First Look

First Look summarizes new working papers, case studies, and publications produced by Harvard Business School faculty. Readers receive early knowledge of cutting-edge ideas before they enter the mainstream of business practice. For complete details on faculty research, see our Working Papers section.

March 27, 2007

Participants in international finance are facing a landscape where the surface is constantly shifting, especially now, writes HBS lecturer Mohamed El-Erian in "Dealing with Global Fluidity," a new article published by Finance and Development, the quarterly magazine of the International Monetary Fund. According to El-Erian, managers are tempted to sit on the sidelines and wait for greater clarity, but now is the time to adapt. He identifies three major structural changes underway in international finance and offers advice on coping strategies. Managers "would be well advised to test and retest the robustness of their operating models to the world's changing realities," he counsels. El-Erian is also deputy treasurer of Harvard University and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Harvard Management Company, which is responsible for managing the University's endowment and related accounts.

Also new this week: for download, a reflection on former HBS Dean Kim B. Clark's groundbreaking research on product and process design; a book chapter on negotiating for intellectual property rights; and a journal article on public market signals and venture capital investing.

 

Working Papers

From Manufacturing to Design: An Essay on the Work of Kim B. Clark

Abstract

Kim Clark occupies a unique place in management scholarship. As a member of the Technology and Operations Management unit of Harvard Business School, he participated in several major research initiatives during the 1980s and early 1990s, before becoming Dean of the School in 1995. And even as Dean, he continued to pursue research until 2005, when he left Harvard to become President of Brigham Young University—Idaho. In this paper, we describe Clark's research and discuss his contributions to management and economics. We look at three distinct bodies of work. In the first, Clark (in conjunction with Robert Hayes and Steven Wheelwright) argued that the abandonment by U.S. managers of manufacturing as a strategic function exposed U.S. companies to Japanese competition. In the second research stream, conducted with Wheelwright, Bruce Chew, Takahiro Fujimoto, Kent Bowen and Marco Iansiti, Clark made the case that product development could be managed in new ways that would lead to significant competitive advantage for firms. Finally, in work conducted with Abernathy, Rebecca Henderson and Carliss Baldwin, Clark placed product and process designs at the center of his explanation of how innovation determines the structure and evolution of industries.

Download the paper: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/07-057.pdf

 

Cases & Course Materials

AMD: A Customer-Centric Approach to Innovation

Harvard Business School Case 507-037

AMD's launch of the Opteron microprocessor in 2003 has allowed the company to make inroads into the lucrative server segment. A long-time follower to Intel, AMD management felt it was in a position to lead the microprocessor industry in new directions. However, in 2006 it was not clear whether Opteron's success in the server segment would translate into success in other microprocessor segments, notably corporate desktop and laptop, and whether the initial success in servers could be sustained in the future. Intel's imminent new product and pricing plans, as well as its existing brand power, could greatly hamper AMD's growth and thwart its new initiatives—which included opening up its architecture for end users to customize and recast its brand identity. Also examines how a company tries to gain competitive advantage through an approach to innovation that emphasizes customer centricity.

Purchase this case:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=507037

American Ground Summary: Assuming Leadership

Harvard Business School Note 607-077

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607077

Antigone: The Challenge of Right Versus Right

Harvard Business School Note 607-066

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607066

Blessed Assurance: The Challenge of a Moral Dilemma

Harvard Business School Note 607-067

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607067

CAMBIA, Supplement to Epodia

Harvard Business School Supplement 606-057

Supplements the case "Epodia: Demise of the HBS Case-Writing Monopoly?" An abstract is not available for this product.

Purchase this supplement:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=606057

Endurance Summary: The Challenge of Right Versus Wrong

Harvard Business School Module Note 607-065

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607065

Katharine Graham Summary: Taking a Stand

Harvard Business School Module Note 607-076

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607076

A Man for All Seasons Summary: Reasoning from Multiple Moralities

Harvard Business School Module Note 607-072

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607072

The Prince Summary: Exercising Authority

Harvard Business School Module Note 607-073

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607073

PSI India—Will Balbir Pasha Help Fight AIDS? (B)

Harvard Business School Supplement 507-058

Supplements the (A) case.

Purchase this supplement:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=507058

The Remains of the Day Summary: Reasoning From a Moral Code

Harvard Business School Module Note 607-071

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607071

The Secret Sharer Summary: Earning Legitimacy

Harvard Business School Module Note 607-074

No abstract available.

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http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=607074

Tickle

Harvard Business School Case 807-100

Describes a set of decisions confronting the management team of a rapidly growing online psychological testing and social networking company. They can either sell the company to a large public company, raise another round of capital from a preeminent venture capital fund, or continue to grow using existing positive cash flow.

