Case | HBS Case Collection | April 1997 (Revised May 1997)

Mercer Management Consulting's "Grow to Be Great" (A): The Growth Initiative

by Dorothy A. Leonard and Carin-Isabel Knoop


In late 1994, James Down, member of Mercer's Executive Committee, has to decide whether or not he should push ahead with the writing and publication of a book on growth--at a time when the more successful business publications focus on reengineering and cost cutting. He sees this as an opportunity to position Mercer in the consulting market and align the organization--itself a result of several mergers--around a common platform. He is facing resistance within the firm, however, especially from the firm's European offices, which see little need for this knowledge product. Proceeding without Europe could result in an incomplete product and a divided firm. If he waits, though, he may miss a critical market window. The case provides early versions of the growth framework. The product in this case is built from the firm's knowledge assets, and is very different from manufactured hardware or software.

Keywords: Technological Innovation; Organizational Culture; Business Growth and Maturation; Knowledge Management; Product Development; Information Publishing; Books; Consulting Industry; Publishing Industry;


Leonard, Dorothy A., and Carin-Isabel Knoop. Mercer Management Consulting's "Grow to Be Great" (A): The Growth Initiative. Harvard Business School Case 697-084, April 1997. (Revised May 1997.)