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Renate Kratochvil (WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business)); Phillip C Nell (WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business))
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7 pages
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Field research


Linda, a management consultant, had to solve a tricky problem regarding difficulties with the 'Baltic region subsidiary' of a global pharmaceutical company. She was hired by their Regional Headquarters (RHQ) for Central and Eastern Europe to disentangle this multifaceted challenge (eg sales down, employees unhappy, subsidiary manager overworked). Once Linda started with the project, she got overwhelmed by all different kinds of opinions on the issue. While one manager blamed the subsidiary manager to mishandle everything, another manager wanted the RHQ to go back to the old structure. Other opinions on the topic were the cultural misunderstandings between the employees of the various countries, or the company’s outdated products. Linda was challenged to, first, get a clear and comprehensive picture of the situation, and, second, propose a well-conceived solution to the RHQ. This case is written as a two-part series to emphasize on the importance of extensive information, data, and collection of opinions to fully grasp the situation. We suggest four questions for this Teaching Case Study. Question 1 revolves around defining the case study challenges. In order to archive this, we first propose to identify the occurring symptoms of the described problem. Second, we propose to identify the underlying causes. Based on the analysis students are asked to formulate the key challenges. Subsequently, Question 2 asks for the development of solutions. Students shall develop a solution tree, naming all possible solutions (we suggest referring to the MECE principle). Question 3 requires students to examine the complex role of a subsidiary manager. Finally, referring to Question 4, students need to prepare a well-conceived solution, which Linda should suggest to the RHQ.


Subsidiary management; Regional headquarters; Leadership; Cultural challenges; Regional strategy; Human resources (HR) management; Global strategy; International management; Country manager; Consultant; Logic Tree; Problem formulation; Problem definition; Analysis; Solution
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