Leonard A. Schlesinger

Baker Foundation Professor

Unit: General Management


(617) 496-1514

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Leonard A. Schlesinger returned to the Harvard Business School as a Baker Foundation Professor of Business Administration in July of 2013 after concluding a five-year term as the 12th president of Babson College.  At HBS he teaches the first year MBA required courses Leadership and Corporate Accountability and FIELD 3 (Integrative Intelligence) and a second year elective course General Management: Processes and Action.  At Babson he successfully managed the challenges of improving academic, reputational, and financial outcomes for the college.  The school simultaneously has been ranked as the #1 institution for entrepreneurship for both its Undergraduate and Graduate programs by both Business Week and U.S. News and World Reports for the entire history of their reporting, i.e., 20 years at the Graduate level for U.S. News, for example.

Prior to Babson, Schlesinger was at Limited Brands, now known as L Brands, based in Columbus, Ohio, where he served in executive positions from 1999–2007, most recently as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer.  From 1985–1988, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Au Bon Pain.

His earlier academic career includes twenty years at Harvard Business School where he served as the George Fisher Baker Jr. Professor of Business Administration, leading MBA and executive education programs.  Courses he taught included Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management, General Management, and Service Management.  Schlesinger is well-known for his pioneering research and publications on the “Service Profit Chain.” He also was architect and chair of Harvard Business School’s MBA Essential Skills and Foundations programs.  After his tenure on the Harvard Business School faculty, he served as a Professor of Sociology and Public Policy and Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President at Brown University from 1998-1999.

Schlesinger has lectured and consulted on service quality, customer satisfaction, entrepreneurship and organizational change for over 200 major corporations, non-profit organizations, governments, and international leadership organizations around the world.  He was an active leader in the design and development of the “Work-Out!” initiative at General Electric and the “Reinventing Government” process for the U.S. Department of Labor.

His writings on entrepreneurship, service management and organizational management have been widely published.  He is the author or co-author of 12 books, including Own Your Future (AMACOM, 2014), Just StartTake action, Embrace uncertainty, Create the future (Harvard Business School Press, 2012), Action Trumps Everything (Black Ink Press, 2010), The Value Profit Chain (Free Press, 2003), The Service Profit Chain (Free Press, 1997) and The Real Heroes of Business ... and Not a CEO among Them (Doubleday Currency, 1994), and has written numerous articles for academic audiences as well as for The New York Times, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review.  He has served on the editorial boards of five major academic journals and has published numerous management case studies that have sold well over one million copies.  He also has completed three video series on service management.

Schlesinger currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and as Director of Viewpost, LLC, Demandware, Inc. and Restoration Hardware, Inc., a member of the Corporation of the Winsor School, and is a member of the President’s Council of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.  He also serves as an advisory council member of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative, and as a member of both the Council on Competitiveness and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Schlesinger holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, an MBA from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Arts in American Civilization from Brown University and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Babson College. 

                                                                                                                                                                 July 2014

Leonard A. Schlesinger
| E-mail: lschlesinger@hbs.edu | Publications | Current Research | HBS Directory 



  1. Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy

    It used to be that if you studied and worked hard, you could be assured of an extremely satisfying career. But in a world of constant layoffs and dying industries, it has become increasingly difficult to "plan" your way to success. So what is the solution? Well, when it comes to dealing with uncertainty, nobody handles it better than successful entrepreneurs. That's why you want to take the same approach they do! Based on extensive research and interviews, Own Your Future shows how to apply the simple model they use—Act. Learn. Build. Repeat—to reinvent the way you maneuver in an unpredictable job market. Here's how it works. Instead of picturing your perfect career and working backwards, simply begin with the direction you want to go and take a small step. Thinking alone will never change your life—you must ACT. Then evaluate the lessons you learn from that first step, build on them, and take another step in your desired direction. Repeat this process until you have achieved your goal. When you consider that your job—perhaps even your industry—may disappear, you have no choice but to take control. Filled with stories of professionals of all kinds who have profited from this proactive approach, Own Your Future gives you the tools you need to succeed—no matter what comes your way.


