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Business Studies

Business case studies are important as they help us understand how real-life business scenarios are different from classroom teaching. Businesses are dynamic, meaning they are susceptible to external forces. A business case study tells us how a particular business responded to a unique situation. Other businesses can learn from them and be prepared for what can happen, how-to, or how not to respond to a similar situation.

What is a business case study?

A case study is a research tool that is also implemented as a research methodology. It is preferred by many students while writing their bachelor's or master's thesis. A case study gives students a chance to apply theory to a real-life situation, analyse, and draw insights. The business case study can be a fictitious account of a business situation provided by the instructor to check the critical thinking and problem-solving skills of students. We have developed 44 case studies that provide students with detailed problem statements and analyses to understand real-life business scenarios. Students can use these case studies as examples with the corresponding theory to stand out in exams. For example in Figure 1 below, what strategy would a salesman implement to increase his sales? We need to study his business case to find out!

A business case study summarises a real-life business issue faced by a company and explains how it may affect society within a business context.

Business Case Studies, Example of customer purchasing mushrooms, StudySmarterFigure 1. A customer purchasing red-pine mushrooms, Wikimedia Commons

Business Case Studies Format

In this study set, we have divided case studies into groups as per the business situation. The groups include case studies regarding mergers and takeovers, strategy overviews, SWOT analyses, business leader characteristics, corporate social responsibility, franchise models, Porter's five forces, change management and ethical issues.

Business Case Studies: Mergers and takeover case study

In Layman’s terms, When two equal-sized companies join forces to capture more market share, it is called a merger. While if a big company buys out a smaller company, it is called a takeover. Virgin Media O2 merger happened in June 2021 through a 50:50 joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica, the owners of Virgin Media and O2.

Another example of a merger is analysed in the Disney Pixar Merger Case Study. The former CEO of Pixar, Steve Jobs, has said that this merger will allow companies to focus on what they do best. But did you know that Kraft Food Ltd. tried to acquire Cadbury in a hostile takeover? Kraft Cadbury Takeover is a case study that explains how hostile takeovers may occur.

Case studies about strategies of businesses

A strategy is not the same as a plan. Strategy is the first step in business that determines why, considers all known and unknown factors, multiple different paths, and multiple outcomes. Without a strategy, businesses cannot reach their goal and their plans will wander. Businesses create different strategies to reach different goals. We have presented marketing strategies and global and internationalization strategies for some successful companies like Apple, Starbucks, Nike, Ikea, Netflix, and Coca-cola.

You might have observed that Coca-cola has similar branding all over the world. Their marketing strategy is to be a common household name that can be recognized anywhere globally. Starbucks and Mcdonald’s also use the same branding even if their products differ from country to country.

Business Case Studies: SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is a tool all businesses use before making decisions. The tool helps put Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, and Threats concisely so that one can easily analyze them before making any decision. Studying cases of companies like Apple, Tesco, and Cadbury gives us more insight into the company than we see. Hershey has acquired the rights to produce Cadbury products in the U.S. in 1988. Cadbury was facing issues expanding its market reach. This is a weakness Cadbury has.

What do you think will be the threats to tech giant Apple? Read the Swot Analysis of Apple case to find out.

Business Case Studies: Business leaders

Who is your role model in business? Whose leadership style do you admire? Is it Bill Gates, Richard Branson, or Jeff Bezos? Perhaps you wish to know more about Warren Buffet or Reed Hastings of Netflix.

Mary Barra, the first female CEO of General Motors, practices an inclusive and transformational leadership style. Have you heard about the innovative leadership style employed by Susan Wojcicki, who is the CEO of Youtube? Or you can read all to know how these business leaders differ in their leadership styles.

Business Case Studies: Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Corporations often undertake practices and policies for the betterment of society along with profit maximization. Common examples of CSR include green initiatives, donating to charities, or organizing fundraisers. In our case studies regarding CSR, you can read about Ben and Jerry’s CSR strategies. Ben and Jerry’s has, over the years, supported protestors against income inequality, protested drilling in Arctic regions and has launched several climate action campaigns.

