- June 29, 2016
More and more firms define a sustainability strategy and commit to related projects. But does this make sense from an economic perspective?
27.11.2015 Leadership Tool for Better Decision Making
Prof. Gilbert Probst published a toolkit for better decision making (with a specific focus on identifying the real problem) in the Nano Tools for Leaders series of Wharton, University of Pennsylvania. You are welcome to read the article online.
Reference: Probst, G. (2015). Better Decision-Making: Identify the Real Problem. http://executiveeducation.wharton.upenn.edu/~/media/wee/wharton%20at%20work/nano%20tools%20pdfs/1506%20identify%20the%20real%20problem.pdf, Wharton, Philadelphia.
20.10.2015 Prof. Probst will be on the Public-Private Partnerships, an alliance against global warming plenary session at the International Forum on Public Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development Prof. Probst will be on the panel of the Public-Private Partnerships, an alliance against global warming session at International Forum on Public-Private Partnerships for sustainable development organised by UNITAR on Thursday, 29 October at Annemasse. For more information please visit the web site.
02.08.2015 Coursera course "Managing International Organizations" starting on August 10. Please enroll now!
12.06.2015 Article on the Board of Directors' Role
The article "The board of directors changing role in company strategy" by Patricia Klarner, Gilbert Probst, and Michael Useem has been published in The Reporting Times, No. 6/2015, p. 13. The article summarizes the authors' key findings on (1) the active board engagement in strategy, (2) the critical role of board culture and director networks, and (3) specific findings for Swiss companies.
15.09.2014 9th Edition of the ARSP (Incl. A Review of Our MOOC Experience)
The 9th edition of the Annual Review of Social Partnerships (ARSP) is now online. Highlights include:
-Thought-provoking invited pieces and interviews of leading professors, including Henry Mintzberg, Ans Kolk, Miguel Rivera-Santos and practitioners Jonas Haertle (PRME) and Steve Waddell (NetworkingAction).
-A state of the art review of 100+ recent publications on cross-sector partnerships.
-Lessons from implementing newest teaching tools such as simulations and MOOCs.
-Case examples of a diverse set of cross-sector partnerships across the world and reviews of most recent research programs and tools.
-News about past and future events and new members of the community.
L. Stadtler contributed with an article on MOOCs and the event note on the UNECE PPP meeting.To see the article and full ARSP please click here.
22.05.2014 Interview based on the MIT Sloan Article
The recent issue of the Journal of UNIGE includes an interview with Sebastian Raisch based on the MIT Sloan article "Creating Societal Benefits and Corporate Profits" (co-authored with Alexander Zimmermann, Peter Gomez, and Gilbert Probst).
14.05.2014 New Blog on Partnerships
Lea Stadtler and Gilbert Probst post a new blog on partnerships on the World Economic Forum website. The blog discusses how theory may help improve "the real world" of partnering. Specifically, the authors suggest that theory helps understand when partnerships are appropriate and what different partnership intentions imply.
Please click here to go to the blog.
16.04.2014 New Blog on Tackling Complexity
Gilbert Probst posts a new blog on "Tackling Complexity" on the World Economic Forum website. The blog gives tips for taking complex decisions at work.Please click here to go to the blog.
15.04.2014 CSRwire Series on Tackling Complexity Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi publish the part four of the CSRwire Series on "To Tackle Complexity: Avoid Simplistic Thinking" based on the recent book "Tackling Complexity."
15.04.2014 CSRwire Series on Tackling Complexity Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi publish the part three of the CSRwire Series on "The Evolution of Change: Three Essential Guidelines to Mapping Complexity" based on the recent book "Tackling Complexity."
31.03.2014 CSRwire Series on Tackling Complexity
Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi publish the part two of the CSRwire Series on "A little Help From Your Friends: A how-to on Successful Partnerships " based on the recent book "Tackling Complexity."
