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.

November 12, 2008

Negotiations around gender in organizations most often don't take place across a table, scholars say. Rather they occur during daily interactions concerning the routines of work, from the allotment of office space to stronger opportunities for advancement. An interesting working paper [PDF] on gender challenges in just these contexts appears in a forthcoming issue of the journal Negotiation and Conflict Management Research.

In the article "Beyond Gender and Negotiation to Gendered Negotiation," Deborah M. Kolb and HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn write, "In these situations, a member of the dominant group might experience a work practice as normal and neutral—a nonissue—whereas a member of a marginal group may experience it as exclusionary." As a comprehensive reflection on research to date in the social sciences, the article includes insights for dealing with common under-the-radar practices.

Cases this week look at the market for Mp3 portable audio players, developing the Amsterdam World Trade Center, and a successful animated TV show, FREEJ, in the Arabian Gulf region.

 

Working Papers

Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-term Consequences (revised)

Abstract

This paper compares economic outcomes across areas in India which were under direct British colonial rule with areas which were under indirect colonial rule. Controlling for selective annexation using a specific policy rule, I find that areas which experienced direct rule have significantly lower levels of access to schools, health centers, and roads in the post-colonial period. I find evidence that the quality of governance in the colonial period has a significant persistent effect on post-colonial outcomes.

Download the paper: http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/05-041.pdf

 

Cases & Course Materials

The Amsterdam World Trade Center

Harvard Business School Case 208-078

Late in September 2001, Hans van Tartwijk, president of Trimp & van Tartwijk Property Development (TvT) of Amsterdam, Holland, was deeply worried about the status of his largest ongoing project: the Amsterdam World Trade Center (WTC). As the discretionary developer, van Tartwijk needed to present his firm's recommendations to WTC owners and municipal stakeholders on how best to manage problems in the renovation of the 27-floor, 60,000 square meter complex. The WTC owners, two Dutch financial institutions, had hired TvT in 1995 to advise how to best handle their property's underperformance, which stood 20% empty and had prematurely aged. 1. Should the Owners sell, perform minimum upgrades, or perform a major upgrade with construction and expansion? 2. What emphasis—commitment made to Green Technologies?

Purchase this case:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=208078

FREEJ

Harvard Business School Case 808-121

Mohammed Harib placed his phone on the desk in front of him. As he sat back in his chair and looked out the window, he began to take stock of how his life had taken such a dramatic path over the last few years. Life was good for the founder and CEO of Lammtara Pictures, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) first 3D animation studio. Recently dubbed "Dubai's answer to Pixar" in a recent magazine article, Lammtara's first animated television show, FREEJ, had taken the Arabian Gulf region by storm a year ago. It was November 2007, and the second season of FREEJ had aired earlier in the fall, smashing the first season's record-breaking viewership numbers.

Purchase this case:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=808121

MP3 Portable Audio Player Market

Harvard Business School Case 608-119

The emergence of the MP3 file-based music format not only disrupted the market for portable audio players, it also had a huge impact on the business models of major record labels. Modularity, and the commoditization spill-over enabled by modularity in the personal computer industry, was a major force in the development of the market. While Apple's iPod today holds the dominant market position, new forces of commoditization continue to drive shifts in the value chain. The case examines the commoditization cycle and contrasts integrated solutions such as the iPod-iTunes software-iTunes Music Store with emerging competition from other MP3 players and the Amazon.com Music Store.

Purchase this case:
http://www.hbsp.harvard.edu/b01/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=608119

 

Publications

Strategy-proofness versus Efficiency in Matching with Indifferences: Redesigning the NYC High School Match

Abstract

The design of the New York City (NYC) High School match involved tradeoffs among efficiency, stability, and strategy-proofness that raise new theoretical questions. We analyze a model with indifferences—ties—in school preferences. Simulations with field data and the theory favor breaking indifferences the same way at every school—single tie breaking—in a student-proposing deferred acceptance mechanism. Any inefficiency associated with a realized tie breaking cannot be removed without harming student incentives. Finally, we empirically document the extent of potential efficiency loss associated with strategy-proofness and stability, and direct attention to some open questions.

Does Individual Performance Affect Entrepreneurial Mobility? Empirical Evidence from the Financial Analysis Market

Abstract

The design of the New York City (NYC) High School match involved tradeoffs among efficiency, stability, and strategy-proofness that raise new theoretical questions. We analyze a model with indifferences—ties—in school preferences. Simulations with field data and the theory favor breaking indifferences the same way at every school—single tie breaking—in a student-proposing deferred acceptance mechanism. Any inefficiency associated with a realized tie breaking cannot be removed without harming student incentives. Finally, we empirically document the extent of potential efficiency loss associated with strategy-proofness and stability, and direct attention to some open questions.

Earnings Quality and Ownership Structure: The Role of Private Equity Sponsors

Abstract

This study explores how firms' ownership structures affect their earnings quality and long-term performance. Focusing on a unique sample of private firms for which there is financial data available in the years before and after their initial public offering (IPO), I differentiate between those that have private equity sponsorship (PE-backed firms) and those that do not (non-PE-backed firms). The findings indicate that PE-backed firms generally have higher earnings quality than those that do not have PE sponsorship, engage less in earnings management, and report more conservatively both before and after the IPO. Further, PE-backed firms that are majority-owned by PE sponsors exhibit superior long-term stock price performance after they go public. These results stem from the professional ownership, tighter monitoring, and reputational considerations exhibited by PE sponsors.

Purchase the paper from SSRN ($5):
http://search.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1150701

Beyond Gender and Negotiation to Gendered Negotiations

Abstract

Where do we start if we are interested in understanding how gender plays out in negotiations that take place within organizations? Do we start with women and men and explore their individual differences in thought, motivation, style, appetite for risk, and propensity to ask? This approach, primarily carried out in the laboratory, has dominated the recent study of gender in negotiations. Or do we start with belief systems and cultural patterns within organizations and explore ways in which these are gendered and result in gendered negotiations? This is the approach taken throughout this special issue.

A New Generation of Pension Fund Management

Abstract

In talking about pension plans at this point in American economic and corporate history, we need to discuss three linked issues: the defined-benefit (DB) corporate plans that worked for our parents; the defined-contribution (DC) plans we're getting today because corporations no longer want to bear the expense and risk of the DB plan; and how we can reshape the DC plan into something that feels more like a DB plan in the near future. Although this chapter focuses on a U.S. context and corporate pension plans, retirement and asset-management issues are a global challenge, and indeed, while the details vary across geopolitical borders, the fundamentals are shared by employers and employees across the globe. What's happening with the DB plan, why is it happening, and what are the implications for asset markets and asset management?

Purchase the book:
http://www.ordering1.us/bloombergbooks/product.php?pid=321