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This chapter discusses how to identify the important choices a firm makes and understand their implications for competitive success. Whether an innovation is deployed in a disruptive or a sustaining way is typically a management decision, and strategic decision making is critical to creating and countering advantage--both for entrants and incumbents.
As statistics show, companies with a good foundation for execution have an increasing advantage over those that don't. This chapter outlines a plan for helping managers to recognize their core operations, digitize their core to more efficiently support their strategy, and exploit their foundation for execution to achieve agility and profitable growth.
Reveals the interesting and unusual story behind Ford's selection of "Edsel" as the new brand name for its ill-fated 1957 new product launch. Noteworthy as perhaps the most extensive, creative, and politically charged naming stories on record. Although both nontraditional approaches to name generation (i.e., correspondence with a popular poet of the time) and more traditional research tools (e.g., consumer surveys exploring top-of-mind brand-name associations and opposites, advertising agency brainstorming) provide input to the naming decision, this is all put aside by the company's chairman of the board, who makes a unilateral decision to use "Edsel" in the final hour. This name choice goes against both consumer research, which suggests problems with the name, and the beliefs of Edsel's sons, who feel that their father may not want his name so utilized, thus revealing the aesthetic quality of the naming decision.
After 18 months as the deputy managing director of a global technology company's Russia subsidiary, a young and upcoming French executive prepared to hand over leadership. The executive reflected on what he had achieved and how as he considered next steps. He wanted to return to his native France, but the company requested that he go turn around another emerging market subsidiary. Should he go to India, ask for another assignment, or look at other opportunities outside the company?
Peter and Kate Rose are a young couple looking to buy their first home in the Boston area. They have narrowed down a target list to three homes, but are also considering whether it makes sense to buy a home in the first place. They must make decisions regarding which home to buy, a price, a broker, a mortgage package, and how to source a down payment. Both quantitative and qualitative factors are considered in their decision making.
In September 2002, Marjorie Newman-Williams, director of communication for UNICEF, is poised to present the results of a two-year rebranding process at the annual meeting of the national committee heads. This case describes the organization and highlights the challenges UNICEF faces in 2002. Details of the rebranding process, including market research, the development of brand essence and brand models, and organizational challenges of consensus building, are at the core of the case.
After several months into his turnaround of a global technology company's Russia subsidiary, a young and upcoming French executive reflected on how to institutionalize the subsidiary's transformation by further driving cultural change and breaking down internal silos. He realized that to complete the change he may need to continue into a second year. Yet the physical separation from his family had begun to take a toll. Had the executive done enough to institutionalize change or was it still too dependent on his personal relationships and the ability to build an internal coalition and exchange favors?
Strategic Capital Management, LLC, is a hedge fund that is planning to make financial investments in Creative Computers and Ubid. Creative Computers recently sold approximately 20% of its Internet auction subsidiary, Ubid, to the public at $15 per share. Ubid's stock price closed the first day of trading at $48, giving Ubid a $439 million market capitalization. Paradoxically, the parent's stock price did not keep pace with that of its subsidiary. At the end of Ubid's first day as a public company, Creative Computers' equity value was less than the value of its stake in Ubid. The market prices implied that Creative Computers' non-Ubid assets had a value of negative $79 million. The relative prices and ownership link between Creative Computers and Ubid suggest a potential arbitrage opportunity. To evaluate how best to exploit this investment opportunity, Elena King, the manager of the hedge fund, must understand both the risks and expected returns associated with different long and short equity positions.
Brodie Keast is anxious to understand the sharp contrast between the inertia of prospects and the deep emotional response shown by converted users of TiVo. After an overview of the company's situation and problems, the case focuses on different kinds of data (sales results, satisfaction and usage data, purchase influence, demographics, attitude data, and behavioral data) and explains how that data emerged over time as the company was more and more pressured to explore the essence of its value proposition.