24.03.2014 New Article on MIT-Sloan Management Review
Alexander Zimmermann Peter Gomez, Gilbert Probst and Sebastian Raisch published a new article: "Creating Social Benefits and Corporate Profits"
13.03.2014 CSRwire Series on Tackling Complexity
Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi publish the part one of the CSRwire Series on "Why Systemic Decision Making Matters," based on the recent book "Tackling Complexity."
10.02.2014 CEO of Unilever Promotes "Tackling Complexity"
Paul Polman (CEO, Unilever) discusses the highlights of the new book "Tackling Complexity - A Systemic Approach for Decision Makers" of Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi in his recent article "It's Time for Business to Earn a License to Lead."
-->To access the book's flyer please click here. Moreover, you find more detailed information about the book below.
01.02.2014 New Book on Managing Complexity
Gilbert Probst and Andrea Bassi wrote a new book entitled "Tackling Complexity - A Systemic Approach for Decision Makers" which is available at Greenleaf Publishing Ltd. Read the introduction or get more information here.
Abstract: "Tackling Complexity" provides a step-by-step approach using systems thinking in order to solve complex problems in socio-political as well as business environments. It proposes a technique with which to better understand the problems and the context in which they arise, and tools to directly inform each step of the decision-making process. As presented in this book, the main innovation that systemic thinking introduces is the emphasis on defining the problem-creating system, which is made up of interacting parts, rather than prioritising events that need immediate fixing.
23.01.2014 Fellows Program and Prof. Probst Featured in Leadership Article
The article "Global Leadership for Greater Good" published in "Developing Leaders" discusses the World Economic Forum's Fellows Program in view of the urgent need for global tri-sector collaboration. In this context, Prof. Probst describes the skills and capacities that help transform a leader into a global leader. For more information, please check Millar, R. (2014): Global Leadership for Greater Good. Developing Leaders, 14, 28-34 or click here for the online version.
12.12.2013 Article on Talent Management in the Journal of World Business
The article "Talent Management and Career Development: What it Takes to Get Promoted" of G. Probst (co-authored with J. Claussen, T. Grohsjean, and J. Luger) will be published by the Journal of World Business. The online version is already available.
Abstract: "Based on the talent management literature, this paper investigates managerial skills that are essential for managers’ job promotion. Using arguments from the human and social capital literature and following tournament logic, we claim that a manager’s own experience, expertise, and network size positively affect promotion odds, while strong colleagues decrease promotion odds. Studying 7,003 promotions to middle management and 3,147 promotions to senior management, we find broad support for our hypotheses, but find also that network size no longer predicts promotion to senior management. Our findings have implications for individual career development and talent management programs."
23.10.2013 Article in the Global Focus
The Global Focus (EFMD) published the article "Planting the Seeds of Change" of L. Stadtler and G. Probst in volume 7, issue 3. This article describes how the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange came into being and the lessons it holds.
04.10.2013 Online Course on Public-Private Partnerships
Have a look at our Coursera Online Course on International Organizations and Public-Private Partnerships (Free course on https://www.coursera.org/course/interorg - starting now)!
29.09.2013 Research Seminar on Changing Oceans Expedition
On October 2nd, 17:00-19:00 (Unimail, M3220), Fabian Munz will elaborate on his research results regarding "The Changing Oceans Expedition, Mission to Senegal." These results served as the basis for a related Master Thesis on managing partnerships, developed in collaboration with the Geneva PPP Research Center.
20.08.2013 Best Dissertation Award 2013
Lea Stadtler's dissertation has been selected out of 26 submissions for the "SIM Best Dissertation Award 2013" of the Social Issue Management Division, Academy of Management. During the Academy of Management Meeting in Orlando, she presented the main results of her work and received the award on Monday August, 12th. For more information please click here.
17.06.2013 SNIS Award 2013
Dr. Lea Stadtler has won the "SNIS Award 2013 for the Best PhD Thesis in International Studies." For more information please click here.
