Case Study - Alpha
This case study was developed from an actual scenario by Dr. Steve Leybourne of Boston University. The case documents the historical evolution of an organization, and has been used successfully in courses dealing with organizational and cultural change, and the utilization of ‘soft skills’ in project-based management.
This is a short case, ideal for classroom use and discussion. The issues are easily accessible to students, and there is a single wide ranging question that allows for the inclusion of many issues surrounding strategic decision-making, and behavioural and cultural change.
Alpha was one of the earlier companies in the USA to invest in large, edge-of-town superstores, with plentiful free vehicle parking, selling food and related household products.
Alpha was created in the 1950s as a subsidiary of a major publicly quoted retail group. It started business by opening a string of very large discount stores in converted industrial and warehouse premises in the south of the United States. In the early days shoppers were offered a limited range of very competitively priced products.
When Alpha went public in 1981 it was the fourth largest food retailer in the US, selling an ever-widening range of food and non-food products. Its success continued to be based on high volume, low margins and good value for money, under the slogan of ‘Alpha Price.’
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