Competition winner: Mirvac: Building Balance (A and B)

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This case won the Outstanding Case Writer Competition: Hot Topic 'Diversity and Discrimination' at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2020. #CaseAwards2020

Who – the protagonist

Mirvac Group CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.

What?

Mirvac is an Australian property group.

Mirvac

Why?

Case A explores Susan’s vision of introducing flexible working throughout the Group, a concept alien to the construction industry, and the structural resistance within Mirvac as well as from outside stakeholders.

Case B looks at the intricacies of the new flexible work initiative and how it was rolled out to employees.

When?

Susan took over as CEO in August 2012 and spent three years laying the groundwork for the big flexible working decision put before her team in September 2015.

The Group adopted a new Diversity and Inclusion Policy the following month and set out to chart a roadmap for 2016 and beyond.

Where?

Mirvac are big players in Australia, having been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange for over 30 years, and developing sites such as the Sydney Olympic Village.

Key quote

Jason Vieusseux
“Construction is a tough, dynamic, hard-working industry. I’ve been in the industry for 23 years. On my first day, my first boss said: ‘I arrive at 6.30am, and I leave at 6.30pm. If you arrive after me, you’re late, and if you leave before me, you’re slacking off.’”
Jason Vieusseux, Mirvac Group Head of Construction

What next?

The B case examines the immediate effects of the initiative on Mirvac organizational culture, but Susan was waiting for the 2017 Employee Engagement Survey results to determine whether their “gamble” on flexibility was paying off.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Shining a spotlight

Zoe said: “The topic of developing gender inclusive work culture is critically important for business and society, well aligned with INSEAD’s DNA of valuing diversity, and close to my own heart, so this makes the award very special for me. This is also the first case either Felicia or I have formally published, so that underscores the impact of the recognition.”

Felicia added: "This award shines a spotlight on our case, which provides the business community the opportunity to examine these issues in the context of more 'traditional' business topics, such as change management and leadership. While it is a case about diversity and women’s leadership, it is not only about those topics, perhaps making it easier for educators not focused on diversity to integrate the case into their courses."

Finding the right balance

Felicia commented: “We wrote the case series with learners in mind. We considered how to provide enough detail so that they have enough meat for discussion while maintaining enough ambiguity so that there is some tension.

“For the teaching note, we focused on helping educators see the links between the story and various theories so that they can enjoy teaching the case, creating powerful classroom experiences, as much as we enjoyed developing it.”

balance

Challenges and highlights

Felicia continued: “The initiative that we describe in the case was a huge success by all measures, and all the employees with whom we spoke were huge fans of Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz’s leadership. 

“So, the biggest challenge was doing the detective work, asking the right questions, to find the messiness that, we think, makes the case interesting. 

“For me, there were two highlights. First, collaborating with Zoe had been one of my goals since I had the benefit of her brilliant insights during my master’s thesis writing. Second, discovering the positive (healthy, functional) organisational culture within Mirvac was encouraging, an example of what is possible with effective leadership.”

Showcasing business as a force for good

Felicia said: "We are grateful to Mirvac for reaching out and for trusting us with their story, a powerful example of a business transformation that also shifted societal attitudes. I encourage effective, ethical business leaders to share their success stories through cases to shift the narrative about the corporate world and to provide more models of the possibilities of business as a force for good."

Zoe added: “During these challenging times of increasing nationalism and divisiveness in many parts of the world, I find The Case Centre’s Hot Topic on Diversity category heartening. We need more work in business education on how to develop current and future leaders’ motivation, effort, and impact on improving the quality of their businesses and societies, so I am happy to see The Case Centre contributing to these efforts.

Top tip

Zoe concluded: “Find a good story and storyteller. I wasn’t looking for a case to write, but when Lloyd-Hurwitz shared a brief version of this story with me over lunch, I knew I wanted to teach it. And I knew Felicia was a gifted thinker and writer.

“So, pay attention to stories that have pedagogic value, and partner with someone who can bring the story to life with you.”

THE CASE 

The case

Who – the protagonist

Mirvac Group CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz.

What?

Mirvac is an Australian property group.

Mirvac

Why?

Case A explores Susan’s vision of introducing flexible working throughout the Group, a concept alien to the construction industry, and the structural resistance within Mirvac as well as from outside stakeholders.

