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Overstock.com and Worldstock Case Study Analysis & Solution
Harvard Business Case Studies Solutions - Assignment Help
Overstock.com and Worldstock is a Harvard Business (HBR) Case Study on Leadership & Managing People , Fern Fort University provides HBR case study assignment help for just $11. Our case solution is based on Case Study Method expertise & our global insights.
Leadership & Managing People Case Study | Authors :: James A. Phills, Lyn Denend
Case Study Description
In mid-2006, Overstock.com faced a daunting set of business challenges. Founded in 1999 as an online "closeout" retailer, the $800 million company had more than 15 million unique visitors a month, 10 million life-to-date customers, and greater than 500,000 active SKUs in roughly 20 product categories. However, while it had come within one half of a percent, the firm had yet to realize an annual profit. Moreover, the tremendous growth that had enabled the company to become on online shopping giant appeared to be slowing at an alarming rate. At least partly as a result of the challenges facing the core business, Worldstockthe company's socially responsible initiativewas also in jeopardy. Started by CEO Patrick Byrne in 2001, the division leveraged the firm's infrastructure to market handicrafts produced by third world artisans to the mainstream U.S. retail market via a designated portal on the Overstock.com website. However, working with third world artisans turned out to be significantly more expensive than originally anticipated. By mid-2006, Worldstock's "self-sustaining" model for economic development was projected to contribute nearly $1 million to the company's losses that year. Although most managers were cautious about criticizing the CEO's "pet project," a few felt the company had to address (what they saw as) the negative the impact that Worldstock was having on Overstock's financial performance. As a result, all those committed to the Worldstock model, from CEO Byrne to Division Manager Angela Ramirez, faced the thorny questions about how to balance these new fiscal imperatives with the group's philanthropic and social objectives. While no one wanted to openly acknowledge it, some stakeholders wondered if Worldstock might eventually be shut down or spun off if the situation did not improve.
Innovation, Internet, Social enterprise, Strategic planning
[10 Steps] Case Study Analysis & Solution
Step 1 - Reading up Harvard Business Review Fundamentals on the Leadership & Managing People
Even before you start reading a business case study just make sure that you have brushed up the Harvard Business Review (HBR) fundamentals on the Leadership & Managing People. Brushing up HBR fundamentals will provide a strong base for investigative reading. Often readers scan through the business case study without having a clear map in mind. This leads to unstructured learning process resulting in missed details and at worse wrong conclusions. Reading up the HBR fundamentals helps in sketching out business case study analysis and solution roadmap even before you start reading the case study. It also provides starting ideas as fundamentals often provide insight into some of the aspects that may not be covered in the business case study itself.
Step 2 - Reading the Overstock.com and Worldstock HBR Case Study
To write an emphatic case study analysis and provide pragmatic and actionable solutions, you must have a strong grasps of the facts and the central problem of the HBR case study. Begin slowly - underline the details and sketch out the business case study description map. In some cases you will able to find the central problem in the beginning itself while in others it may be in the end in form of questions. Business case study paragraph by paragraph mapping will help you in organizing the information correctly and provide a clear guide to go back to the case study if you need further information.
My case study strategy involves -
- Marking out the protagonist and key players in the case study from the very start.
- Drawing a motivation chart of the key players and their priorities from the case study description.
- Refine the central problem the protagonist is facing in the case and how it relates to the HBR fundamentals on the topic.
- Evaluate each detail in the case study in light of the HBR case study analysis core ideas.
Step 3 - Overstock.com and Worldstock Case Study Analysis
Once you are comfortable with the details and objective of the business case study proceed forward to put some details into the analysis template. You can do business case study analysis by following Fern Fort University step by step instructions -
- Company history is provided in the first half of the case. You can use this history to draw a growth path and illustrate vision, mission and strategic objectives of the organization. Often history is provided in the case not only to provide a background to the problem but also provide the scope of the solution that you can write for the case study.
- HBR case studies provide anecdotal instances from managers and employees in the organization to give a feel of real situation on the ground. Use these instances and opinions to mark out the organization's culture, its people priorities & inhibitions.
