Europe Research Center
The Europe Research Center in Paris (ERC) opened in 2003, and plays an important role in helping HBS develop and strengthen relationships with European business and academic leaders. The ERC enables Harvard Business School faculty to study more effectively one of the world's most important economic regions during a time of significant transformation. The ERC has contributed to more than 100 faculty publications (case studies, research notes, books and articles). Research topics range from the challenges of European economic and financial integration, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, international capital flows, investor relations, consumer marketing, to policy-making issues and the impact of new technologies on business.
HBS Europe Research Center (ERC)
Update July - December 2012
In this update: New publications on Schuberg Philis, the Virgin Group, the PZU Group, Novozymes, Layoffs in France, and an HBR article on Bonuses in Bad Times; ongoing research in Organizational Behavior, and Business, Government and International Economy; ERC case interviews and field research in France, Italy, and Germany; three Executive Education programs in London; Glocoll in Boston; MBA information sessions in Paris, Milan, Munich and London; EAB Meeting in Boston; and ELC Meeting in London.
Also, please welcome our new Research Assistants, Jérôme Lenhardt and Emer Moloney.
A French citizen, Jérôme holds a Masters degree in Management from ESSEC Business School in Paris, and a Bachelor degree in Finance from the Institute of Political Science of Strasbourg, France, which included a one year exchange at Sussex University in the U.K. He previously worked as a corporate auditor for a French bank, where he conducted assignments in Europe and Africa.
An Irish citizen, Emer holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Konstanz in Germany, and a degree in Business Administration and Languages from Dublin City University in Ireland, which included a one year exchange at the University of Cologne in Germany. She previously worked at a financial software company based in Paris, in both database management and risk management consulting roles.
Finally, please welcome our new External Relations colleague, Nida Januskis, Specialist Alumni Development Europe, who will be based at the ERC.
Happy Holidays from the ERC and best wishes for 2013!
Newly Released Cases & Articles
Case study: Schuberg Philis
Coauthored with Professor Thomas DeLong, OB, the case describes how the Dutch professional service firm Schuberg Philis has within a few years grown into a well-known player in the Dutch IT outsourcing market and regularly wins high customer satisfaction marks. The growing workload and 100% promise to customers have increased the pressure on its non-hierarchical teams of engineers, as well as the hiring speed, which some fear could dilute their corporate culture. The three owner-directors must decide whether it is time to stop customer acquisition for a while to "get their house in order". At that moment, though, one of Schuberg Philis perhaps most important business opportunities so far arises.
Case study: Virgin Group: Finding New Avenues for Growth
Coauthored with Professor Gary Pisano, TOM, the case describes how the head of the Virgin brand reflects on the group's new pillars of growth. Since Richard Branson created the Virgin record retailing company in the 1970s, Virgin had developed from scratch six companies worth more than $1 billion each. The group's focus had broadened from record retailing and music production to include airlines, health, financial services, mobile and media businesses, all under the Virgin brand and without harming it. Their challenge had been finding the capital to finance the new ventures rather than the brand. Since 2005, Branson was dedicating more time to a charitable organization, Virgin Unite, and had appointed Stephen Murphy the new CEO of the Group. As Murphy contemplated their growth strategy for the next decade he faced a number of difficult decisions. First, how should he fund new ventures? While growing, the Group had sold stakes in its companies, and as a result the Virgin Group was today a loose group of companies with some linked to Virgin only by brand licensing agreements. Should they expand further by signing new licensing agreements? Second, what kind of opportunities should he seek? Should they keep acting as a venture capital firm, nurturing new ventures as in the past or should they invest in larger and more established companies? What would be the consequences of their choices on the brand and on the Group? Would they always be able to inject the Virgin culture and turn around companies?
Case Study: Poles apart on PZU (A, B, C)
Coauthored with Professor Francesca Gino, NOM, the case explores how in October 2008, Andrzej Klesyk, CEO of Poland's largest insurer PZU, reflected on possible ways of resolving a decade-long cross-border shareholder conflict at his company. Owned 55% by the Polish State Treasury and 33% by the Dutch insurer Eureko as of October 2008, PZU was a highly profitable company and Poland's biggest asset holder. Eureko aimed at majority ownership of PZU as the building block of its Eastern European expansion strategy. The Treasury, however, was reluctant to forfeit control of the country's crown jewels. Several rounds of negotiations and international arbitration failed to resolve the conflict, leading to a progressive breach of trust. Was there anything Klesyk could do to break this international and multilateral stalemate?
