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      Uber Sub-Saharan Africa: contextual leadership for sustainable business model innovation during COVID-19

      Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

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          Learning outcomes

          The learning outcomes are as follows: to gain insight into the importance of location, in terms of spatial and temporal context and the capability of leadership to tune into and strategically adapt to context; to understand and explain the sharing economy and explain how the Uber business model fits into this new way of doing business; to evaluate how Uber South Africa has adapted its business model in the period of the COVID-19 crisis and discuss the nature of the business model innovations that is has made; and to understand business model for sustainability and how it differs from the general understanding of business models.

          Case overview/synopsis

          On 15 May 2020, Alon Lits, General Manager of Uber Africa was considering his dilemma of adapting their business model to the demands of COVID-19, without losing their core business model as a multi-sided technology platform business. Uber was asking their riders to stay home to ensure social distancing during the lockdown, rather than booking a ride with Uber. The question was how they could support their driver partners, while they were discouraging riders to make use of Uber. Uber had taken initiatives to create additional revenue streams for drivers. The case highlights how Alon Lits and his executive team prioritised the health and well-being of their Uber community and quickly adapted their technology to meet the evolving needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. They customised their offerings to the different needs in the seven Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries in which they operated. Uber supported businesses by using the Uber-X sedan vehicles to deliver necessities like food, medicine and parcels to the frontline and poor communities. Uber globally offered their drivers in quarantine 14 days of financial assistance. Serving communities also involved offering free rides to women and children who were victims of domestic violence to get them to a safe space. The multi-sided platform technology business had to consciously adapt, to the “next normal” as the COVID-19 era evolved.

          Complexity academic level

          The case is most suitable for Post-Graduate Master’s level courses, MBA, MPhil in Corporate Strategy.

          Supplementary materials

          Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

          Subject code

          CSS: 11 Strategy.

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          Author and article information

          Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies
          July 24 2020
          July 24 2020
          : 10
          : 3
          : 1-18
          © 2020




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