- Make a time line of the events and issues in the case study. Time line can provide the clue for the next step in organization's journey. Time line also provides an insight into the progressive challenges the company is facing in the case study.
Step 4 - SWOT Analysis of Overstock.com and Worldstock
Once you finished the case analysis, time line of the events and other critical details. Focus on the following -
- Zero down on the central problem and two to five related problems in the case study.
- Do the SWOT analysis of the Overstock.com and Worldstock . SWOT analysis is a strategic tool to map out the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that a firm is facing.
- SWOT analysis and SWOT Matrix will help you to clearly mark out - Strengths Weakness Opportunities & Threats that the organization or manager is facing in the Overstock.com and Worldstock
- SWOT analysis will also provide a priority list of problem to be solved.
- You can also do a weighted SWOT analysis of Overstock.com and Worldstock HBR case study.
Step 5 - Porter 5 Forces / Strategic Analysis of Industry Analysis Overstock.com and Worldstock
In our live classes we often come across business managers who pinpoint one problem in the case and build a case study analysis and solution around that singular point. Business environments are often complex and require holistic solutions. You should try to understand not only the organization but also the industry which the business operates in. Porter Five Forces is a strategic analysis tool that will help you in understanding the relative powers of the key players in the business case study and what sort of pragmatic and actionable case study solution is viable in the light of given facts.
Step 6 - PESTEL, PEST / STEP Analysis of Overstock.com and Worldstock
Another way of understanding the external environment of the firm in Overstock.com and Worldstock is to do a PESTEL - Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental & Legal analysis of the environment the firm operates in. You should make a list of factors that have significant impact on the organization and factors that drive growth in the industry. You can even identify the source of firm's competitive advantage based on PESTEL analysis and Organization's Core Competencies.
Step 7 - Organizing & Prioritizing the Analysis into Overstock.com and Worldstock Case Study Solution
Once you have developed multipronged approach and work out various suggestions based on the strategic tools. The next step is organizing the solution based on the requirement of the case. You can use the following strategy to organize the findings and suggestions.
- Build a corporate level strategy - organizing your findings and recommendations in a way to answer the larger strategic objective of the firm. It include using the analysis to answer the company's vision, mission and key objectives , and how your suggestions will take the company to next level in achieving those goals.
- Business Unit Level Solution - The case study may put you in a position of a marketing manager of a small brand. So instead of providing recommendations for overall company you need to specify the marketing objectives of that particular brand. You have to recommend business unit level recommendations. The scope of the recommendations will be limited to the particular unit but you have to take care of the fact that your recommendations are don't directly contradict the company's overall strategy. For example you can recommend a low cost strategy but the company core competency is design differentiation.
- Case study solutions can also provide recommendation for the business manager or leader described in the business case study.
Step 8 -Implementation Framework
The goal of the business case study is not only to identify problems and recommend solutions but also to provide a framework to implement those case study solutions. Implementation framework differentiates good case study solutions from great case study solutions. If you able to provide a detailed implementation framework then you have successfully achieved the following objectives -
- Detailed understanding of the case,
- Clarity of HBR case study fundamentals,
- Analyzed case details based on those fundamentals and
- Developed an ability to prioritize recommendations based on probability of their successful implementation.
Implementation framework helps in weeding out non actionable recommendations, resulting in awesome Overstock.com and Worldstock case study solution.
Step 9 - Take a Break
Once you finished the case study implementation framework. Take a small break, grab a cup of coffee or whatever you like, go for a walk or just shoot some hoops.
Step 10 - Critically Examine Overstock.com and Worldstock case study solution
After refreshing your mind, read your case study solution critically. When we are writing case study solution we often have details on our screen as well as in our head. This leads to either missing details or poor sentence structures. Once refreshed go through the case solution again - improve sentence structures and grammar, double check the numbers provided in your analysis and question your recommendations. Be very slow with this process as rushing through it leads to missing key details. Once done it is time to hit the attach button.
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