    Brown, Paul B., Charles F. Kiefer, and Leonard A. Schlesinger. Own Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy. New York, NY: AMACOM, 2014. View Details
  2. Organization: Text, Cases, and Readings on the Management of Organizational Design and Change

    Keywords: Management; Organizational Design; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Cases;


    Schlesinger, P. F., V. Sathe, L. A. Schlesinger, and J. P. Kotter. Organization: Text, Cases, and Readings on the Management of Organizational Design and Change. 3rd ed. Homewood, IL: Irwin, 1992. View Details
  3. Instructor's Manual to Accompany Managing Behavior in Organizations: Text, Cases, Readings

    Keywords: Management; Behavior; Organizations; Information; Cases; Books;


    Schlesinger, Phyllis F., Leonard A. Schlesinger, Robert G. Eccles, and John J. Gabarro. Instructor's Manual to Accompany Managing Behavior in Organizations: Text, Cases, Readings. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1983. View Details


  1. New Project? Don't Analyze—Act

    In a predictable world, getting a new initiative off the ground typically involves analyzing the market, creating a forecast, and writing a business plan. But what about in an unpredictable environment? The authors recommend looking to those who are experts in navigating extreme uncertainty while minimizing the risk: serial entrepreneurs. These business leaders act, learn, and build their way into the future. Managers in traditional organizations can do the same, starting with smart, low-risk steps that follow simple rules: Use the means at hand; stay within an acceptable loss; secure only the commitment needed for the next step; bring along only volunteers; link the initiative to a business imperative; produce early results; and manage expectations. Momentum is gained by continuing to act based on what is learned at each step. The launch of Clorox's Green Works product line is discussed as an example.

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; managing yourself; project management; project strategy; Risk Management;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., Charles F. Kiefer, and Paul B. Brown. "New Project? Don't Analyze—Act." Harvard Business Review 90, no. 3 (March 2012): 154–158. View Details
  2. Customer Experience Creation: Determinants, Dynamics and Management Strategies

    Retailers, such as Starbucks and Victoria's Secret, aim to provide customers a great experience across channels. In this paper we provide an overview of the existing literature on customer experience and expand on it to examine the creation of a customer experience from a holistic perspective. We propose a conceptual model, in which we discuss the determinants of customer experience. We explicitly take a dynamic view, in which we argue that prior customer experiences will influence future customer experiences. We discuss the importance of the social environment, self-service technologies and the store brand. Customer experience management is also approached from a strategic perspective by focusing on issues such as how and to what extent an experience-based business can create growth. In each of these areas, we identify and discuss important issues worthy of further research.

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Business Strategy; Growth and Development Strategy; Retail Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., Peter C. Verhoef, Katherine N. Lemon, A. Parasuraman, Anne Roggeveen, and Michael Tsiros. "Customer Experience Creation: Determinants, Dynamics and Management Strategies." Journal of Retailing 85, no. 1 (March 2009). View Details
  3. Strong Leadership and Teamwork Drive Culture and Performance Change: Ohio State University Medical Center 2000–2006

    Several characteristics of academic health centers have the potential to create high levels of internal conflict and misalignment that can pose significant leadership challenges.

    In September 2000, the positions of Ohio State University (OSU) senior vice president for health sciences, dean of the medical school, and the newly created position of chief executive officer of the OSU Medical Center (OSUMC) were combined under a single leader to oversee the OSUMC. This mandate from the president and trustees was modeled after top institutions with similar structures. The leader who assumed the role was tasked with improving OSUMC's academic, clinical, and financial performance.

