Robert S. Huckman

15 Results

 

How Electronic Patient Records Can Slow Doctor Productivity

Electronic health records are sweeping through the medical field, but some doctors report a disturbing side effect. Instead of becoming more efficient, some practices are becoming less so. Robert Huckman's research explains why. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Five Imperatives for Improving Health Care

Leaders from Harvard's medical and business schools are exploring ways to improve health care delivery. In a new study, their Forum on Healthcare Innovation delivers five key imperatives. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Learning Curve: Making the Most of Outsourcing

Companies that view outsourcing as an easy way to offload commodity work are missing powerful improvements to be gained by working closely with service providers, says Professor Robert S. Huckman. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Sharpening Your Skills: Understanding Customers

In these previous articles, professors discuss a range of topics about customers: why they are not always right; understanding their motivations; providing them dramatically enhanced services; and making things right when you don't meet their expectations. Open for comment; 1 Comment posted.

HBS Faculty on Supreme Court Health Care Ruling

We asked three Harvard Business School faculty members, all experts in the health care field, to provide their views on various facets of one of this country's most important and complex problems. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Attention Medical Shoppers: What Health Care Can Learn from Walmart and Amazon

At a Harvard Business School panel discussion on health care management, experts looked to the retail industry as a possible model for delivering medical services more effectively. Participants included Harvard's Robert Huckman, Raffaella Sadun, David Cutler, and Atul Gawande. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Learning from Customers in Outsourcing: Individual and Organizational Effects

In farming out work to an external service provider, companies often count on volume-based learning--the idea that outsourced workers will build experience and improve their productivity if there is a large volume of work for them to do, and that the bigger the volume, the more productive and efficient they'll eventually become. However, there are several factors that challenge that education process. This paper explores whether and how repetition can breed competence in a business setting, using data from a provider of outsourced radiological services. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman, Jonathan R. Clark (HBS PhD 2010) of Pennsylvania State University, and Bradley R. Staats (HBS MBA 2002, DBA 2009) of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Read More

Input Constraints and the Efficiency of Entry: Lessons from Cardiac Surgery

Many professions rely on highly and variably skilled individuals. If a new firm is looking to enter a specific market, in addition to setting up a physical facility the company needs to hire or contract with specialized labor. In the short term, the supply of these specialists is relatively inelastic. From the point of view of economics, there remains a well-known potential for free entry to be inefficient when firms make entry decisions without internalizing the costs associated with the business they "steal" from incumbent firms. In 1996 Pennsylvania eliminated its certificate-of-need (CON) policy that had restricted entry by hospitals into expensive clinical programs, such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) programs—leading to an increase from 43 to 63 in the number of hospitals providing this service. HBS professor Robert Huckman and coauthors examine the welfare implications of entry in the market for cardiac surgery. Read More

Fluid Teams and Fluid Tasks: The Impact of Team Familiarity and Variation in Experience

In the context of team performance, common wisdom suggests that performance is maximized when individuals complete the same work with the same people. Although repetition is valuable, at least up to a point, in many settings such as consulting, product development, and software services organizations consist largely of fluid teams executing projects for different customers. In fluid teams, members bring their varied experience sets together and attempt to generate innovative output before the team is disassembled and its individual members move on to new projects. Using the empirical setting of Wipro Technologies, a leading firm in the Indian software services industry, this study examines the potential positive and negative consequences of variation in team member experience as well as how fluid teams may capture the benefits of variation while mitigating the coordination costs it creates. Read More

Diagnosing the Public Health Care Alternative

With deep experience in health insurance reform, HBS faculty describe how improved competition in insurance plans could improve value for patients. Professors Regina E. Herzlinger, Robert Huckman, and Michael E. Porter take the pulse of a debate. Read More

Broadening Focus: Spillovers and the Benefits of Specialization in the Hospital Industry

What is the optimal scope of operations for firms? This question has particular relevance for the US hospital industry, because understanding the effects of focus and spillovers might help hospitals determine how they should balance focusing in a single clinical area with building expertise in related areas. While some scholars argue that narrowing an organization's set of activities improves its operational efficiency, others have noted that seemingly unfocused operations perform at a high level and that a broader range of activities may in fact increase firm value. This study by HBS doctoral student Jonathan Clark and professor Robert Huckman highlights the potential role of spillovers—specifically complementary spillovers—in generating benefits from focus at the operating unit level. Read More

Variation in Experience and Team Familiarity: Addressing the Knowledge Acquisition-Application Problem

Team familiarity helps team members successfully locate knowledge within a group, share the knowledge they possess, and respond to the knowledge of others. While team familiarity may help all teams to better coordinate their actions, it may play a particularly important role for teams with individuals looking to apply knowledge from their varied experience. This possibility leads to the question that provides the foundation for this paper: Does team familiarity moderate the relationship between variation in experience and performance? Prior research attempting to link variation in experience and performance has found effects ranging from positive to neutral to negative. Huckman and Staats explain these differential results by drawing on related work from learning, knowledge management, and social networking. Read More

JetBlue’s Valentine’s Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman. Read More

Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance:Evidence from Indian Software Services

In contexts ranging from product development to service delivery, a significant amount of an organization's work is conducted by "fluid teams" that strive for innovative output. Fluid project teams exist only for the duration of a single project, and are comprised of members who may join or leave a team during the course of a project. In such settings, simple measures of cumulative output may not accurately capture team experience, particularly when changes in team composition are substantial over time. This study of an Indian software services firm, Wipro Technologies, considers an approach for capturing the experience held by fluid teams. It extends the concept of team fluidity in a way that allows for greater granularity in the measurement of team experience and a finer understanding of the determinants of team performance. Read More

From Turf Wars to Learning Curves: How Hospitals Adopt New Technology

Turf wars and learning curves influence how new technology is adopted in hospitals. HBS professors Gary Pisano and Robert Huckman discuss the implications of their research for your organization. Read More