In 2005, Teruo Yabe is asked to revive Tessei, the 669-person JR-East subsidiary responsible for cleaning its Shinkansen ("bullet") trains. Operational mistakes, customer complaints, safety issues, and employee turnover are at or near all-time highs, even as the demands on Tessei continued to grow.
Given previous leaders' failed attempts to fix Tessei's problems with increased managerial monitoring and controls, Yabe seeks a creative approach to overcome the motivation, capability, and coordination challenges facing his organization. Like many contemporary leaders, he selects transparency as his tool. He is, however, unique in adopting a highly nuanced approach to implementing transparency. In the process, he not only leads a fantastic organizational turnaround but even helps to make otherwise "dirty" work more meaningful for Tessei front-line employees. The case therefore presents students, particularly in leadership, organizational behavior, operations management, and service operations courses, with an opportunity to think through how a well-crafted transparency strategy can act as a powerful leadership tool.
In 2015, Nissan was third place in the Japanese auto market, behind Toyota and Honda. The challenge of increasing market share was that 80% of car shoppers who were non-Nissan owners did not consider Nissan during their purchase process. This process involved three main consumer touchpoints: mass media advertising, internet auto websites and the physical dealerships. In the last 5 years, the importance of the dealers in influencing car sales had greatly diminished as consumers researched and chose which make and brand of car to buy online, going to the dealer only to negotiate price, purchase and receive the car. Given this trend, how should Nissan's top marketer make changes in how Nissan manages these three key consumer touchpoints? And how to better integrate them to maximize sales.
In December 2011, the founders of Venture Republic, a Japanese developer and operator of on-line search engines for shopping and travel, faced a decison about whether or not to take the company private in a management buyout transaction just three years after an initial public offering in Japan. To arrive at a suitable recommendation, students must value the enterprise at a time when its growth was just beginning to accelerate following the financial crisis; determine an appropriate capital structure and loan package for the company; and establish a viable management buyout process (MBO) in which potential conflicts of interest between the buying owner-managers and the selling shareholders can be appropriately managed. The advantages and disadvantages of public versus private ownership are also a focal point of this case study.
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