Case Study: Novozymes: Cracking the Emerging Markets Code
Co-authored with Professor Krishna Palepu, ACCT/GM, the case describes how in 2011, the management of Novozymes, the industrial enzymes leader, reflected on the viability of their positioning in the fast growing, yet increasingly competitive Chinese market. Novozymes, a technological innovation pioneer, was prominent in China's premium enzyme markets, but felt pressure from local low-cost rivals in volume-driven, commoditized segments. How should Novozymes relate to local competitors? By competing on technological innovation only in high-margin verticals? Or through a separate subsidiary with a new low-cost business model for commoditized verticals?
Background Note: Managing the LayOff Process
Co-authored with Professor Sandra Sucher, TOM, this note is an overview of the context for managing layoffs in France. It describes the legal responsibilities of managers in conducting layoffs, recent unemployment trends, and the financial, health, training, job placement and other benefits that laid-off employees can expect to receive.
Harvard Business Review Case Study and Commentary: Bonuses in Bad Times
Co-authored with Professor Zeynep Ton, MIT Sloan School of Management, this fictionalized case study describes how in 2008 Spanish food retailer Superado is on course to miss its financial targets. According to company policy, this means that Superado should withhold all bonuses for the year. But the company has an unbroken tradition of paying out bonuses and treating its workforce well--and it enjoys low staff turnover and high productivity as a result. CEO Luisa Fernandez faces a dilemma: Should Superado reward its employees for maintaining outstanding productivity in an economic crisis, or should it save its resources as a buffer against worse to come? Published in the HBR July-August edition and based on a former HBS ERC case, the study is followed by advice from two industry experts, Nicolas Hollanders, EVP HR, IT and Sustainability at Delhaize Group, and Marcos Barberan, HR director at Mercadona.
Sample Research in Progress
The ERC is currently working on several cases and research projects such as:
- A case on the automation of a subway line and its social implications in France, with Professor Michel Anteby, OB.
- A research project on the implementation of English as the corporate language in a large Japanese e-commerce company and its subsidiaries in France and Germany, with Professor Tsedal Neeley, OB.
- A case on Germany's green energy revolution, with Professor Noel Maurer, BGIE.
The ERC is also exploring a case on a Spanish public-private healthcare organization, with Professor Regina Herzlinger, GM.
Visits Involving the Center
Research activities in July 2012 through December 2012 involved case site interviews for example in:
- France, for a case study on a large French public transportation company, with Professor Michel Anteby, OB.
- Germany, for a research project on a large e-commerce company and its subsidiaries, with Professor Tsedal Neeley, OB.
- Italy, for a valuation case on a large Italian motorcycle manufacturer with Prof. François Brochet, ACCT.
In addition, we were happy to see here in Paris:
Prof. Gunnar Trumbull, BGIE
Prof. Michel Anteby, OB
Prof. Tsedal Neeley, OB
Prof. François Brochet, ACCT
Prof. Mukti Khaire, EM
Ms. Mary Ann O'Loughlin, Director, Corporate Relations and Market Development, HBS Executive Education
Ms. Laura Linard, Director Baker Special Collections
Ms. Pam Ralston, Associate Director, MBA Admissions
Ms. Tasha Stone, Staff Assistant,,MBA program
Mr. Bill Shea, Director, Corporate Relations & Market Development, Executive Education
Ms. Susan Hamilton, Director International Development, External Relations
Ms. Victoria Winston, Executive Director, Global Initiative
Ms. Lara Gund, Admissions Sector Manager, MBA Program
Ms. Becky Miller, MBA Program
Mr. Joshua Macht, HBR Group Publisher, HBSP
Ms. Gail Day, Publisher, HBR Ad Sales and Marketing, HBSP
Mr. Arnaud Habrant, Martin Media
Mr. Jean-Guillaume d'Ornano, Option Finance
Mr. Frank Dangeard, member of the HBS European Advisory Board
Mr. Michael Zaoui (MBA 1983 D) and his wife
Ms. Anne Poueymidanette, Air Liquide
Ms. Karen Zhou, Harvard College Student
Mr. Marcin Kostecki, Harvard College Student
Ms. Brigitte Baumann, Founder and CEO Go Beyond
Executive Education program "Leading with Impact: Staying on the Fast Track", in London, July. This Executive Education program took place in London, U.K., from July 2 to July 6, 2012. Under the leadership of faculty co-chairs Linda A. Hill, Joshua D. Margolis and Anthony Mayo, the participants explored how to fulfill and expand their emerging leadership potential through self-assessment tools, personal introspection and experiential learning.
Visit on Campus for the fourth edition of the Glocoll Program, and meetings with the directors of the other HBS research centers and with HBS Staff, July. The program "Global Colloquium on Participant Centered Learning" is designed for professors from Business Schools in Europe, Asia, and Latin America and focuses on how to teach using the case method. The ERC collaborates in the outreach to and recruitment of European faculty. Vincent Dessain, the ERC Executive Director, and Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Manager Europe, attend the event every year. This year's edition was another success with 148 faculty members attending from 23 different countries. The trip also included meetings with the directors of the other HBS research centers, with faculty members to scope and pitch new projects, and with staff members, particularly of external relations, admissions and career services.
