Case studies

Teaching cases offers students the opportunity to explore real world challenges in the classroom environment, allowing them to test their assumptions and decision-making skills before taking their knowledge into the workplace.

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Case study
Publication date: 11 August 2020

Louise Whitakker, Nicola Kleyn and Hayley Pearson

Learning outcomes are as follows: Students will be able to demonstrate the need to understand the uncertainty faced in a crisis; demonstrate how dynamic capabilities allow…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

Learning outcomes are as follows: Students will be able to demonstrate the need to understand the uncertainty faced in a crisis; demonstrate how dynamic capabilities allow an organisation to respond effectively in a time of crisis and deep uncertainty; explore how strong dynamic capabilities are required to maintain continuity of operations by enabling a shift in the current business model; and evaluate methods of mobilising resources to address needs and possible opportunities presented in a crisis.

Case overview/synopsis

Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), a South African-based business school and the one of the top ranked business schools in Africa, faced a crisis in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the announcement of a national lock down, under strict conditions, and the immediate closure of the GIBS campus, the Academic Programmes had to radically shift their mode of delivery to enable students to continue with their respective programmes. When the situation was further exacerbated by the breaking of the undersea cable, the Executive Director of Academic Programmes, Professor Louise Whittaker faced the difficult decision on what to do next. The case illustrates the need for strong dynamic capabilities to foster organisational agility and to respond effectively in times of deep uncertainty or crises.

Complexity academic level

The case is positioned at a postgraduate level and would be ideal as a teaching case for business students on a Master of Business Administration programme, a specialised Master in Philosophy programme or selected executive education programmes for general managers or senior executives.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 11 Strategy.

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 7 August 2020

Ravi Pillay and Caren Brenda Scheepers

Gaining skills in analyzing context during a crisis situation, using a political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental framework understanding…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

Gaining skills in analyzing context during a crisis situation, using a political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental framework understanding strategic leadership engagement with stakeholders to cultivate an environment for emergent change gaining skills in drawing up a strategic communications plan.

Case overview/synopsis

On 15 May 2020, Alec Moemi, Director-General of the South African Government’s Department of Transport (DoT), contemplates how his department can use the opportunity that COVID-19 presents to transform the transport system and to maintain relationships with business and the taxi industry beyond COVID-19? The nation was just reeling from a first: the President announced a “lockdown” which meant that all economic activity except “essential services” could operate. Life almost ground to halt and South Africans faced a new reality. No movement out of your property unless it was a medical emergency or if you needed to buy food. The minibus taxi, an economic enabler to millions of South Africans also had to stop operating. The South African DoT had a mammoth task of communicating to a range of stakeholders. However, the most sensitive being the minibus taxi owners, drivers and their related associations. How would they accept the news that they will not have a livelihood for the next few weeks or perhaps even months? Given the nature of industrial shift patterns and need for a more flexible transport system for workers, some organisation’s such as Nestlé contracted private transport services to ensure their staff travelled to work safely. Nestlé also had their own compulsory sanitizing protocols in place to support private transporters.

Complexity academic level

Postgraduate programmes, including MBA, MPhil Corporate Strategy and Masters’ Public Administration and Executive Education Programmes.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 7 Management Science.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 7 August 2020

Ravi Pillay and Caren Brenda Scheepers

The learning outcomes are as follows: identifying and prioritising of stakeholders’ needs during crises; gaining insight into applying contextual intelligence in leaders…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes are as follows: identifying and prioritising of stakeholders’ needs during crises; gaining insight into applying contextual intelligence in leaders’ decision-making on philanthropic investments; and evaluating initiatives by differentiating between creating shared value and corporate social responsibility.

Case overview/synopsis

On 15 March 2020, Bruno Olierhoek, Chairman and MD, Nestlé East and Southern Africa considers his dilemma of where to focus his community support initiatives during COVID-19, which could reflect their company’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future in their response to the crisis? Also, creating shared value (CSV) was in their DNA as a company, and they wanted to do more than philanthropic gestures; therefore, they had to decide carefully about leveraging their strategic partnerships in the relief effort. The case highlights existing community involvement projects, pre-COVID-19, which illustrate multi-stakeholder collaboration. These existing trust relationships and partnerships are then leveraged during the COVID-19 pandemic. The case highlights unintended consequences of Nestlé’s gesture of donating food products to the 5,000 frontline health-care workers for specific stakeholder groups, such as the positive emotional responses of Nestlé’s own employees. These events in the case relate to existing theoretical frameworks, such as corporate citizenship which elicits pro-organisational behaviour in stakeholder groups.

