ALLTRISTA CORPORATION: HOME CANNING IN HUNGARY
Woody D. Richardson, Ray V. Montagno and William L. Skinner, Ball State
Case Objectives and Use
This case demonstrates the market opportunity analysis for a start-up in Hungary. The student is led through the organization’s market research process, the assessment of the
research results, and the first-year sales results of the test market. Students must evaluate the test market results against the promise as outlined by the market opportunity analysis.
This case is intended for use in an undergraduate International Business or Business Policy class. The case is short enough to be easily covered in one class period or may be extended to two class periods if supplemented with readings on Eastern Europe and Hungary in particular.
The case follows the efforts of Alltrista Corporation (maker of Ball?, Kerr?, and Bernandin? brand canning jars) to enter the home canning market in Hungary. Bill Skinner, Senior Vice President of Administration and Corporate Development, was
charged with administering the test market. Seeing the numerous vegetable gardens on a train ride through Eastern Europe prompted Bill to seek corporate approval for more formal market research into food lifestyles in Hungary related to home canning. He received approval to proceed in January 1998. The results of the Hungarian test market conducted that summer confirmed his hunch regarding the market potential that was estimated to be 29,000,000 jars per year. Alltrista, spawned as a spin-off of Ball Corporation in 1994, had over 100 years experience in the home canning market and seemed well poised to seize the significant opportunity present in the Hungarian market. Based on the marketing research conducted in the summer of 1998, Alltrista decided to enter the market in the summer of 1999 with distribution in over 3,500 retail outlets throughout Hungary. Sales were disappointing with only 300,000 jars sold-far short of the 6,000,000-jar goal set by Bill. Bill Skinner was left to ponder his next move in attempting to capture this potential market. Based on 1999 sales, there was uncertainty whether Bill would receive the time he needed to fully develop the company’s entry into Eastern Europe.
Contact Person: Woody D. Richardson, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306
Mail: Department of Management, 2000 W. University Ave, Muncie, IN 47306-0350
Voice: (765) 285-5236; FAX (765) 285-5308; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brake Lights at the Border:
Going International Twenty-Two Miles Away
Scott D Roberts ahd Joe S. Anderson, Northern Arizona University
Russ Clark is a successful NAPA Auto Parts franchisee in Yuma County,
Arizona. He sees opportunity in the neighboring Mexican city of San Luis Rio
Colorado. But crossing the border with an after-market auto parts store will
require building relationships with others, lots of learning to overcome the
significant barriers, and some savvy decision-making, in addition to the usual
evaluation of business opportunities.
Clark must cope with the barriers to doing business in Mexico, a completely
foreign environment, even though the projected location of his new store is
only 22 miles away from home. Further, his mistrust of lawyers has thoroughly
turned him off to the common practice of hiring a lawyer to intercede for him
with the Mexican authorities, and he must consider some alternate plan to make
the important contacts that could have been easily facilitated by the lawyer.
Clark must consider a location decision, product mix, human resource issues,
and how to promote the new business in an uncertain context. Clearly, his
current American business model will require a great degree of adaptation to
make the venture a success.
Contact person: Scott D. Roberts, Northern Arizona University, College of Business
Administration, P. O. Box 15066, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011-5066, phone: 928-523-7339,
FAX: (928) 523-7996, e-mail: Scott.Roberts@nau.edu
CEZ (THE CZECH POWER UTILITY GENERATION COMPANY)
THE CONTROVERSY OVER NUCLEAR POWER GENERATION
Marlene Mints Reed, Samford University
Rochelle Reed Brunson, Alvin Community College
Case Objectives and Use
This case was developed to consider issues related to the worldwide debate on the
construction and use of nuclear power plants. Some additional teaching points are a
consideration of the problems a nationalized company has in moving into a free
market economy and the challenges associated with the deregulation of an industry
that has historically been closely regulated.
The case was developed for use in an international management course at the
undergraduate level to deal with issues related to the construction, use and
marketing of electricity generated in a nuclear power plant, worldwide deregulation
of electrical power and privatization of national assets. It might also be used in a
strategic management course to deal with the same issues and relate the
deregulation of electricity power to the deregulation of other industries in the
The focus of this case is a dilemma presented to CEZ when a substantial contract it
had signed with E.ON (a German power company) was cancelled because of
environmental concerns with their partially-constructed Temelin Nuclear Power
Plant. The Temelin plant had been started by the Soviets before the Velvet
Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989, and was now being completed by a joint
venture between Westinghouse, CEZ and CME (a private Czech business). A
complicating factor in the dilemma was the fact that the Czech government which
owned 67.5 percent of CEZ was seeking to fully privatize the company by the end of
2001. Although at least 12 foreign companies (including E.ON) had already
announced their intentions of buying the company, Pavel Solc (the Manager of the
System services Trade Department) wondered if this contract cancellation would
dampen the chances of getting a good price for the company. He also speculated on
ways the company could market the Temelin Plant to stress the safety precautions
they were implementing. An additional concern was the international deregulation
of utilities which would force his company to compete in world markets for the sale
of power generated in the Czech Republic.
