Leo Burnett Case Study

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Globalisation has led to many changes in the international marketing and global advertising industry. Many international companies have projects spanning a variety of nationalities, involving great geographical distances and a range of time zones. In this scenario, companies are forced to make virtual teams - which are comprised of members who are located in more than one physical location (Peters and Manz, 2007). This virtual team trait has fostered extensive use of a variety of forms of computer-mediated communication that enable geographically dispersed members to coordinate their individual effort and inputs (Attaran, 2002). In addition, commitment to a virtual team goal may be further complicated by the single or coherent line of authority if the members call from different profit and loss centres within an organisation or different organisations altogether (Bergiel at el. 2008). The need for a global mindset and technological expertise become critical for the success of virtual teams. Here we will be discussing the case study of the Leo Burnett global advertising company, which faced difficulties in managing their virtual team for the launch of their client OBC’s global product in the Taiwan and Canada markets.

1) Assume the role of an LB employee 2) a) What is your everyday environment like (assume this would be normally involve face-to-face teams)? Specifically, consider how you would fill your day, what the office environment would be, what would determine your work priorities and the nature of your relationship with your colleagues and your client(s) Leo Burnett is a global advertising agency and offered its clients a wide range of marketing and communications services and products. Employees are working as multidisciplinary face to face [virtually] teams to perform client’s requirements. As a full service agency, employees are interdependent and formed separate for each client’s brands. At any given time each of the team members could be part of more than two or three brand teams due to busy schedules in their working hours. Due to global operations, the correspondence from the other LB global office or client’s office may come in deferred [due to time difference geographically] working hours, which may result in employees working up to 60 hours per week. Most of the employees are young and they would prioritise their work according to client’s needs and project deadlines. The projects are time framed, which means employees work under high pressure and calls for high quality planning. As Curseu et al (2008) said, LB’s teams also use sophisticated technologies for communicating with each other, including video conferencing, Internet and intranet and collaborative software. The company’s horizontal structure is designed to facilitate client’s needs at different locations (globally) and this is achieved by coordination between teams and technologies within the organisation. As a part of LB’s virtual team, employees are highly responsible for meeting the requirements of their core and peripheral responsibilities. Their core

responsibilities are their project assignments, which are specialised for each brand. Their peripheral responsibilities are the coordination of the other brand activities as they are part of more than two or three brands at any given time. Employees report to the home department supervisor formally, and informally to the project team leader if they are part of a particular project team. Most of the employees have two type of reporting lines. Employee performance is evaluated by the formal and informal reporting line heads and decisions are made accordingly for assigning and managing the work load. The face-toface teams are usually built on trust and familiarity between individuals, strengthened by socialising together after long office hours. (Exhibit 1)

b) How is this different from your role as part of the Forever Young virtual team? As a part of LB’s new assignment with their major...
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