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Teaching farmers to hunt – developing commercial skills at BDO Hungary

Zoltán Buzády (Assistant Professor of Management at the Central European University Business School, Budapest, Hungary)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 1 October 2011



Teaching farmers to hunt – developing commercial skills at BDO Hungary.

Subject area

Organizational innovation, leading change, customer service management in professional service firms.

Study level/applicability

Advanced undergraduate, MBA/executive education.

Case overview

This case describes the human resource (HR) dilemma faced by BDO Hungary in 2010, an international audit and tax consulting partnership, operating in the country since 1989. In order to continue its past growth story and to reach closer to “Big Four” BDO has to enter new business segments, offer more services to its existing customers and seize higher value‐added business potentials. The new strategy, however, is challenged by its incumbent, traditional core business: auditing, which is highly regulated by ethical, legal, and professional standards including non‐advertisement regulations to which the resulting organizational culture and HR routines are congruent. The case is described from the perspective of the Equity Partner, HR Director and Executive MBA student, who is tasked with a new HR plan for training and development and is charged with implementing it successfully. How best to adjust current training and development policies to the best meet new strategic growth goals? How to develop existing human capital? How to make employees more commercially oriented in such a conservative, risk averse, and highly regulated environment? How to improve their customer service and the sales skill?

Expected learning outcomes

Exploring the importance of training and development in improving customer service levels in professional service firms operating in emerging markets. Understanding the limitations and the possibilities of transferring international HR policies and standards across borders and cultural differences.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes.



Buzády, Z. (2011), "Teaching farmers to hunt – developing commercial skills at BDO Hungary", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 1 No. 4.



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