Are you aware of Walt Disney CSR Programs? Disney's CSR programs include CSR programs for children, investment in youth programs, social influence and workforce programs and supply chain investment programs. Disney not only has children as their main audience but also takes responsibility for helping children in need, showing exemplary CSR practices.

Business Case Studies: Franchise model

The first company that might come to mind when asked about an example of a franchise model could be McDonald’s. McDonald’s model has ensured the ability of the franchise to run sustainably for 10 years.

Another brand that grew using the franchise model is the well-known clothing brand, Zara. Zara took 13 years to make its presence via franchising as they moved forward cautiously. Zara gives the opportunity to franchisees to repurchase their stocks.

Oyo, a unicorn hospitality start-up from India, is growing internationally via a franchise model. Oyo implemented an aggregator model in which it leases some rooms from partner hotels, refurbishes them to match quality standards, and rents them out on their platform. From 2018, Oyo switched to a franchise model in which partner hotels make a contract with Oyo to provide quality service for brand name and posting hotel rooms on Oyo platforms.

Business Case Studies: Porter five forces

Porter's Five Forces is a method for analyzing a company's competitive environment. It identifies and analyzes five competitive forces that shape the industry:

  • Competitive rivalry,

  • New entrants,

  • Power of buyers,

  • Power of suppliers,

  • Threat of substitutes.

There are many coffee shops that could match Starbucks’ quality of service. Starbucks is always under the threat of new entrants, competition, and substitutes. To survive, Starbucks has to keep innovating new flavours, drinks, and coffee substitutes.

Walmart is another case study that we analyzed for Porter’s five forces. We realized that the strongest force of Porter’s Five Forces for Walmart is the competitive rivalry from other retailers like Costco, Amazon, and eBay.

What is your opinion about these forces on Apple? Is it the customer bargaining power or threat from substitute products that have the most influence? Read Porter’s five forces Apple to learn more!

Business Case Studies: Change management

Change management is the process of managing responses to changes in the internal and external environment of a business. Businesses that do not change in time, perish. When Apple launched touchscreen phones, Nokia stuck with QWERTY keypads. When Google launched Android, Nokia stuck with the development of the Symbian operating system. What happened to Nokia and why were they resistant to change? On the other hand, you can also read about Apple's change management. The decision-making and acceptance to change are what differentiates Apple from Nokia.

Business Case Studies: Organizational structure

Organizational structure decides how flexible the company is towards the process of change. Modern organizations like Google keep innovation at the centre of their strategy. Google has a flat, function-based, and product-based organizational structure.

McDonald’s has separate departments for each country/region. They have a centralized decision-making body and a decentralized structure for each country they operate in. Tesco, one of the big five grocery retailers in the UK, has a decentralised, hierarchical, and product-based structure. These businesses are active in different sectors and their organisational structure depends on it. The other factors that influence organizational structure are company work culture, management, and business model.

Business ethics case studies

Keeping a check on businesses ethically is not just the government’s job but also consumers'. Unfortunately, there seemed to be several ethical issues with Apple such as poor working conditions, health and safety risks, child labour, poor environmental reporting, contributing to e-waste and tax avoidance. Starbucks is not an exception for it either. They have an aggressive marketing strategy, poor employee conditions, and a weak position on fair trade ratings. Companies like Apple, Starbucks can improve their ethical issues but some companies have faced sandals.

Nike's Sweatshop Scandal and the Enron Scandal are two such examples. Nike Sweatshop Scandal began in 1991 when Jeff Ballinger published a report detailing the appalling working conditions of garment workers at Nike's factory in Indonesia. Since then Nike has taken positive steps to reinforce CSR. The Enron Scandal was financial fraud. Enron did not show large debt on its balance sheet. But why did it happen? You can read about it in our case study called Enron Scandal!

Business case study examples

In this section, we have mentioned case studies that do not fall into any of the categories mentioned above but still hold importance in business studies. These case studies are unique and one may find that these companies have created new markets via their business model.

