This Unilever’s Global Strategy describes Paul Polman’s appointment to lead a troubled Unilever, and his subsequent decision to implement a bold new global strategy based on a platform of sustainability. We’ll begin by understanding Unilever’s historical background, and their commitment to the philosophy of “doing well by doing good.” What makes this interesting is that in 2009 the Unilver board requires Polman to lead and turn the beleaguered company around. making Polman Unilever’s first-ever “outsider” CEO to lead the company.

Unilever’s Global Strategy

Unilever’s Global Strategy

As Polman establishes his new leadership style and management tenents, we see how Polman developed the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) with three very bold social and environmental goals for this year (2020):

  1. To halve the environmental footprint of Unilever products.
  2. To positively affect the health and well-being of a billion people worldwide (no small task).
  3. And, to enhance the livelihood of millions of people.

In a surprising development, Polman establishes these challenging goals not only for the company itself but also for its entire value chain and full product cycle and future roadmap.

Set during a global financial crisis, in an environment characterized by doubt and skepticism, the case you’re about to study describes how these broad goals translated into specific metrics, and then rolled out through a series of changes that included company policies, practices, people, and processes. Although the new strategy does have success early on some of the objectives prove very difficult to achieve later on, especially those that are either external facing or beyond the company’s control altogether.

Your assignment is to LEAD. 

listen and learn

In order to understand the full context of this situation, listen to, and learn from the differing perspectives and interests of the stakeholders. What are they saying to you? Then analyze the appropriateness of the radically different, transformational, global corporate strategy that the Unilever management has proposed.

empathize and examine in Unilever’s Global Strategy

How would you evaluate Paul Polman’s decision over the past 10 years to implement a new strategy based upon the USLP?

  1. Identify the key constituents (PRIMARY STAKEHOLDERS) and what is at stake for them?
    • New management team, new CEO, new employees, partners, suppliers, and customers.
  2. What benefits did it offer based on Unilever’s Global Strategy?
  3. What risks did it present?
  4. What is behind their perspectives and motivations?
  5. Do some perspectives carry more weight than others? Why?
  6. Which perspectives can you relate to, and which do you have difficulty understanding?

assess and analyze

Explore and review the requirements for effective organization transformational change within Unilever. Thus, understanding and analyzing the nature of corporate social responsibility (CSR), including the power, challenges, and feasibility of integrating it at the core of the Unilever corporate strategy.

To that end, identify any major problems within this leadership challenge and explain how they impact the organization. You will need to consider both behavioral and analytical factors.

Next, weigh several possible courses of action that are logical extrapolations based on the information you have. What are the possible consequences of each solution?

  1. From the Unilever’s Global Strategy, evaluate the effectiveness of the CEO and corporate leadership team.
  2. How effective has the implementation of the new strategy been to date?
  3. What has it done most effectively?
  4. What problems, issues or concerns do you have with the implementation?
  5. What actions should the company take now?

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Design and deliver

Your assignment is to evaluate future options, decide on an action, and translate broad strategic proposals and specific action steps. You should consider what you have discovered in the L-E-A phases above and design and deliver a response. Specifically, you are crafting a document to aid the leadership of Unilever in decision-making.

You may need to conduct additional research to better articulate other perspectives that are relevant to the case study found in various social or news media outlets.

  1. You are not to provide your perspective on their perspectives.
  2. Your job is to accurately represent the needs, concerns, and questions of any stakeholders you discuss in your paper.
  3. Explicitly engage in globally and socially responsible decision-making.  That is, your recommendations should be explained in terms of how they are globally and socially responsible.
  4. Then, which of the three options identified at the end of the case would you recommend the management team take?
  5. How would you go about implementing your recommendation?

Assignment Length.  Please limit your analysis to 6-8 double-spaced pages.  (The page limit does not include graphs, tables, charts, appendices, etc.)  

Assignment Format.  Please use Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1-inch margins, double spaced.

Headings.  Please use headings throughout the paper as signposts for the reading.  For example, the names of the stakeholders should serve as headings.  Other headings might include needs analysis, analysis of concerns, recommendations, etc.

Cite all course material (or other material) using APA format for references or bibliography.