The Case Centre’s top 40 bestselling cases

3rd place - Virgin Atlantic Airways
The case
Case: Anderson Consulting (Europe): Entering the Business of Business Integration Anderson Consulting (Europe): Entering the Business of Business Integration
Authors: Sumantra Ghoshal and Mary Ackenhusen
Institution: INSEAD
Ref: 392-055-1
Date published: 1995
How do organisations learn? This case describes the challenges faced by Anderson Consulting when it decided to expand into the systems integration business. It needed to create new competencies and integrate them with its existing strengths. In fact, Anderson needed to first integrate its own business before being able to offer this service to its clients, and this was possibly the most difficult task the company had yet had to face. This case enables students to understand the differences between single-loop and double-loop learning and to discuss the specific mechanisms a company needs to create to support these different learning processes.
The authors

Sumantra Ghoshal died in March 2004. At the time of his death he was Professor of Strategy and International Management at the London Business School. Before that, he was a Full Professor at INSEAD and Visiting Professor at MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Mary Ackenhusen is now Interim Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Systems Development and Performance, at Vancouver Coastal Health.

The teacher

red appleMike Mister is a Director in the Global Talent Team at EY Global. He has presented this case on numerous Strategic Business Analysis programmes around the world, primarily to teach the topic of strategic alignment. Here, he explains its enduring relevance.

The case appeals to me because it is multi-layered and covers a host of topics that are super-relevant to us as a professional services firm. Additionally, as the Enron saga developed in the early 2000s, a great many people were changing firms and many joined EY (formerly Ernst & Young); the case was great to help us understand and appreciate the cultural differences between the organisations.

Versatile and relevant

The case can be used to explore a number of issues in addition to strategic alignment, including leadership, organisational culture, HR practices, PSF (Professional Services Firm) economics, business models and organisation. Recent history still offers new insights into this case, including the role that history and heritage plays, and how such strengths can be rapidly overtaken by market events.

Careful planning

I would absolutely recommend this case. BUT: it is not the easiest read and has a lot of material within it. It takes careful planning to deliver well and the facilitator really needs to understand professional services.


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