Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2001 (Revised November 2002)

John Smithers

by Nitin Nohria and Todd Jick


Describes an ill-fated effort to institute a total quality program. Using the vantage point of one of the managers selected to be a quality instructor, the case traces the rise and fall of the quality effort during its very brief existence over the course of six months. Allows students to identify many things that can undermine implementation of change: lack of corporate commitment, overly formalized programs, inflated expectations, lack of initial successes, etc. A rewritten version of an earlier case.

Keywords: Quality; Change Management; Mission and Purpose; Organizational Culture; Failure;


Nohria, Nitin, and Todd Jick. "John Smithers." Harvard Business School Case 402-041, December 2001. (Revised November 2002.)