Case | HBS Case Collection | February 1991 (Revised November 2010)

Tennessee Controls: The Strategic Ranking Problem

by Robert L. Simons and Dale Geiger


Tennessee Controls has instituted a new formal asset acquisition process to rank competing proposals. Judy Starnes, the new division manager, is asked to rank three proposals by using techniques to quantify economic returns, risk, as well as the credibility of the individuals submitting the proposals. The calculations, which take students approximately 30 minutes to perform, attempt to reduce each complex proposal to a single number. Discussion in class permits role-playing as well as an opportunity to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a very mechanistic approach to critical strategic issues.

Keywords: Capital Budgeting; Governance Controls; Management Systems; Strategic Planning; Mathematical Methods; Electronics Industry;


Simons, Robert L., and Dale Geiger. "Tennessee Controls: The Strategic Ranking Problem." Harvard Business School Case 191-083, February 1991. (Revised November 2010.)