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Going Global Case Study

Case Title:

Nokia (B): Business Interests vs German Pressures

Publication Year : 2008

Authors: Shanul Jain & Rajendar Singh Rathore

Industry: Telecommunications


Case Code: GGL0043

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Nokia is the largest mobile handset maker in the world with a 40% market share. The mobile handset industry is marked by declining prices and depressed margins making companies look at low-cost production options. Nokia, to be more competitive, is relocating its German plant to Romania where the wages are 10 times lower. This abrupt announcement however stirs a wave of resentment with employees, trade unions, politicians and business leaders who condemned Nokia’s move. Nokia is also accused of being insensitive to German culture and greedy for misusing state subsidies. However, Nokia while refusing to alter its decision says that in a repeat scenario, the company would follow exactly the same policy. This case study is the second in a two part series on Nokia. Providing a brief outlook on the mobile handset industry trends and the competitiveness of Germany, it details the furor created after Nokia’s plant closure announcement. While debating on whether global companies should follow country-specific approaches or a company-specific approach when handling large scale restructuring moves, it brings out lessons on how to manage complexities in global issues.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • How to manage complexities in globalised issues
  • Whether global firms should adopt local practices or use a company-specific approach across different countries
  • How to handle large-scale restructuring moves like plant closure and relocation.


  • Nokia and the Mobile Handset Industry
  • German Competitiveness
  • Nokia's Decision to Close its German Plant and the Backlash

Keywords : Mobile, National, Competitiveness, Government and Business Environment Case Studies Germany, CAGE, Nokia, Bochum, Plant, Relocation, Complexities, Globalised, Low-wage, Employment, Unions, Labour Laws

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