x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Useful studies with parts mis-positioned

The Life: Actions and Insights, while it has all the elements of a great book and product, is text-heavy and seems to attack each case study from the wrong end.

Review: Actions and Insights Middle East North Africa: Managing in Uncertain Times. Edited by Melodena Stephens Balakrishnan, Ian Michael, Tim Rogmans and Immanuel Moonesar

This second edition of Actions and Insights can be compared to an exciting product upgrade by the technology giant Apple.

It is improved and has a lot more interesting stuff inside. Local companies face some truly interesting problems. Among these are the Jumeirah Group's expansion abroad, UAE football teams having to generate their own revenue and the challenge of recycling efficiently in the Emirates.

But where the book falls down is in its functional appeal. Apple products are sleek, simple and easy to use, whereas Actions and Insights, while it has all the elements of a great book and product, adopts the old approach that business studies books always do.

It is text-heavy and seems to attack each case study from the wrong end. Each study starts with details about the author, followed by a fluffy abstract about the company's goals, then basic information on the company and finally the details on the problem.

I say get to the nitty-gritty first.

In the case of Etihad Airways and its reputation management related to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano that disrupted flights in 2010, tell me first what the problem was and why it was difficult for Etihad management.

Then easily bullet-point how Etihad beat the problem, followed by all the details. The author's information and the basics on the company should be parked at the back of the case study for reference.

Nevertheless, one great element of the case studies is that they are sometimes broken up with interesting extras such as advertising used by the companies, PowerPoint presentations to employees or even, in Etihad's case, emails from stranded passengers thanking the carrier for its service.

As the book is focused on the Middle East and North Africa, and was partly published to promote the region, it could possibly pay more attention to the issues unique to this part of the world.

At the front of the book, there is an informative timeline of the Arab Spring and data about the region, such as population demographics, food scarcity and wealth.

But it would be interesting to point out clearly in each case study how the problem being studied was unique because it was in this region.

Students could then examine the unique solutions applied to those local issues.

rjones@thenational.ae

twitter: Follow our breaking business news and retweet to your followers. Follow us