This case traces the history of French retailers setting up operations in Poland in the mid-1990s. The case, however, is set in 2006 when a top retailing executive recalls the important watershed period of 1996-1997 when the expatriate managers in charge of setting up the first hypermarkets encountered great difficulties with their new Polish recruits. The managers were not succeeding in transferring the practices and routines that were an essential part of their business model on the home market in France. Their Polish employees displayed work attitudes that were the contrary of the initiative and responsibility for enlarged jobs that characterized employees back home. This situation called into question the very viability of their business model in Poland. The case poses very clearly the question of what actions the expatriate managers should decide to take to ensure the store launchings in Poland and future growth.
The issues raised concern: (1) global versus multi-domestic internationalization strategies; (2) business models; (3) paradigms; (4) corporate culture; (5) management of expatriates; (6) knowledge transfer; and (7) the link between strategic implementation and organizational behavior.