06.06.2013 Carolyn Dexter Award
The paper titled "How Do Boards Engage in Product Innovation? A Hybrid Multi-Channel Governance Framework", of Patricia Klarner (University of Munich), Gilbert Probst (University of Geneva) and Michael Useem (Wharton, U. of Pennsylvania), which will be published in the Academy of Management Proceedings is also nominated for the Carolyn Dexter Award. It has been judged by the reviewers to be one of the best accepted papers. The Carolyn Dexter Award focuses on papers that address topics and methods outside the U.S. mainstream, contribute to international understudy, and link U.S. scholars with scholars in other countries.
25.04.2013 Case Award
The case study "Planting the Seeds of Change: The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange" has been nominated with the "Best of the Best" award at the the EFMD Case Writing Competition.
18.04.2013 Research and Teaching Assistant / Geneva PPP Center
We are looking for a candidate who coordinates and monitors research activities in the PPP field (university-wide related research activities and cooperation with external organizations). He/She enthusiastically helps with Master and MBA courses in the area of organization and management in general and organizational change management and partnerships in particular. This includes assisting with the course preparation and execution, coaching students, and helping with the administrative work. Moreover, the candidate will write a PhD thesis and work on his/her own focused research projects that link the topics of collaborative PPPs and organizational theory.
For more information please click here.
12.04.2013 Best Paper Proceedings Academy of Management Conference
The paper "How Do Boards Engage in Product Innovation? A Hybrid Multi-Channel Governance Framework" by P. Klarner, G. Probst, and M. Useen (BPS Division) and the paper "Managing Boundaries in Tripartite Cross-Sector Partnerships" by L. Stadtler (OMT Division) have been judged to be among the best accepted papers (top 10%) in the 2013 Academy of Management Meeting program. They are entitled to be published in the Best Paper Proceedings.
25.03.2013 Paper Nomination
The paper "Hybrid Multi-Channel Governance: How Boards Engage in Product Innovation" of P. Klarner (LMU Munich), G. Probst (University of Geneva), and M. Useem (Wharton School) has been presented at a special conference of the Strategic Management Society, hosted by IMD and Cern, in March 2013. It has also been nominated for a best paper award.
21.02.2013 New Price-Winning Case Study
The case study "Planting the Seeds of Change: The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange" of Lea Stadtler and Gilbert Probst has won the EFMD Case Writing Competition Award 2012 (Track: Inclusive Business Models).
The case study and respective teaching note are available at ECCH.
Abstract: This case illustrates the challenging and inspiring journey of Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin and her team to realize her dream of establishing a transparent and efficient commodity exchange in Ethiopia. To address the country’s market failures that had contributed to devastating famine and the miserable position of smallholder farmers, they developed an integrative approach based on a public-private partnership. Their tasks included overcoming initial mistrust and providing market institutions to grade quality and set standard, to warehouse and issue warehouse receipts, relay market information to all the relevant actors, coordinate trading, as well as to ensure reliable payment, delivery, and contract enforcement.
19.12.2012 Lea Stadtler successfully defended her thesis "Designing Public-Private Partnerships for Development"
10.11.2012 New Article on Downsizing
The article "Quand une réduction des effectifs réduit l'efficacité," written by A. Schmitt and G. Probst has been published in the journals Courrier cadres & dirigeants (No. 66, p. 54-55) and L'Officiel de la Franchise (No. 126, pp. 104-105). Please click here to access the full article.
06.11.2012 New Case Study
The case study "The Logistics Emergency Teams: Pioneering a New Partnership Model" and the accompanying teaching note, written by L. van Wassenhove and L. Stadtler, have been published by ECCH.
