Anette Mikes

7 Results


Learning from the Kursk Submarine Rescue Failure: The Case for Pluralistic Risk Management

During a military exercise in August 2000, a state-of-the-art Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk, sank in the Barents Sea, triggering global media attention and an international rescue effort. In addition to Russia's Northern Fleet, two other organizations got involved in the rescue operation: the UK Submarine Rescue Service and a Norwegian offshore-diving company. Between them, these three parties seemingly had all that was needed to rescue the trapped sailors, yet the entire crew was lost. How did this happen? In this paper, focusing on the multiparty "virtual organization" formed by Russian, British, and Norwegian forces during the Kursk rescue mission, the authors explore the organizational, cultural, and structural origins of coordination failure. Then, reflecting on the limited ability of traditional, diagnostic risk management controls to address the demands of situations such as this, they call for the inclusion of pluralistic control principles into the risk-management practices of complex, multiparty organizations. Read More

The Triumph of the Humble Chief Risk Officer

How do senior risk officers strike a balance between the twin roles of "compliance champion" and "business partner"? Understanding what role risk officers may play in organizational life is especially important in the wake of the 2007-2009 financial crisis, continuing corporate debacles, and ongoing corporate governance calls for the appointment of chief risk officers (CROs) and risk-management committees. This paper tracked the evolution of the role of two highly acclaimed chief risk officers (CROs), and the tools and processes they implemented in their respective organizations. While the companies are from very different industries (one is a power company, the other is a toy manufacturer), they both embraced the concepts and tools of Enterprise Risk Management. Over a number of years, at both firms, risk management transformed from a collection of "off-the-shelf," acquired tools and practices into a seemingly inevitable and tailored control process. The paper investigated the role of the CRO in making these transformations happen and discusses implications for managers. Read More

Can LEGO Snap Together a Future in Asia?

Using scenario planning, executives at LEGO Group played through a possible strategy shift in Asia. Thanks to a new case study by professor Anette Mikes, students can make their own decisions. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Sharpening Your Skills: Organizational Design

In this collection from our archives, Harvard Business School faculty discuss specific challenges that can be solved with the right organizational design. Read More

From Counting Risk to Making Risk Count: Boundary-Work in Risk Management

According to previous research, the cycle of risk management includes counting risk through quantification and aggregation; controlling risk until something like a financial crisis occurs; and then calculating new risks in an attempt to avoid similar crises in the future. In this paper, through case studies carried out at several banks, Harvard Business School professor Anette Mikes introduces the idea that this cycle is contingent upon a "calculative culture," which steers organizations toward successful risk management practices. Read More

Moving From Bean Counter to Game Changer

New research by HBS professor Anette Mikes and colleagues looks into how accountants, finance professionals, internal auditors, and risk managers gain influence in their organizations to become strategic decision makers. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

How Do Risk Managers Become Influential? A Field Study of Toolmaking and Expertise in Two Financial Institutions

Most organizations have technical experts on staff—accountants, finance professionals, internal auditors, risk managers-but not all experts are listened to at higher levels. To understand how expert influence on strategic thinking can be increased, Matthew Hall, Anette Mikes, and Yuval Millo followed the organizational transformation of risk experts in two large UK banks. One transformation was successful, the other not. Are your experts merely "box-tickers," or are they influential "frame-makers"? Read More