Nalli Silk Sarees Private Limited was a family owned and operated business that retailed Indian ethnic wear. This 83-year old company had enjoyed impressive growth with a $95 million turnover, a 22 store retail footprint, and had outdone its competitors by being the only player in its segment to have a national presence. Headquartered in Chennai, India, the company built its unique national brand by emphasizing innovation, customer centric practices, quality and honesty across the store's retail operations. In 2011, with changing dynamics in the Indian apparel market, the company started to face intense competition from small and large Indian and foreign retailers. The company's chairman, Dr.Nalli Kuppusamy Chetty, announced a $25 million expansion plan and proposed the opening of 12 new stores over a period of two years. This case focuses on the company's pricing strategy, merchandising process and product assortments to support its own competitiveness and overall customer experience.
Large opportunities for cost savings can come from upstream operations. By understanding the costs associated with ordering, receiving, inspecting, moving, storing, and paying for materials, companies can make better decisions in choosing the lowest total cost suppliers, not just the lowest price suppliers. Upstream operations in time give managers the best opportunities for cost reduction during product design and development. This chapter extends strategic activity-based management (ABM) back in the value chain to suppliers and to product designers and developers.
Tom Rogers, CEO of TiVo, had placed multiple strategic bets on his company. In September 2007, that strategy was due for a major test. TiVo was a maker of digital video recorder (DVR) products and a distributor of DVR technology. Rogers believed that macro-trends in the home entertainment industry--the convergence of standard television with the delivery of video content via broadband Internet, and the related crisis faced by companies whose business models relied on TV advertising--played to TiVo's unique strengths. Leadership in DVR technology and a TV-centric user interface arguably positioned TiVo to become something more than a consumer electronics company. That was Roger's big bet. Implementing it required making six other bets: continuing to sell stand-alone DVRs in the retail market, despite rapidly eroding market share; distributing TiVo service in partnership with cable and satellite TV providers (which also functioned as TiVo's chief competitors in the DVR market); developing a platform for DVR-based advertising; entering the audience research business; leveraging TiVo's intellectual property both through litigation and in the marketplace; and expanding into non-U.S. markets. In late 2007, a pivotal new product, a major distribution deal with cable operator Comcast, and a key intellectual property lawsuit were all reaching points of critical impact.
A young and upcoming French executive in a global technology company is sent to Moscow as deputy managing director to turn around the Russia subsidiary. He must report to the subsidiary's managing director (a large reason for the organization's underperformance) and to corporate. In his first three months, he took steps to prepare the organization for change. Yet the lack of more tangible actions and results leaves him open to criticism from subsidiary employees and pressure from corporate executives. How can the young executive unfreeze the situation and get movement?
Explores the problem of French unemployment on the eve of the presidential elections of 1995. Traces the development of social and economic policies under President Mitterrand and surveys leading explanations for the nation's mounting unemployment crisis. One major theme concerns possible contradictions between France's commitment to European integration and its commitment to expansive social protection for French citizens. Another important theme relates to the apparent tradeoff between jobs and wages, which has characterized most of the developed economies since the mid-1970s.
In February 1995, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the largest civil rights organization in the United States, was in the midst of a crisis. The executive director had been fired due to financial improprieties amid charges of sexual harassment. Immediately thereafter the board chairman came under fire as well. In a very close vote, Myrlie Evers-Williams, a long-standing board member, was elected the new board chair. She found herself leading an organization with severely diminished credibility and support, precarious finances, and a fractured board of directors. The case raises issues regarding board oversight, governance structure, and crisis leadership in a nonprofit setting.
N12 Technologies was a startup founded in 2010 that employed nanotechnology to manufacture a patented material to improve the performance of carbon fiber composites, which were used in a wide variety of products, ranging from bicycles to automobiles to aircraft parts. By 2016, the company had grown to 27 employees and was able to produce its product in small volumes. While much had been achieved, the company's success hinged on its leadership's ability to scale both the organization and production capabilities exponentially. The case describes the company's evolution from a newly created startup to a young "loosely structured" company as well as the challenges ahead.
