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

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IBSCDC's Case Catalyst Issue October 2009
Vol. I
October 17th 2009
new Case Studies
Industry Analysis Case Study: Newspaper Industry in US: Uncle Sam’s Last Wish?

Newspapers have become an integral part of everyday lives over the past three centuries - by propagating the ideologies of intellectuals to cultivate the spirit of liberty among masses and thereby replacing despotism with democracy. However, technology is capturing the younger generations in its web of conveniences and promptness and newspaper is fast going out of fashion. This case study enables a discussion and debate on the future of the US newspaper industry in the light of competitive threats from television and web media. Highlighting the series of related disruptions that have eventually become competitive threats for the newspaper industry, this case study helps in analysing the alternative business models that could revive the industry, with its existing cost structure.

In September 2009, IBSCDC conducted video interviews with Kunwar Sachdev, founder and managing director of Su-Kam Communications, Dr. Malhotra, Vice President (OPS), Rockland Hospitals Ltd. and Dr. M. P. Sharma , former professor and head of the Department of Gastroenterology and chairman of hospital management board (AIIMS).

Video Interview with Kunwar Sachdev on Su-Kam's Entrepreneurial Success Story, Building a (Em) Powered Company: Su-Kam's Stupendous Success

In this interview, Kunwar Sachdev shares his experiences in the entrepreneurial journey of starting Su-Kam. He tells how he began Su-Kam with manufacturing of cable TV accessories at a time when cable TV was quickly gaining momentum in India and how the initial success helped him move into power back-up systems. Through the interview, he discusses many aspects of Su-Kam operations – Innovation and R&D, material management and supplier management processes, marketing and distribution of the inverters, sales force management and logistics, competition, the scope for exports, expansion into foreign markets and the challenges ahead. Towards the end, the video interview covers the collective vision of Su-Kam employees and their experiences.

Corporate Strategies Case Study:Indian Retail Models: Reliance Retail vs ITC Retail vs Future Group Retail

Indian retail was one of the important sectors hit hard by the economic recession and the retail conglomerates like ITC and Future group were making every effort to attract and retain existing and potential customers, while simultaneously pruning their cost structures by consolidating their retail formats and business models. Presenting the Indian retail scenario, this case study portrays Reliance Industries’ foray into retailing with a conglomerate model opening specialty stores in all verticals – 12 formats, above 920 stores spread across the country in about 4.2 million sq ft of retail space. As businesses converge and business models diverge, this case study provides many interesting issues to debate on – the timing of Reliance Industries’ diversification into retail amid financial crisis and crushing competition, sustainability of the conglomerate, category consolidation retail strategy of Reliance and the competitive strategies of established retail giants like ITC and Future groups.

Social Entrepreneurship Case Study:Mercy Corps’ Bank Andara in Indonesia: Delivering Socialism through Capitalism

An NGO taking over a commercial bank? Seems interesting! This case study presents US-based NGO, Mercy Corps’ take over of an Indonesian commercial bank, Bank Andara, in 2008. Through the acquisition of Bank Andara, Mercy Corps aims at the financial inclusion of Indonesian poor by extending its support (both financial and technical assistance) to the local Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).The case study highlights Mercy Corps’ moving away from traditional self-sustainable model to innovative ways of increasing accessibility to the poor and tackling some of the long-existing social problems. It offers interesting issues to discuss – how social entrepreneurs are using profit ways to achieve social objectives, growing significance of social entrepreneurship and how social entrepreneurs are bridging capitalism with social mission. However, can a social objective be achieved with a commercial approach?

Beginning with the details of business basics of starting a hospital Dr. Malhotra talks about the nature and scope of competition, the challenges during the initial stages and precautions to be taken. He also provides valuable insights on the operational dimensions of running a hospital – sources of raising funds, HR issues like recruitment process and retention, marketing issues, material management and other operational strategies.

In the second part of the interview, Dr. M. P. Sharma discusses about the role of soft infrastructure in the Indian Medical ecosystem, reverse brain drain, importance of team building skills and motivating other doctors and the leadership skills required in hospital administration.