Abstract: The case illustrates the challenging but successful journey of a cross-sector partnership that deploys pro bono resources from Agility, AP Moller Maersk, TNT Express and UPS to support the disaster response operations of the UN Logistics Cluster. To transform an initially abstract idea into an operating partnership, the partners invested in developing and maintaining sound relationships backed by core principles, standard operating procedures and a sophisticated training programme. Additionally, the partnership required active management at the corporate level. Building on a track record of successful deployments by the end of 2011, the partners have to decide how to scale up their impact. The case lays a foundation for the discussion of the formation and management of multi-company, cross-sector partnerships. Teaching topics include the drivers of such a partnership, key success factors and specific problems, managing engagement in such a partnership at an organizational level, and the challenge of scaling up its impact.
02.11.2012 New Book Chapter on Managing Complexity
G. Probst (2012): Komplexitätsmanagement: Nicht immer, aber immer öfter! In: Rüegg-Stürm & T. Bieger (Eds.), Unternehmerisches Management. Herausforderungen und Perspektiven (pp. 75-92). Haupt: Bern.
20.10.2012 Vacant Internship Position at the World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum searches an intern for 4-5 months to work on a research-based social entrepreneurship project. Requirements: excellent writing and communication skills; interest in social entrepreneurship; analytical mindset; interviewing and research techniques
Please contact the Team Probst if you're interested.
11.10.2012 New video on the Global Leadership Fellows Program
13.09.2012 Article on Downsizing
The Article "The dangers of 'dumbsizing' when downsizing" of A. Schmitt and G. Probst has been published by the The Independent (Monday, 16.07.2012). To access the article please click here.
14.08.2012 Article on Interest Alignment in Cross-Sector Partnerships
The Article "Aligning a Company's Economic and Social Interests in Cross-Sector Partnerships" of L. Stadtler has been published by the Journal of Corporate Citizenship, Vol. 44, pp. 85-106.
To access the journal please click here.
Abstract: The lack of a conclusive business case for corporate social responsibility (CSR) is at the heart of the ongoing debate on the role of companies in solving social problems. Acknowledging that companies increasingly execute their CSR activities through partnerships to address a social problem together with public and civil-society partners, this paper discusses how companies balance their economic interests with the partnership's social interests. Building on an extensive literature review, the paper develops a conceptual framework for sustainable interest alignment. It highlights that companies' different types of economic interest materialize at different points in time during the partnership's life-cycle and discusses the managerial implications at the company and partnership levels for aligning and achieving both social and economic interests. Practical insights into two partnerships in the area of education are presented to illustrate the framework.
O7.08.2012 Oikos Case Quarterly presents Case Study
The Oikos Case Quarterly journal published an article about the case study "Corporate Social Engagement: How Aramex Crosses Boundaries" of L. Van Wassenhove and L. Stadtler.
To access the journal, please click here.
04.07.2012 Case Study on Disaster Relief Operations and CSR
The case study "Building on Lessons Learnt: Disaster Relief Operations at Agility" and the respective teaching note of L. Van Wassenhove and L. Stadtler have been published at ECCH (Reference no. 712-021-1).
Abstract: Agility has deployed its logistics expertise and capacities in over 20 disaster relief operations. During the last four years, the corporate CSR team has set up and constantly adapted Agility's disaster relief program. It is based on three main pillars: (1) improving Agility's capacities for the Humanitarian & Emergency Logistics Program and creating internal support structures, (2) fostering bilateral partnerships with humanitarian organizations, and (3) reinforcing collaboration with the Logistics Emergency Teams. Catching up with the latest relief operation, Frank Clary, Senior Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility, reflects on the company's learning journey. This case lays the foundation for a discussion of corporate disaster relief operations and their embeddedness in a broader corporate social responsibility strategy. Teaching topics can include: structuring CSR activities and integrating a disaster relief program into a broader CSR strategy, the role of a corporate CSR team in supporting a disaster relief program, managing bilateral cross-sector partnerships and multi-company, integrative partnerships, as well as analyzing CSR-related learning processes.
04.05.2012 Research Note on Public-Private Partnerships for Development
The research note "Designing public-private partnerships for development" of L. Stadtler has been published by M@n@gement, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 77-100 and can be downloaded here.