Complexity academic level

Postgraduate programmes MBA or MPhil.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 7 Management Science

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 31 July 2020

Amy Moore and Verity Hawarden

The broad teaching objective is underpinned by the themes of purpose and partnerships. This is taught through application of business model innovation for sustainability…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

The broad teaching objective is underpinned by the themes of purpose and partnerships. This is taught through application of business model innovation for sustainability where the value proposition is broadened to social and environmental, and multi-stakeholder partnerships in a time of crisis. Students will be expected to analyse the above concepts through a meso (sustainable value), micro (business models) and macro (ecosystems) lens. Upon completion of the case study discussion, successful students will be able to better understand the three features that support sustainable value, explore how a global pandemic can create new business models and partnerships to create social value and analyse how business ecosystems operate against the 6 C framework.

Case overview / synopsis

Discovery Holdings Limited is a leading financial service organisation in South Africa, and its Digital Health division is responsible for the platform which delivers telemedicine offerings to doctors and patients. The case highlights the development of the telemedicine offering and the period that is covered spans from the launch of the Discovery DrConnect platform in 2017 to April 2020. Adrian Moss is the protagonist in the case. He is a manager in the Special Projects, Digital Health team of Discovery Health, responsible for the DrConnect project. His challenge is how to raise more awareness of the DrConnect offering and how to enhance uptake from doctors and patients. COVID-19 and the lockdown in South Africa in March and April of 2020 presented an opportunity for both doctors and patients to use telemedicine as a new way of engagement and treatment.

Complexity academic level

This case is appropriate for masters, MBA and executive education students focusing on the fields of study of environment of business, strategy, business model innovation and social entrepreneurship.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 11 Strategy.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 25 July 2020

Michael Ward

The case presents a lot of information, directly and via references and Web-based links, about the economic consequences of the virus. Several themes are evident: As an…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

The case presents a lot of information, directly and via references and Web-based links, about the economic consequences of the virus. Several themes are evident: As an opening theory-base, the decades-long stakeholder versus shareholder debate is invoked – but does this extend beyond “stakeholders” to the “public good”? There are contexts (generally wars) in which governments are empowered to instruct private companies to engage in the public good – but how far should/must they voluntarily go? The underlying macro-economic issue is: where will we get the capital? Central banks have not recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis and have limited “ammunition” to address the anticipated economic problems introduced by the virus. The case presents data on selected financial metrics (interest rates, debt levels, risk pricing, etc.) and outlines the conventional stimulatory steps used: lowering short-term rates (monetary policy) and investment in assets (fiscal policy) and the less-conventional Quantitative Easing “QE”.

Case overview/synopsis

The coronavirus appears to herald a devastating blow to lives and to the world economy – its impact is yet unknown, but likely to be comparable to war and pestilence of biblical proportion. This case focuses on the possible economic trajectories as a consequence of the virus, with emphasis on bailing-out (restructuring) struggling companies and restoring jobs. Within the framework of a world desperately in need of capital, it raises questions about accountability and responsibility. Should retrenched workers in restaurants, banks and airlines feel the consequences of their poor career choices? Must shareholders (read pensioners) shoulder losses to support the public good? Ought governments bail-out whole industries – using tax-payer money? Or do we allow central banks to conjure-up billions and hope for the best? The case does not attempt to provide answers to these questions but presents several vignettes and offers a context in which participants can debate the merits of these problems.

Complexity academic level

MBA and Exec-ed.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 1 Accounting and Finance.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 25 July 2020

Michael Ward

The case describes the fall of Eskom, which in 2001 was named the Financial Times’ Power Company of the Year, but by 2019 was suffering from “systemic corruption…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

The case describes the fall of Eskom, which in 2001 was named the Financial Times’ Power Company of the Year, but by 2019 was suffering from “systemic corruption, malfeasance, fraud and state capture” that had “compromised the credibility of the organisation and eroded investor confidence”. Eskom’s incompetent management lays the ground for reasonable doubt as to whether the force majeure notice was indeed irresistible. The case suggests several methods available in financial markets to hedge risk – but to what extent are these relevant and appropriate? The main objective of the case, however, is to examine and assess the criteria required to claim force majeure. Two aspects are questionable: Was the virus unforeseeable and was it irresistible? Eskom is “bleeding” R2.5m per month because of significantly reduced electricity demand, and while it clearly benefits Eskom to break their supply contract, the consequences for Exxaro are far more dire. And, if carried to conclusion, how would such actions impact the entire economy?

Case overview/synopsis

In April 2020 South Africa’s stated-owned electricity utility Eskom sent a pre-cautionary force-majeure notification to Exxaro Limited’s Grootegeluk Coal Mine. The notification, citing COVID-19 as an unforeseeable, external and irresistible event, would have disastrous consequences for the mine’s 25 m tonnes pa coal contract to supply Eskom’s Medupi power station. Not only was the legality of the force-majeure questionable, it was unethical, and not in the spirit of President Ramaposa’s call to businesses to continue paying contractors. The case briefly describes Eskom’s troubled history following South Africa’s 1994 democratic election. It examines the force majeure clause common in contracts, and questions whether COVID-19 meets the criteria of an “unforeseeable, external and irresistible” event.