Business Case Studies: Ryanair Strategic Position

Ryanair is a cost-friendly budget airline that operates in 40 countries. How can they sell tickets so cheap? Well, they travel to less busy airports, usually far from the city, outside business hours when there is a high rush at airports, and they charge you for almost every small addition. Ryanair operates only one type of aircraft to speed out ground crew processes. Ryanair tries to keep their planes for small times on airfields to save on rent. Budget flyers across Europe prefer Ryanair for its cheap tickets. More insights at Explanation: Ryanair Strategic Position.

Business Case Studies: Unilever outsourcing

You might have heard that many major companies outsource their IT operations. Unilever Outsourcing is different as they have outsourced their HR operations to Accenture. Outsourcing has helped Unilever save fixed costs and share risks.

Business Case Studies: Nivea Market Segmentation

Nivea is a well-known name in Asian countries. Nivea effectively targets the young adult market in the tropical equatorial region. Nivea’s market segmentation thus concluded to be geographical and demographic. But how did we reach this conclusion? Read more about our Explanation: Nivea Market Segmentation.

Here are the links to each case study.

Case studies

Virgin Media O2 Merger

Jeff Bezos Leadership Style

Craft Cadbury Takeover

Zara Franchise Model

Disney Pixar Merger Case Study

Mary Barra Leadership Style

Nivea market Segmentation

Franchise Model: Mc Donald's

Starbucks Marketing Strategy

Warren Buffett Leadership Style

Pricing Strategy of Nestle Company

Porter's five forces Apple

Apple Marketing Strategy

Susan Wojcicki Leadership Style

Coca-Cola Business Strategy

porter's five forces walmart

Nike Marketing Strategy

Enron Scandal

SWOT analysis of Cadbury

Porter Five Forces: Starbucks

Swot Analysis of Apple

Nike Sweatshop Scandal

Tesco Organisational Structure

Ryanair Strategic Position

Tesco SWOT Analysis

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

McDonald's Organisational Structure

Nokia Change Management

Netflix Innovation Strategy

Ikea Foundation

Unilever Outsourcing

Apple Change Management

Starbucks International Strategy

Oyo Franchise Model

Google Organisational Culture

Apple ethical issues

Ikea Transnational Strategy

Walt Disney CSR Programs

Apple Global Strategy

Starbucks Ethical Issues

Bill Gates Leadership Style

Ben and Jerry's CSR

Amazon Global Business Strategy

Jeff Bezos Leadership Style

Find out more about how businesses function in the 'real world' by reading our case studies mentioned above!

Business Case Studies - Key takeaways

  • A case study is a research tool that is implemented as a research methodology.
  • A business case study summarises a real-life business issue faced by a company and how it may affect society within a business context.
  • StudySmarter has provided 44 case studies that provide students with detailed problem statements and analyses to understand real-life business scenarios.
  • In Layman’s terms, When two equal-sized companies join forces to capture more market share, it is called a merger while if a big company buys out a smaller company, it is called a takeover.
  • Strategy is the first step in business that determines why, considers all known and unknown factors, multiple paths, and multiple outcomes.
  • SWOT analysis is a tool all businesses use before taking any decision.
  • Corporations undertake practices and policies for the betterment of society, this is known as CSR.
  • Porter's Five Forces is a method for analyzing a company's competitive environment.
  • Change management is the process of managing responses to changes in the internal and external environment of a business.
  • Companies are always in the moral dilemma of doing things the 'right' way or the profitable way!

Frequently Asked Questions about Business Case Studies

A business case study summarises a real-life business issue faced by a company and explains how it may affect society within a business context.

Case studies are important in business as they provide real insight into how businesses work. They often outline problems businesses have faced in the past or elaborate on successful business strategies. Case studies can guide business owners and managers on how to effectively deal with problems and choose successful strategies.

Business case studies should include either a real-life business issue that needs to be solved or outline the successful implementation of a business strategy.

A business case study should always outline an opportunity, change, or problem the business has to solve. The case study should also be based on factual and qualitative data which is analysed, evaluated, and discussed throughout the case.

