A Bomb in Your Pocket? Crisis Leadership at Nokia India (A)
(6 pages of text)
This case addresses the theme of crisis leadership in a multinational enterprise in order to help students internalize the critical challenges of a multinational company in an emerging market. In August 2007, a routine product feedback and defect analysis process identified a defective batch of batteries supplied by a Japanese vendor. India happened to be the recipient of the largest proportion of the defective batch. Nokia’s corporate communications team, based in Finland, in cooperation with the Indian team, responded with a customary global product advisory. Instructions were made available on the Internet for customers to diagnose a defective battery and get a free replacement. Nokia was shocked to see the antagonistic response from the Indian press to the product advisory and the ensuing mayhem that spread quickly through the country. The head of Nokia India and his team had to act swiftly to preserve the company’s hard-earned reputation and market share. Case (A) is set as a midnight strategy session at Nokia’s Indian headquarters to chart out the way forward. A Bomb in Your Pocket? Crisis Leadership at Nokia India (B)
is a short version of what actually happened: how Nokia and the team responded to the crisis and and used the situation to create new organizational capabilities.
- Understand how institutional differences can create unintended consequences for an MNE working in an emerging market (early-stage institutions).
- Understand the critical role of a country manager in mobilizing the local organization and the headquarters to respond to a crisis; also, the role of the headquarters to provide flexibility and support to the local executive.
- Understand the inevitable role of the local press in an organizational crisis, and the need for business leaders to deal with the press effectively.
The case is written for MBA or senior undergraduate courses on global strategy, leadership, or strategy implementation (also for marketing communications). It works very well with an executive management class. If the case is taught to an undergraduate class, instructors may consider using a role play to help the students grasp the challenges. This case can be an excellent complement to Mattel and the Toy Recalls (A)
, which presents a headquarters perspective of a crisis and deals with issues of product design and coordination between a firm and its suppliers.
Information, Media & Telecommunications
India, Large, 2007
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