W. Earl Sasser

UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management
Co-Founder of the Service Profit Chain Institute
Advisory Board Member

Earl Sasser is a full professor at Harvard Business School and has been a member of the faculty there since 1969. 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. Professor Sasser has 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 profiling eight professors from business schools throughout the country. Professor Sasser was Chairman of the MBA Program from 1988 to 1991. He was also faculty chair of the Advanced Management Program executive program from 1992-1995. From 1995-2000 Professor Sasser served as 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. He is presently faculty co-chair of the newly-launched Leadership Development Program.

In 1990 he 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 fourteen 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 and The Service Management Course, The Service profit Chain and his latest book, The Value Profit Chain (with Professor James L. Heskett and Leonard A. Schlesinger) The Free Press:2003.

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.”

Professor Sasser serves as a consultant to a number of companies in North America, Asia and Europe. in 2005 he co-founded The Service Profit Chain Institute, a Boston-based consulting firm dedicated to helping companies achieve better performance by improving the linkage between employees, customers and profits.

Free Tools and Assessments

This web-based self-assessment is based on a sub-set of the Best Practices of leading Service Profit Chain companies. Assessment results will be produced immediately upon completion. MORE


A powerful, research-based system that dramatically improves customer satisfaction and loyalty. Learn strategy, management practices and customer service tactics to out-perform your competitors. MORE


Hundreds of large organizations around the world have used the groundbreaking Service Profit Chain to improve business performance. Now The Ownership Quotient reveals the next generation of the chain: customer and employee "owners"
of your business. MORE


Discover how organizational culture evolves, how it can be shaped and sustained, how it fosters innovation, promotes survival in tough times and influences the success of global strategies. MORE