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Cartoon storybook cases
Virtual issue

Emerging markets case studies

Virginia Bodolica talks about cartoon storybook cases

'Cartoon storybook cases aim to leverage the redemptive power of creative storytelling techniques by infusing the world of visual arts into the analysis of complex organisational phenomena. The world of art liberates thinking, unlocks creative potential, and unveils innovative ways to translate fantasy and imagination into effective actions and decisions in the workplace.

'Triggering a number of feelings and emotions, these cases permit mobilising specific sets of skills and abilities that are mostly silenced or not fully tapped into with traditional case studies.

'Cartoon storybook cases stimulate empathy, compassion, and self-awareness while boosting creativity, imagination, and exploration of uncharted trajectories and pathways. Just like visual arts, these cases require some kind of artwork that is visual in nature but can be expressed in a variety of ways and forms, such as comics, anime, cartoons, paintings, or drawings.

'The visual artwork may accompany a traditional case study, replace some of its rich narrative, constitute the very essence of a case supported by some textual elements, or be produced by students as a take-home assignment. All cases are accompanied by a fully-fledged teaching note that assists instructors in leveraging the 5P-pillars (Problems, Plots, Protagonists, Possibilities, and Paradigms) of cartoon storybook cases to create a valuable and gratifying learning experience for students in the classroom.'

Aditya Gandhi and Gandhi Jewels: Earning a Place in the Family Business (Part A & Part B)

Authors: Tulsi Jayakumar, Aarti Punjabi and Jyotsnaa Shah
Cartoon artwork: Karnav Mistry
Subject area: Strategy, Corporate communications, Family Firms
Location: India

The two-part case describes the role of communication amongst young family business scions and a mentor's role in shaping such communication.

Part A traces the induction of Aditya Gandhi, a fourth-generation scion of Gandhi Gems and Jewels, a 110-year old Indian family business dealing in precious gems and jewels. It deals with the challenges of mentoring and successful induction of the next-generation into family business.

Part B of the case describes the communication between Aditya Gandhi and the proprietor of Gandhi Gems and Jewels' key client Ghanshyam Das. It deals with the tenets of effective communication as should be understood by young next-generations family members.

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Almajid Limited: the tumultuous journey of a multigenerational enterprise in Saudi Arabia. Case study: parts A, B, C & D

Authors: Virginia Bodolica and Martin Spraggon
Cartoon artwork: Maya Al Kharaz
Subject area: Strategy, family business
Location: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Five industries, three generations, one family business. What started off as an entrepreneur’s ambition, Almajid Limited has proven itself to be a sustainable source of revenue and a diverse portfolio of businesses for multiple generations of a Saudi Arabian family.

This case study offers an exclusive opportunity to follow the tumultuous journey of a Saudi family business and analyse the different phases of its evolution over seven decades and three generations. In particular, the case aims to highlight the complexities surrounding the management of a family firm and illustrate how various lifecycle stages stemming from a number of areas (e.g. family, company, industry, ownership, and governance) simultaneously influence the family business strategy.

Being deeply embedded in the context of Saudi Arabia, the case unveils the unique challenges of managing a family business in a conservative cultural setting. The case study is divided into four parts, with each of them putting the emphasis on a different lifecycle area of significance for the evolution of the family business. Each part culminates with the identification of an area-relevant dilemma that needs to be addressed in order for the family firm to be able to move into the next stage of its development.

The first part focuses on the family area or axis, the second on the industry axis, the third on the company axis, while the last part is based on the sustainability axis, which embraces as many as three dilemmas in relation to the ownership, governance, and succession in the family firm.

Moreover, each part incorporates a timeline of critical events that contributed to the emergence of a specific dilemma and a culturally rooted anime that helps readers visualiae the story, picture somebody else’s reality, and empathiae with the key protagonists of the case to achieve optimal decision making.

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The media roller coaster: the dawn & evolution of multimedia ventures in Middle East & beyond

Authors: Martin Spraggon and Virginia Bodolica
Cartoon artwork: Samin Shahid
Subject area: Strategy
Location: United Arab Emirates

This case describes the story of Multimedia Ventures, a small business located in the United Arab Emirates that provides media solutions to the cleaning and hygiene-related technology sectors. The company was founded through a partnership arrangement and later transformed into a family enterprise.

The case study illustrates the firm’s operations from its grassroot stages to it being a well-known name in the cleaning industry, both within the Middle East and beyond. Since its establishment in 2008, Multimedia Ventures has embarked on a path of continuous growth with the ambition of globalising activities to offer various media solutions to customers worldwide.

To achieve this objective, the company engaged in collaborations with many international partners to facilitate the exchange of expertise and increase the scale of operations. Yet, the Managing Director of Multimedia Ventures, Mr. Arjun Khatri, was concurrently faced with two difficult strategic decisions that were critically important for the future development of his enterprise.

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Misakyan Technical Solutions: between two mindsets and the emergence of the new generation

Authors: George Marachly, Virginia Bodolica, and Martin Spraggon
Cartoon artwork: Vani Ramankutty and Monahil Nida
Subject area: Strategy, family business
Location: Middle East

This case starts with the entrepreneurial beginnings of Jack Misakyan, who transformed the small blacksmith venture of his father into a large and profitable family enterprise with operations across different countries and industrial sectors. Since the establishment of Misakyan Technical Solutions, Jack has relied on the help of his brothers, Ara and Hovik, who have joined the ranks of owners and managers to drive the expansion efforts of the family firm.

Over the years, the brothers were successful in pursuing a strategy of continuous growth and diversification by taking advantage of opportunities in several industries and regions of the world. They opened branches in Kuwait, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Armenia, and operated in various industries, including heavy-truck maintenance, pharmaceuticals, marine shipping, construction materials, quarrying and restoration. Yet, four decades after its launch, the company was entering into a phase of stagnation and was in need of entrepreneurial rejuvenation.

The members of the third generation, who have recently joined the family firm, believed that it was their obligation to restructure the operations and revive the entrepreneurial spirit in their fathers’ organisation. Moreover, after several months of market analysis and investigation, two of the cousins came up with a new business idea that was pursued entirely in stealth mode.

By describing the strategic events and family dynamics that shaped the evolution of Misakyan Technical Solutions over time, the case offers an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of managerial decision-making and provide recommendations for ensuring the longevity of the family enterprise.

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