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 4

The Kursk disaster

Human tragedies are instructive cases to learn about management under fire--over the last few years cases have been written around the destruction of the shuttle Challenger, the doomed polar voyage of Ernest Shackleton, and a Mount Everest climb gone awry. Now the deadly sinking of the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk is profiled by Anette Mikes, a "classic coordination failure," she writes.

Understanding emotion in negotiation

If you want to become an expert negotiator, understanding emotions is key. In a new note, "Emotion in Negotiations: An Introduction," Andrew Wasynczuk and Colleen Kaftan argue that by "learning to recognize and manage emotions, one is likely to improve many facets of the negotiation and obtain better outcomes for oneself and others."

Is work-life balance a myth?

Maybe so, argues the current cover story in Harvard Business Review, written by Boris Groysberg and Robin Abrahams. The key is making choices about which opportunities to pursue and which to forego. Key to making these decisions, they say, "is a matter of carefully combining work and home so as not to lose themselves, their loved ones, or their foothold on success."

 

Publications

  • August 2013
  • Jossey-Bass

Teaming to Innovate

By: Edmondson, Amy C.

Abstract—Innovation requires teaming. (Put another way, teaming is to innovation what assembly lines are to car production.) This book brings together key insights on teaming, as they pertain to innovation. How do you build a culture of innovation? What does that culture look like? How does it evolve and grow? How are teams most effectively created and then nurtured in this context? What is a leader's role in this culture? This little book is a roadmap for teaming to innovate. We describe five necessary steps along that road: Aim High, Team Up, Fail Well, Learn Fast, and Repeat. This path is not smooth. To illustrate each critical step, we look at real-life scenarios that show how teaming to innovate provides the spark that can fertilize creativity, clarify goals, and redefine the meaning of leadership.

Publisher's link: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118788435.html

  • August 2013
  • Harvard Business Review

Why China Can't Innovate

By: Abrami, Regina M., William C. Kirby, and F. Warren McFarlan

Abstract—A look at how innovation is happening in China-from the top down, from the bottom up, through acquisition, and through education. Sheds light on the complexities of the issue, highlighting the promise and the problems China faces in its quest to become the world's innovation leader.

Publisher's link: http://hbr.org/2014/03/why-china-cant-innovate/ar/1

  • August 2013
  • Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior

Psychological Safety: The History, Renaissance, and Future of an Interpersonal Construct

By: Edmondson, Amy C., and Zhike Lei

Abstract—Psychological safety describes people's perceptions of the consequences of taking interpersonal risks in a particular context such as a workplace. First explored by pioneering organizational scholars in the 1960s, psychological safety experienced a renaissance starting in the 1990s and continuing to the present. Organizational research has identified psychological safety as a critical factor in understanding phenomena such as voice, teamwork, team learning, and organizational learning. A growing body of conceptual and empirical work has focused on understanding the nature of psychological safety, identifying factors that contribute to it, and examining its implications for individuals, teams, and organizations. In this article, we review and integrate this literature and suggest directions for future research. We first briefly review the early history of psychological safety research and then examine contemporary research at the individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis. We assess what has been learned and discuss suggestions for future theoretical development and methodological approaches for organizational behavior research on this important interpersonal construct.

Publisher's link: http://ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091305?nosfx=y

  • August 2013
  • Harvard Business Review

Manage Your Work, Manage Your Life

By: Groysberg, Boris, and Robin Abrahams

Abstract—Work/life balance is at best an elusive ideal and at worst a complete myth, today's senior executives will tell you. But by making deliberate choices about which opportunities they'll pursue and which they'll decline, rather than simply reacting to emergencies, leaders can and do engage meaningfully with work, family, and community. They've discovered through hard experience that prospering in the senior ranks is a matter of carefully combining work and home so as not to lose themselves, their loved ones, or their foothold on success. Those who do this most effectively involve their families in work decisions and activities. They also vigilantly manage their own human capital, endeavoring to give both work and home their due-over a period of years, not weeks or days.

