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Renata Schaefer (Wyzsza Szkola Bankowa w Poznaniu); Anne Herbert (The University of Melbourne); Heinz-Juergen Stueting (Author's Institution)
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15 pages
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Field research


This is part of a case series. Nivea Polska Sp zoo, has had a track record of impressive success in Poland since becoming a market-oriented company. The CEO, HJ, needs to contend with a transition economy, a young workforce, and cultural differences. Over time he has learned a lot and gained the trust of his employees. Then in a crisis situation, his efforts in critical communications are misinterpreted, and things seem to get even worse. The case provides the opportunity to consider various models of leadership and how they apply in particular contexts. It shows how choices of leadership action depend on a variety of factors, and how even experienced and well-regarded leaders may misjudge the factors and be misunderstood. This case will help the students to: (1) Identify the keys to Nivea’s successful strategy in Poland and the challenges the company was facing; (2) Study the factors that contributed to the current crisis; (3) Understand the action steps HJ took in the crises situations; (4) Analyse the characteristics of HJ as a leader; (5) Explore cross-cultural impacts on misunderstandings in management communications. This case is designed for students studying leadership, international business and management in particular from cross-cultural perspectives. It is suitable for senior undergraduates or MBA students.


Beiersdorf; Nivea; Poland; Leadership styles; Leadership traits; Crisis management; Situational leadership; Cultural differences; Cross-cultural management
Beiersdorf Group 19,000 employees, Nivea in Poland 470 employees
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