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Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2011)
16 pages
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The case details the origins and background of Indra K Nooyi and her career trajectory in different levels of various organizations and PepsiCo. It describes Nooyi’s rapid rise from a middle class background in India, her exposure to the US, and the difficulties faced by her. It shows how she took on challenging assignments early in her career and had the good fortune to be mentored before taking on the top job at PepsiCo. She pushed the organization in the direction of her vision of ‘Performance with a Purpose’ in which changes were made in the working style and culture of PepsiCo. The case brings out the various leadership styles of Nooyi that make her a hybrid leader - servant leadership, ethical leadership, socialized charismatic leadership, and authentic leadership. However, Nooyi faces increased pressure from shareholders to improve firm performance at a time when the world economy is experiencing a slowdown and customers are turning increasingly cautious in their spending. The objective of this teaching case is to present and discuss the qualities of leaders that are emerging from the developing world and how they are making a difference to the working of the companies they lead. The case can be used at the postgraduate level in the discipline of people management and leadership. It can also be used in a general management and strategy curriculum. The case will help the students with: 1) Presenting and discussing Indra Nooyi as a leader; 2) Providing information about the increasing emphasis on value-based leadership and how it affects companies and the stakeholders; 3) Contributing to the understanding of leaders from developing countries that are a product of diverse backgrounds; 4) Discussing the unique qualities of Indra Nooyi and considering them in relation to the established theories of leadership; 5) Discussing what we can understand about gender and leadership from this case and how Nooyi managed to break the glass-ceiling; 6) Talking about the role of a supportive social network for a woman executive to progress in her career and how it helped Nooyi in achieving a work-life balance; 7) Examining the role of a leader in achieving corporate-social responsibility; 8) Bringing out the practical nuances of agency-theory; 9) Examining whether a firm’s financial numbers can be used as primary measures for assessing the effectiveness of leaders.


Leadership; People management; Transcultural leader; Hybrid leader; Servant leadership; Ethical leadership; Socialized charismatic leadership; Authentic leadership; Transactional leadership; Transformational leadership; Value-based leadership; Level 5 leadership; Vision; 'Performance with Purpose' strategy; Corporate social responsibility
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