Abstract: Public-private partnerships (PPPs) for development are increasingly used to address public problems that exceed the capacities of a single sector. Nevertheless, these partnerships are challenging and many of them come up against collaborative inertia. A commonly suggested remedy is to develop more effective and bespoke modes of structuring and coordinating the partnership. However, the literature on PPPs often simplifies diversity and does not differentiate between various structural forms. A typology from the network literature serves as a starting point for gaining a deeper understanding of effective PPP structures and the management of the various design challenges which correspond to them. This article argues that additional challenges stem from the specific context of PPPs for development and thereby extends existing insights into the typology. Building on the structural contingency literature, the article develops a conceptual framework for the management of PPP-specific design challenges and elucidates cautious implications for the effective use of different PPP structures. The resulting framework is illustrated with three short field examples of PPPs for development.
02.02.2012 New Article on Knowledge Retention during Employee Downsizing
The article "Don't let knowledge walk away: Knowledge retention during employee downsizing" of A. Schmitt, S. Borzillo, and G. Probst will soon be published in the Management Learning journal, Vol. 43, No. 3, pp. 53-74.
Abstract: In today's business environment, employee downsizing is a widespread strategy aimed at improving firm performance and competitiveness. The literature, however, highlights unequivocal findings that many downsizing initiatives fail to retain critical skills, capabilities, experience and knowledge. Employee downsizing may therefore lead to deteriorating quality, productivity and effectiveness. This article builds on this dilemma and develops a comprehensive framework to explore the relationships between employee downsizing and knowledge retention. By holding specific organizational levels responsible for knowledge retention, we derive propositions that contribute to a better understanding of how firms can retain and avoid critical knowledge losses during employee downsizing.
15.01.2012 New article about the Global Leadership Fellows Program, please click here
08.12.2011 New Book Chapter
The chapter "Private-Humanitarian Supply Chain Partnerships on the Silk Road" of O. Stapleton, L. Stadtler and L. Van Wassenhove is part of the book "Managing Supply Chains on the Silk Road: Strategy, Performance, and Risk" (Haksoz, C.; Seshadri, S.; Iyer, A.V (Eds.)) that has recently been published by the Taylor & Francis Group (www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9781439867204/).
09.11.2011 New Article on Broker Organizations
The article "How broker organizations can facilitate public-private partnerships for development" of L. Stadtler and G. Probst will soon be published in the European Management Journal (see http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2011.10.002).
Abstract: Broker organizations increasingly facilitate the partnering process of public-private partnerships (PPPs) for development. In this paper, we argue that their function goes beyond simply match-making between partners and develop a theoretical framework for the broker organizations' roles throughout the PPP life cycle. Research on 19 broker organizations shows that these organizations act in the roles of convener, mediator, and learning catalyst. We analyze how and why they can facilitate the partnering process through these roles and discuss the research findings in the light of the social capital, collaboration, and inter-organizational learning literatures. The discussion highlights the benefits of broker organizations in the partnering process of PPPs and how those organizations' roles can best be performed.
24.08.2011 New Article on Ambidextrous Leadership
The article "Ambidextrous leadership: Emerging challenges for business and HR leaders" of G. Probst, S. Raisch, and M. Tushman will be published in Organization Dynamics, 40, pp. 326-334 (see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0090261611000635).
Abstract: Large firms are prone to failure in the face of changing industry landscapes. To overcome these challenges, organization-theory scholars suggest that companies become ambidextrous in that they establish new growth businesses while remaining focused on execution in their existing businesses. Becoming ambidextrous is first and foremost a leadership challenge: business leaders need to balance current and new activities, combine short-term and long-term thinking, and craft emotionally engaging visions while staying focused on execution. In this article, we analyze how one organization, GE Money Bank in Switzerland, successfully created a new growth business through ambidextrous leadership. We subsequently use the GE Money Bank case to explore comprehensively how ambidextrous leadership works in practice, as well as business and HR leadership's active role in developing and promoting ambidextrous leadership.