The first stage of developing a business case includes outlining and understanding how a particular business has responded to a unique situation in the past. A business case should also provide an analysis and evaluation of the problem or opportunity. The final stage includes a discussion and implication of what we can all learn from the particular business case.

Final Business Case Studies Quiz

Question

what year was Nike founded?

Show answer

Answer

1964

Show question

Question

What was the nike sweatshop scandal about? 

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Answer

Nike has been criticized for using sweatshops in Asia as a source of labour. The company was accused of engaging in abusive and verbal behaviour toward its workers. 

 

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Question

Does nike sweatshop scandal involve human rights violations? 


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Answer

Yes. A report by the Washington Post in 2020 stated that Nike doesn't have evidence of a living wage for its workers. The same year, it was revealed that the company uses forced labor in factories. 

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Question

What is the main reason Nike is considered unethical? 


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Answer

Nike has been criticized for using sweatshops in Asia as a source of labor. The company was accused of abusing its employees. In addition, some of the factories reportedly imposed conditions that severely affected their workers' restroom and water usage. 

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Question

Was Nike involved in child labour? 

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Answer

Yes

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Question

In what year did Nike created the Fair Labour Association, which was created to oversee the company's 600 factories?

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Answer

1991

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Question

In what year did the company started improving the conditions of its factories?

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Answer

1998

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Question

Where was the first Nike store to be open?

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Answer

First Niketown store to launch open in Portland, Oregon. 

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Question

When was Nike first founded?

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Answer

1964

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Question

Life magazine in America did a report on child labour in 1996, which included a shocking photo of a 12-year-old boy sewing a Nike football. What country was he from?


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Answer

Pakistan

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Question

Where and when was Tesco founded?

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Answer

Tesco was founded in London, the United Kingdom in 1919.

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Question

Who is the founder of Tesco?

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Answer

 Tesco’s founder is Jack Cohen. 

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Question

What type of market does Tesco belong in?

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Answer

Tesco belongs to the grocery and merchandise retailer market. 

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Question

Is it true that Tesco only sells its own brand products?


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Answer

No, as well as selling its own brand products Tesco also supplies and sells other popular grocery item brands.

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Question

Why do businesses use SWOT analysis?


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Answer

 Business uses SWOT analysis to analyse their strategic positioning in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, it assists companies in decision making with consideration of external factors and the environment, in terms of opportunities and threats.

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Question

What are the key elements that are included in SWOT analysis?

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Answer

There are four key elements that are included in the SWOT analysis. They are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 

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Question

Regarding SWOT analysis, what elements are used for internal analysis and which ones are used for external analysis?


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Answer

For internal analysis: Strengths and weaknesses

For external analysis: Opportunities and threats

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Question

 What is meant by threats?


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Answer

Threats are external factors that can potentially be harmful to the organisation. 

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Question

What are the key Tesco’s strengths?


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Answer

The key Tesco’s strengths are:

  • Having the largest market share in the UK
  • The ability to increase its growth even during events such as the Coronavirus pandemic, 
  • High adaptability to the constantly changing environment, 
  • Innovation especially in regards to new technology,
  • Holding the largest employer’s title in Europe. 


Show question

Question

What are the key Tesco’s weaknesses?

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Answer

The key Tesco’s weaknesses are:

  • Failure to adapt to markets outside of Europe, 
  • Being involved in scandals regarding food safety and quality.

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Question

What are the key Tesco’s opportunities?

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Answer

The key Tesco’s opportunities include:

  • Investing in optimising consumers’ experience of online shopping,
  • Increasing youth employment rates, 
  • Investing in expanding the range of plant-based products.

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Question

What are the main Tesco’s threats?

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Answer

The main Tesco’s threats include:

  • Post-Brexit rules
  • Competition
  • Government’s regulations
  • Price inflation of necessities 

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Question

Why SWOT analysis is an important part of Tesco’s strategic analysis and decision-making process?

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Answer

SWOT analysis is an important part of Tesco’s strategic analysis as it assists in identifying the business’s strategic positioning and making decisions with consideration of external factors and the environment.

