Human Capital Development: The Harley-Davidson Way

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from generalized experience of the authors, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB096 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Human Capital Development, Circle Based Organization, Management Style
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1992-2007
Pub Date : 2007
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : Harley-Davidson
Industry : Automobile - Motorcycles
Countries : US


The case discusses the human resource initiatives adopted by Harley-Davidson Motor Company (H-D), the leading manufacturer of heavy-weight motorcycles in the US, to encourage greater employee participation and collaboration.

In 1992, H-D adopted circle based organization structure in its efforts to foster teamwork among the employees and do away with the command-and-control leadership style of management. The case also discusses another major HR initiative that H-D implemented in 2004; the deployment of 'Accenture Human Capital Development Framework' (HCDF).

This initiative was undertaken by the company in order to bring about major improvements in its human resource functions, and thereby attain improved business performance. The case describes the HCDF in detail and the benefits reaped by H-D after its implementation.


Understand the various HR initiatives undertaken by H-D to encourage greater employee participation

Study how circle based organization helped H-D in fostering teamwork among the employees

Analyze the Human Capital Development Framework and how its implementation can bring improvements in various human resource functions


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 1
The 'Softer' Management Style 4
Human Capital Development Framework 6
The Road Ahead 8
Exhibits 9

Key Words:

Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Human Resource Initiatives, Circle Based Organization, Employee Participation, Teamwork, Command-and-control Leadership, 'Softer' Management Style, Human Capital Development Framework, 'Open Door' Policy, Collaborative Culture, Decision-making, Leadership and Strategy Council, Human Resources Information Systems, Workforce Planning, Self-directed Work Teams

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