Contact person: Marlene Mints Reed, Samford University, School of Business,
Birmingham, AL 35229. Phone: (205) 726-2542; FAX: (205) 726-2464; E-mail;
Culture Clash in the English Classroom
Laird D. McLean, University of Minnesota
Gary N. McLean, University of Minnesota
Case Objectives and Use
This case demonstrates the interpersonal and organizational challenges of working in a
cross-cultural context, specifically in Japan. Through the perspectives of some of the key
players in the situation, conflicting expectations and miscommunication are highlighted
which hinder the organization from meeting its objectives. Students are encouraged to
analyze the situation to identify training and development and organization development
issues, identify stakeholder interests and needs, generate alternatives for addressing them,
and develop and implementation plan.
The instructor manual was written for undergraduate and graduate courses in
Cross-cultural/International management, Cross-cultural training/Human Resource
Development, Organization Development, or Conflict management/resolution.
Participants should be those who are interested in international human resource
development (HRD) or management and who have had courses in training,
organization development, or human resources containing units in these areas.
While the case can be used for a single group as small as five, normally there would
be 20 – 30 participants, divided into groups of four to seven.
It was October 25, 1995, and Brian McMann, English instructor for Delta Language
Systems in Japan, was sitting at his desk pondering the events that had transpired over the
past two weeks. Brian had graduated in business administration from a university in
Canada, and during the past year and a half that he had been employed at Delta, he had
noticed that there were some problems between the foreign teachers and the Japanese
managers. However, two events that had taken place over the past two weeks
underscored the extent and seriousness of the problems.
Two weeks earlier he had participated in “Veterans’ Training,” a required development
activity for all experienced instructors within the Fukuoka Region. During the training,
one session was devoted to discussing the teachers’ greatest barriers to job satisfaction.
Almost unanimously, the answer was the teacher/manager relationship. About a week
later, there was a meeting at Brian’s school to discuss the upcoming student renewal
campaign. One teacher, a former manager, had a lot of useful information about how
teachers could help managers—not only during the campaign, but also in general.
As Brian thought about these events, he wondered what Delta might be able to do in
order to eliminate or overcome the challenges presented by the teacher/manager
IQSOFT Ltd Hungary: a case for change
Christopher M. Scherpereel, Northern Arizona University
Case Objectives and Use
This case demonstrates the delicate balance that exists between traditional beliefs and values, and the need to survive. As an organizational strategy problem the reader must assess the interrelationship between the firm’s competitive situation, the organizations capabilities, and the actual organizational design. These interrelationships must then be meshed within the human context. The biases, opinions, agendas, and experiences of the key decision makers all have an impact on the acceptance of any recommendation. Although the issues in the case are similar to those found in American firms, the added international dimension creates additional complexities.
The case is appropriate for senior-level or graduate management (including MBA) courses in management, strategy, and information systems that include topics in international business, management of change, and complex system design. The case can also be used to explore decision criteria for organization design, quantitative evaluation of product/service portfolios and the marketing and management of technology products.
This case is set in the emerging markets of Central Europe, shortly after the fall of communism. IQSOFT Ltd Hungary is a small information technology firm spun off from the government operated Computer Technology Coordination Institute, an institute that controlled all information technology activity in Hungary during the communist rule. With very little capital, IQSOFT Ltd found itself competing in the same market with some of the largest, most powerful, multinational companies. During a series of transitions, IQSOFT Ltd demonstrates tremendous resilience and adaptability to the constantly changing environment.
This case takes the reader inside IQSOFT during a period of relative stability. Although stable, the constant struggle to find new sources of revenue has left IQSOFT with an extensive, diverse, and unfocused product/service portfolio. Since IQSOFT Ltd.’s inception, the internal organization had changed, Hungary had changed, and the information systems market had changed. The directors of IQSOFT Ltd realized that their organization had evolved to meet the survival needs of the company, but the question was: would the organization meet its future needs? Balint Domolki (managing director), Julia Sipka (commercial director), and Tamas Langer (technical director), met to discuss whether the evolution of IQSOFT Ltd. would be sustain the company’s future success.
SOUTHERN STATES CONSTRUCTION
Mary Anne Watson, The University of Tampa
Zaida Martinez, St. Mary’s University
Gregg M. Schoppman, MBA Candidate
Case Objectives and Use
This case demonstrates some of the difficulties that medium-sized companies face when
entering into international business ventures. The student is confronted with the task of
evaluating international business opportunities in countries that vary significantly from
one another. The case also highlights the importance of dealing with uncertainty and
developing relationships in the countries targeted for projects.
The case can be used at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in strategic
management and international management courses. It can also be used in courses
dealing with entrepreneurship.
