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Case study


Business model and new country market entry –

This IKEA case study is a wide-angle case that details the background and origins of IKEA, and key aspects of IKEA’s global business model and competitive positioning.

The IKEA (A) case provides the opportunity to understand various pieces of what can drive a global-oriented business organization like IKEA forward from its local origins. It will also enable the opportunity to examine how the influences of various stakeholders in the value chain might influence the management decision-making and corporate goal setting and ultimate success or failure in achieving those goals with regards to individual market expansion. Especially, students can examine the key components that make up the parts of a global marketing strategy and how a firm can take synergistic advantage of its competitive position to achieve its objectives.

*Original case by Nigel Denscombe for use at the Waseda University School of Commerce (Tokyo)

Case study:


Japan market-entry – Getting it right 3rd time?

This IKEA case study is designed as a learning tool to move from the general issues outlined in the IKEA (A) case study to specific business plan and objectives for a market like Japan – But could be used for any other country market-entry besides Japan.

This IKEA (B) market-entry and market-expansion case study outlines IKEA’s three different attempts to establish a competitive position specifically in the Japan market. IKEA’s first two Japan tries are failure to launch situations, but the third starting in 2002 seems like lift-off 30 years after first arriving in Japan.

*Original case by Nigel Denscombe for use at the Waseda University School of Commerce (Tokyo)

Case study

Associated British Foods – Japan Market-Entry Simulation: Culture clash, bread versus rice?

This case study is a simulation that outlines the planned Japan market entry in 2009 for an actual European company – Associated British Foods (“ABF”). While the company is real, the actual plan is a simulation and does not mean that ABF is actually planning to enter the Japan market. However, the data on ABF and the Japan market is real or forecasts, and all aspects of the simulation mirror those in the real world.

This simulated case is intended as a “hands-on” primary learning tool to enable students to understand how to build a strategic business plan from the ground-up for Japan market entry.

This case study is taught over two sessions: The first session is a case discussion and analysis class, and the second session is a review and group work class, where teams will be required to put together the “basics” of ABF’s business plan/model for Japan and present this plan to the rest of the class for review.

*Original case by Nigel Denscombe for use at the Waseda University School of Commerce (Tokyo)

Course manual

Business plan manual –

Japan Market-Entry

Describes how to build a realistic Business Plan for Japan market entry and/or expansion. Manual takes away the mysteries about how to build a great business plan and also how to do it under limited time/resource constraints!

*Course manual by Nigel Denscombe for use at the Waseda University School of Commerce

Business Planning Course


This Japan market-entry business plan course is balanced between learning basic skills/practical business knowledge and application in real world business situations (in the classroom).

Course begins with lecture-based learning of the “basics” of building a business plan and the necessary financial projections. Don’t expect pure academic concepts and theories here, the course puts the “business” back into business school training.

Course builds on the “basics” with two sessions on real world business plans and market-entry/implementation strategies for companies like IKEA, and uses an original case study on Vodafone’s Japan entry/exit.

Course ends with two final sessions on another original case study, this time a simulated entry into Japan by a “real” European company, which requires teams to come up with the basic structure of a Japan market-entry business plan (and explain why it is the best way to enter Japan).

Class contents require lively interaction by participants for most of the classes, and teamwork enhances the learning.


The course is real world focused and not conceptually nor theoretically based. So participants should expect very practical-oriented and hands-on learning that will be invaluable as well as a lot of fun! It is designed to provide participants business and management skills that will not only be useful in the real world, but will grow with them as their business careers progress.

Just about anyone can/will greatly benefit by taking it (even those that feel they have a good grasp on the business planning process).

Building a Japan market business plan is a challenging task extending over several months, and is not easy even for those already with business planning knowledge. In fact, the collaborative and diverse in-class learning environment will help stimulate new ideas and new ways of thinking for all participants. 

So, everyone (no matter the skill-level) will be able to step-up their business planning tools and critical way of thinking about business plans for the Japan market!

*Course developed by Denscombe Corporation for use in the ETP Programme at the Waseda University School of Commerce

for business schools

Course outsourcing business: “Sample” 

Business Planning for Japan market-entry

Developed by Denscombe Corporation (2010) for use at the Waseda University School of Commerce (Tokyo)

Case study

Vodafone’s short stay in Japan – 1999-2006

New market entry 

Case outlines British global mobile phone company Vodafone Group’s strategic business plan for entry into the Japan market from1999 on, and also unravels the details surrounding Vodafone’s quick exit in 2006 by selling the Japanese subsidiary for a one trillion yen capital loss.

The learning objective of the case study is to analyze and critique the business model chosen for Japan market entry as well as to review the implementation of their business plan on the ground in Japan. Connected to this is the review of events that happened after entry, to see whether Vodafone Japan should have implemented a different action plan for success and whether they should have responded differently to customer and competitive issues on the ground in Japan. Closely connected with these issues are the contextual issues that parent Vodafone and its stakeholders were experiencing at the time. 

The key point is to assess what went right and what went wrong, and why, so as to understand how to build and implement an optimum market-entry strategy for Japan (or any other market).

*By Nigel Denscombe for Waseda University School of Commerce

Course created and developed by Denscombe Corporation for  use in the Waseda School of Commerce in Tokyo; Nigel Denscombe (Pictured right in the classroom) created all the materials from case studies to course manual, and also facilitated the course himself

Copyright © 2011 Denscombe Corporation