YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Price Isn't Everything

November 23, 1986

In his discussion of the sad fate of People Express, John F. Lawrence suggests that the associated Harvard case study of that airline will have to be revised.

But perhaps what needs to be revised instead is the notion that reading such cases is the key to sound management education.

Lawrence correctly points out that the People Express story has many elements.

These include reaction to government regulatory policy, design of marketing strategy, systems of human resource management and cost control.

Each of these topics can be studied separately.

But when melded into a single case, what emerges is confusion and the unarguable conclusion that "it's hard to say what would have worked."

So let's not revise the case. Combined with Lawrence's column, the old version will demonstrate that the real world is complicated and uncertain--which is the lesson students should have gotten from it in the first place.

Having learned that lesson, they can go on to study government regulation, marketing, human resources and cost controls in a rigorous fashion.

In contrast to People Express, these are subjects about which much can be learned.


UCLA Graduate School

of Management

Los Angeles Times Articles