We are pleased to share the latest INSEAD case studies, published in October 2022!

Four out of seven are set in Asia and examine various concepts, such as family business, charity and competitive strategy, in Japan, Taiwan and India.

Professor Morten Bennedsen has published two new cases on dynastic-controlled family business that shed light on the role of adult adoption in Japan and Taiwan. They explain how dynastic control differs from ownership of a firm and why control of the board is important for family-owned companies.

Recently, Morten Bennedsen, Hsi-Mei Chung, Yi-Chun Lu and Brian Henry rewrote their first collaborative case on a family business company in Taiwan "Ruling from the Grave: A Family Succession Controversy at the Taiwanese Evergreen Group" first published in 2018. The revised case has been updated.

A new case by Professor Amitava Chattopadhyay showcases the challenges facing Janani, a pioneer of contraceptive social marketing and clinical family planning services in eastern India, in deciding to transform from an NGO to a self-sustaining social enterprise. Responsibility is the second most frequently treated topic in his cases, a list of which is available here.

Professor Juan Ma published her first INSEAD case, which describes the history of a New Delhi-based start-up in Ayurveda industry NirogStreet, its macro environment, business model, growth trajectory, other industry players, and the opportunities and challenges ahead. The case was co-authored with Professor Guoli Chen who regularly publishes strategy cases about Asian companies and has written a new book “Seeing the Unseen: Behind Chinese Tech Giants’ Global Venturing” that deciphers the meteoric rise of Chinese tech companies across the world and offers lessons in understanding their global strategy and its implementation. Read more about the book in this article.

Back in Europe, Professor Laurence Capron’s new case examines the strategic rationale for the acquisition of The Body Shop – from the perspective of the buyer (Natura) and the seller (L’Oréal) – with an emphasis on strategic fit, synergies and integration challenges.

Professor Luis Almeida Costa has readers stepping into the shoes of a new Strategic Director of PayPal to assess the factors underlying the choice between retail investing and developing a super app.

In his new case, Professor Andrew Shipilov opens a discussion of the value-chain activities that drive Dyson's competitive advantage. In 2019, he put together a strategic overview of Dyson Ltd in the case study “Dyson Ltd: From Vacuum Cleaners to Electric Vehicles” co-authored with Professor Peter Zemsky.

Read a 'scene setter’ for each of the new cases below.


The Body Shop: Makeover with the Right Parent? by Laurence Capron, Adrian Buss, Jean Wee

Topic: Strategy; Industry: Cosmetics; Region: Europe

The case examines the strategic rationale for the acquisition of The Body Shop – from the perspective of the buyer (Natura) and the seller (L’Oréal) – with an emphasis on the study strategic fit, synergies, and integration challenges. In particular, it requires students to think about whether the various characteristics of the parent affect the success of the target company, and whether the target can be value-accretive to the parent. Discussion can go deeper into the notion of parenting styles and value added by reflecting on the challenges faced by The Body Shop under its former owner, L’Oréal, and the pros and cons of the new Brazilian parent, Natura. The financial analysis allows students to assess the “fair” value of The Body Shop – again from the perspective of the buyer and the seller. The case allows for a DCF-based company valuation (excluding and including synergies) as well as for a Multiples-based valuation. Students are able to compute the opportunity cost of capital (WACC) for The Body Shop based on case facts and the CAPM (as well as beta un- and re-levering). This can lead into a discussion about how the characteristics of different buyers (e.g., a strategic buyer vs. a private-equity firm) might affect the firm’s valuation, and, indeed, might have affected the outcome of the auction.


PayPal: Maintaining Market Leadership in Digital Payments by Afonso Almeida Costa, Luis Almeida CostaAlessandro Pappalardo, Carina Vogel

Topic: Strategy; Region: Global

Shortly after Rich Hagen joins Paypal as Strategic Director in 2021, the CEO Dan Schulman asks for his input to choose between two promising directions for the business: venturing into retail investing or launching a super app. As a brokerage sector veteran, Hagen is intuitively inclined to favour online trading, but Schulman makes a strong case in favour of the super app. To prove himself in his new position, Hagen needs to weigh both options and make an informed recommendation.


