Vanraj Mini-Tractors: Is Small Beautiful?

Pratik Modi

The case presents the dilemma of the decision maker in selecting the most appropriate market segment for Vanraj 10 HP mini-tractors – an innovation from a small farmer in Gujarat, India. Four market segments were identified: small and marginal farmers, large farmers, industries, and horticulture farmers. Vanraj was economical and possessed all the features of a big tractor. Mr. Trivedi, the decision maker, believed that the tractor would serve the needs of small and marginal farmers better, but his colleagues wanted him to think further before selecting any particular market segment for targeting. This case is useful for exploring segmentation and targeting decisions in marketing.

Superstar Leaders

Abhishek Geol & Neharika Vohra 

A common issue in organizations is handling larger than life leaders. These leaders often have “superstar” status in their field and the organization usually gets overwhelmed with their presence. Sometimes, narcissism in them can potentially hurt the organization in the long run. This case highlights a brilliant and charismatic leader in a healthcare institution who unknowingly becomes a bottleneck in the growth of its people and the organization. The case presents qualitative and quantitative data of the leader’s and his subordinates’ perception of the prevailing culture and leadership practices. Issues on leadership, organizational culture, and people management presented in this case are relevant across industries and organizations.

ToeHold Artisans Collaborative: Building Entrepreneurial Capabilities to Tackle Poverty

Sindhu Shanmugam & S. Ramakrishna Velamuri

Toehold Artisans Collaborative (TAC) is a project launched by the Asian Center for Entrepreneurship Initiatives (ASCENT), a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, to build entrepreneurial capacity in a community of footwear artisans of the small southern Indian town of Athani. Prior to ASCENT’s involvement, which began in 1998, the artisans of Athani were making a subsistence wage, which did not even guarantee them two square meals a day. They could not send their children to school and were thus suffering economic stagnation.

TAC is an established Group Enterprise of 14 women Self Help Groups (SHG). Even though women’s SHGs are the direct stakeholders, the men are not left out – they are treated as co-preneurs for all inputs, exposure to international fairs and production purposes. The front end of TAC is a customer-centric business enterprise that has taken the exquisite footwear brand ‘ToeHoldTM’ to challenging international mainstream markets. The backend is an artisan-centric social enterprise striving for improvement in the quality of life of about 400 artisans’ families. The case documents how TAC was set up and evolved during the 1998-2006 period, the challenges it faced and continues to face, and the impact it has had on the artisan community. It is useful for examining the effective organization and running of social enterprises.

Degussa: Stabilizers – Accessing the Chinese Market

Per V. Jenster & Cissy Chen

Degussa, one of the top 10 chemical companies and the largest specialty chemicals company in the world, started its operations in China in January 2003. According to one of the key tenets of the Degussa 2008 Program – Make China Happen – the company will significantly need to increase its sales in China by 2008, with focus on Degussa Stabilizers (a division of Degussa which began its operations in China in 2004). In 2005, Degussa Stabilizers held a market share of about 10 percent (in terms of value). Despite positive results, it could not meet the required growth rate and market share projected by the company. Therefore, in order to strengthen its position in the market, the management team of Degussa Stabilizers decided to minimize the production cost and improve customer services. This case challenges students to analyze and evaluate the company’s position. Based on the findings from the case study, the students are required to make recommendations that will help Degussa China to adapt to the rapid market changes and increased competition.

Dilip Roy at Itsun Heavy Industries India Pvt. Limited (IHIIPL)

Margie Parikh

Dilip Roy is a country head at Itsun Heavy Industry (India) Pvt. Ltd. (IHIIPL) in Delhi, India. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Itsun China, a leading private sector construction equipment company. Dilip graduated as a mechanical engineer with reputed National Science Talent Search Scholarship, started his career as a Graduate Trainee Engineer and became a Vice President in another company before he joined IHIIPL as a country Head. Hu, the representative of Itsun China in India was exploring the Indian market and he ended up offering a job to Dilip after a series of interaction concerning the Indian Construction Equipment Industry. This was the first opportunity for Dilip to head an entire company. He knew the industry thoroughly and felt excited that finally his ambition was at the verge of fulfillment.
When Dilip joined, IHIPL had yet to be incorporated though some business activity had started. Dilip’s time at IHIIPL is dotted with problem after problem. The key problems encountered were confusion about reporting relationships, unresponsive head office with its unilateral decisions, and unprofessional and incompetent colleagues. Dilip had taken steps to address most of the company’s problems: developing local solutions, drawing on personal resources, and hiring new staff. The business was growing fast on the back of increasing demand. Subsequently, Dilip realized that he was not considered trustworthy by the head office and was not involved in major decisions. His initial perception about his job and IHIIPL changed. Even though he was later given the certificate of honor with an invitation to attend the award ceremony in China, he left the company. This case is useful for examining the issues of cross-cultural management and leadership.

Infosys Technologies Limited: The Global Talent Program

Ram Subramanian, Tripti Singh, Ram Misra & C. Jayachandran

Infosys Technologies Limited, the Bangalore-based information technology company, embarked on a global recruitment program in 2006.  The first batch of recruits from U.S. universities were brought to the company’s Mysore training facility in India and put through a rigorous 16-week training program.  By November 2007, the third U.S. batch was on campus for training along with the first batch from the U.K. Each of these batches had around 125 recruits.  The company’s CEO had charged Infosys’ Head of Administration and Human Resources Development, Mohandas Pai, to step up the recruiting to around 1,000 overseas recruits a year from countries such as the US, UK, continental Europe, and China, as a way to globalize the workforce.
Pai was concerned that this ambitious recruitment program would strain the company’s training function.  His concern stemmed from the fact that the trainers had to deal with cultural differences and varied learning styles of overseas recruits.  The trainers had done a commendable job of making adjustments while training was ongoing, but Pai wondered if the same adjustments could be made when the scale of recruits increased dramatically. This case is useful for examining the issues of training capacity and cross-cultural training.

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