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Revisiting a classic case study: Anita Roddick and the Body Shop International

Yvon Dufour (University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand)
Lise Lamothe (Health Administration Department, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 20 February 2009




On 10 September 2007 the world was stunned by the news that Anita Roddick – the founder of The Body Shop – was dead at the age of 64. Everyone recognizes the success of The Body Shop, but it is not easily explained using traditional strategic thinking. This paper aims to shed new light on Anita Roddick's entrepreneurial and managerial flair, as well as on her legacy to the field of management.


Configuration as a quality is an intriguing and intuitively appealing new idea. The main innovation is the premise that organizational elements form common gestalts such that each can be best understood in relation to the other elements in the configuration. This paper probed the conceptual notion of configuration as a quality in an empirical sense by revisiting one of the classic Harvard Business School (HBS) case studies: The Body Shop International.


The paper shows The Body Shop as a good example of a comprehensive configuration that allows immediate intuitive apprehension of the new idea of configuration as a quality.

Research limitations/implications

The main issue is the limited depth of analysis that has been achieved through the single HBS case as the main source of evidence. As such, although the propositions put forward seem highly plausible, the supplementary explanation still remains incomplete, opening opportunities for further research.


Re‐visiting classic case studies such as the HBS Body Shop International can stimulate the debate and fuel the process of theory building through the amalgamation of diversified old and new perspectives of the same phenomenon.



Dufour, Y. and Lamothe, L. (2009), "Revisiting a classic case study: Anita Roddick and the Body Shop International", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 97-109.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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