Purchase this case:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=807100

 

Publications

Attracting Skeptical Buyers: Negotiating for Intellectual Property Rights

Abstract

An obstacle to the sale of intellectual property (IP) is that an expropriable partial disclosure of that knowledge to prospective buyers may be necessary to facilitate the sale. Such disclosures can, of course, be protected in principle through a confidentiality contract which gives the seller the right to sue for unauthorized use of the disclosed information and is negotiated prior to substantive knowledge exchanges. Yet we frequently observe in practice that sellers waive their rights to confidentiality. In this paper we provide an incomplete information explanation for why a seller will sometimes waive confidentiality even when confidentiality would have been maintained under complete information. To the seller the decision to waive rights involves giving up the value associated with a confidentiality right in exchange for an increase in buyer participation. Our analysis incorporates an endogenous interaction among three critical elements—the underlying sources of buyer skepticism—which affect buyer participation: uncertainty about the value of the IP being offered, value dissipating effects of competition for the knowledge, and costs associated with ex-post lawsuits claiming expropriation.

Overcoming Barriers to Collaboration: Psychological Safety and Learning in Diverse Teams

Abstract

We review research on psychological safety and team learning to identify core ideas and findings in these closely related literatures and to propose a model in which a negative relationship between team member diversity and team collaboration is moderated by psychological safety. We argue that when team members with diverse backgrounds must work together to accomplish challenging goals, psychological safety will facilitate their ability to overcome barriers to communication created by their differences. Although psychological safety may be of intrinsic value for all employees because it allows them to voice ideas, concerns, and questions at work, this chapter emphasizes the especially critical role of psychological safety in diverse teams. We hypothesize that the—potentially negative—effects of diversity on team collaboration and performance are mitigated by psychological safety.

Dealing with Global Fluidity

Download the paper:
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2007/03/elerian.htm

Venture Capital Investment Cycles: The Impact of Public Markets

Abstract

It is well documented that the venture capital industry is highly volatile and that much of this volatility is associated with shifting valuations and activity in public equity markets. This paper examines how changes in public market signals affected venture capital investing between 1975 and 1998. We find that venture capitalists with the most industry experience increase their investments the most when public market signals become more favorable. Their reaction to an increase is greater than the reaction of venture capital organizations with relatively little industry experience and those with considerable experience but in other industries. The increase in investment rates does not affect the success of these transactions adversely to a significant extent. These findings are consistent with the view that venture capitalists rationally respond to attractive investment opportunities signaled by public market shifts.

The Relationships between Market Orientation and Alternative Strategic Orientations: A Meta-Analysis

Abstract

Purpose—One of the strongest convictions in marketing is that market orientation contributes to firms' performance substantially more than alternative strategic orientations such as innovation and entrepreneurial orientations. Still, some studies show that alternative orientations can also substantially affect the performance of firms, and furthermore, that firms that combine market orientation with alternative orientations are likely to perform even better than firms adopting only market orientation. Also, the nature of the relationship between market orientation and other strategic orientations is not clear. The present study deals with these discrepancies in the marketing literature. It highlights the importance of the study of the relationship between market orientation and alternative strategic orientations, examines the effect of market orientation on different orientations, and identifies the orientations that are more likely to be combined with market orientation.

Design/methodology/approach—The study employs a meta-analysis procedure to synthesize empirical results on the relationship between market orientation and innovation, learning, entrepreneurial, and employee orientations.

Findings—Findings suggest that market orientation is strongly correlated with learning, entrepreneurial, and employee orientations, and that it has a moderate positive relationship with innovation orientation.

Research implications—Research on market orientation should shift its focus, moving from the study of the direct effect of market orientation on business performance to the study of the various combinations of strategic orientations that firms can pursue in different situations, studying how the more successful market-oriented firms balance between market orientation and other strategic orientations.

Originality/value—This is the first meta-analysis to examine the relationships between market orientation and alternative strategic orientations.

The Effects of Colleague Quality on Top Performance: The Case of Security Analysts

Abstract

Using a panel data set of top-performing security analysts over a nine-year period, we show that top performers do not "own" their performance, even in the knowledge-intensive work performed in this professional business services context. While an individual's past performance does indicate future performance, the quality of colleagues in one's organization also significantly affects top performers' ability to maintain their performance. Specifically, top performers in professional business services rely on high-quality colleagues both to improve the quality of their own work and to deliver it effectively to clients.

Groups as Agents of Change

No abstract available.

Altruism, Cooperation and Reciprocity in the Workplace

Abstract

This paper surveys economic models where cooperation arises in the workplace because individuals' utility functions involve a concern for others (altruism) or a desire to respond to like with like (reciprocity). It also discusses empirical evidence which bears on the relevance of these theories. The paper considers separately the feelings employees have for their employers or their supervisors, those that employees have for others that occupy similar positions as themselves and the feelings of supervisors towards their subordinates. Altruism appears to play a role in the last two settings while reciprocity seems useful to explain the way employees react to employer actions which the employees regard as unfair.

H&R Block's Refund Anticipation Loan: Perilous Profits at the Bottom of the Pyramid?

No abstract available.