    To achieve this goal, the senior vice president and his team employed the service value chain model of improving performance, based on the premise that leadership behavior/culture drives employee engagement/satisfaction, leading to customer satisfaction and improved organizational performance. Implementing this approach was a seven-step process: (1) selecting the right leadership team, (2) assessing the challenges and opportunities, (3) setting expectations for performance and leadership behavior, (4) aligning structures and functions, (5) engaging constituents, (6) developing leadership skills, and (7) defining strategies and tracking goals.

    The OSUMC setting during this period provides an observational case study to examine how these stepwise changes, instituted by strong leadership and teamwork, were able to make and implement sound decisions that drove substantial and measurable improvements in the engagement and satisfaction of faculty and staff; the satisfaction of students and patients; and academic, clinical, and financial performance.

    Keywords: Employee Relationship Management; Customer Value and Value Chain; Organizational Structure; Performance Improvement; Customer Satisfaction; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leading Change; Service Delivery; Satisfaction; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; Ohio;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., Fred Sanfilippo, Neeli Bendapudi, and Anthony Rucci. "Strong Leadership and Teamwork Drive Culture and Performance Change: Ohio State University Medical Center 2000–2006." Academic Medicine 83, no. 9 (September, 2008). View Details
  4. Total Quality Management and the Human Resource Professional: Applying the Baldrige Framework to Human Resources

    The still evolving discipline of total quality management (TQM) has left many human resource professionals confused about their role. The authors believe that the HR function personnel should spearhead company quality efforts, as well as assess the performance of their own function, by using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards framework.

    Keywords: Quality; Management Practices and Processes; Human Resources;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Christopher L. Hart. "Total Quality Management and the Human Resource Professional: Applying the Baldrige Framework to Human Resources." Human Resource Management 30, no. 4 (Winter, 1991): 433–454. View Details
  5. Enfranchisement of Service Workers

    Enfranchisement is achieved through an integration of empowerment with methods of pay for performance. Evidence from Ito Yokado Group in Japan and Nordstrom in the US demonstrates the positive effects of enfranchisement. Successful efforts to enfranchise employees: 1. reflect the culture of the organization or individual department in which it is being implemented, 2. grant employees varying degrees of control over operating decisions and compensation, 3. involve efforts to encourage communication from lower to higher ranks of the organization, and 4. make an array of resources available to employees to help them succeed. Major challenges to implementation include: 1. the scarcity of unit managers with the human and technical skills to interpret policies associated with enfranchisement, 2. the unwillingness of middle management to support enfranchisement, 3. the perception of management as unfair by associates, and 4. the inadequate conditioning of participants' expectations.

    Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Franchise Ownership; Employees; Compensation and Benefits; Service Industry; Japan; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and James Heskett. "Enfranchisement of Service Workers." California Management Review 33, no. 4 (Summer, 1991). View Details
  6. Job Satisfaction, Service Capability and Customer Satisfaction: An Examination of Linkages and Management Implications

    Survey data from 1,277 employees and 4,269 customers of a personal lines insurance organization were analyzed with the following results: (a) employee perceptions of service quality are positively related to both job satisfaction and self-perceived service capability; (b) job satisfaction, service capability, and employee perceptions of service-quality rise over the employee-tenure cycle; (c) discrepancies between employee perceptions of service quality and actual customer satisfaction are negatively related to both job satisfaction and service capability; and (d) service capability is a key promoter of job satisfaction with a number of organizational attributes affecting both. Results are discussed from the perspective of promoting strategies which simultaneously manage both the delivery of high quality service and the achievement of high levels of job satisfaction. It is suggested that employee tenure significantly effects the nature of the strategies chosen.