Publisher's link: http://hbr.org/2014/03/manage-your-work-manage-your-life/ar/1

  • August 2013
  • International Journal of Industrial Organization

Search Diversion and Platform Competition

By: Hagiu, Andrei, and Bruno Jullien

Abstract—Platforms use search diversion in order to trade off total consumer traffic for higher revenues derived by exposing consumers to unsolicited products (e.g., advertising). We show that competition between platforms leads to lower equilibrium levels of search diversion relative to a monopoly platform when the intensity of competition is high. On the other hand, if there is only mild competition, then competing platforms induce more search diversion relative to a platform monopolist. When platforms charge consumers fixed access fees, all equilibrium levels of search diversion under platform competition are equal to the monopoly level, irrespective of the nature of competition. Furthermore, relative to platforms that cannot charge such fees, platforms that charge positive (negative) access fees to consumers have weaker (stronger) incentives to divert search

  • August 2013
  • Quarterly Journal of Economics

Matching with Couples: Stability and Incentives in Large Markets

By: Kojima, Fuhito, Parag A. Pathak, and Alvin E. Roth

Abstract—Accommodating couples has been a long-standing issue in the design of centralized labor market clearinghouses for doctors and psychologists, because couples view pairs of jobs as complements. A stable matching may not exist when couples are present. This article's main result is that a stable matching exists when there are relatively few couples and preference lists are sufficiently short relative to market size. We also discuss incentives in markets with couples. We relate these theoretical results to the job market for psychologists, in which stable matchings exist for all years of the data, despite the presence of couples.

  • August 2013
  • Harvard Business Review

Choosing the Right Customer

By: Simons, Robert

Abstract—Companies that win in competitive markets identify a primary customer and dedicate maximum resources to meeting that customer's needs. This article will show you how to identify the best primary customer for your business by analyzing perspective, capabilities, and profit potential; allocate resources through structural configurations; and build interactive control systems to learn and adapt over time.

Publisher's link: http://hbr.org/2014/03/choosing-the-right-customer/ar/1

  • August 2013
  • Harvard Business Review

Incorporating Field Data into Archival Research

By: Soltes, Eugene F.

Abstract—Companies that win in competitive markets identify a primary customer and dedicate maximum resources to meeting that customer's needs. This article will show you how to identify the best primary customer for your business by analyzing perspective, capabilities, and profit potential; allocate resources through structural configurations; and build interactive control systems to learn and adapt over time.

Publisher's link: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2394657

 

Working Papers

Abstract—This paper examines the impact of the deregulation of compulsory industrial licensing in India on firm size dynamics and reallocation of resources within industries. Following deregulation, resource misallocation declines, and the left-hand tail of the firm size distribution thickens significantly, suggesting increased entry by small firms. However, the dominance and growth of large incumbents remains unchallenged. Quantile regressions reveal that the distributional effects of deregulation on firm size are significantly non-linear. The reallocation of market shares toward a small number of large firms and a large number of small firms is characterized as the "shrinking middle" in Indian manufacturing. Small- and medium-sized firms may continue to face constraints in their attempts to grow.

Download working paper: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2190963

Abstract—Over the past two years, conference realignment has taken a front seat in the college sports landscape. Economic incentives were too attractive to overlook for some universities. College football programs across the country have a lot at stake, because for many, football is an integral component of the community's, as well as the university's, culture. With conference realignment already being discussed extensively in the college sports arena as well as in the media, what should these universities do? Passively waiting to see what happens to one's conference is risky, as it may be on the verge of collapse-taking your program with it. On the other hand, boldly applying to a different conference is not a safe bet either, as the future of other conferences may be uncertain. The conflicts between the economic incentives of the program and the emotional desires of sports fans, alumni, and athletes themselves are at the crossroads of these realignment decisions.

Download working paper: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=46476

 

Cases & Course Materials

  • Harvard Business School Case 514-096

Building a Social Media Culture at Dell

As Michael Dell refocused his newly private company on services and solutions, the entire corporation was pushed to embrace social media.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/building-a-social-media-culture-at-dell/an/514096-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 214-016

Advantage Partners: Dia Kanri (A)

This case explores the opportunity to purchase the condominium management business of a distressed real estate developer by Advantage Partners, a leading Japanese private equity firm. The case explores investment structuring, bidding strategy, and the ability of private equity firms to add value. The role of private equity in Japan is also explored and allows students to compare the Japanese merger and acquisition market to that of the U.S. and Europe.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/advantage-partners-dia-kanri-a/an/214016-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 214-017

Advantage Partners: Dia Kanri (B)

This case presents the final decision and outcomes for the (A) case.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/advantage-partners-dia-kanri-b/an/214017-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 814-029

Steward Health Care System

Steward Health has raised private equity and has converted from not-for-profit to for-profit. The case describes its Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and asks whether it should continue this experiment.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/steward-health-care-system/an/814029-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 712-401

Jaipur Literature Festival-Beyond the Festival Template

Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), dubbed "the greatest literary show on earth" was an annual event held in late January at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur. JLF provided a platform for international authors and Indian language authors from the subcontinent to engage in a literary dialogue. By 2011, JLF attracted the largest festival audience in the Asia Pacific region with approximately 60,000 visitors from 24 countries. It featured 224 speakers in 140 sessions and 100 musicians in 20 concerts. Success had already changed the character of the festival from the earlier more intimate days and had created a momentum that, if not managed correctly, could compromise goals such as the democratic ethos of the festival. While JLF had achieved explosive growth and critical success, its expenses still exceeded its revenue. Could JLF find an organizational and financial "template" that could sustain the festival into the future?