03.08.2011 New Publication - Case Study
The ECCH has now published the case "Corporate Social Engagement: How Aramex Crosses Boundaries" and the accompanying teaching note, written by Lea Stadtler under the supervision of Prof. Luk van Wassenhove. The case study is selected as one of the five best cases at the oikos Case Writing Competition 2011 (http://www.ecch.com/educators/casemethod/competitions/results/oikos2011).
Abstract: In response to the Gaza crisis in 2008/9, the global logistics company Aramex decided to use its core competencies for a humanitarian relief campaign and deliver donated items to people in need. Consequently, Aramex had to quickly develop a suitable communication strategy to call for donations, select collection points, clear the goods, pack them in Aramex's warehouses, and, finally, for how to send them to Gaza. To ensure that the donations reached their destination, Aramex partnered with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO) in Jordan and the Red Crescent in the United Arab Emirates. The case discusses lessons learnt with regard to coordinating business and social activities, managing volunteer work, working with corporate and charity partners, and using social media to leverage the campaign.
19.04.2011 Gaetan Devins has successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis "Les organisations ambidextres, solutions structurelles et organisationnelles"
11.11.2010 New Article on Crisis Management
The M@n@gement Journal recently published the article "M@n@gement in Times of Economic Crisis: Insights Into Organizational Ambidexterity" of A. Schmitt, G. Probst, and M. Tushman (see Vol. 30, No. 3).
Excerpt of the Abstract:
We constantly hear of the increasing complexity of our fast-paced, globalized world, and those who did not survive the succession of crises of the last decade could certainly attest to the difficulties of strategy-making in such circumstances. Of course, our reflex when confronted with fear of the future is often to run for cover, particularly if management can get away with downsizing while blaming the crisis. But of course, this only fulfills the short-term objectives of strategy. If an organization favors short-term exploitation when crisis strikes, what will become of it in the longer term? By the same token, allocating resources to long-term exploration might incur the risk of precipitating the fall.
To read the article please click here.
21.09.2010 New Publication - Book on Organizational Perspectives
As a tribute to Prof. Probst, a book "More than Bricks in the Wall: Organizational Perspectives for Sustainable Success" has been published by Gabler (Editors: L. Stadtler/A. Schmitt/P. Klarner/Th. Straub). This book illustrates different organizational perspectives for achieving sustainable corporate success. Composed of 20 academic and practical articles, it analyzes current research questions and highlights corresponding managerial challenges.
A comprehensive view is provided on the topics of corporate growth, change management, crisis management, knowledge management, and managing across corporate boundaries. Thus, the contributions cover a range of research areas that have been developed at Prof. Gilbert Probst's Chair of Organisation and Management at the University of Geneva over the past twenty years. The book was handed over to Prof. Probst on Friday the 17.09. during a festive evening.
For an overview please click here.
06.09.2010 New Publication - Article
The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science published the article "Employee Sensemaking in Mergers: How Deal Characteristics Shape Employee Attitudes" of Katty Marmenout (see Vol. 46, No. 3., pp. 329-359). Katty has been a phd student of Gilbert Probst's chair and this article is based on her dissertation.
Abstract: This experimental study examines how employees make sense of a merger announcement and investigates the relationship between deal characteristics (culture clash potential, degree of integration, position in deal structure) and employee attitudes. A sensemaking mechanism is proposed and tested on graduate students subjected to merger scenarios. As employees make sense of the merger, higher perceived uncertainty is associated with greater dysfunctional outcomes. Although perceived uncertainty mediates the effect of perceived cultural similarity on employee attitudes, this is not so for perceived power. An employee's position in the deal structure strongly influences perceived power, but unexpectedly, higher perceived power does not reduce uncertainty. Still, greater perceived power is directly associated with lower intention to leave and greater satisfaction. Although the degree of integration did not affect any of the outcome variables directly, complex interaction effects were found. Complementary qualitative data analysis sheds light on how employees make sense of the deal.
