Berkshire Hathaway describes the history and strategy of one of the best known investment firms over the last forty years. The case describes the investment philosophy of Warren Buffett, its legendary chairman and CEO, the gradual diversification of its portfolio, its capital allocation strategy, compensation structure, and corporate governance approach, leading up to August 2008.
Designed to explore the structure, implementation, and sustainability of an information-based strategy (IBS) undertaken by Capital One during the 1990s. Particular issues of interest are the impact of mass customization on industry structure, the ability to transfer IBS skills to new sectors, and the impact of the Internet on industry structure and competitor strategies.
Between 1985 and 2007, Danaher has been one of the best-performing industrial conglomerates in the U.S. This case examines the corporate strategy of this diversified, global corporation. It describes the firm's portfolio strategy and the Danaher Business System-a systematic and wide-ranging set of organizational processes the firm has developed to drive growth and create value. In 2008, the firm confronts various challenges in sustaining its impressive historical performance. First, can it continue to balance organic and acquisition-led growth? Second, what will be the impact of increased competition from private equity players? Third, for how long can its strategy of "continuous improvement" continue?
In 2009 the Economist continued to experience impressive growth and operating margins while many of its peers reeled from both a cyclical downturn and structural threats to print publishing. The case describes the history, organization, and business model of the Economist, and describes three issues confronting Andrew Rashbass, the group's chief executive: first, reevaluating the magazine's digital strategy; second, preparing for e-readers; and, third, positioning the company to exploit what the Economist described as an era of "Mass Intelligence" where more readers sought out sophisticated and challenging information sources.
In November 2007, Amazon introduced the Kindle, the first electronic reader with wireless functionality. The case describes the launch of the Kindle and provides information on representative players in the industry (or broader ecosystem) who are likely to be affected, and react: including Penguin (the leading educational publisher), Barnes & Noble (the largest bricks-&-mortar retailer), Apple and Sony (as manufacturers of competing devices), Google (as a major provider of free e-content) and Adobe (as a competitor in creating an e-book standard).
ICICI was the first Indian company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This case is set in 1998, when the company had to decide whether to enter the retail credit segment of the Indian financial market. Although the retail credit sector presents attractive growth opportunities, ICICI lacked many of the capabilities needed to succeed in this space and would have to compete against a host of established domestic and foreign banks. Describes how ICICI, under the visionary leadership of K.V. Kamath, has transformed itself, against all odds, from a development financial institution into a commercially competitive organization.
In 2001, International Management Group (IMG) is the dominant company in the sports management industry. Its founder and CEO, Mark McCormack, is credited with having created the industry of sports management in the early 1960s. Over the next 40 years, IMG's expansion from athlete representation into other arenas--including representing models and classical music artists, producing and broadcasting television shows, operating training academies, corporate consulting, and financial planning--has been both dramatic and successful. This case describes the company's logic behind each expansion decision, as well as several challenges that the company has had to confront, specifically, maintaining the loyalty of the agents and clients, avoiding conflicts of interest with clients by virtue of the company's broad reach, deciding where to expand next, and meeting the challenge of increased competition from other sports management conglomerates.
A report from the International Monetary Fund.
Examines the role of transaction costs in impeding the functioning of markets and shows how the concept of transaction costs sheds light on a broad range of issues in strategy.
Discusses the impact of the Internet on the music industry from 1990 through 2003. Discusses the technology, new business models, and record companies' moves. Provides the necessary background to discuss such matters as well as to assess the strategies of the five major record companies--Sony, BMG, Warner, EMI, and Universal. Ends with the question of whether the music industry will survive and with arguments from both camps.
On March 28, 2011, The New York Times website became a restricted site where most of the content was protected behind a "paywall." Users who exceeded the limit of 20 free articles per month were required to pay for either a digital or print subscription. The newspaper industry had been suffering from revenue declines over the past decade, and the transition to digital media was difficult to navigate. Revenues from online advertising were not sufficient to replace the loss of print revenue, and many publishers had explored charging readers for content, with mixed success, where specialized sources like The Wall Street Journal were successfully using the model, but several other general news sites had failed. Newspapers and content creators in general were very interested in understanding whether transitioning to the paywall at the most popular news website would succeed, and whether it could become a blueprint for future success as a sustainable business model. There were several difficult issues to examine in determining the digital strategy for The Times. Would consumers remain as engaged with a site protected by a paywall? Would advertisers react positively to such a move that walled off readers? Would readers value both the print and digital versions of the content, or would it become necessary to create new content? The Times had several choices in designing the paywall, including determining the digital content, pricing, as well as how to interface with readers of secondary news websites like blogs that posted links to news articles. Should they design a "leaky" paywall where determined users could easily slip through, or a "bulletproof" paywall like the Financial Times had done, where users had to pay before they could access any content? What choices would provide the foundation for a successful business model?
