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Deutsche Bahn AG: a former monopoly off track?

Carolin Berlich (Chair of Management Accounting and Control, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Felix Daut (Chair of Management Accounting and Control, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Anna C. Freund (Chair of Management Accounting and Control, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Andrea Kampmann (Chair of Management Accounting and Control, University of Stuttgart, Germany)
Benedict Killing (Chair of Management Accounting and Control, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Friedrich Sommer (Chair of Management Accounting and Control, University of Münster, Münster, Germany)
Arnt Wöhrmann (Chair of Managerial Accounting, Giessen University, Giessen, Germany)

The CASE Journal

ISSN: 1544-9106

Publication date: 3 January 2017

Abstract

Synopsis

Deutsche Bahn AG (Deutsche Bahn hereafter) was the former German railroad monopolist until deregulation in 1996. It was a well-known company that operated in worldwide markets for transport and logistics at the time of the case (late 2013). The case “Deutsche Bahn AG: a former monopoly off track?” focuses on the opportunities and challenges faced by Deutsche Bahn with regard to its position in the German individual transportation market. On the one hand, Deutsche Bahn is facing external problems. Increasing competition in short- and long-distance traffic threatens its strong business position. The competition emerged from a growing long-distance bus market and the increase in private railway companies. During the last few years before 2013, Deutsche Bahn has lost several public tenders for individual passenger travel in Germany. On the other hand, Deutsche Bahn has internal problems that endanger its image as a service company. A lack of service quality and the technical condition of its trains has led to rising numbers of customer complaints. In addition, staffing and punctuality problems have exacerbated the situation. One of the main technical issues the company faces is that ordered trains have not been delivered on time. Given the focus on Deutsche Bahn’s domestic challenges, its international business activities are tackled only briefly. While regulatory and political events have an impact on Deutsche Bahn, these are not the main subjects of the case.

Research methodology

This case has been written from public sources. Consequently, no company release is provided. None of the information has been disguised in any way.

Relevant courses and levels

The case is intended for use in a 90-minute strategic management class attended by students at the end of their undergraduate studies or in postgraduate study. Although the case relates to issues in strategic management, the special regulatory environment and some of the issues covered could make the case a useful complement in other classes as well, such as classes in supply chain management (procurement) or the management of public companies. Therefore, students should have basic knowledge in developing strategies, management, marketing, human resource management, and finance.

Theoretical bases

Strategic Analysis and Strategic Management, Railroad Logistics, Deregulation of a former Monopoly, Stakeholder Theory.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Disclaimer. This case is written solely for educational purposes and is not intended to represent successful or unsuccessful managerial decision making. The author/s may have disguised names; financial, and other recognizable information to protect confidentiality.

Citation

Berlich, C., Daut, F., Freund, A.C., Kampmann, A., Killing, B., Sommer, F. and Wöhrmann, A. (2017), "Deutsche Bahn AG: a former monopoly off track?", The CASE Journal, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 25-58. https://doi.org/10.1108/TCJ-07-2014-0051

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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