Case Studies in Business Management, Strategy, Economics, Marketing, Leadership, CSR, MBA Case Studies

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Vol. I March 2010
Coach Carter: The Change Agent

Woven around the movie Coach Carter, this case study is the first of its kind. It can be used very effectively either in Change Management module or Leaders as Change Agents module. Driven by his vision of changing the lives of the basketball players of Richmond High School through the game of basketball, Coach Carter employs extreme strategies to effect change. While Carter is successful in achieving his vision, his strategies in effecting change are debatable. Could there have been a better way of effecting change? The case study debates whether the use of such extreme measures can bring about fruitful change in the corporate world.

La Affaire Tiger Woods

Set in late 2009, this case study provides a framework for teaching and understanding 'Brand Management' and the core issues in the management of equity of brand ambassadors. Delving into Tiger Woods scandal as an example, this case study discusses the fate of brand equity during crisis, particularly when the brand ambassador hits the media for wrong reasons. What are the strategies to be followed by the companies to protect, rebuild, revitalise and rejuvenate the lost prestige of the brand in the face of diminishing image of the brand ambassador? What are the strategic steps to be taken by the individual brand ambassador to regain his/her lost prestige?

Tata Nano: Consumers' Post-Purchase Behaviour

Ratan N. Tata (Ratan Tata), chairman of Tata Sons, had a long-cherished dream to produce the world's cheapest car at an amazing price of rd INR 1 lakh. The dream came true on March 23 2009 when Tata Nano was launched despite all the roadblocks. Set in early 2010, this case study focuses on the post-purchase behaviour of Tata Nano buyers. The post-purchase perceptions, dissonance levels and moments of pride have been analysed with the help of primary data collected through video interviews. The case study further explores the consumer's suggestions in bringing in Nano as a prospective product and transforming India as the 'global small car hub'.

Western Union in India: The Rural Strategy

Since 1990s, remittances to India have formed a stable source of external finance for the country. In 2008, an estimated $50 billion were remitted to India by the overseas Indian population. Several banks and non-bank players are engaged in money transfer services in India, making it a big business in the country. Western Union (WU), a 158-year old, US-based money transfer company, is one among them. It is rapidly expanding its network of agent locations in India, especially in the rural areas. Despite WU's innovative strategies to increase its rural outreach, it is not exempt from challenges. The case study looks into the challenges for WU in its rural expansion and debates whether WU will be able to convert the adversities into advantages.

Good Will Hunting: Hunting for Change, Haunting for Hunting

Good Will Hunting:
Hunting for Change, Haunting for Hunting

What triggers a non-obligatory change initiative? Perhaps Gerald Lambeau (Lambeau) and Sean Maguire (Sean) in the movie Good Will Hunting have the answer. These two professors, as shown in the movie, are inspired to effect an out-of-turn change when they come across Will Hunting (Will) who is blessed with super intelligence. Lambeau spots Will at MIT, where Will works as a janitor. Ironically, Will is not willing to use or show his intelligence. Rather he is defensive in nature. Despite Will's resistance to change, Sean counsels Will and is successful in bringing out change in Will. How can a change agent lead a non-obligatory change initiative especially when the subject of change is stubborn and least receptive to change?

John Q: In the Quest for a Healthy Healthcare System

What would a desperate middleclass father – caught in the web of health insurance, healthcare regulations and a quarter of a million hospital bill – do to save his son's life? The film shows Denzel Washington, playing the worried father and the lawbreaker, taking extreme steps to save his child. The story, told through John Q's haplessness, reflects the untold stories of several others seeking a fair and just US healthcare system. This case study brings forth the conflicting interests of all parties involved in the US healthcare sector and their respective business models. Insurance companies – as told by a doctor's character in the film – want their clients "either healthy or dead, but not sick" to make money, but the hospitals wants the patients "to be sick and stay sick" to bill. The case also puts forwards arguments for and against these business models on the realms of morals and ethics.

This case study deals with the story of James Clayton (Clayton), an MIT topper. Clayton is confident of grabbing lucrative job offers at the campus job fair with his technological brainchild, 'Spartacus'. However, using information on Clayton's father as bait, Burke, a senior instructor at the CIA, alters former's choice of career. After his selection, Clayton becomes hopeful of solving the mystery of his father's death. However, Burke recommends Clayton's expulsion as he fails in one of the assignments. Post-expulsion, Burke convinces Clayton that the expulsion was an eyewash to appoint Clayton as a Non-official Cover. However, the string of deceptions make it difficult for Clayton to differentiate myth from reality. This case study debates over the relationship between individual perception and decision-making and the role of mentors in deciding the fate of the mentee?

