Alice in Wonderland? (A): A Different Approach to Organizational Change

Published 12 Jan 1999
Reference 4853
Region Europe
Length 16 page(s)
Prizes & Awards

Winner of 2005 European Case Awards, Human Resource Management / Organisational Behaviour Category

2003 ecch Best-selling Case in Human Resource Management / Organisational Behaviour


Alice in Wonderland (A) showed how the new Managing Director of LVV transformed a trucking company from a "fossilized" and "arthritic" minor subsidiary of a Dutch shipping group into a revitalized organization. The case looks at how her own leadership characteristics, as well as Dutch leadership styles, contributed to the development of an authentizotic culture of trust, affiliation, and meaning for employees, and how the financial situation of the company was turned around as a result. Alice in Wonderland (B) case follows Marike van Lier Lels as she takes on the position of COO of Schiphol Airport. Despite her brilliant previous career successes, her tenure there ends acrimoniously. This case series explores leadership in different contexts, and highlights the management of disappointment. NOTE: Alice in Wonderland (A) was a disguised case, but at the time of writing the (B) case, Marike van Lier Lels gave permission to use her real name.

Teaching objectives

Emma van Nijmegen(Marike van Leir Lels) is a rare example of a female top executive in a typically male dominated industry (Shipping and Transport). The (A) case aims to show how LVV's remarkable turnaround from a loss making company in 1996 to a very profitable market-focused organization was facilitated by van Nijmegen's focus on a change of culture, a change of image and a drive for open communication. The (B) case focuses on the problems that her authentizotic leadership style created within the executive team of Schiphol, and shows how she managed her disappointment when her vision could not be carried out. Teaching objectives include: - provide insight into the dynamics of female leadership and its influence on the corporate culture, - an opportunity to discuss the importance of emotional intelligence in leaders, - discussing the ways in which corporate culture is shaped and changed. - management of disappointment

  • Authentizotic Organizations
  • Corporate Transformation
  • Dutch Leadership Style
  • Female Top Executive
  • Corporate Culture