    Keywords: Service Delivery; Satisfaction; Jobs and Positions; Customer Satisfaction;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Jeffrey Zornitsky. "Job Satisfaction, Service Capability and Customer Satisfaction: An Examination of Linkages and Management Implications." Human Resource Planning 14, no. 2 (1991): 141–149. View Details
  7. Breaking the Cycle of Failure in Services

    Most managers recognize that good service is a direct result of having effective, productive people in customer contact positions. However, most service companies perpetuate a cycle of failure by tolerating high turnover and expecting employee dissatisfaction. This self-perpetuating cycle of failure seems to ensure continuing deterioration of service quality, managerial problems, and long-term decreases in sales and profits. Many managers have fallen into the cycle of failure trap because of their assumptions about the labor pool, their attitudes about technology, and the lack of relevant information about the cost of perpetuating the cycle of failure. Patterns that lead to a cycle of success include the underlying assumptions that managers bring to a task and the way that they go about setting in motion the cycle of success. Common elements of strategy in successful programs include careful selection, realistic previews of the job and organization, and concentration on quality at the service core.

    Keywords: Goals and Objectives; Service Delivery; Success; Failure; Management Skills; Service Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and James Heskett. "Breaking the Cycle of Failure in Services." MIT Sloan Management Review 32, no. 3 (spring 1991): 17–28. View Details
  8. Choosing Strategies for Change

    "From the frying pan into the fire," "let sleeping dogs lie," and "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" are all well-known sayings born of the fear of change. When people are threatened with change in organizations, similar maxims about certain people and departments are trotted out to prevent an alteration in the status quo. Fear of change is understandable, but because the environment changes rapidly, and it has been doing so increasingly, organizations cannot afford not to change. One major task of a manager, then, is to implement change, and that entails overcoming resistance to it. In this article, the authors describe four basic reasons people resist change. They also describe various methods for dealing with the resistance and provide a guide to what kinds of approaches will work when the different types of resistance occur.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Strategy; Change Management;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and John P. Kotter. "Choosing Strategies for Change." Harvard Business Review 57, no. 2 (March–April 1979). View Details
  9. Do Supervisors Thrive in Participative Work Systems?

    This article presents the findings regarding the nature of the difficulties surrounding the supervisory role in participative work systems, a conceptualization of the supervisor/work group interface, and some action implications for the management of organizations. Supervisory roles within innovative work systems can be analyzed and improved by emphasizing task accomplishment through increased employee participation and self direction. As workplace innovations that promote employee participation and self-direction become more widespread, models of collaborative leadership are needed that can provide the operating manager with tools for the design and management of organizations capable of enhancing both employer productivity and the quality of working life.

    Keywords: Managerial Roles; Organizational Design; Management Practices and Processes; Innovation and Invention;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Richard E. Walton. "Do Supervisors Thrive in Participative Work Systems?" Organizational Dynamics v. 7, no. 3 (Winter, 1979): 24–38. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Learning Entrepreneurship Means Living Entrepreneurially


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "Learning Entrepreneurship Means Living Entrepreneurially." In #Fix Young America How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), edited by Young Entrepreneur Council. Charleston, SC: Advantage Media Group, 2012. View Details
  2. The Service Profit Chain: Intellectual Roots, Current Realities, and Future Prospects


    Hallowell, Roger, and Leonard A. Schlesinger. "The Service Profit Chain: Intellectual Roots, Current Realities, and Future Prospects." In Handbook of Services Marketing and Management, edited by Dawn Iacobucci and Teresa A. Swartz. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1999. View Details
  3. Leading the Performance-Oriented Culture


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and James Heskett. "Leading the Performance-Oriented Culture." Chap. 11 in The Leader of the Future: New Visions, Strategies, and Practices for the Next Era, edited by F. Hesselbein, M. Goldsmith, and R. Beckhard. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996. View Details


  1. Work Restructuring in Unionized Organizations: Risks, Opportunities and Impacts on Collective Bargaining


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Richard E. Walton. "Work Restructuring in Unionized Organizations: Risks, Opportunities and Impacts on Collective Bargaining." Industrial Relations Research Association, March 1977. (Presentation was prepared as an article for the proceedings and published in the National Quality of Work Center Memorandum in January 1977.) View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Taco Bell Inc. (1983-1994)

    Details the actions of John Martin, newly named CEO, as he leads Taco Bell through a decade of incremental and radical changes. By the end of the case, total system sales within Taco Bell, a Mexican style fast-food restaurant chain and a division of PepsiCo, have grown from $700 million in 1983 to $3.9 billion in 1994, and the company is managing over 10,000 eat-in restaurants and a wide variety of other retail sites around the world.

