Zingerman’s Community of Businesses: New Business Development

by: Wayne Baker

Publication Date: April 10, 2014
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-342

Core Disciplines: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Sustainability

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Teaching Note

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Zingerman’s co-founders Ari Weinzweig and Paul Saginaw have a non-traditional approach to growth, allowing employees that receive extensive training through the organization to fulfill their wildest aspirations. Charting a partnership path to ownership, the pair allows employees to forge the businesses of their dreams while benefiting the greater Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. The strategy has resulted in the creation of eight successful businesses, with several more in the pipeline and annual sales of approximately $50 million. Students assess this non-conventional approach and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such a strategy.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Examine the Zingerman’s model of organizing growth within an organization.
  • Compare the Zingerman’s model against traditional strategies of pursuing growth.
  • Consider pros/cons of an employee-centric approach to growth within an organization.
  • Evaluate Zingerman’s partnership model against the company’s culture and goals.