Case B looks at the intricacies of the new flexible work initiative and how it was rolled out to employees.

When?

Susan took over as CEO in August 2012 and spent three years laying the groundwork for the big flexible working decision put before her team in September 2015.

The Group adopted a new Diversity and Inclusion Policy the following month and set out to chart a roadmap for 2016 and beyond.

Where?

Mirvac are big players in Australia, having been listed on the Australian Stock Exchange for over 30 years, and developing sites such as the Sydney Olympic Village.

Key quote

Jason Vieusseux
“Construction is a tough, dynamic, hard-working industry. I’ve been in the industry for 23 years. On my first day, my first boss said: ‘I arrive at 6.30am, and I leave at 6.30pm. If you arrive after me, you’re late, and if you leave before me, you’re slacking off.’”
Jason Vieusseux, Mirvac Group Head of Construction

What next?

The B case examines the immediate effects of the initiative on Mirvac organizational culture, but Susan was waiting for the 2017 Employee Engagement Survey results to determine whether their “gamble” on flexibility was paying off.

AUTHOR PERSPECTIVE 

Author perspective

Shining a spotlight

Zoe said: “The topic of developing gender inclusive work culture is critically important for business and society, well aligned with INSEAD’s DNA of valuing diversity, and close to my own heart, so this makes the award very special for me. This is also the first case either Felicia or I have formally published, so that underscores the impact of the recognition.”

Felicia added: "This award shines a spotlight on our case, which provides the business community the opportunity to examine these issues in the context of more 'traditional' business topics, such as change management and leadership. While it is a case about diversity and women’s leadership, it is not only about those topics, perhaps making it easier for educators not focused on diversity to integrate the case into their courses."

Finding the right balance

Felicia commented: “We wrote the case series with learners in mind. We considered how to provide enough detail so that they have enough meat for discussion while maintaining enough ambiguity so that there is some tension.

“For the teaching note, we focused on helping educators see the links between the story and various theories so that they can enjoy teaching the case, creating powerful classroom experiences, as much as we enjoyed developing it.”

balance

Challenges and highlights

Felicia continued: “The initiative that we describe in the case was a huge success by all measures, and all the employees with whom we spoke were huge fans of Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz’s leadership. 

“So, the biggest challenge was doing the detective work, asking the right questions, to find the messiness that, we think, makes the case interesting. 

“For me, there were two highlights. First, collaborating with Zoe had been one of my goals since I had the benefit of her brilliant insights during my master’s thesis writing. Second, discovering the positive (healthy, functional) organisational culture within Mirvac was encouraging, an example of what is possible with effective leadership.”

Showcasing business as a force for good

Felicia said: "We are grateful to Mirvac for reaching out and for trusting us with their story, a powerful example of a business transformation that also shifted societal attitudes. I encourage effective, ethical business leaders to share their success stories through cases to shift the narrative about the corporate world and to provide more models of the possibilities of business as a force for good."

Zoe added: “During these challenging times of increasing nationalism and divisiveness in many parts of the world, I find The Case Centre’s Hot Topic on Diversity category heartening. We need more work in business education on how to develop current and future leaders’ motivation, effort, and impact on improving the quality of their businesses and societies, so I am happy to see The Case Centre contributing to these efforts.

Top tip

Zoe concluded: “Find a good story and storyteller. I wasn’t looking for a case to write, but when Lloyd-Hurwitz shared a brief version of this story with me over lunch, I knew I wanted to teach it. And I knew Felicia was a gifted thinker and writer.

“So, pay attention to stories that have pedagogic value, and partner with someone who can bring the story to life with you.”

THE CASE 

The authors

Zoe Kinias
Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour

Zoe is also the Academic Director of INSEAD’s Gender Initiative.

Celebrating the win

Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we were unable to present Zoe and Felicia in person with their trophies.

We are delighted to celebrate their win by sharing this picture of thema with their awards - congratulations. Fittingly, as Zoe and Felicia collaborated remotely on the case, they had a Zoom call to share receiving their trophies!

Zoe Kinias and Felicia A Henderson

Read the case

Educators can login to view a free educator preview copy of this case and its teaching note.

CASE - Reference no. 420-0009-1
CASE - Reference no. 420-0009-1B
TEACHING NOTE - Reference no. 420-0009-8
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