CSR Case Study:Sustainability Development Index: India Inc., Joins

With growing concern over issues like global warming, depleting natural resources and other burning issues, environmentalists, NGOs and others concerned began to raise their voice against companies operating at the cost of environment and society. All this in turn forced companies to reinvent their business models on the basis of the concept of sustainability. This case study thus captures India Inc.’s changing attitude towards addressing sustainability issues and highlights a series of Sustainability Indices – Dow Jones Sustainability Index, Global 100 Sustainability Index, etc., that have emerged to measure the performance of companies in terms of safeguarding natural resources, ensuring corporate governance, etc. However, when Indian companies were assessed on sustainability issues based on 12 parameters, the data revealed that overall performance of Indian companies was not satisfactory compared to European Union, China and Japan. Given the scenario, can Indian companies be global leaders in sustainable development?

Forthming Business Management Case studies Forthcoming Casestudy: Cairn India Ltd: Glocalisation Vs Government Intervention

Can the new strategy of multinational companies' creating a new business model - localisation of management - yield the desired results in energy and petroleum industry?

In the backdrop of Indian Energy & Petroleum industry - its operations and value chain, this case study delves into the entry of Cairn into Indian markets, the opportunities and hindrances therein and how far does a government support an MNC setting up operations in India, particularly in industries like Energy & Petroleum. It also provides many interesting aspects to analyse – business model of Cairn in India and how it is different from the global one and the localisation strategies adopted by Cairn in India. However, given the area of operation, can Cairn India mitigate the risks of cross-border disturbances? Given the nature of the industry, can Cairn make a mark in the Indian markets? Will MNCs' aim of 'being global' materialise through their 'glocalisation' strategies? In the second part of the interview, Dr. M. P. Sharma discusses about the role of soft infrastructure in the Indian Medical ecosystem, reverse brain drain, importance of team building skills and motivating other doctors and the leadership skills required in hospital

Staying on
Interview with Allan R Cohen on Staying on Top, Always

An interview with Dr. Allan R Cohen, Edward A Madden distinguished professor of Global Leadership at Babson College and co-author of management classics - Managing for Excellence, Power Up and Transforming Organizations through Shared Leadership.

In his interview, Dr. Cohen talks about how he helped Indian education system lay the foundation for professional higher education through the set up of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He shares his views on leadership vs management or leaders vs managers, the role of an organization in nurturing and developing leadership talent within the company and the role of business schools in developing future managers/leaders.

Interview with Christian Stadler on Staying on Top, Always
An interview with Christian Stadler, a visiting scholar at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and author of Enduring Success: What We Can Learn From the History of Outstanding European Corporations.

In his interview, Prof. Stadler elaborates on his study on the history of great companies and their enduring success and the need to learn from past experiences. He further gives four principles of enduring success - (i) Exploit before you explore, (ii) Diversify your business portfolio, (iii) Remember your mistakes and (iv) Be conservative about change.

Interview with Robert Salomon on Staying on Top, Always

An interview with Dr. Robert Salomon, an associate professor at the Stern School of Business, New York University.

In his interview, Dr. Salomon shares his views on the impact of US financial crisis on international expansion of developed economies who have embraced a protectionist attitude. He also offers valuable opinion on various aspects like best practices in market entry and international expansion strategies and why good companies go bad.

Forthcoming Casestudy:Microsoft-Yahoo! Mega Deal Competing for Competition with Google?

What happens when competitors become collaborators? Can such collaboration change the competitive landscape?

Set against the economics of global search engine market and Google's dominance therein, this case study presents how Google posed potential threat to rivals like Microsoft and Yahoo! with its innovative technologies to build a portfolio of software – like Google Apps, the Chrome browser and the Chrome operating system. In its efforts to address this competitive threat, Microsoft made a prolonged but futile attempt to acquire Yahoo! Finally, Microsoft succeeded in making a collaborative deal with Yahoo! in July 2009 regarding search engine operations while remaining competitive in other functional areas. As part of the deal, Yahoo! adapts Microsoft's new search engine, Bing as its search platform while continuing to own the user experience. On the other hand, Microsoft acquires license to Yahoo!'s core search technologies for an exclusive period of 10 years apart from integrating its web search platforms with the search technologies of Yahoo!

However, can Microsoft-Yahoo! deal create a potential internet arsenal to confront Google in the search-engine market?

Forthcoming Casestudy:Dr.Reddy's Laboratories Ltd Financial Forecasting

Given the factors that influence sales of a pharmaceutical company, what is the relevance of sales forecasting for Dr. Reddy's?

