Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2009 (Revised October 2012)


by Tom Nicholas and David Chen


In October 1941, a top secret envoy from the U.S. military was sent to Crosley Corporation in Cincinnati, Ohio to request their assistance to construct a weapon that would drastically strengthen the defenses of U.S. troops: the proximity fuze. Such a fuze would allow enemy aircraft to be shot down with a rate of accuracy well above that of previous weaponry. The task would be a challenging one, as conventional wisdom held that it took at least four years for a weapon to go from concept to production, whereas the proximity fuze was needed on a shorter time frame. Moreover, the production process would be complex, requiring hundreds of components produced by dozens of manufacturers, all of which Crosley would have to assemble to produce the finished product. Would Crosley accept the assignment?

Keywords: Technology; History; Production; National Security; Organizational Structure; Corporate Strategy; Research and Development; Product Development; Business and Government Relations; Creativity; Innovation and Invention; Ohio;


Nicholas, Tom, and David Chen. "Crosley." Harvard Business School Case 809-160, June 2009. (Revised October 2012.)