TiVo is a digital video recorder that allows viewers to watch what they want, when they want to watch it. Fourteen months into the launch, sales are very disappointing. Brodie Keast, VP of marketing and sales, wants to combine a catchy communications campaign, product bundling with satellite television receivers, aggressive pricing, and sales support, in order to boost demand for the new category. One important goal is to position TiVo as a strong brand before the entry of big player Microsoft. TiVo is confronted with the difficulty of selling a new and complex electronics product that is meant to change consumer habits radically. Moreover, the impact of TiVo on the television and advertising industries is ambiguous, and TiVo needs to demonstrate that it can play a constructive role in the future media landscape.
Deep deficits in thinking about consumer information reveal themselves in weak product and service development, low-impact marketing communications, and ineffective product-launch strategies. These deficits are widespread across industries. Remedying this deficiency is arguably the single largest challenge facing corporate leaders today.
A medical products distribution company faces strategic opportunities and challenges in a rapidly changing market. Physician Sales and Service (PSS), founded by Patrick Kelly in 1983, operates in 20 states in the United States and intends to expand to 50 states by 1997. By charging premium prices for high-quality service, training its sales representatives intensively, and professionalizing management, PSS has achieved above-average profit margins and, apparently successfully coped with the organizational challenges of rapid geographic concentration. But now, in 1992, PSS must cope with the uncertainties of Bill Clinton's impending election to the U.S. presidency and his promise of sweeping health care reform.
A small, rapidly growing retail distributor of automotive tires must present a set of forecasted financial statements to a bank in order to obtain a five-year loan. Expected growth rates given in the case and historical financial ratios derived from recent financial statements are used to forecast pro-forma income statements and balance sheets for the next two years.
One factor that affects knowledge worker performance that isn't well understood is the physical work environment-the offices, cubicles, buildings, and mobile workplaces in which knowledge workers do their jobs. This chapter details research on the affects of these environments on performance. It looks at how things like the degree of segmentation of work environments, and how dimensions are used, affect knowledge workers overall. This chapter is excerpted from "Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performance and Results from Knowledge Workers."
Molly Miller, an Intel employee and shareholder, must decide whether to vote FOR or AGAINST Intel's proposed 2009 option exchange program. Given recent declines in Intel's stock price, more than 99% of Intel's outstanding employee stock options are "underwater," and employee motivation and retention are serious concerns. If the program is approved by shareholders, Molly must decide whether to participate in the program and tender her underwater employee stock options. As a shareholder and an employee, Molly must assess the pros and cons of Intel's proposed exchange program from both perspectives. In addition, she must consider Intel's proposal in light of the alternative approaches pursued by other corporations that have recently confronted the problem of underwater employee stock options.
Bear Stearns & Co burned through nearly all of its $18 billion in cash reserves during the week of March 10, 2008, and an unprecedented provision of liquidity support from the Federal Reserve on Friday March 13 was insufficient to reverse the decline in Bear's condition. Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner were intent on limiting the impact of Bear's problems on the wider financial system. James "Jamie" Dimon, Morgan's Chairman and CEO, was in frequent contact with these regulators over the weekend of March 14-16, negotiating possible scenarios for the rescue of Bear, without which would force it to seek bankruptcy protection when markets opened on Monday. Late on Sunday afternoon, March 16, Bear's board accepted Morgan's offer to purchase Bear for $2 per share, an offer that would not have been made without significant government assistance. There was hope that the Bear rescue would help avert the far-reaching spread of damage into the larger financial world that many policymakers viewed as likely to follow the failure of a major investment bank. This case examines a seminal event in the financial and economic crisis that began in the summer of 2007, and provides background for better understanding the full scope of the crisis as it was revealed during the summer and fall of 2008. It was written to address two sets of issues. First, it provides the opportunity to understand the corporate finance issues of capital and liquidity, and of firm valuation. Second, the case allows for the exploration of aspects of a firm's internal and external governance, as well as the challenges of navigating through a crisis when faced with compelling pressures from competing stakeholders.
Presents an introduction to methods for understanding user needs in product development. Describes a number of techniques including the use of focus groups, interviews, questionnaires, the Kano method, Lead User analysis, the Product Value matrix, OFD, etc. Provides a "how to" for product developers, and includes theory as well as examples from practice.