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ENGIE’s GEM business unit: Towards a new way of working

By Julian Birkinshaw, Ken Mark


The case is set in early 2019. Edouard Neviaski is CEO of the Global Energy Markets (GEM) division of Engie, a very large French energy company. He has been pushing a major programme of change over the previous three years and is considering the next steps: how to maintain momentum, what additional initiatives to pursue and whether to encourage other parts of Engie to apply a similar approach in their divisions.

The case provides a lot of detail on the internal organisational changes in GEM from 2016-2019. In particular, it focuses on how some parts of GEM adopted ‘holacracy’ – a self-organising system in which individual teams take full responsibility for defining their own work and how it fits with others. The case also provides a lot of detail on the broader cultural change and the high levels of investment in professional training around new techniques and concepts.

Learning objectives

Students are asked to consider the following assignment questions:

1. What is the situation Edouard finds himself when he takes over as head of GEM in 2015? What challenges and opportunities does he need to address?
2. What is Edouard’s approach to change? What specific things does he do and why?
3. How does Holacracy work? What are the benefits of using holacracy in GEM at this point in time? And what are its limitations?
4. What are the other elements of the change programme, as a whole, that were key during the period 2015-2019?
5. Taking the position of Edouard in 2019, what are his priorities now? And how successful has he been in shifting the culture and performance of GEM?


Publication Date: March 2019
LBS Case Code: CS-19-012
Topic: ,
Geography: ,
Pages: 20
Format: pdf