16.06.2010 New Publication - Case Study
The ECCH has now published the case "Creating shared responsibility in a multi-stakeholder partnership" and the accompanying teaching note, written by Lea Stadtler and Prof. Talah Arabiyat under the supervision of Prof. Gilbert Probst. The case study project was initiated together with the Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum.
Abstract: Throughout the world civil societies have called on businesses to become involved in corporate social responsibility and engage in multi-stakeholder partnerships with identified community institutions in need of their help. In keeping with this objective, Madrasati, a Jordanian Initiative founded by Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah, leverages the public, civil society and particularly the private sectors' resources to develop a shared responsibility for education. In one of their partnerships, Madrasati collaborated with the Central Trade & Auto Co. Toyota as private sponsor and other major stakeholders to improve the Husban Secondary School for Boys. In line with Madrasati's strategy, the school's basic infrastructure would be fixed first, after which the learning environment would be improved. For example, more interactive and technology-based teaching mechanisms were fostered together with the Jordan Education Initiative - another partner organization. Finally, to sustain the partnership efforts, the partners would engender a sense of responsibility in the school's stakeholders. Due to a general strong commitment and involvement, the partnership at the Husban School slowly approached its ultimate goals. After a visit by the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders, Nadim Haddad, the Toyota business partner, was inspired to reflect on the partnership's progress and to deduce lessons learned.
02.06.2010 New Publication - Case Study
The ECCH has now published the case "A perfect marriage for all the right reasons: P&G and Gillette" and the accompanying teaching note, written by three former students of our Master course (Ali Tayfun Erguven, Nikolai Khystov, and Natalie Noetzli) under the supervision of Prof. Gilbert Probst.
Abstract: In January 2005, P&G's acquisition of Gillette was announced. This followed several months of talks between the two CEOs, bankers, strategy consultants, and other parties. The deal represented the numerous product and market complementarities between the two companies. The "best consumer products company in the world" would be created. Gillette shareholders were sure to make money as a result of the sale, while P&G would instantly have access to a number of successful products, developing markets expertise, and specific marketing know-how.
Structural similarities between the two companies facilitated the integration of Gillette, which represented about 30% of P&G's workforce after the acquisition. There were, however, also differences in the way the two companies were run. Gillette with its top-down command culture was relatively agile; while P&G had a more horizontal decision-making policy. Lafley, the CEO of P&G, was not only interested in importing certain aspects of the Gillette structure and culture that he found potentially valuable for P&G, but also in bringing in its talent to field the best team. Though the $57 billion acquisition, which felt more like a merger at times, presented certain problems (during the negotiations and during the actual integration), the project was completed one year ahead of schedule, in the summer of 2007.
31.05.2010 New Publication - Article
A newly published article in the Behaviour and Information Technology Journal discusses how adopting a marketing perspective - keeping an eye on the (end) customer of a change initiative - can be instrumental in sidestepping two notorious knowledge management implementation traps.
Abstract: This case study provides an in-depth analysis of Siemens' lessons learned when implementing knowledge management. For the analysis of the case-study data, we use established tools from the marketing literature, and integrate these with the change management literature. The aim is to provide a rich-yet-parsimonious conceptualization of Siemens' lessons learned in dealing with two distinct implementation traps. The first trap is called customer trap and suggests that the needs of two knowledge management customers' have to be carefully balanced. Specifically, the "end customer" of the initiative (the user of the initiative) and the "business customer" of the initiative (top management) may have different expectations and requirements that need to be taken into consideration both separately and jointly. The second trap is called personalization/standardization trap and points to the need to balance standardization (often needed due to the global scale of knowledge management initiatives) with customization (too much of which can lead to an undifferentiated mix in which value propositions of individual initiatives are hard to appreciate).