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Prize winner
Case
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Reference no. 721-0023-1
Authors: Rodolphe Durand
Published by: HEC Paris
Originally published in: 2021
Version: 10-Feb-2021
Revision date: 14-Apr-2021

Abstract

Best Buy, American multinational consumer electronics retailer, was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2012. The imminent bankruptcy was due to online retailer Amazon’s aggressive competitive practices as it did not have expenses of retail stores and less overhead. Best Buy was able to fend off Amazon successfully. To do so, Best Buy’s CEO, Hubert Joly introduced ‘purposeful leadership’ at the company and in the process it strived to become an omnichannel retailer. In Joly’s own words on purposeful leadership: 'I believe that a company is a human organization where individuals collaborate on a project, and that linking the search for meaning of a company’s team members with the purpose of the company is a key priority for the said company and the individuals who work there. Finally, I am convinced that a company’s purpose must contribute to the common good. This philosophy has profound implications on how leaders should lead, their role as a leader and who they serve.' Purposeful leadership was pivotal in the turnaround of the company. Our case introduces the principles of purposeful leadership, questions the connection between this type of leadership and organizational performance, and invites the reflection of how to become a more purposeful leader.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Hear from the author

During his award presentation in 2022 the case author shared insights into writing and teaching this case.

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Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2012-2020.

Geographical setting

Region:
Americas
Countries:
United States; Mexico; Canada; France

Featured company

Best Buy
Employees:
10000+
Turnover:
USD 43.6 billion
Type:
Public company
Industry:
Retail
Other keywords:
electronics; mobile phone; appliances

Featured protagonists

  • Hubert Joly (male), Company CEO
  • Kamy Scarlett (female), Chief Human Resources Officer

About

Abstract

Best Buy, American multinational consumer electronics retailer, was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2012. The imminent bankruptcy was due to online retailer Amazon’s aggressive competitive practices as it did not have expenses of retail stores and less overhead. Best Buy was able to fend off Amazon successfully. To do so, Best Buy’s CEO, Hubert Joly introduced ‘purposeful leadership’ at the company and in the process it strived to become an omnichannel retailer. In Joly’s own words on purposeful leadership: 'I believe that a company is a human organization where individuals collaborate on a project, and that linking the search for meaning of a company’s team members with the purpose of the company is a key priority for the said company and the individuals who work there. Finally, I am convinced that a company’s purpose must contribute to the common good. This philosophy has profound implications on how leaders should lead, their role as a leader and who they serve.' Purposeful leadership was pivotal in the turnaround of the company. Our case introduces the principles of purposeful leadership, questions the connection between this type of leadership and organizational performance, and invites the reflection of how to become a more purposeful leader.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education courses.

Hear from the author

During his award presentation in 2022 the case author shared insights into writing and teaching this case.

Educators, trainers and PhD students with teaching responsibility can login to view the video interview.


Settings

Time period

The events covered by this case took place in 2012-2020.

Geographical setting

Region:
Americas
Countries:
United States; Mexico; Canada; France

Featured company

Best Buy
Employees:
10000+
Turnover:
USD 43.6 billion
Type:
Public company
Industry:
Retail
Other keywords:
electronics; mobile phone; appliances

Featured protagonists

  • Hubert Joly (male), Company CEO
  • Kamy Scarlett (female), Chief Human Resources Officer

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