The Fox School’s Neha Mittal, associate professor of operations and supply chain management, and Michael Rivera, associate professor of management, recently won prizes at the 2021 EFMD Case Writing Competition.
EFMD Global is an organization that invites professors and researchers from various organizations around the globe to participate in a case writing competition that encourages innovative and impactful case writing and teaching.
Mittal’s case, which was co-authored by Marilyn Anthony, adjunct professor of strategic management, won in the Responsible Business category. Rivera’s case won in the Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence category.
Both of their cases addressed sustainability challenges faced by different industries.
The Responsible Business category, sponsored by The American School of Cairo’s School of Business, included cases that addressed corporate governance, financial reporting and auditing by highlighting the responsible business practices of different stakeholders.
Mittal and Anthony’s case, “Tender Greens: Can They Keep the ‘Green’ Promise in Beef Sourcing?” addressed the dilemma faced by the CEO of Tender Greens when deciding to pay a premium for sustainably sourced beef or switch to conventionally sourced beef to raise profit margins.
“Sustainability is close to my heart,” says Mittal. “And I love food! When we heard the story of Tender Greens and the dilemma it had about the supply of sustainably sourced beef, multi-criteria decision-making and the multi-stakeholder involvement, we thought this would make a great teaching case.”
In their case, Tender Greens is faced with the task of appeasing shareholders by increasing profit margins every year versus being responsible toward the environment by engaging in sustainability efforts.
“Besides sustainability, this case is a unique blend that incorporates supply chain issues, strategic positioning of a company, issues around ethics and corporate social responsibility and managing day-to-day operations of a business when it begins to grow and expand,” explains Mittal.
The continuous improvement category emphasized the need to create a culture of continuous progress among companies, incorporate permanent changes in search of competitiveness, and create excellence to improve businesses over time. Sponsored by EFMD Global, the submissions in this category focused on strategies that lead toward greater efficiency and productivity and increased value creation for their clients.
Rivera’s case, “The Plastilene Group: Sustainable Innovation Strategy,” illustrated how two leaders at Plastilene Group undertook a strategic renewal process to combat consumer behavior changes regarding plastics products at a global level. The case outlines a way to implement a strategy that helped Plastilene tackle the global plastic crises while finding new ways to grow plastic sustainably.
“When one links sustainability with innovation, organizations position themselves to create and deliver products, services and processes that are good for society and company,” Rivera explains. “Future long-term competitiveness requires that companies consider approaches to sustainable innovation and determine in what ways it can be integrated into their existing strategy.”
In addition to winning $2,100 each for their cases, both professors explain that writing the case and participating in the competition was fun, challenging and required them to think innovatively.
“I was thrilled and appreciative when my case was selected for the Continuous Improvement: The Journey to Excellence category,” says Rivera. “Using my case, I hope students can learn about strategy differently by understanding a company’s challenges when making transitions along the way and how to continue evolving down the same path.”
“EFMD is known to encourage innovative case writing and teaching. This was a great opportunity for us to challenge ourselves and work harder.”