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Category winner:
Employee Training & Development at Ritz-Carlton:
Fostering an Exceptional Customer Service Culture

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This case won the Human Resource Management/Organisational Behaviour category at The Case Centre Awards and Competitions 2019.
The case

Cesar RitzWho – the protagonist

It was Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz who founded the Ritz-Carlton brand, when opening the first Ritz in Paris in 1898.


Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marriot International Inc. Ritz-Carlton hotels are placed at the luxury end of the market, and are based around the world.


From its inception in the 18th century right through to the present Marriot days, Ritz-Carlton has always maintained a reputation for being an exceptional service organisation.

Rather than ‘hiring’ employees, Ritz-Carlton ‘selects’ them. The company believes in ‘casting’ the right person for the right job, thereby ensuring the best customer service.

Ritz CarltonWhere?

Ritz-Carlton operates 80 hotels and resorts in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean, while 30 more projects were under development as of September 2013.


After being sold by Cesar Ritz’s son, Charles, in 1983, Johnsen Properties then led the company into debt by the mid-1990s. In stepped Marriott, who have revolutionised Ritz-Carlton and led it to the Malcolm Baldridge Award for the second time, a feat no other hotel has achieved.

Herve HumlerKey quote

“Once a week we share a best story of the week at every hotel. It’s about reminding everyone about our commitment. They’re not employees. They’re ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” – Herve Humler, Ritz-Carlton President and COO.

What next?

There’s no doubting that Ritz-Carlton place a lot of importance on talent management, but how do they turn this into a competitive advantage; what are the issues and challenges in talent management?

Interested in finding out more?

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Employee Training & Development at Ritz-Carlton: Fostering an Exceptional Customer Service Culture
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Teaching note
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The author

Debapratim Purkayastha

authorDebapratim touches on what HRM/OB cases offer and making an impact.

Finding the right topic

Debapratim commented: “We, at ICFAI, believe in writing cases that are not only well-researched but also interesting by virtue of how they have been crafted. I guess we are also good at finding topics that students find relevant and teachers like to take into their classrooms.”

Real-world situations

Debapratim said: “HRM/OB deals more with the people who are part of the strategy, and hence critical for strategy implementation. Cases help bring critical real-world situations into the classroom in all their richness, and the participants can witness, even experience, first-hand, how the theoretical concepts and frameworks they are studying present themselves in the real world, and how these may be used to tackle issues in the real world.

Finding the right topic“Using cases in teaching HRM/OB provides several opportunities for considering overarching perspectives, taking a holistic view (as opposed to a compartmentalised view), and providing the richer and more expansive understanding of subject matter that is increasingly demanded from management graduates in today’s complex, globalised, and diverse workplaces.

“Moreover, HRM/OB is also about the real people, real experiences, human behaviour, their responses and the cultural, social and organisational context. How these things play out in the class during the case discussion can in themselves provide many teachable moments.”

Making an impact

He added: “It’s always a great feeling when your work is recognised by your peers. Such awards provide motivation, and I deeply value them, but this is secondary to the happiness that comes from seeing your work being used as a tool by instructors from different parts of the world to mould the life of students.

“Nothing compares to the joy of hearing from an alumnus, who passed out of the school a decade ago, that she still remembers your case and how it has helped her in her career. This is real impact! This is what keeps me going despite conflicting demands on my time!”

Aspiring students

Most students are aware of Ritz-Carlton and for many of them it may also be an aspirational brand. Ritz-Carlton is also a unique organisation, well-known for its management practices and service quality.

The case itself is versatile and can be used in regular and elective courses of HRM, as well as OB, Strategy and Services Marketing courses.

About the authors

Debapratim Purkayastha is a Dean at ICFAI Business School (IBS) and heads its Case Research Center and the Internationalization of IFHE.
e debapratim@icmrindia.org
tw @dpurkayastha


View all the 2019 winners