HBS Cases

Harvard Business School's case study method of teaching is famous for putting students in the same decision-point situations faced by actual executives. These articles discuss how HBS faculty developed specific cases, their teaching points, and lessons for practitioners.

45 Results

 

Starbucks Reinvented

Nancy Koehn's new case on the rebirth of Starbucks under Howard Schultz "distills 20 years of my thinking about the most important lessons of strategy, leadership, and managing in turbulence." Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

The Business of Behavioral Economics

Leslie John and Michael Norton explore how behavioral economics can help people overcome bad habits and change for the better. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Marketing Obamacare

HBS Professor John Quelch contends that the success of the Affordable Care Act depends more on marketing than it does on policy. And in Connecticut, he's got just the state to prove it. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Are Electronic Cigarettes a Public Good or Health Hazard?

A new case study by John Quelch charts the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes and how tobacco companies and regulators are responding. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Decommoditizing the Canned Tomato

Most commodity producers look to cut costs aggressively. So why is Mutti S.p.a, an Italian producer of tomato products, paying farmers more than competitors? Mary Shelman discusses her case study. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Stressing Safety in South Africa’s Platinum Mines

Gautam Mukunda discusses why and how he teaches a case study about Cynthia Carroll, the first woman and non-South African to serve as chief executive of mining giant Anglo American. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: What Warren Buffett Saw in Newspapers

When Warren Buffett made a bid for troubled Media General's newspapers, analysts wondered whether the legendary investor had lost his fastball. Hardly, as Benjamin Esty's case reveals. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Lessons from the Lance Armstrong Cheating Scandal

Clayton S. Rose's recent case study looks at the behavior of teammates who were swept up in Lance Armstrong's cheating scandal. When do followers need to break away from their leader? Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

D’O: Making a Michelin-Starred Restaurant Affordable

Under the leadership of Chef Davide Oldani, the Italian restaurant D'O balances Michelin-star-level quality with affordable prices. In the following story and video, Professor Gary Pisano explains how Oldani does it. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: LEGO

LEGO toys have captivated children and their parents for 80 years. But managing the enterprise has not always been fun and games. Professor Stefan H. Thomke explains the lessons behind a new case on the company. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Against the Grain

Dealing with pervasive, institutionalized corruption is tough but not impossible. A new case study on Tanzania joins a series of cases in professor Karthik Ramanna's research that explore the deep-seated problems of corruption as well as multiple entrepreneurial paths to combat it. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Sir Alex Ferguson--Managing Manchester United

For almost three decades, Sir Alex Ferguson has developed the Manchester United soccer club into one of the most recognized sports brands in the world. Professor Anita Elberse discusses the keys to Sir Alex's long-time success. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Branding Yoga

As yoga's popularity has grown into a $6 billion business, a cast of successful entrepreneurs has emerged with their own styles of the ancient practice. Yet yoga's rise underscores a larger question for Professor Rohit Deshpandé: Is everything brandable? Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: A Startup Takes On the Credit Ratings Giants

Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's dominated the credit ratings industry for decades. Could the recession weaken their hold? Professor Bo Becker discusses his case on super startup Kroll. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Overcoming the Stress of ‘Englishnization’

CEOs of global companies increasingly mandate that their employees learn English. The problem: these workers can experience a loss of status and believe they aren't as effective in their learned language, says Assistant Professor Tsedal Neeley. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Clocky, the Runaway Alarm Clock

There had not been an innovative breakthrough in alarm clock design since the snooze button until entrepreneur Gauri Nanda created Clocky. Her runaway hit has been the inspiration for several cases written by Professor Elie Ofek. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Making Lincoln Center Cool Again

When Reynold Levy took over as president of New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, he faced challenges ranging from crumbling buildings to an aging customer base. How could the venerable institution get its high notes back? Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Lady Gaga

What goes into creating the world's largest pop star? Before her fame hit, Lady Gaga's manager faced decisions that could have derailed the performer's career. A new case by Associate Professor Anita Elberse examines the strategic marketing choices that instead created a global brand. Open for comment; 28 Comments posted.

KFC’s Explosive Growth in China

In China, Yum! Brands is opening a KFC store every day. But this is not the KFC you know in America. A recent case study written by professor David Bell and Agribusiness Program director Mary Shelman reveals how the chicken giant adapted its famous fast-food formula for the local market. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

Mobile Banking for the Unbanked

A billion people in developing countries have no need for a savings account–but they do need a financial service that banks compete to provide. The new HBS case Mobile Banking for the Unbanked, written by professor Kash Rangan, is a lesson in understanding the real need of customers. Closed for comment; 27 Comments posted.

