Case | HBS Case Collection | November 2005

Marilyn Carlson Nelson and the Carlson Companies Renaissance

by William W. George and Andrew N. McLean


In 2005, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, CEO and chairman of the Carlson Companies, must decide whether to outsource jobs at the risk of destroying the culture centered on the values of integrity, trustworthiness, and caring that she had painstakingly created since becoming CEO of the family-owned company. Profiles the leadership development of the protagonist, tracing her career in business and civic associations, her youth and education, her leadership education, and her values and aspirations. Provides information on the business and history of Carlson Companies, including its company culture and management. Raises questions about the consequences of leadership decisions and the durability of company cultures.

Keywords: History; Leadership Development; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Business or Company Management; Organizational Culture; Personal Development and Career; Family Ownership; Leadership Style; Management Teams;


George, William W., and Andrew N. McLean. "Marilyn Carlson Nelson and the Carlson Companies Renaissance." Harvard Business School Case 406-019, November 2005.