Customer Relationship Management: New Paths to Leadership
Source: http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/html/crm-path-forward-whitepaper.html

Customer Relationship Management: New Paths to Leadership

The global economic meltdown slowed the uninterrupted prosperity that the world had been witnessing for almost 10 years. Although the situation is improving, there is still a lot of pressure on the marketing, sales and service personnel to tackle the market conditions post-economic downturn. Customers are using various means of communication to gain information about products and services before making a purchase decision, thereby posing challenges for companies. By gaining knowledge about places, things and people, quickly, the marketing and sales personnel can help organisations reduce complexity, open new markets and alter the customer experience thereby ensuring success. They can find a way to become Customer Insight Leaders or Digital Channels Leaders or both, by choosing one of the three tools for success – Cost and Complexity Reduction, Strategic Service Delivery and Innovative Market Making.

The Machine That Changed the World:
The Story of Lean Production – Toyota's Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That is Now Revolutionizing World Industry

The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production – Toyota's Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That is Now Revolutionizing World Industry

The global economic meltdown slowed the uninterrupted prosperity that the world had been witnessing for almost 10 years. Although the situation is improving, there is still a lot of pressure on the marketing, sales and service personnel to tackle the market conditions post-economic downturn. Customers are using various means of communication to gain information about products and services before making a purchase decision, thereby posing challenges for companies. By gaining knowledge about places, things and people, quickly, the marketing and sales personnel can help organisations reduce complexity, open new markets and alter the customer experience thereby ensuring success. They can find a way to become Customer Insight Leaders or Digital Channels Leaders or both, by choosing one of the three tools for success – Cost and Complexity Reduction, Strategic Service Delivery and Innovative Market Making.

Willy Loman, a man in his early sixties, is the protagonist of the movie. Despite a long service and enduring efforts, Willy does not achieve great success in his career. As he approaches retirement, he is in great crisis – likelihood of losing his job, financial difficulties and disrespect from his sons, Biff and Happy, who even fail to come up well in life. At this juncture, he retrospects as to what went wrong in his life.

Willy felt that he had failed in his professional as well as personal life. Although he had been unfaithful to his wife Linda at times, she was always loyal to him and their marriage survived. However, he and his sons shared a stressed relationship. His elder son, Biff, was good both at academics and sports in childhood. However, he did not grow up to his potential. He did dead-end jobs and was even involved in trivial crimes. The distance between the father and the son grew further when Biff learnt about one of affairs of his father. Happy, the younger son did well in his career but was pathetic in his private life.

The film shows Willy’s violent mood swings. When young, Willy was optimistic about his career. In old age he pinned his hopes on his sons, Biff in particular. He expected Biff to work the way he wanted but ended up disappointed when Biff failed in his career. The movie is interspersed with scenes from the past and the present and highlights Willy’s failures and missed opportunities.

Gaurav Bhalla

An interview with Gaurav Bhalla who has 30+ years of global experience in helping companies implement innovation, strategy, marketing and business growth programmes.

Gaurav Bhalla talks about his HBR article titled Rethinking Marketing. He further shares his views on co-creation vis-a-vis the traditional system of value creation, applicability of co-creation in various industries, difference between personalisation and customisation, prerequisite organisational characteristics to embrace co-creation and the role of leadership in preparing the organisations to embrace the new value-driven philosophy of co-creation.

Roland T. Rust

An interview with Roland T. Rust, distinguished University Professor and David Bruce Smith Chair in Marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

In his interview, Roland T. Rust discusses how the discipline of marketing research has changed over the last decade. He further elaborates on the trends that are warranting companies to look beyond the traditional value creation and embrace co-creation as the new competitive platform. He also talks about the significance of co-creation for the companies from emerging economies.

Case Studies on Best Practices - Vol. I

Standing out in the crowd is something accomplishable, but being the best is a real challenge. Companies that set benchmark for others are oft known for their best practices making them unique in their own way. Every company tries to be the best among its competitors. Toyota, Dell, Google, GE, etc. have emerged as unchallenged global leaders with their best practices. Following suit, companies like Caterpiller Inc., iMac, Magink Display Technologies Inc. came up with unique ways of delivering best products/services to the customers. Best practice for a company can be in terms of innovation, strategic planning, human resource management, quality assurance, risk management or sustainable growth.

On one hand, there are companies that tread the path shown by the leaders, on the other, there are few companies which take the road less travelled and set a benchmark with their best practices.

The case studies given in this book trigger an idea as to how the companies came up with an innovative strategy that helped them to gain a competitive advantage over the others. Each case study is different in its way and will help management graduates, academicians and managers to understand how best practices would give a company a cut above the others and help it in generating profits.

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