EE204: Business Management for
Electrical Engineers and Computer Scientists



  1. How to Lead During a Crisis (HBS materials)
  2. A Bomb in Your Pocket? Crisis Leadership at Nokia India (A) (HBS materials)
  1. Creating a Personal Brand
  2. Skill Set of the CEO

Case Summary

This case addresses the theme of crisis leadership in a multinational enterprise in a powerful way, to help students internalize the critical challenges of a multinational company in an emerging market. In August 2007, a routine product feedback and defect analysis process identified a defective batch of batteries supplied by a Japanese vendor, Matsushita. India happened to be the recipient of the largest proportion of the defective batch. Nokia's corporate communications team, based in Finland, in cooperation with the Indian team, responded with a customary global product advisory. Instructions were made available on the Internet for customers to diagnose a defective battery and get a free replacement. Nokia was shocked to see the antagonistic response from the Indian press to the product advisory and the ensuing mayhem that spread quickly through the country. The head of Nokia India and his team had to act swiftly to preserve the company's hard-earned reputation and market share.

Discussion Questions

  1. Trace Nokia's foray into India.
  2. Identify the key players from Nokia in this case.
  3. Identify Kaul's concerns about Nokia's standard operating procedures pertaining to customers in India. What drove her actions, and would you have recommended that she do anything differently?
  4. What is the cause of the crisis? What went wrong, when everyone at Nokia headquarters thought this was not an issue meriting the India CEO's intervention?
  5. Rate the performance of Shivakumar in response to the crisis, using the three main Findings from the reading, "How to Lead During a Crisis". Do you agree with his actions? Would you suggest additional actions? Consider issues like timeline for execution; cost; logistics; public announcements; and dealing with the media.

SCPD Students

See the SCPD Resource Page for general information on assignment submission, team building, expectations, and getting help. See the SCPD Grading Page for evaluation procedures for daily written assignments.

Written work should be submitted using SCPD Homework Processing procedures.

All times listed below are PDT (California time).

  1. Complete the assigned readings and submit answers to the Discussion Questions in Writeup 1 (1 page) by 9am Tuesday 6/5/2012.
  2. The videotaped class meeting should be available via SCPD by 2pm, Tuesday 6/5/2012.
  3. Watch the video of the class meeting and meet with your team to discuss.
  4. Submit Writeup 2 (1-2 pages) by 9pm Friday 6/8/2012. This writeup should include the following:
    • A summary of the main points of the class discussion
    • Any points from the discussion that you found particularly enlightening or disagreed with
    • A discussion of how your initial responses did or did not align with the direction of the class discussion
    • A revised go-forward strategy for the Nokia India team