    Keywords: Business Subsidiaries; Transformation; Economic Growth; Food; Leadership Style; Growth and Development Strategy; Organizational Design; Performance Effectiveness; Food and Beverage Industry; Service Industry; Mexico;


    Applegate, Lynda M., Leonard A. Schlesinger, and Dave DeLong. "Taco Bell Inc. (1983-1994)." Harvard Business School Case 398-129, May 1998. (Revised October 2001.) View Details
  2. People Express (A)

    Describes the start up, strategy, organizational design, and operations over the first eighteen months of the airline. Focuses on the creative use of human resources as an integral part of the business strategy.

    Keywords: Human Capital; Air Transportation; Organizational Design; Operations; Business Startups; Business Strategy; Air Transportation Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Debra Whitestone. "People Express (A)." Harvard Business School Case 483-103, April 1983. (Revised October 2000.) View Details
  3. Willow Creek Community Church (A)

    Describes the historic evolution and current positioning of a Christian church which focuses on the attraction of "unchurched" individuals. Describes the church's strategic service vision and its current growth and leadership problems.

    Keywords: Mission and Purpose; Strategic Planning; Social Enterprise; Marketing Strategy; Growth Management; Religion; Service Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "Willow Creek Community Church (A)." Harvard Business School Case 691-102, June 1991. (Revised February 1999.) View Details
  4. Northwest Airlines: Brush with Bankruptcy (A)--November 1992

    Deals with Northwest's financial crisis between the fall of 1992 and the following spring. Northwest's leaders face the problem of how to meet an impending $600 million payment on the 1989 LBO loan when the airline had run out of cash. Concludes by outlining options for Northwest to avert disaster, and it includes a brief background note on financial restructuring.

    Keywords: Air Transportation; Restructuring; Leveraged Buyouts; Crisis Management; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Financial Strategy; Financial Crisis; Air Transportation Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Davis Dyer. "Northwest Airlines: Brush with Bankruptcy (A)--November 1992." Harvard Business School Case 897-030, July 1996. (Revised January 1997.) View Details
  5. Northwest Airlines: Strategic Alliance and Strategic Position--May 1996

    Describes the strategic position of Northwest Airlines in 1996 and discusses its financial rebound and changes and improvements since the 1993 restructuring agreement. Describes the company's new strategy and its management of principal strategic assets, focusing at length on the strategic alliance between Northwest and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. Describes how the alliance was formed, how it obtained antitrust immunity from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and how that ruling facilitated operating cooperation between the two partners. Concludes by considering strains in the alliance and the impact of competitive alliances formed in 1996 by leading U.S. and European airlines.

    Keywords: Air Transportation; Restructuring; Alliances; Competitive Strategy; Government Administration; Cooperation; Business Strategy; Air Transportation Industry; United States; Netherlands;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Davis Dyer. "Northwest Airlines: Strategic Alliance and Strategic Position--May 1996." Harvard Business School Case 897-034, July 1996. (Revised January 1997.) View Details
  6. Xerox Corp.: Leadership Through Quality (A)

    Describes the "Leadership Through Quality" effort undertaken by Xerox in the 1980s. Includes the history of Xerox in the 1970s and its need to make major changes in quality by the 1980s. Most of the remainder of the case details the step-by-step process by which Xerox created and designed the strategy called "Leadership Through Quality" to change its basic culture and its performance on quality from 1983-86.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Strategic Planning; Quality; Leadership; Organizational Culture; Service Industry; Electronics Industry;


    Jick, Todd D., and Leonard A. Schlesinger. "Xerox Corp.: Leadership Through Quality (A)." Harvard Business School Case 490-008, October 1989. (Revised May 1996.) View Details
  7. Taco Bell--1994

    Taco Bell CEO, John Martin, boldly proclaims a growth goal of 200,000 points of access by the year 2000 (the company had approximately 3,600 in 1991). To realize such growth, Martin embraces a philosophy of continual change. The implications for Taco Bell are dramatic changes in organizational structure, culture, human resources, technology, and communications. In redefining its market and "thinking outside the box" in all aspects of its business, Taco Bell hopes to become a "super brand"--transcending not only categories but industries as well.