From its humble beginning in 1985 in Orlando, Florida, as a regional contracting
company, Southern States Construction grew rapidly into a successful medium-sized
company with a national reputation for excellent customer service and high ethical
standards. One of its main competitive advantages is its ability to provide close, personal
project delivery on a timely basis. By using the design-build methodology, Southern
States Construction has been able to maintain its competitive advantage, even in projects
outside its original markets in the Southern region of the U.S. Southern States’ reputation
has also meant repeat business from its customers who trust Southern States more than
contracting firms they could find closer to their project sites.
Given Southern States’ excellent track record, a major client, Techtronics, is interested in
having Southern States handle new construction projects in three countries outside the
U.S.: Germany, Mexico, and Sweden. A fourth project will very likely be started in
Malaysia. Gabe, one of Southern States’ rising project managers, has been asked to begin
planning the company’s international ventures.
Contact: Mary Anne Watson, Ph.D., John H Sykes College of Business, The University
of Tampa, 401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33606-1490, Phone: (813) 253-3333, ext.
3431, Fax:(813) 258-7408, E-mail: email@example.com
W.W. GRAINGER, INC.
Walter Greene, Matthew Dubrule and Leonard Pavia
The University of Texas Pan American
Case Objectives and Use
This case is designed to illustrate for students how a major company can have
problems in local branches due to company policies. The case asks students to
determine if the local branch manager should blindly follow company policy or
exercise his personal judgment and implement local procedures that are different
than prescribed by the company headquarters. The local branch manager also
realizes that his branch is in an excellent location if headquarters decides to have
international (Mexican) operations conducted from the McAllen, Texas facility.
This case is intended for use in both undergraduate and graduate strategic and
international business management courses. It may also be appropriate for
strategic marketing courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Grainger is North America’s leading supplier of maintenance, repair, and operation
(MRO) supplies to business and institutions. MRO supplies are the products
businesses use to maintain their facilities and equipment. All businesses are bound
by this common need. In a manufacturing firm, indirect materials represent all the
items purchased other than components of the manufactured products. One
characteristic that differentiates Grainger from their competition is that they carry
a very wide inventory of materials, even on those rarely purchased materials that
might only turn over once in a year. According to Brice Chandler (Branch
Manager of the McAllen, Texas facility), Grainger wants to be the supplier that has
the part in stock when its competitors don’t. The strategy behind this is to
encourage the customer to go to Grainger first, the next time they need material,
knowing that they will find what they need, instead of looking around at other
suppliers. Despite their profitability, as of March 2002 they have a return on equity
that is below that of the S&P 500 for the recent period and the 5-year average. With
respect to the McAllen, Texas operation, Bruce wonders if he can help Grainger
increase return on equity by increasing inventory turns? He wonders, are poor
inventory turns, resulting in a below average return on equity, just the cost of doing
business for this specialty part supplier?
Contact Person: Walter Greene, 2201 Point West Drive, Edinburg, TX 78539,
Telephone: (956) 381-8485, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: (956) 384-5065.
Susanna Monseau, Rider University
Yvette Essounga, Rider University
Case Objectives and Use
This case illustrates the legal concept of personal jurisdiction. It touches on civil liberties and freedom of expression. It raises ethical issues for a US based company doing business in a foreign country (France) and the application of conflicting value systems and laws to the new, borderless and generally unregulated medium of the Internet
The teaching note was written for an undergraduate course in International Business Law. It may also be useful in graduate courses in International Business Law, undergraduate and graduate courses in Business Ethics, Business Law and Social and Legal
Environment of Business.
In February 2000, a Paris based activist for the Simon Wiesental Center named, Marc Knobel, contacted Yahoo! France concerned about the amount of Nazi memorabilia available for sale on Yahoo!'s on-line auction site. Within a few days the story was in Paris-Match and Knobel had orchestrated a boycott of Yahoo sites through two non-profit anti racist groups in France. In April Yahoo! Inc. and Yahoo! France both received notification that a lawsuit would be filed against them both in France if all Nazi objects were not removed from the Yahoo! auction web sites within eight days. Three days later Yahoo! learned from the French press that both companies were being sued.
Yahoo! Inc. took the stance at trial that it should not act as a political censor, that no offense could be said to take place in France and that it would be technically impossible to block access to Yahoo! websites from France. The judge disagreed on every count and ordered Yahoo! to pay the costs of the hearing and take measures to prevent the sale of Nazi objects on its web sites. A panel of Internet experts convened by the court agreed that no technical measures could ensure that all French Internet surfers would be kept away from the Nazi material but up to 90% of French visitors could probably be blocked. The judge imposed a fine for every day that Yahoo! did not comply with the order of $13,900 per day.
In December 2000 Yahoo! Inc. filed suit in the US asking for a declaratory ruling that the French court judgement not be recognizable or enforceable in the US. However, in January 2001, in something of a turnaround, it announced the removal of almost all objects relating to Nazism from its auction sites.