Norman A. Berg

MBA Class of 1958 Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

Professor Berg has long been involved in the development and teaching of the School's general management courses in the MBA and executive programs. His professional interests have been in the broad field of general management, with emphasis on the strategic and organizational problems resulting from diversification and the international competitive problems facing American industry. He is currently Faculty Chairman of the Owner/President Management Program and teaching the General Management course in that program. Prior to that he taught a similar course in the Program for Management Development. He is co-author of five editions of Policy Formulation and Administration, a leading General Management text and casebook, and author of General Management: An Analytic Approach, as well as a number of articles and studies related to diversification.

He received his BS degree in mechanical engineering from Case Institute of Technology and his MBA and DBA degrees from the Harvard Business School. Prior to joining the HBS faculty in 1963, he served in the Army and also worked for United States Steel Corporation, Texas Instruments, and IMEDE Management Development Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Professor Berg has been a director of a number of companies, is active as a teacher in company executive development programs in the United States and abroad, and serves as educational advisor on management development programs for several companies.

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. MicroFridge: Robert Bennett, President and CEO, OPM Presentation

    Robert P. Bennett of MicroFridge discusses a number of topics including his philosophy, his company's market focus, the reorganization of the selling organization, reduction of overhead, the company's poor performance in the past year, its partnership with Sanyo, and its strategy for a new contract with Sanyo. Designed for use with MicroFridge (9-395-027).

    Keywords: Restructuring; Salesforce Management; Markets; Partners and Partnerships; Strategy; Performance;


    Berg, Norman A. "MicroFridge: Robert Bennett, President and CEO, OPM Presentation." Harvard Business School Video Supplement 897-502, June 1997. View Details
  2. MicroFridge

    MicroFridge, a five-year-old, $12 million company based in Sharon, Mass., develops and sells a unique, combination compact refrigerator and microwave oven. All of the manufacturing is done for it by Sanyo in various overseas locations. The founder and president believes the potential market for his product is an estimated 5 million homes in the "home away from home" market.

    Keywords: Production; Competitive Strategy; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Supply Chain Management; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Consumer Products Industry; Massachusetts;


    Berg, Norman A., and James Weber. "MicroFridge." Harvard Business School Case 395-027, August 1994. (Revised October 1996.) View Details
  3. Montague Corporation (A)

    The Montague Corp. is a small company started in 1987 and owned by David Montague, age 31, and his father. The company designs, manufactures in Taiwan, and sells through distributors worldwide a high-quality "bicycle that folds." The company offices are located in Cambridge, Mass., and the company has only five other employees, all younger than David. The company has been financed internally and is cash-rich at the present rate of growth. About 90% of sales are foreign, as is all of the manufacturing.

    Keywords: Business Strategy; Financial Strategy; Financial Management; Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Globalized Firms and Management; Family Business; Bicycle Industry; Taiwan; Cambridge;


    Berg, Norman A., and James Weber. "Montague Corporation (A)." Harvard Business School Case 395-037, April 1995. View Details
  4. Montague Corporation (B)

    Presents David Montague's evaluation of the progress so far and the basic problems that he believes prevent him from achieving higher sales. Designed as a class handout after discussion of the (A) case.

    Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Growth and Development Strategy; Measurement and Metrics; Problems and Challenges; Bicycle Industry;


    Berg, Norman A. "Montague Corporation (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 395-143, April 1995. View Details
  5. RailTex, Inc. (A)

    By 1992, RailTex, Inc., had acquired and was operating 23 geographically separate short-line railroads (feeder lines for larger railroads) in Mexico, Canada, and primarily in the United States. Founded in 1977 with $500,000 of capital as a railcar leasing company, the company began buying and operating short-line railroads in 1984. Since 1988, revenues have increased an average of 35% per year, up to $39 million in 1992, a growth rate far outstripping that of the old, mature railroad industry as a whole. Bruce Flohr, the founder, believed the company's success was due largely to his decentralized management system and emphasis on cost controls and marketing.

    Keywords: Acquisition; Business Divisions; Cost Management; Growth and Development; Growth and Development Strategy; Management Systems; Product Marketing; Logistics; Risk and Uncertainty; Valuation;


    Berg, Norman A., and James Weber. "RailTex, Inc. (A)." Harvard Business School Case 395-033, September 1994. (Revised March 1995.) View Details
  6. Note on Entering Foreign Markets: Opportunities for Smaller U.S. Companies

    Designed specifically for the smaller U.S.-based company; provides a brief overview of the various means by which such companies can enter foreign markets and the sources of information and assistance, principally on exporting, available to them.

    Keywords: Trade; Information; Management; Market Entry and Exit; Distribution; United States;


    Berg, Norman A., and James Weber. "Note on Entering Foreign Markets: Opportunities for Smaller U.S. Companies." Harvard Business School Background Note 395-034, August 1994. View Details
  7. Prelude Corp.: Afterthoughts

    Commentary by an executive familiar with the industry on what went wrong at Prelude and what the difficulties are in creating economies of scale in the lobster fishing industry.

    Keywords: Management; Problems and Challenges; Cost Management; Food and Beverage Industry;


    Berg, Norman A. "Prelude Corp.: Afterthoughts." Harvard Business School Supplement 392-125, April 1992. View Details
  8. Polaroid-Kodak

    Describes Kodak's long-awaited challenge to Polaroid in the field of instant photography. Provides technological and company background of both Polaroid and Eastman-Kodak and their respective product lines. Discusses Polaroid's claim that Kodak infringed on 10 Polaroid patents.

    Keywords: Technology; Patents; Competition; Product Development;


    Berg, Norman A. "Polaroid-Kodak." Harvard Business School Case 376-266, June 1976. (Revised March 1984.) View Details
  9. Lincoln Electric Co.

    Covers the strategy and management practices of the world's largest manufacturer of welding equipment. Discusses the compensation system and company culture, and the leadership style of management.

    Keywords: Construction; Compensation and Benefits; Leadership Style; Business or Company Management; Organizational Culture; Business Strategy; Manufacturing Industry;


    Berg, Norman A. "Lincoln Electric Co." Harvard Business School Case 376-028, August 1975. (Revised July 1983.) View Details
  10. Textron, Inc.

    Covers the historical development, current business, management philosophies, corporate strategy, and the nature and role of the corporate headquarters in managing the highly diversified operations. Based on Textron, Inc. (A).

    Keywords: History; Management Style; Business or Company Management; Corporate Strategy; Business Headquarters; Operations;


    Berg, Norman A. "Textron, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 373-337, June 1973. (Revised July 1982.) View Details