The Case Centre’s top 40 bestselling cases

Eleventh place - People Express (A)
The case
Case: People Express (A) Shouldice Hospital Ltd.
Authors: Leonard A. Schlesinger and Debra Whitestone
Institution: Harvard Business School
Ref: 9-483-103
Date published: 1983

By 1992, People Express, which had been set up in 1980, was the biggest air carrier in terms of departures at all New York Airports. It had flown three million passengers, saved the flying public over a quarter of a billion dollars, and was expecting a $3 million profit for the year.

This case describes the strategy, organisational design, and operations over the first eighteen months of the airline’s existence. It focuses on the creative use of human resources as an integral part of the business strategy. Don Burr, the founder and CEO of People Express, said: ‘The beauty of the human condition is the magic people are capable of when there’s direction. When there’s no direction, you’re not capable of much.’

The authors

Leonard A. Schlesinger is Baker Foundation Professor at Harvard Business School.

Debra Whitestone is now a Principal and Senior Consultant, at Changewise.
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