    Keywords: Technology; Food; Organizational Structure; Organizational Culture; Human Resources; Brands and Branding; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Goals and Objectives; Change Management; Expansion; Business Growth and Maturation; Communication; Growth and Development Strategy; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "Taco Bell--1994." Harvard Business School Case 694-076, May 1994. (Revised July 1995.) View Details
  8. PepsiCo: A View from the Corporate Office

    Describes the three business segments of PepsiCo (beverages, snack foods, and restaurants). It then explores the competitive environment within each segment and the response of PepsiCo's businesses. It seeks to show how PepsiCo CEO, D. Wayne Calloway, in a very "hands-off" and decentralized manner, achieves high growth rates in each segment through a process of "continual transformation." Calloway strives to hold together a fast-growing and rapidly changing business through shared values (instead of implementing tighter controls and increasing supervision).

    Keywords: Business Divisions; Change; Governance Controls; Management Style; Organizational Structure; Situation or Environment; Competitive Strategy; Value; Food and Beverage Industry;


    Applegate, Lynda M., and Leonard A. Schlesinger. "PepsiCo: A View from the Corporate Office." Harvard Business School Case 694-078, May 1994. (Revised November 1994.) View Details
  9. Taco Bell Corp.

    John Martin, Taco Bell CEO, brings the company into line with its competitors through incremental change during the 1980s. In the early 1990s, he adopts breakthrough approaches to improve service levels while reducing prices, providing a distinct competitive advantage. Illustrates the power of breakthrough thinking in a service industry and demonstrates the importance of a coordinated, holistic approach to implementation.

    Keywords: Change Management; Food; Competitive Advantage; Innovation and Management; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Roger H. Hallowell. "Taco Bell Corp." Harvard Business School Case 692-058, November 1991. (Revised April 1994.) View Details
  10. Au Bon Pain: The French Bakery Cafe, The Partner/Manager Program, Teaching Note

    Teaching Note for (9-687-063).


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Roger H. Hallowell. "Au Bon Pain: The French Bakery Cafe, The Partner/Manager Program, Teaching Note." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 692-090, March 1992. (Revised December 1993.) View Details
  11. Air Miles Canada

    Air Miles Canada both increases customer loyalty by rewarding shopping frequency at specified merchants, and enables its sponsors to develop a new, more complex understanding of their customers' (and potential customers') shopping habits, thus making future customer acquisition more efficient.

    Keywords: Programs; Customer Relationship Management; Information Management; Air Transportation Industry; Canada;


    Jones, Thomas O., Leonard A. Schlesinger, and Roger H. Hallowell. "Air Miles Canada." Harvard Business School Case 694-008, July 1993. View Details
  12. American Nursing Services, Inc.

    P.K. Scherle, R.N., founder, president, and owner, struggles with her successful business and focuses on either growth or enhanced profitability.

    Keywords: Growth Management; Business Growth and Maturation; Service Delivery; Entrepreneurship; Health Care and Treatment; Growth and Development Strategy; Health Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Roger H. Hallowell. "American Nursing Services, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 692-102, April 1992. (Revised June 1993.) View Details
  13. Euro Disney: The First 100 Days

    The Walt Disney Co. theme parks historically have thrived on the basis of a formula stressing excellent customer service and a magnificent physical environment. The formula has proven successful in Japan, as well as the United States. With the controversial opening of Euro Disney in France, however, there has become reason to doubt the international appeal of the formula. The case documents issues involved with Euro Disney. Examines the transferability of a successful service concept across international boundaries.