QuikTrip’s Investment in Retail Employees Pays Off

Instead of treating low-paid staffers as commodities, a new breed of retailers such as QuikTrip assigns them more responsibility and invests in their development, says professor Zeynep Ton. The result? Happy customers and even happier employees. Open for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Reinventing the National Geographic Society

How do you transform a 123-year-old cultural icon and prepare it for the digital world? Slowly, as a new case on the National Geographic Society by professor David Garvin demonstrates. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Terror at the Taj

Under terrorist attack, employees of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower bravely stayed at their posts to help guests. A new multimedia case by Harvard Business School professor Rohit Deshpandé looks at the hotel's customer-centered culture and value system. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

United Breaks Guitars

A new case coauthored by HBS marketing professor John Deighton and research associate Leora Kornfeld offers an object lesson in the dangers social media can bring for big, recognizable companies and their brands. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Tesco’s Stumble into the US Market

UK retailer Tesco was very successful penetrating foreign markets—until it set its sights on the United States. Its series of mistakes and some bad luck are captured in a new case by Harvard Business School marketing professor John A. Quelch. Read More

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

A recent Harvard Business School case by HBS professors Amy C. Edmondson and Anita Tucker explores how one hospital implemented its own version of health-care reform, taking overall performance levels from below average to the top 10 percent in the industry. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Developing Asia’s Largest Slum

In a recent case study, HBS assistant professor Lakshmi Iyer and lecturer John Macomber examine ongoing efforts to forge a public-private mixed development in Dharavi—featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire. But there is a reason this project has languished for years. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Looking Behind Google’s Stand in China

Google's threat to pull out of China is either a blow for Internet freedom or cover for a failed business strategy, depending on with whom you talk. Professor John A. Quelch looks behind the headlines in a new case. Read More

Customer Feedback Not on elBulli’s Menu

The world is beating a path to Chef Ferran Adrià's door at elBulli, but why? In professor Michael Norton's course, students learn about marketing from a business owner who says he doesn't care whether or not customers like his product. Read More

The Energy Politics of Russia vs. Ukraine

A recent Harvard Business School case looks at Russia's decision in 2006 to cut off supply of natural gas to Ukraine's energy company—a move repeated this year. Is Russia just an energy bully? Students of professor Rawi Abdelal learn there is nothing black and white when it comes to Russia's energy politics. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Economics of the Ethanol Business

What happens when a group of Missouri corn farmers gets into the energy business? What appears to be a very lucrative decision quickly turns out to be much more risky. Professor Forest Reinhardt leads a case discussion on what the protagonists should do next. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

The Value of Environmental Activists

With decidedly non-profit goals leading them on, how do environmental protection groups such as Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund create value? Can it be measured? A Q&A with Harvard Business School professor Ramon Casadesus-Masanell and case writer Jordan Mitchell. Read More

Negotiating with Wal-Mart

What happens when you encounter a company with a great deal of power, like Wal-Mart, that is also the ultimate non-negotiable partner? A series of Harvard Business School cases by James Sebenius and Ellen Knebel explore successful deal-making strategies. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

JetBlue’s Valentine’s Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman. Read More

One Laptop per Child

The One Laptop per Child initiative wants to develop and distribute $100 laptops to poor children around the world. Despite eager observers and exciting breakthroughs technologically, it has found the path to customers more rocky than anticipated. Marketing has some answers, as a new case study details. Q&A with HBS professor John Quelch. Read More

Climate Change Puts Heat on GMs

Ready or not, companies are being swept up in the increasing public debate over global climate change. How should firms respond? A case study exploring how financial service giant UBS thinks through the issues has students coming down on different sides. Read More

Marketing Maria: Managing the Athlete Endorsement

Million-dollar endorsement deals will be made and broken by how baseball players on the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies performed in the just completed World Series. HBS professor Anita Elberse discusses her research on sports marketing and her recent case on tennis powerhouse Maria Sharapova. Read More

How Magazine Luiza Courts the Poor

Brazilian retailer Magazine Luiza has developed an innovative strategy for selling to the poor, combining technology with great service that please both customers and employees. The question of how the company can grow without sacrificing the special qualities that have made it successful is at the heart of a case study developed by Harvard Business School professor Frances X. Frei. Read More

When Good Teams Go Bad

Know when teamwork doesn't work—and how to fix it. Professors Jeff Polzer and Scott Snook teach "The Army Crew Team" case and the dilemma faced by a rowing coach who has great individual parts but can't get them to synchronize. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

The Challenge of Managing National Security

What can we learn from mistakes made in managing national intelligence before 9/11? Professor Jan Rivkin discusses the difficulties of integrating a highly differentiated organization, and the dangers of overcentralizing decision making. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Governing Sumida Corporation

In a new Harvard Business School case, Professor Lynn Paine and her colleagues explore the nature of corporate governance systems by studying Japanese electronics components maker Sumida Corp. CEO Shigeyuki Yawata looks to create a governance structure that would be transparent to investors and stakeholders worldwide. Read More

On Managing with Bobby Knight and “Coach K”

Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski are arguably the two most successful college basketball coaches in the country. But their leadership styles could not be more different. Professor Scott Snook wonders: Is it better to be loved or feared? Read More

Oprah: A Case Study Comes Alive

Writing a business case on the icon of daytime television and chief executive of a major media empire was challenge enough for HBS professor Nancy Koehn and colleagues. Oprah Winfrey's visit to campus to talk with graduating students made it ample reward. Read More

The Case of the Mystery Writer’s Brand

A look behind how professor John Deighton developed a case study of mystery writer James Patterson. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Classic Cases Live On at HBS

Harvard Business School is famous for its case method of classroom teaching. Here is a look at some of the classic cases that have been taught to business leaders worldwide—and are still in use today. Read More