Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2014 (Revised January 2014)

Henry Schein: Doing Well by Doing Good?

by Rebecca Henderson, Raffaella Sadun, Aldo Sesia and Russell Eisenstat

Abstract

Henry Schein Inc., a distributor of supplies to dentist, physician, and veterinary practices, had sales approaching $9 billion and employed nearly 16,000 people. The company had experienced impressive growth under the leadership of Stanley Bergman and his executive team, many of whom had been with Schein for decades. Besides organic growth, the company relied heavily on acquiring small family-owned businesses to grow, both inside the U.S., and abroad. Bergman and his team invested a great deal of their time on building and sustaining a culture based on care and respect and considered it pivotal to the company's success and a key competitive advantage.

The case explores the principles behind Schein's culture and presents challenges to maintaining the culture as the company continues to expand internationally, including its goal to be the first national distributor of dental supplies in China. At the same time, Schein was evolving from being primarily a logistics company with a value-added services component to becoming a company with a primary focus on value-added services and the sale of specific products that the company might need to manufacture directly.

As Schein moved into new market segments and new executives were brought in, a new challenge to the culture would be posed.

Keywords: leadership; leadership development; strategy; strategy execution; performance management; corporate culture; social responsibility; Mergers & Acquisitions; joint ventures; partnerships; health care industry; Healthcare Logistics Industry; competitive advantage; Strategy; Leadership; Global Strategy; Selection and Staffing; Management Style; Organizational Culture; Corporate Social Responsibility and Impact; Health Industry; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; China; Europe; United States;

Citation:

Henderson, Rebecca, Raffaella Sadun, Aldo Sesia, and Russell Eisenstat. "Henry Schein: Doing Well by Doing Good?" Harvard Business School Case 714-450, January 2014. (Revised January 2014.)