    Keywords: Multinational Firms and Management; Service Operations; Service Delivery; Corporate Strategy; Customer Focus and Relationships; Service Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Japan; France; United States;


    Loveman, Gary W., and Leonard A. Schlesinger. "Euro Disney: The First 100 Days." Harvard Business School Case 693-013, August 1992. (Revised June 1993.) View Details
  14. Sunday River Ski Resort

    Sunday River is a ski area in Bethel, ME which has been run by entrepreneur Les Otten since 1980. The year before Otten purchased the area, it posted a loss of $235,000 on revenues of $541,000. Under Otten's leadership, however, Sunday River posted year after year of growth and profit to become one of the leading Eastern ski areas. Its strategy focused on providing the best snow surface possible. Sunday River's success is particularly impressive in the overall context of the ski resort industry which has been plagued by losses and bankruptcy.

    Keywords: Service Delivery; Competitive Advantage; Entrepreneurship; Success; Transformation; Tourism Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Maine;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "Sunday River Ski Resort." Harvard Business School Case 692-025, May 1992. View Details
  15. Oakland A's: Baseball's Great Transformation

    The Oakland A's baseball team underwent a major turnaround during the 1980s, both on the field and in the business office. One of the most significant improvements came in the area of customer service. The A's management believed that if they took care of their fans, they would remain loyal through winning and losing seasons.

    Keywords: Transformation; Customer Focus and Relationships; Sports; Sports Industry; California;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "Oakland A's: Baseball's Great Transformation." Harvard Business School Case 690-088, April 1990. (Revised March 1992.) View Details
  16. Ford Motor Co.: Dealer Sales and Service

    Since Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Co., Ford vehicles have been sold and serviced the same way. By the late 1980s Ford began to consider making changes in its sales and service process. Two developments forced Ford to reconsider these processes. First, Ford found through various surveys that customers had very clear complaints about the way they were treated by car dealers. Second, with more rapid technology transfer among the automakers, product differentiation was declining. Therefore, the channels of distribution provided one of the final potential points of differentiation between automakers. This case gives the students all of the conclusions from the studies Ford had done and asks them to redesign the sales and service process to address customers' complaints and become a point of differentiation for Ford.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Change Management; Distribution Channels; Customer Focus and Relationships; Service Industry; Auto Industry; Retail Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "Ford Motor Co.: Dealer Sales and Service." Harvard Business School Case 690-030, November 1989. (Revised February 1992.) View Details
  17. Gain Sharing at Star Cablevision Group

    Describes Star's experiment with gain sharing over a three-year period. Background on the industry and company's history are provided to establish the context for the shift to pay-for-performance. Describes the three different gain sharing programs, the resulting payouts, and organizational impact.

    Keywords: Motivation and Incentives; Service Delivery; Performance Productivity; Television Entertainment; Compensation and Benefits; Media and Broadcasting Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Sarah Ann Greene. "Gain Sharing at Star Cablevision Group." Harvard Business School Case 692-012, August 1991. (Revised February 1992.) View Details
  18. Transformation at Ford

    In 1980 Ford was near disaster. The company lost billions of dollars between 1980 and 1982. By 1988 the company had been transformed into one of the most successful corporations in the United States. Describes what happened and then examines how it happened. The major objective is to look at major change in a huge organization and the way the change was made.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Change Management; Success; Transformation; Manufacturing Industry; Auto Industry; United States;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and Richard Pascale. "Transformation at Ford." Harvard Business School Case 390-083, November 1989. (Revised November 1991.) View Details
  19. Mastering the Art of Change: Managing Convergence and Upheaval

    Outlines the differences between convergent change, which is a process of incremental innovation and continuous improvement, and divergent change, which involves revolutionary changes. Discusses how to manage each type of change and the consequences associated with each. Organizational evolution typically involves longer periods of convergent change that are punctuated by short periods of divergent change in which managers realign the firm and react to external opportunities and challenges.

