The authors of the co-winning cases were announced at the gala dinner of the 16th CEEMAN Annual Conference in Tirana. The €1,500 awards for each case were co-sponsored by Emerald and CEEMAN. The co-winning cases will be published in one of the prestigious Emerald journals or other editions. Emerald will also consider publishing several other high quality cases from the 2008 case writing competition.
The case evaluation committee consisted of Vladimir Nanut (Italy), Bern Beatty and Al Rosenbloom (USA). Thirteen cases from nine countries (Albania, China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Slovenia, and Ukraine) were submitted to the competition. They covered a number of important issues related to business practices and managerial and leadership challenges in different industries and different environments.
Here are the abstracts of the two award winning cases:
Hidesign: Designing an International Brand
The case traces the evolution of Hidesign, the premium designer leather products company, based out of Pondicherry, South India. In a span of three decades, Dilip Kapur, President of Hidesign, a self-taught entrepreneur, has transformed a home-run enterprise of handcrafted leather bags into an international business with a rapidly expanding footprint. From being sold in the flea markets of London to being retailed at an exclusive company managed retail store beside Saks 5th Avenue at the up market Carmel, California, Hidesign bags have literally come a long way. A remarkable journey for an enterprise that had its beginnings as a hobby!
Hidesign’s journey over three decades is captured in three sections: An Unconventional Beginning traces Kapur’s formative years, the genesis of the company - its early context, unusual bag making process, customers and its first big break - venture into high street locations; The Homecoming describes the company’s entry into the domestic market through retail, the discovery of a new profile of customers, expansion of product portfolio and ramp up of the company’s retail operations; The third section Building an International Brand captures the Kapur’s desire to build a ‘international brand’ and the series of initiative he takes towards this – collaborating with an international designer, setting up exclusive stores internationally, enhancing the retail ambience, designing communication in-house, positioning itself as Affordable luxury and eventually striking an alliance with the touchstone of Luxury brands – LVMH; The final section Back to Roots deals with the challenges that confront Kapur today (2008), his desire to locate his offices in the international fashion hubs and more importantly, his search for a successor.
The CEO of Naseeb Networks, Monis Rahman, has recently launched the ROZEE.PK website targeted to the Pakisani jobs-posting market. This is his fourth commercial e-business venture, others including relatively successful ones such as Naseeb.com (social networking site) and RingPakistan.com (a calling card for calling Pakistan from abroad) as well as a questionable one called eDayCare started in the hay-day of the dot-com boom in the US. However, these had been primarily targeted at the “Pakistanis in the US” market and this is his first pure Pakistani ecommerce venture. Prior to setting up Naseeb Networks in Pakistan, Monis had been in the Silicon Valley in the US and witnessed the rise and fall of dot coms there. Hence, the case demonstrates how Monis Rahman goes about transferring (and adapting) his dot com experience to the Pakisani market. Additionally, a competitor based in the UAE, bayt.com, has begun an alliance with a local business newspaper advertizing full-page ads that include current vacancies.
ROZEE.PK has been running for two years and now Monis is faced with the decision of how to convert this free-posting site that has built up significant traction (despite being a “late-mover”) into a commercially viable venture. Inherent are the decisions of the phases in which to launch, marketing strategies given the lack of “Internet-maturity” of the Pakistani businesses, maintaining scalability of the business model given the high-scalability of the underlying IT infrastructure, pricing, etc. Key case facts are the ratio of marketing personnel to companies, and the required growth rate to achieve a “network effect”.
The background to the decision enables an analysis of how a “pure play” is launched in a low internet-penetration and low literacy economy such as Pakistan. More generically, it demonstrates how even “pure-plays” will be limited in their scalability as differentiation through logistics, professional and entry-support value-added services, and the need to generate network effects often becomes a requirement. The history of other e-businesses Monis has been engaged provides grounds to tease out generic properties of Internet services and their comparable dimensions. In setting-up ROZEE.PK, Monis has also engaged in a mix of online (leveraging current website visitors) and offline marketing strategies (job fairs – a novel phenomenon in Pakistan). Finally, there are grounds to assess competitive strategies vis-à-vis current “brick-and-mortar” newspapers and the new “click-and-mortar” alliance between bayt.com and the popular business newspaper.
"We, that is me as well as my school, are immensely grateful to CEEMAN and Emerald for having collaborated and held this case competition that brings to light the specific managerial problems shared by our regions. Such cases take us beyond the macro-level picture to appreciate the human-side of management and how success-stories are born even in such challenging environments. Without such avenues, it would be difficult to find respected third-party acknowledgement for the various strides that business schools in our regions are making in supporting our managers in the face of our unique pressures."
"I especially thank you and your panel of seasoned judges for the scrutiny supplied in giving this award. No doubt, faculty like myself who are in the early part of their career need such motivational assets to leverage in taking their teaching and writing to newer levels. CEEMAN has played another role, in my case, and that is the opportunity to receive coaching and feedback from reputable case teachers at its International Management Teacher's Academy. That is what encouraged me to put forward the case and I wish them well in their development of tomorrow's management teachers."
(Shazib Ehsan Shaikh, Assistant Professor, Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan)