Dr. Robert Pearl and the Permanente Medical Group Of Northern California: A Lesson in Strategic Leadership

By Robert Burgelman, Ziv Shafir
2021 | Case No. SM333 | Length 30 pgs.

Dr. Robert Pearl, newly elected as CEO in 1999, faced a massive new challenge: saving Kaiser Permanente from imminent bankruptcy. From 1999 to 2017, Dr. Pearl transformed Kaiser Permanente from a dysfunctional organization to one of the largest and most lauded in the U.S.

Dr. Pearl strategically shifted the organization from the lowest-cost provider to one with superior quality and service at a competitive price. He achieved this goal by applying an “art to science” approach to drive down operational costs and persuading otherwise reticent doctors.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about the leadership and strategic challenges of running a large health care organization in a sector that continues to undergo profound changes—and how strategic vision can bring about radical change that ultimately create a viable operating model for the organization.
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