Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2011

Grand Circle Travel: Where Risk Comes with the Territory

by Herman B. Leonard


A worldwide travel company is intrinsically exposed to risks of natural and man-made disasters. How do you organize a business for success when it must on a nearly daily basis cope with hazards ranging from minor mishaps to large-scale catastrophes? Alan and Harriet Lewis have built a successful travel company based on their idea of "extreme competitive advantage" -- and one of their core skills has to be quick and effective response when the travelers on one of their trips are exposed to flood, famine, pestilence, disease, earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorism, and other hazards yet to be discovered. What is the best way to organize so as to be able to respond quickly, reliably, flexibly, and adaptively when troubles arise?

Keywords: Crisis Management; Risk and Uncertainty; Safety; Transportation; Organizational Design; Decision Choices and Conditions; Organizational Structure; Mission and Purpose; Competitive Advantage; Travel Industry;


Leonard, Herman B. "Grand Circle Travel: Where Risk Comes with the Territory." Harvard Business School Case 311-105, March 2011.