In 2001, News Corp. is the smallest of the major media and entertainment conglomerates, but it has the broadest global presence. In an effort to establish a major distribution presence in the United States, News Corp. had looked to acquire DirecTV, the largest U.S. direct broadcast satellite provider, in what many observers had considered would be a "transforming acquisition." After 20 months of trying to do so, and the recent competitive offer from Echostar, Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., withdrew the company's bid for DirecTV. This case describes how Murdoch has created a global empire from a single newspaper in Australia. News' major assets include its newspaper businesses, film and television production, satellite broadcasting, television channels, and book and magazine publishing. Also describes News' distinctive operating style and Murdoch's role in shaping the corporate culture. News Corp. must now confront three sets of questions. First, how important is it for News Corp. to establish a distribution presence in the United States, and should it pursue a different approach? Second, how should it tackle the deteriorating economics of two of its core businesses: newspapers and network television? Third, what will be the impact of recent repeals of cross-ownership restrictions in the media industry on News Corp.'s competitive position vis-a-vis other major conglomerates?
On June 12, 2003, the proposed merger of Random House and Time Warner Book Group was called off by the CEO of Random House's parent company, Bertelsmann. The announcement was welcomed by several critics who had questioned the logic of further consolidation in the book publishing industry, citing the power of the major publishing houses--Random House was already the world's largest book publishing company--and the accompanying commercialization of literature. Peter Olson, CEO of Random House, had to decide how to proceed and confront several other challenges facing the publishing industry: most notably, backward integration by Barnes and Noble into book publishing and the potential for digital devices such as e-books to undermine the traditional value chain of book publishing. Describes each of these tensions.
In early 2010, e-readers like Amazon's Kindle, and Apple's impending iPad, threatened to disrupt the book publishing industry. The case provides an overview of the industry, describes the broader trends regarding e-readers, and asks: how should major publishers like Random House respond to these trends?
In 2006, newspaper firms in developed markets were severely threatened on three fronts: the growth of online news, online classified advertising, and free newspapers. Schibsted, however, had managed to cope with these challenges successfully, and had become something of a legend in the newspaper community. Describes the evolution of Schibsted's strategy from print media towards electronic media starting in 1995, including their choices around the internal structuring of new ventures. In September 2006, the management team confronted a few salient questions: first, should Schibsted allow Google to crawl its online news sites in Scandinavia?; and second, were Schibsted's successes within Scandinavia repeatable outside it? Indeed, how far could Schibsted's competitive advantage travel?
Which businesses should a firm expand into? This question of corporate scope is central to corporate strategy. Flawed scope decisions can have severe consequences, and the trauma experienced by many companies as a result of mistaken decisions to expand scope is often large. What leads to such mistakes? Where do managers go wrong? And, what might be a sensible logic by which to approach the question of scope expansion? Examines these questions and the logic of the scope decision in those instances where the target business is ostensibly related in some way to a company's existing ones.
Conglomerates lie at the heart of debates in corporate strategy. They include, perhaps, the best known companies in history--Beatrice Corp., General Electric, ITT, Siemens, and ABB--and at various times over the last few decades have been both admired and vilified as a form of corporate organization. Regardless of the time at which these debates have occurred, they invariably focus on a few common questions, which this note addresses: Why do conglomerates exist? Do they add value to their component businesses? If so, how?
The case explores how Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, developed the Nano, the world's cheapest car. The case focuses on the translation of Ratan Tata's (Chairman of Tata Motors) vision of a safe affordable car for the masses by Ravi Kant, Managing Director of Tata Motors into the Nano Project. The case raises questions around breaking the price - quality barrier and changing existing internal processes to accommodate revolutionary new ideas. The dilemma of success - Tata Nano was a runaway bestseller - left Tata Motors debating how large a bet they should make on the Nano and what kind of capacity commitment this requires.
To what extent does leadership influence organizational performance? In this chapter, Noam Wasserman, Bharat Anand, and Nitin Nohria try to provide a balanced answer to this question. Replicating the variance partitioning method used by Stanley Lieberson and James O'Connor in their 1972 study on leadership and organizational performance, they analyze the performance of more than 500 publicly held U.S. companies (across 42 industries) over a 20-year period. Their conclusion? That although external forces such as industry structure and company history may explain a greater part of the variance in company performance over time, the influence of leadership is also substantial. In fact, in some circumstances, a board of directors' decision to replace a CEO could have as much impact as a decision to change the industry in which the company operates. But whatever the circumstances, the role of leadership-and its impact on corporate performance-is significant and should be taken seriously. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 2 of "Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium."
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Here is an overview of the specialized formats that Bookshare offers its members with links that go to the Help Center for more information.
- Bookshare Web Reader - a customized reading tool for Bookshare members offering all the features of DAISY with a single click of the "Read Now" link.
- DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) - a digital book file format. DAISY books from Bookshare are DAISY 3.0 text files that work with just about every type of access technology that reads text. Books that contain images will have the download option of ‘DAISY Text with Images’.
- BRF (Braille Refreshable Format) - digital Braille for use with refreshable Braille devices and Braille embossers.
- MP3 (Mpeg audio layer 3) - Provides audio only with no text. These books are created with a text-to-speech engine and spoken by Kendra, a high quality synthetic voice from Ivona. Any device that supports MP3 playback is compatible.
- DAISY Audio - Similar to the Daisy 3.0 option above; however, this option uses MP3 files created with our text-to-speech engine that utilizes Ivonas Kendra voice. This format will work with Daisy Audio compatible players such as Victor Reader Stream and Read2Go.