HBS MBA information session in Paris, September. This group information session was organized in Paris to present the Harvard Business School MBA program, including admission process, curriculum and funding, to potential MBA candidates. The session was led by Pam Ralston, Associate Director, MBA Admissions, and by a panel of HBS alumni and students. Vincent Dessain, Jan Pianca and Tasha Stone, Staff Assistant of the MBA program, participated in the event. Hosted at France-Amériques, the meeting gathered approximately 115 participants.
HBS MBA Information Sessions in Milan, Munich and London, September. These information sessions, kindly hosted by McKinsey in Milan, Bain&Company in Munich, and Morgan Stanley in London, were organized to present the Harvard Business School MBA program, including admission process, curriculum and funding, to potential candidates in these three major European cities. The events, which gathered over 250 participants in total, were co-organized by Dana Fernandez, Assistant Director of the MBA Program, Vincent Dessain, the ERC Executive Director, and Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Manager. In each presentation, the potential applicants could interact with a panel composed of HBS alumni.
HBS Alumni Events in Milan and Munich, September. The MBA information sessions in Milan and Munich were preceded by two alumni events, organized by the ERC. The events, hosted at the Bice Restaurant in Milan and at the Anna Hotel Restaurant in Munich, gathered several HBS alumni. The events were the occasion to present the latest developments of the School, including the FIELD Initiative and the iLab facility, as well as to provide an update on the research activities in Europe. The participants were welcomed by Dana Fernandez, Vincent Dessain and Jan Pianca.
Executive Education program "Changing the Game: Negotiation and Competitive Decision Making", in London, September. This Executive Education program took place in London, U.K., from September 2 to September 7, 2012. Developed by core HBS faculty who are preeminent authorities on negotiation and decision making, this program gave participants a proven framework and a cognitive toolkit to maximize the value of each transaction. Through a combination of case studies, negotiation simulations, and group discussions, the program taught enhanced decision-making and negotiating skills that could be shared across the entire organization.
EAB Meeting on campus and International Research Symposium, October. The European Advisory Board meeting, which this year was held on campus, gathered 13 EAB members. Forest Reinhardt formally welcomed the participants. The meeting was the occasion to present the latest developments of the School, including the FIELD Initiative, the IXP programs and the School's plan to open a new Research Center in Turkey. Professor Amy Edmondson, TOM, presented her latest book: "Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy". Vincent Dessain provided an update on the latest activities of the Europe Research Center. Dean Nitin Nohria, Senior Associate Dean Felix Oberholzer-Gee, and Senior Associate Dean Youngme Moon discussed strategic topics of the School with board members in Latin America, Asia Pacific, India and US West coast.
ELC Meeting in London, November. The European Leadership Council, which gathered 23 ELC members, was kindly hosted by Nikos Stathopoulos (MBA 1995) at BC Partners in London. It was preceded by a dinner at the Orrery Restaurant. Forest Reinhardt welcomed the participants and formally introduced Felix Oberholzer-Gee, new Senior Associate Dean for International Development. Forest Reinhardt also welcomed the newest ELC member, Julia Bojko (MBA '01), Executive Director and CFO Eastern Europe at McKinsey & Company in Moscow. This was followed by presentations on the latest developments at the School, including the FIELD and IXP programs, the generous gift made by the Chao family, the School's plan to open a new Research Center in Turkey and the latest faculty chair appointments. Vincent Dessain presented the latest activities of the Center, and solicited advice on prospective research leads. Angela Crispi, Associate Dean for Administration and Senior Executive Officer, updated the group on the School in general and the capital campaign.
Executive Education Program "Strategic IQ: Creating Smarter Corporations", in London, November. This executive education program was held in London from November 12 to November 16, 2012. Led by faculty co-chairs Ian W. Mackenzie, Mikołaj Jan Piskorski, and John R. Wells, this program examined theoretical frameworks for accommodating change, as well as real-life experiences of corporations across the globe that had been confronted with emerging developments in the competitive landscape. Through lectures, case studies, small group discussions, and individual exercises, the participants enhanced their ability to keep pace with rapid change and capitalize on new opportunities.
We welcome all suggestions and comments. Please contact us:
Vincent Dessain, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniela Beyersdorfer, Assistant Director, email@example.com
Elena Corsi, Senior Researcher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Pianca, Educational Programs Manager Europe, email@example.com
Karol Misztal, Research Associate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emer Moloney, Research Assistant, email@example.com
Jérôme Lenhardt, Research Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oksana Sichi, Office Administrator, email@example.com
Emilie Billaud, Executive Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about the ERC: http://www.hbs.edu/global/europe.html
The staff of the HBS Europe Research Center
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