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Question

What is meant by market analysis?

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Answer

 Market analyses are used by businesses to get a sophisticated understanding of the market that they are operating in and identify the competition in the market. 

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Why is it important for Tesco to conduct market analysis?


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Answer

 It is important for Tesco to conduct market analysis as it will allow Tesco to fully understand its market and see the company’s positioning among the competitors.

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Question

What are the key elements that market analysis is made of?


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Answer

The market analysis is made upon the following elements:

  • Market size
  • PESTLE analysis
  • Competitors
  • Consumer loyalty in the market
  • Market segmentation
  • Consumer decision making within the market

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Question

What is the full name of the IKEA Foundation?

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Answer

Stichting IKEA Foundation

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Who founded the IKEA Foundation?

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Answer

Ingvar Kamprad

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Is the IKEA Foundation independent from the IKEA company?

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Answer

Yes

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Question

When was the IKEA Foundation founded?

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Answer

1982

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Question

According to its founder, why was the IKEA Foundation founded?


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Answer

It was founded to make sure that IKEA continues to be an independent company using some of its profits to help people in need long after he is not there.

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Question

According to Ingvar Kamprad, what are the basic needs we all share?


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Answer

a secure home, good health, a regular income, and a desire to keep our children safe and to see them get a good education and succeed in life

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Question

What are the objectives of the IKEA Foundation?


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Answer

  • To help families in poverty across developing countries to fulfil their basic needs such as a secure home, good health, a regular income, and a desire to keep their children safe and to see them get a good education and succeed in life
  • To help young people, women and refugees who often struggle to find a job and earn a sustainable income
  • To to protect the planet


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Question

What are the six programs funded by the IKEA Foundation?


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Answer

  • climate action
  • renewable energy
  • agricultural livelihoods
  • employment and entrepreneurship
  • refugee livelihoods
  • special initiatives and emergency response

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Question

What is the main goal of the IKEA Foundation’s climate action?

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Answer

to reduce carbon emissions

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Question

How does the IKEA Foundation work on supporting agricultural livelihoods?

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Answer

Partnering with Enviu they support social entrepreneurs in Africa and India in creating local markets by building local supply chains.


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Question

What is an initiative launched by the IKEA Foundation to enable underprivileged people to earn income and lift their families out of poverty?

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Answer

Green Entrepreneurship Initiative

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Question

What institution was a research on refugees carried out by?

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Answer

by the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford

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Question

What did the IKEA Foundation do to help during the COVID-19 pandemic?


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Answer

It donated €3 million to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation. The donation is expected to support ongoing life-saving medical activities caused by the spread of COVID-19 in India.

Show question

Question

What is IKEA's international strategy?

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Answer

Its concept is to combine high-quality design and functionality with low prices. Ikea's goal is to keep the prices low enough to allow the customer to buy the product directly. 

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Question

Is IKEA a transnational company? 

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Answer

Yes

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Question

Does IKEA use standardization or adaptation? 

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Answer

standardization

Show question

Question

What type of global business is IKEA? 


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Answer

IKEA is a global home furnishing brand that was started in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad. It started as a mail order catalog business. 

Show question

Question

Who is the founder of IKEA?

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Answer

Ingvar Kamprad

Show question

Question

In what year was IKEA founded?

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Answer

1943

Show question

Question

What does IKEA mainly sell?

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Answer

 it is mainly focused on selling ready-to-assemble furniture

Show question

Question

True or False?

The company started by developing innovative modular designs and sourcing components from eastern Europe.

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Answer

True

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Question

True or False?

Ikea strategy allowed it to offer quality furniture at very low prices. 

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Answer

True

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Question

What is Ikea hybrid strategy?

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Answer

Ikea hybrid strategy is aimed to achieve competitive advantage by producing at the lowest cost. It allows the company to charge lower prices and increase the profitability. 

Show question

Question

True or False?

To achieve its goals, IKEA constantly bring costs up and is always looking for the most costly suppliers. 

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

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