-based performance review and stack ranking. As customer demand and market forces draw Valve into hardware in 2013, Valve questions whether their organizational model will need to change as it expands from software into hardware-and, if so, whether they should prioritize strategy over structure or structure over strategy.
By 2013, Google, while not a traditional manufacturer of automobiles, had invested millions of dollars in its self-driving cars which had logged over 500,000 miles of testing. The Google management team faced several questions. Should Google continue to invest in the technology behind self-driving cars? How could Google's core software-based and search business benefit from self-driving car technology? As large auto manufacturers began to invest in automotive technology themselves, could Google compete? Was this investment of time and resources worth it for Google?
Peak Sealing Technologies (PST), a manufacturer of premium carton sealing tapes, stresses technological innovation as the company's core value. But when a new regional competitor introduces a less expensive and inferior product, PST is faced with a decision that could conflict with their values. Product manager Emma Taylor must decide if the company should augment its existing high-quality product line with a cheaper, less effective product to compete with their competitor. However, this decision could cannibalize PST's premium line. Emma is faced with a key issue in product line management--determining the variety of products in the line that serve the same function. Students are introduced to the problems of "trading down" the product line and must consider whether the company's corporate values are a strength or liability. This case can be used effectively in a first-year MBA course on marketing management to illustrate concepts associated with the risk and strategy of introducing a product line extension. It also allows for more complex analysis that would be appropriate in an Executive MBA program or advanced MBA elective courses in Product Management, Business to Business Marketing, Sales Management or New Product Development.
Executives from Portland Drake Beverages (PDB) are meeting to determine the appropriate product positioning and advertising campaign for the launch of Crescent Pure, a specialty organic beverage. They have 3 options for positioning: should Crescent Pure be positioned as an energy drink, a sports drink, or should it adopt broader positioning as an "organic health and wellness" beverage? Students studying this case explore customer segmentation, product differentiation analysis, and the evaluation of perceptual maps as a market research technique.
Sales of CleanSpritz all-purpose cleaning spray have been steadily declining for the past five years, and management believes the decline correlates to a growing environmental concern among U.S. consumers. CleanSpritz's management is considering several options to address the environmental concerns in hopes of reversing the decline in revenue: re-launching the current product; adding a new product that includes stronger concentrate in a recyclable pouch; adding a new stronger concentrate in a dissolvable packet; or keeping the business status-quo. Students must present their recommendations for the most effective strategy, keeping in mind the potential risks of each alternative. Students learn to demonstrate the importance of packaging in the marketing mix, analyze the costs and benefits of being a first mover, and learn about the decision-making process for a product extension that represents a creative attempt to rejuvenate a mature brand. This case can be used in courses on marketing management, product management or new product development, or marketing and social responsibility.
The case focuses on the challenges still confronting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of 2013, a year after he has been in office. It also gives an overview of Japan's earlier economic performance, focusing primarily on the period after it suffered a stock market and real estate crash in 1989-1992. During his first year in office, Abe introduced three sets of policies designed both to reverse the deflation that had plagued Japan since around 2000 and to increase the Japanese growth rate. The first of this three-pronged approach consisted of appointing a central bank governor who committed himself to raising the inflation rate and who vastly expanded the Bank of Japan's balance sheet in an effort to accomplish this. The second involved a fiscal policy plan whose initial thrust was expansionary, but which also sought to reduce future budget deficits. The last one involved a series of microeconomic reforms aimed at expanding GDP and labor productivity. These included initiatives aimed at increasing female labor force participation to compensate for Japan's aging population, reforms of the electric power sector directed at reducing electricity costs, and efforts designed to promote the "health and longevity sector." The case ends by discussing Abe's foreign policy challenges, including Korea's and China's reactions to visits by Japanese officials to the Yasukuni shrine.
In the fall of 2013, the people of Ukraine disagreed passionately whether their country should intensify ties with the European Union or Russia. After President Yanukovych rejected the free trade agreement with the EU in November, thousands of Ukrainians peacefully protested. But the protest movement morphed into a violent, deadly confrontation in January, culminating in February in mass slaughter, an overthrow of government, foreign invasion, and international crisis. The four months that shook Ukraine is a case study on the interrelated problems of geopolitical struggle, politics of economic pacts and clash of regional economic blocks, post-imperial disintegration and trade, and identity and interdependence.
Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), a venture capital firm launched in 2009, has quickly broken into the VC industry's top ranks, in terms of its ability to invest in Silicon Valley's most promising startups. The case recounts the firm's history; describes its co-founders' motivations and their strategy for disrupting an industry in the midst of dramatic structural change; and asks whether a16z's success to date has been due to its novel organization structure. a16z's 22 investment professionals are supported by 43 recruiting and marketing specialists-an "operating team" that is an order of magnitude larger than that of any other VC firm. Furthermore, the operating team aims to not only assist a16z portfolio companies, but also to be broadly helpful to all parties in the Silicon Valley ecosystem, including search firms, journalists, PR agencies, and Fortune 500 executives. The bet: by providing "no-strings-attached" help to ecosystem partners, the partners might someday reciprocate by steering founders seeking funding to a16z. The case closes by asking whether a16z should seek to double its scale over the next years.
To maximize their effectiveness, color cases should be printed in color. In early 2014, business development executives at Google were formulating a distribution strategy for Glass, a wearable computer that projected information on a display viewable with an upward glance. Options, which were not mutually exclusive, included 1) continuing to sell Glass directly through online channels; 2) creating an open platform to allow any eyewear manufacturer to create frames compatible with Glass; and 3) negotiating a partnership with a leading eyewear manufacturer to jointly develop and market Glass.
Starbucks Coffee Company: Transformation and Renewal analyzes the turnaround and reconstruction of Starbucks Coffee Company from 2008 to 2014 as led by CEO and co-founder Howard Schultz. The case offers executives and students an opportunity to examine in depth how Schultz and his team saved Starbucks from near-collapse, by both executing a deep, comprehensive return to its core values and, at the same time, investing in a range of new products, customer experiences and organizational capabilities designed to make the company fit for enduring success in a turbulent global economy. Set against the backdrop of the Great Recession, the case also considers the impact of unprecedented important shifts in consumer spending and confidence as well as new competitive forces on Starbucks' transformation. The case concludes by examining Schultz's own leadership journey, the lessons he learned personally during Starbucks transformation, and how he is using these lessons-within Starbucks and on the national stage-to redefine the roles and responsibilities of a public corporation in the 21st century.
In December 2013, music superstar Beyoncé is about to surprise her fans with the release of her self-titled album. The team at her company Parkwood Entertainment, which general manager Lee Anne Callahan-Longo described as "a management, music, and production company that is owned and at the highest level operated by an artist," had chosen to release the entire album at once and exclusively via the Apple iTunes Store, without any prior promotion-a significant, and potentially very risky, departure from how music was traditionally released. Sony Music's label Columbia Records, with whom Parkwood partnered on recorded-music activities, shared the costs-and therefore also the risk-of the album, which had been one-and-a-half years in development and was a particularly expensive proposition because of the many videos. How would fans and music industry insiders react to the daring launch, unveiled via Beyoncé's Facebook and Instagram accounts? Would the album be able to find a large enough audience even without traditional promotional activities? And would there be any adverse reactions, for instance from traditional music retailers refusing to carry the physical album later?