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HRM / OB Case Study

Case Title:

Leadership Conundrum: Nike After Knight

Publication Month and Year :  June 2009

Authors:  Saradhi Kumar & Sumit Kumar Chaudhuri

Industry:  Apparel and Footwear

Region: US

Case Code:  OB0017

Teaching Note:  Available

Structured Assignment:  Available


In December 2004, Phil Knight (Knight), the legendary Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Nike, stepped down to hand over the reins (for the third time) to William D. Perez (Perez). Although Knight had stepped down twice in the past, Nike’s dismal performance forced him to return as the CEO on both occasions. Knight created a unique organisational culture at Nike where he neither gave guidance to his managers nor questioned them about the product details. Knight has always been one of the unique of the Fortune 500 CEOs, a man who seems to embody exactly the opposite of what his creation extols.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To analyse the leadership style of Knight at Nike
  • To analyse the different business decisions taken by Knight for the growth of Nike
  • To understand the organisational culture at Nike
  • To analyse the marketing strategy of Nike and its impact on the company’s brand image
  • To debate on the causes for the failure of Knight’s successors at Nike
  • To analyse the problems that the new CEO, Perez is likely to face at Nike.

Keywords :  Leadership styles, Leadership Case Study, Phil Knight, Nike, William D Perez, Bill Bowerman, Footwear industry, Reebok, German sport shoe manufacturers, Adidas, Sports apparel, Organizational Behavior, OB, Organizational Behavior case study, Motivation Case Study, MBA, MBA Program, Course Mapping


  • Leadership Style of Phil Knight
  • Impending Challenges for Bill Perez

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