Dr. Earl Sasser

Term: October 30, 2019 – July 15, 2024

Earl Sasser is the UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management, Emeritus at Harvard Business School where he was a member of the faculty from 1969 to 2017. He received a B.A. in Mathematics from Duke University in 1965, an MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1967, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Duke University in 1969.

Sasser developed the School’s first course on the management of service operations in 1972. Sasser taught a variety of courses in the MBA program including Production and Operations Management, Decision Making and Ethical Values, The Operating Manager and Service Management. In 1982, Sasser’s excellence in the classroom was recognized in an article in Fortune Magazine profiling eight professors from business schools throughout the country.

Sasser held a number of key administrative posts at Harvard Business School. He was chair of the MBA Program from 1988 to 1991. He was also faculty chair of the Advanced Management Program from 1992-1995. From 1995-2000 Sasser served as the senior associate dean of executive education. He served as Chairman of the Board of Harvard Business School Interactive, a not-for-profit corporation, from 2000 to 2003. Sasser is the past faculty chair of executive education’s Program for Leadership Development [PLD] — a program for which he served as the principal architect in 2004.

In 1990 Sasser co-authored (with HBS Professor James L. Heskett and former HBS assistant professor Christopher W.L. Hart) Service Breakthroughs: Changing the Rules of the Game. Based upon five years of extensive research in 14 service industries, it explains how one or two firms in each industry are constantly able to set new standards for quality and value that force competitors to adapt or fail. Sasser has co-authored several other books in the field of service management including Management of Service Operations, The Service Management Course, The Service Profit Chain, The Value Profit Chain, The Ownership Quotient and What Great Service Leaders Know & Do. Sasser has written or co-written ten articles for Harvard Business Review, including “Putting the Service Profit Chain to Work,” “The Profitable Art of Service Recovery,” “Zero Defections: Quality Comes to Services,” “Match Supply and Demand in Service Industries,” and “Why Satisfied Customer Defect.”

Sasser has served as a consultant to a number of companies in North America, Asia and Europe.