Case in Point

The Boston Globe/April 2, 1999
By Alex Beam

How very unsurprising that the San Francisco-based Landmark Education Corp., widely known as the Forum, is still using the embarrassingly stupid and one-sided Harvard Business School case study ''Landmark Education Corporation: Selling a Paradigm Shift'' to hawk its wares. Landmark is a Werner Erhard/est spinoff that has found quite an audience with the self-actualization crowd. Landmark also has clients in corporate America. Even after protests from the B-school about nonacademic use of the case, Landmark still teases the study off the front page of its Web site,

Since last year, however, Harvard has restricted sale of the case ''to faculty and staff of universities.'' Harvard and Landmark also say that the case does ''not in any way constitute an endorsement or statement of official position, positive or negative, regarding their subject matter'' - a ludicrous disclaimer of a study that uncritically quotes Forum executives comparing themselves to Socrates and Galileo.

The Harvard case has also surfaced in a debate in Grand Rapids, Mich., over whether to hire the Gilmore Group, a consulting firm led by former Landmark manager Elizabeth Gilmore, to help the city conduct a ''cultural transformation'' of its municipal employees. (Gilmore worked for Landmark on a similar contract in Highland Park, Mich.) A city employee who sits on a committee reviewing the proposed contract says the study was distributed ''to give some background information as to what Landmark Education was all about and to show that it was not a cult.''

Gilmore says she doesn't know why the case study was handed out in Grand Rapids, and points out that she hasn't been affiliated with Landmark for the past three years: ''Landmark technology is copyrighted and I'm not using it in any way.''

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