    Keywords: Change Management; Change;


    Kanter, Rosabeth M., and Leonard A. Schlesinger. "Mastering the Art of Change: Managing Convergence and Upheaval." Harvard Business School Background Note 389-168, June 1989. View Details
  20. West Point: The Cheating Incident (A)

    Presents a review of published data on the 1976 cheating scandal at West Point. Written from the perspective of the Academy Superintendent, it raises issues of ethics, organizational change and action planning in the face of conflicting stakeholder interests.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Higher Education; Ethics; Government Administration; Conflict and Resolution; Planning; Public Administration Industry; Education Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "West Point: The Cheating Incident (A)." Harvard Business School Case 481-117, June 1981. (Revised February 1983.) View Details
  21. West Point: The Cheating Incident (B)

    A review of the activities following the expose of the cheating incident at West Point and leading up to the Secretary of the Army's decision on the situation.

    Keywords: Higher Education; Ethics; Judgments; Government Administration; Public Administration Industry; Education Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "West Point: The Cheating Incident (B)." Harvard Business School Case 482-005, August 1981. View Details
  22. West Point: The Cheating Incident (C)

    An outline of the Secretary of the Army's decision in the matter of the 1976 cheating scandal at West Point.

    Keywords: Higher Education; Ethics; Judgments; Government Administration; Public Administration Industry; Education Industry;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A. "West Point: The Cheating Incident (C)." Harvard Business School Case 482-006, August 1981. View Details
  23. Action Planning and Implementation: A Manager's Checklist

    A checklist of suggested guidelines for managers embarking on action planning and implementation activities. Used as a supplement to assist in the preparation of case materials.

    Keywords: Management Skills; Business Processes;


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., and James P. Ware. "Action Planning and Implementation: A Manager's Checklist." Harvard Business School Background Note 481-010, July 1980. View Details


  1. People, Service, Success: The Service Profit Link


    Schlesinger, Leonard A., James Heskett, and W. Earl Sasser. "People, Service, Success: The Service Profit Link." Harvard Business Publishing, 1993. Video. (Volume 1 - The Service Profit Link, Volume 2 - Mobilizing People for Breakthrough Service, Volume 3 - The Lifetime Value of Customers, Volume 4 - Listening to Customers, Volume 5 - Saving Customers with Service Recovery.) View Details

Other Publications and Materials

    Research Summary

  1. Service Futures

    Jim Heskett, Earl Sasser and Len Schlesinger are collaborating on an effort designed to address three specific needs.

    First, an account of our efforts to test the validity of some basic concepts on service and services that we envisioned over thirty years ago . . . an effort to see how well they’ve survived the test of time.  Second, as a basis for defining trends that will help us see what services and service success will look like in the coming years.  Third, as the basis for assessing whether or not the gaps in service quality and productivity that are important pieces of the global development agenda will be closed.

    Our work is rooted in the assumption that management has within its control the authority, and we think the responsibility, to improve service quality and productivity while increasing job satisfaction and employee engagement.  This book is about ways it has been, and can be, achieved.

    The primary intent of this book is to provide an understanding of how advances in services are being and will be achieved.  Through case examples based on our collective experience, as well as an exploration of the underlying theoretical work in the field and its practical application, we will present a narrative of remarkable successes, unnecessary failures, and future promise.  The book seeks to provide a roadmap for the design and delivery of winning services for managers entrusted with the task in the years to come.

    We know what has produced success in service endeavors in the past.  We have observed and documented strong service principles and even developed some service management concepts ourselves that have endured in practice over time.  However, it is quite obvious to us that what it took to produce a winning hand in managing in the service economies of the 1970s and 1980s is quite different than it is today.  Many of the same questions prevail.  But the management responses have to change to reflect future challenges facing service industries.  With the help of the thinking of outstanding practitioners, our goal here is to provide insights into what it will take to succeed in the future.