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/jaipur-literature-festival-beyond-the-festival-template/an/712401-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 114-046

The Kursk Submarine Rescue Mission

The Kursk, a Russian nuclear-powered submarine, sank in the relatively shallow waters of the Barents Sea in August 2000, during a naval exercise. Numerous survivors were reported to be awaiting rescue, and within a week, an international rescue party gathered at the scene, which had possessed between them all that was needed for a successful rescue. Yet they failed to save anybody. Based on the recollections and daily situational reports of Commodore David Russell, who headed the Royal Navy's rescue mission, the case explores how and why this failure-a classic coordination failure-occurred. The Kursk rescue mission also illustrates the challenges of pluralistic risk and disaster management and asks students to consider how to bring about solutions in the face of pluralistic risk issues, such as the depletion of natural resources and many other disasters, when multiple parties with competing and often conflicting values and expertise have to learn to coordinate and establish a virtual, well-aligned organization.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/the-kursk-submarine-rescue-mission/an/114046-PDF-ENG

At the time of the American War of Independence (1776-1783) and for several decades after it, Great Britain dominated the global production of cotton textiles. In fact, Britain became so dominant in textile manufacturing and trading that Manchester, its industrial capital, was nicknamed "Cottonopolis." By contrast, American manufacturing of export-oriented or even tradable-quality cotton textiles was practically nonexistent. This position of relative American backwardness changed with the influence of two prominent individuals: Samuel Slater (1768-1835) and Francis Cabot Lowell (1775-1817). Slater, a skilled British textile machinery engineer, helped to develop the country's first cotton spinning mill. Lowell, a member of a prominent New England mercantile family, established the first integrated cotton spinning and weaving facility in what became the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. Together Slater and Lowell brought the sophistication of British industrial revolution technology and introduced innovative methods of factory production to the United States.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/samuel-slater-francis-cabot-lowell-the-factory-system-in-u-s-cotton-manufacturing/an/814065-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 714-014

Donfeng Nissan's Venucia (A)

The (A) case describes the launch of a new passenger vehicle in China, produced jointly by Nissan of Japan and by Chinese automaker Dongfeng. Early sales results following the April 2012 launch were disappointing, and the joint venture's managers had to decide how to respond. The case includes information on the structure of the industry, on government regulation, and on the preferences of Chinese purchasers of automobiles, including information about environmental considerations.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/dongfeng-nissan-s-venucia-a/an/714014-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 714-015

Dongfeng Nissan's Venucia (B)

The short (B) case, designed for distribution in class, describes further complications, as an international dispute between the Japanese and Chinese governments created further uncertainties for Chinese consumers and hence for the carmakers.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/dongfeng-nissan-s-venucia-b/an/714015-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 714-016

Dongfeng Nissan's Venucia (C)

The (C) case concludes the story; it too can be distributed in class.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/dongfeng-nissan-s-venucia-c/an/714016-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 812-061

Accretive Health

Mary Tolan, CEO Accretive Health, examines whether to expand the company's operations in hospital revenue cycle management into the field of Total Cost of Care management.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/accretive-health/an/812061-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 914-032

Emotion in Negotiations: An Introduction

This note reviews some of the relevant research and offers advice for managing and dealing with emotions in the negotiation context. In particular, negotiators should strive to understand their own emotions and feelings and be aware of the emotions the other party may be expressing. By learning to recognize and manage emotions, one is likely to improve many facets of the negotiation and obtain better outcomes for oneself and others.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/emotion-in-negotiations-an-introduction/an/914032-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 214-063

Barclays Bank and Contingent Capital Notes, 2012

In 2012, regulatory changes following the financial crisis mean that Barclays Bank is faced with the need to raise large amounts of capital in order to comply with increased capital requirements, tightening rules as to the "quality of capital," and increased risk weights for its capital markets assets. The bank is contemplating offering contingent capital bonds, which would act like debt during "normal times" but would convert to create capital should the bank hit a "triggering event." How should these instruments be designed? Can they be made attractive for both the bank and for investors?

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/barclays-bank-and-contingent-capital-notes-2012/an/214063-PDF-ENG