Dynastic Control of Suzuki Motor by Morten Bennedsen, Vikas Mehrotra, Yupana Wiwattanakantang, Brian Henry 

Topic: Family Business; Region: Global

The case study is about the Japanese carmaker Suzuki. The 100-year company was founded at the peak of Japan’s silk-production industry in the early 20th century. Michio Suzuki (1887-1982), a gifted inventor, started tinkering with weaving looms and in 1920 founded the Suzuki Loom Manufacturing Company in the coastal village of Hamamatsu. The case is an example of dynastic control – where the family control its strategic direction but own an insignificant number of shares – as well as an illustration of the role played by adult adoption in family businesses in Japan. When adopted son-in-law Osamu Suzuki retired in 2021 and his son took over as chairman, it was the first time the top job had gone to a natural heir since 1957, when the founder retired. The narrative follows the transformation of the small car company into a global player via a partnership strategy. Osamu was able to expand sales in North America following a tie-up with GM in 1981 (that lasted until 2008). Even more significant was his decision to enter the Indian car market in partnership with Maruti, a poorly performing state-owned carmaker, which would ultimately make Maruti Suzuki the biggest brand in India.


NirogStreet: A Digital Platform for Ayurveda Healthcare by Juan MaGuoli ChenYi PengAnjali Pathak

Topic: Strategy; Industry: Health, Wellness and Fitness; Region: Asia

Lack of trust and transparency had long plagued the Indian Ayurveda industry. NirogStreet, a New Delhi-based start-up, seeks to mitigate this problem through its tech-enabled platform that offers digital solutions to Ayurveda practitioners and patients. The case study describes its history, macro environment, business model, growth trajectory, other industry players, and the potential opportunities and challenges ahead. It helps students understand how the macro environment affects a business, how a platform business gains competitive advantage from its internal resources and capabilities, and how to achieve rapid growth through value innovation and lean start-up process.


Janani: The Rocky Road from Charity to Social Enterprise by Amitava Chattopadhyay, David J. Olson

Topic: Responsibility; Region: Asia

Janani – an affiliate of the US-based NGO, DKT International – offers reproductive health products and services to low-income consumers from its base in Patna, Bihar. It has grown tremendously, expanding its coverage from 8 to 25 states — almost the whole of India. Donor funding is critical to Janani’s success, but donors are scaling back their funding as the economy flourishes and incomes increase. Two of its big three donors will expire in 2020. Despite its efforts to become a sustainable social enterprise, in 2019 40% of the annual budget is donor-dependent. The challenge for Janani is to become self-sustaining by embracing market opportunities while staying true to its mission: improving reproductive health among lower/lower-middle income consumers in India.


TECO: Too Old to Rule or Too Young to Succeed by Morten Bennedsen, Hsi-Mei Chung, Yi-Chun Lu, Brian Henry

Topic: Family Business; Region: Asia

The case is an example of how a family can control a large conglomerate – TECO Electric & Machinery, a Taiwanese engineering business – yet with almost no ownership stake. Founded by five prominent business families in 1956, TECO has been run by Mao-Hsiung “Theodore” Huang for the past 50 years, the son in law of the former CEO and co-founder, who married into the dominant founding family and rose up the ranks. Theodore’s eldest son, Eugene, is impatient take over the reins. However, he makes a discovery just before the Annual General Meeting in 2021 and reaches the conclusion that at 83, his father simply does not want his son to take over the leadership, and will control the company from behind the scenes via non-family professionals he has installed in the executive suite. The case highlights a dilemma facing many Asian family-owned companies dominated by octogenarians who don’t know how to retire gracefully. It also addresses some of the ambiguities of bringing in non-family professionals when perhaps the ulterior motive is to avoid a change of leadership.


Wearables: Can the Dyson Zone Break Into a New Market? by Andrew Shipilov, Brian Henry

Topic: Strategy; Region: Global

The case is about the future of Dyson’s foray into wearable technology with the planned introduction of the Dyson Zone that enables people to breathe purified air while tuning out unwanted noise. Since no other device like it yet exists on the wearables market, its inventor Jake Dyson is stepping into unknown waters - another risk for a company that has taken several, including James Dyson’s failed attempt to diversify into the automobile market with the introduction of an electric vehicle in 2017. Will the Dyson Zone be different? The case does not pretend to answer this question but rather looks at the business strategy of a firm that has a reputation for developing innovative products.