Case Study

IKEA: Past, present, and future

11 pages
June 2008
Reference: IMD-4-0282

Ingvar Kamprad’s childhood experiences formed his approach not only to furniture retailing, but more broadly to life. In the hard scrabble farmlands of southern Sweden, IKEA Group’s founder became convinced of the value of hard work, personal responsibility and forging one’s own path. His company did not just produce profits but rather served a larger and higher purpose in society. It brought style, value and a better life to many. IKEA’s products were not destined for only wealthy customers who could afford distinctive and contemporary furnishings. But rather they were intended for the global everyman. How to be IKEA in nations and among people who were decidedly different was the dilemma. IKEA had to stay IKEA. But allowing lessons learned in foreign markets to impact and improve the company appeared to be very much in line with its philosophical foundations. One thing was not in doubt – it would be a high-stakes balancing act.

Learning Objective

To examine how a company steeped in its own national and corporate culture adapts when expanding into divergent foreign markets; to analyze internationalization strategies employed by successful firms; how to stay true to a company’s core values in the face of multiple challenges; balancing incongruity, such as the need for flexibility and also the need for constancy.

Expansion, Internationalization, New Market Entry, Knowledge Transfer, Retail
Global, Sweden
Published Sources
© 2008
Available Languages
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