The case study is set in the backdrop of Indian pharmaceutical industry, its development and regulatory trends, major players and their key parameters, opportunities and competitive threats and growth prospects. Highlighting the financial and operating position of Dr. Reddy's over a period of 7 years (2002–2008), this case study delves into the financial forecasting of the company and assesses whether it should go for external fund raising in 2009 for future requirements?

Nevertheless, in a highly fragmented and organised pharma industry in India, what is the need and relevance of projecting a company's operating and financial position?

Even well-established/great brands - if oblivious to industry's strategic inflection points – can become very ordinary brands, struggling for survival. This has been well-proved in the case of Reader's Digest. Given the nature of content over the years, country-wise circulation and customer service satisfaction, Reader's Digest grew to become a global iconic brand. However, blinded by its success, the magazine failed to keep track of the changing reading habits of its customers and the changing target market. Despite various efforts to revive its position and acquisition by Ripplewood, Reader's Digest filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. Given the scenario, will Reader’s Digest emerge from bankruptcy? What would the likely implications of new management on reader’s Digest's performance?

Case Studies on Corporate Turnarounds - Vol. I   Corporate Turnarounds Vol.I

With the rising complexity of the business environment due to intensified competition, rapid technological advances and varied customer base, corporations fail to sustain, taking away assets worth millions of dollars and the jobs of thousands of people. At stake are financial (socio-economic) and emotional losses. Would you like the company to bleed profusely and let it die, or can you quickly put in place an arresting mechanism? Going with the gut and staying put to basics, many companies have revived their fortunes with an exceptional turnaround strategy. Highlighting various factors responsible for a corporate decline, the strategies adopted by various turnaround specialists and the implementation challenges, this book has compiled some of the finest case studies on turnaround efforts of global corporate entities.

Case Study book Beyond the Cult of the CEO: Building Institutional Leadership Beyond the Cult ofthe CEO:Building Institutional Leadership

What does the remainder of 2009 hold for corporate innovation? The results of our latest survey, coupled with the ongoing economic pullback, suggest one answer: uncertainty. Companies are reexamining virtually all aspects of their business on an ongoing basis in an effort to separate the essential from the nonessential, the worthwhile investments from the low-payoff ones – and innovation is certainly in play and likely to receive considerable scrutiny. How will this play out, especially for aggregate innovation investment?

Beyond Borders

Blending a romantic tale with serious political scenario, Beyond Borders, brings forth the real struggles of the millions of refugees created by war and the brave efforts of aid workers in helping them survive against overwhelming obstacles. Starred by Angelina Jolie (Jolie) and Clive Owen (Clive), the film well-portrays the simple tale of two people bonded by common passion. Jolie plays the role of Sarah Jordan, an American socialite living in London and Clive dons the role of Nick Callahan, a doctor working as an international disaster relief worker. The two meet at a charity event in London and Sarah was deeply moved by Nick's commitment to humanitarian efforts in war-torn nations. Inspired by her passion for Nick and his life's work, Sarah risks everything to embark on a journey across different parts of the earth – Ethiopia, Cambodia and Chechnya. The theme of crossing one’s life’s borders away from a comfortable life to help struggling humans was well-captured by the director, Martin Campbell.

Management Guru, Jim Collins begins his book recalling the advice of his mentor and Stanford professor, Bill Lazier: "Don't try to come up with the right answers; focus on coming up with good questions." Thus, he comes up with a question: why leading companies who have been performing exceptionally well and possess competitive advantage fail?

He revisits the corporate histories compiled for the studies during his research for earlier books, Build to Last and Good to Great and attempts to look for seeds of destruction in the periods preceding serious performance stumbles.

Collins provides a five-stage framework of failure and discusses each of the stages in relation to case studies of 11 organisations

Collins provides a five-stage framework of failure and discusses each of the stages in relation to case studies of 11 organisations – including Fannie Mae, Circuit City, HP, Bank of America, Ames Dept Stores, Motorola, IBM, Nucor, Nordstrom, Rubbermaid and Merck.

Contrasting the company that failed, with a company (in the same market and competitive environment) that has succeeded, Jim Collins well-structured his views in just 123 pages. This book is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in a candid assessment of business success.

Executive Books
Casebook on Collaboration 
Case Studies on Managing Family Business
Collaboration Managing Family Business Case Studies on
Competitive Strategies Vol III
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