Sas Case Study

9389 Words May 20th, 2011 38 Pages
CASE STUDY

THE SAS INSTITUTE
Succeeding with old-fashioned values in a new industry 1 (revised September 2010)

Adapted by CH Besseyre des Horts from C.A. O'Reilly III & J. Pfeffer (2000) : Hidden Value, how great companies achieve extraordinary results with ordinary people, Harvard Business School Press, pp. 99-117. 1

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CASE STUDY
THE SAS INSTITUTE : Succeeding with old-fashioned values in a new industry TREATING PEOPLE DIFFERENTLY (and better) than they expect to be treated, and differently than other companies in the industry treat them, is not something that only works in retailing. Even in the world of high technology and software development, there is a case to be made for being different. And few companies in this
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Never in the more than thirty-two years of the company's history has turnover been above 5 percent. SAS Institute is located in Cary, in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. It is surrounded by numerous pharmaceutical companies, as well as by IBM, Northern Telecom, and many other high-technology and software companies, so SAS people would not have to move geographically if they wanted to change jobs. How in the world has SAS Institute kept its turnover so low and succeeded so well in wooing and retaining the talent that has permitted the company to flourish?

BACKGROUND SAS Institute was founded in 1976 by Dr. James Goodnight, John Sall, Anthony Barr, and Jane Helwig. Goodnight, today the CEO, was an undergraduate in applied mathematics at North Carolina State University in the 1960s. The son of a hardware store owner, he helped pay his way through college by moonlighting as a programmer. After graduating, Goodnight worked for General Electric on the ground control system for the Apollo space program before returning to North Carolina State to obtain his doctorate in statistics in 1971. He then joined the faculty on a so-called soft money appointment-a position in which you had to go out and get the grants to pay your own salary. Goodnight and Barr, who had worked for IBM for two years developing an information system for the Pentagon and was now
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