Ben & Jerry's and Unilever: The Bohemian and the Behemoth

11 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2009

See all articles by L. J. Bourgeois

L. J. Bourgeois

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Elio Mariani

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Vivian Jen Yu

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Ben & Jerry/Unilever raises the issues of (1) how to bring a nonbusiness culture (B&J) into a corporate culture (Unilever) while preserving the value acquired; (2) how to manage a recently acquired subsidiary whose parent company is an ocean away; (3) how, as a corporate-appointed general manager, the French general manger can gain the trust of the acquired firm; and (4) how (or even whether) to preserve the Social Responsibility (SR) aspects of the target. An additional focus might be how (or whether) to export a socially-responsible firm's values to overseas locations. The case can be positioned near the end of a PMI course, where the students can apply PMI skills in a unique ethical and cultural situation. Alternatively, it can be used in an Ethics course to highlight the challenges of maintaining an SR mission when a public global corporation acquires a local (Vermont) SR organization.

Excerpt

UVA-BP-0471

Rev. Jan. 8, 2013

BEN & JERRY'S AND UNILEVER: THE BOHEMIAN AND THE BEHEMOTH

When I was sitting in Mexico reading that Unilever had bought Ben & Jerry's, my first reaction was: “They are out of their mind.”

—Yves Couette, 24-year Unilever veteran; CEO of Ben & Jerry's

Introduction

. . .

Keywords: mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy, ethics, strategic change, post merger integration

Suggested Citation

Bourgeois, L. Jay and Mariani, Elio and Yu, Vivian Jen, Ben & Jerry's and Unilever: The Bohemian and the Behemoth. Darden Case No. UVA-BP-0471, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1416540

L. Jay Bourgeois (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924 -4833 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/bourgeois.htm

Elio Mariani

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Vivian Jen Yu

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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