Complexity academic level

MBA and Executive Education

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 7: Management Science.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 25 July 2020

Michael Ward

The case describes the origins of money, touching on the gold standard, the Fed’s 1942 purchase of US debt to fund the “war effort”, Bretton Woods (1944), Nixon’s 1971…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

The case describes the origins of money, touching on the gold standard, the Fed’s 1942 purchase of US debt to fund the “war effort”, Bretton Woods (1944), Nixon’s 1971 pulling the currency peg and descent of money from gold to fiat. It also touches on theories of inflation and deflation, quantitative easing (QE) post the 2008 crisis and the “swamp” of (unorthodox) modern monetary theory (MMT). Aside from providing a brief history of monetary policy and economics, the case study seeks to widen students’ understanding of key economic issues including: fiat money, QE, government funding mechanisms, taxation, economic stimulation, inflation/deflation – and of course, the need for an ombudsman to limit excess.

Case overview/synopsis

In May 2020, South Africa’s deputy finance minister David Masondo announced that he would support the South African Reserve Bank’s lending to the government. This statement followed President Ramaposa’s earlier announcement of a R500bn COVID-19 stimulus package. The case explores the economic history of money, from barter to gold to cryptos. The case examines the origins of central banks’ printing of money, initially to support the Second World War effort and more recently the 2008 global financial crisis and now the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, the case raises the question of central bank independence – “democratically elected governments always need money, is it appropriate for central banks provide it? And are there limits?”

Complexity academic level

MBA and Executive Education

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 1 Accounting and Finance.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 25 July 2020

Michael Ward

The case presents a significant amount of information on the outbreak of COVID-19 and the expected impact on the economy. Although the case is necessarily concise, several…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

The case presents a significant amount of information on the outbreak of COVID-19 and the expected impact on the economy. Although the case is necessarily concise, several links are given to the online articles and video material on which the case is based. This allows participants to deepen their knowledge of the virus and their understanding of its likely economic impact. To frame the discussion, several philosophies, ranging from Libertarianism to Marxism, are lightly expounded. Readers will need to consider divergent ideas; the sanctity of human life versus the monetary value of a life; the hysteria evoked by COVID-19 deaths versus the placid acceptance of an annual 66,000 deaths by another disease – TB; and the differential economic impact of the virus across extremes of inequality. Perhaps, the key issue relates to the skewness in the death rate: Should young people’s livelihood be sacrificed for a few old people about to die anyway? The case also illustrates the essence of a dilemma – a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable.

Case overview/synopsis

In March 2020, South African President Cyril Ramaposa ordered a 21-day national “lockdown” to enable and enforce social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19. Many other countries had already taken similar steps, but in a country with 43,000 murders annually, South Africa’s response to only 11 COVID-19 deaths and 1,071 cases was both rapid and harsh. Schools, businesses, social areas and parks were closed. Medical emergencies, essential services and weekly grocery shopping were the only permissible activities. Two weeks after lockdown, there were 1,845 cases and 18 deaths, a far cry from the predicted 30,000 cases and 300 deaths, estimated on the basis of the three-day doubling rate at the start of lockdown. Many businesses, pulverised by closure, daily wage earners and those fearful of losing jobs were hopeful that the lockdown would not be extended. In a country with immense inequality, how would the masses under the age of 65 years, already in poverty and now with their lives pulled apart by an imported disease of the wealthy, respond to extended social and economic deprivation followed by bailouts for business?

Complexity academic level

MBA and Executive Education

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 11 Strategy.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 24 July 2020

Adrian Mark van Eeden

Students should be able to use the case study in debate apply theories relating to the subjects specified.

Abstract

Learning outcomes

Students should be able to use the case study in debate apply theories relating to the subjects specified.

Case overview/synopsis

The case is based on a fictitious South African company going through emergency response conditions analogous with what many businesses are encountering during the COVID crisis. The protagonist is struggling with structural challenges imposed on the business by unpredictable and uncontrollable external pressures and needs to make transformative decisions which might impact the culture, organisational design and digitisation of the business.

Complexity academic level

Post-graduate general management.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 7 Management Science.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

Content available
Case study
Publication date: 24 July 2020

Andy Hofmeyr

This case study provides students with the challenge of advising a small restaurant reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in South Africa. In the process, they…

Abstract

Learning outcomes

This case study provides students with the challenge of advising a small restaurant reeling under the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in South Africa. In the process, they must use their analytical skills combined with tools derived from value-based management theory to develop a revised business strategy for the owner.

Case overview / synopsis

Agility in any business in modern times is essential to survival – and this is particularly so for small, entrepreneurial enterprises that lack the history and resources to survive dramatic changes in the operating environment. A small restaurant in the coastal holiday village of Port Alfred, South Africa is managing to deliver a reasonable return for its owner, a former corporate financier from Johannesburg. The Covid-19 crisis requires a fundamental rethink of business strategy to ensure a future for the business.

Complexity academic level

This case study is ideal for a module in entrepreneurship for delegates in a diploma, undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS: 3 Entrepreneurship.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

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