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.

August 5

A better understanding of who we are

We all have multiple identities that shape our behavior: Career You, for instance, or Parent You. In a new paper published in the Academy of Management Annals, Lakshmi Ramarajan offers insights into how researchers can better understand this phenomenon by investigating patterns of relationships among multiple identities.

NASA and open innovation

In the new case study "Houston We Have A Problem: NASA and Open Innovation," authors Michael Tushman, Hila Lifshitz-Assaf, and Kerry Herman explore the rocky attempt to get the agency to embrace new ways of collaboration.

Investing in Yahoo!

Another new case comes from the field of finance, "Valuing Yahoo! in 2013." With a new CEO, board unrest, and increasing competition, Yahoo! is a company in transition and Claremont Capital must figure out what do do with its substantial investment. The case, written by Luis M. Viceira and Atul Khosla, provides students with opportunities to discuss shareholder activism, strategy, and valuation.

 

Publications

  • August 2014
  • Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Emodiversity and the Emotional Ecosystem

By: Quoidbach, Jordi, June Gruber, Mo´ra Mikolajczak, Alexsandr Kogan, Ilios Kotsou, and Michael I. Norton

Abstract—Bridging psychological research exploring emotional complexity and research in the natural sciences on the measurement of biodiversity, we introduce-and demonstrate the benefits of-emodiversity: the variety and relative abundance of the emotions that humans experience. Two cross-sectional studies across more than 37,000 respondents demonstrate that emodiversity is an independent predictor of mental and physical health-such as decreased depression and doctor's visits-over and above mean levels of positive and negative emotion. These results remained robust after controlling for gender, age, and the five main dimensions of personality. Emodiversity is a practically important and previously unidentified metric for assessing the health of the human emotional ecosystem.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/quoidbach%20et%20al_372259e1-d8a0-4488-b09a-b4978f06f406.pdf

  • August 2014
  • Academy of Management Annals

Past, Present and Future Research on Multiple Identities: Toward an Intrapersonal Network Approach

By: Ramarajan, Lakshmi

Abstract—Psychologists, sociologists, and philosophers have long recognized that people have multiple identities-based on attributes such as organizational membership, profession, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, and family role(s) and that these multiple identities shape people's actions in organizations. The current organizational literature on multiple identities, however, is sparse and scattered and has yet to fully capture this foundational idea. I review and organize the literature on multiple identities into five different theoretical perspectives: social psychological, microsociological, psychodynamic and developmental, critical, and intersectional. I then propose a way to take research on multiple identities forward using an intrapersonal identity network approach. Moving to an identity network approach offers two advantages: first, it enables scholars to consider more than two identities simultaneously, and second, it helps scholars examine relationships among identities in greater detail. This is important because preliminary evidence suggests that multiple identities shape important outcomes in organizations, such as individual stress and well-being, intergroup conflict, performance, and change. By providing a way to investigate patterns of relationships among multiple identities, the identity network approach can help scholars deepen their understanding of the consequences of multiple identities in organizations and spark novel research questions in the organizational literature.

Publisher's link: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/qFQy7bdBGz6scHxc8aVS/full

 

Working Papers

Abstract—Scientific research and its translation into commercialized technology is a driver of wealth creation and economic growth. Partnerships to foster the translational processes from public research organizations, such as universities and hospitals, to private firms are a policy tool that has attracted increased interest. Yet questions about the efficacy and the efficiency with which funds are used are subject to frequent debate. This paper examines empirical data from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (DNATF), an agency that funds partnerships between universities and private companies to develop technologies important to Danish industry. We assess the effect of a unique mediated funding scheme that combines project grants with active facilitation and conflict management on firm performance, comparing the likelihood of bankruptcy and employee count, patent count, and publication count, as well as their citations and the collaborative nature between funded and unfunded firms. Because randomization of the sample was not feasible, we address endogeneity around selection bias using a sample of qualitatively similar firms based on a funding decision score. This allows us to observe the local effect of samples in which we drop the best recipients and the worst non-recipients. Our results suggest that while receiving the grant does bring an injection of funding that alleviates financing constraints, its core effect on the firm's innovative behavior is in fostering collaborations and translations between science and technology and encouraging riskier projects rather than purely increasing patenting.

Download working paper: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2197876

Abstract—Small businesses are core to America's economic competitiveness. Not only do they employ half of the nation's private sector workforce-about 120 million people-but also since 1995 they have created approximately two-thirds of the net new jobs in our country. Yet in recent years, small businesses have been slow to recover from a recession and credit crisis that hit them especially hard. This lag has prompted the question, "Is there a credit gap in small business lending?" This paper compiles and analyzes the current state of access to bank capital for small business from the best available sources. We explore both the cyclical impact of the recession on small business and access to credit and several structural issues in that impede the full recovery of bank credit markets for smaller loans.

Download working paper: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2470523

Abstract—We explore how individuals make decisions in an operations management setting when there is information asymmetry between the firm and an outside investor. A common assumption in the signaling game literature is that beliefs among the participants in the game are refined using the Intuitive Criterion refinement. Our experimental results provide evidence that the predictive power of this refinement is quite low, and that the Undefeated refinement better captures actual choice behavior. This is surprising because the Intuitive Criterion refinement is the most commonly utilized belief refinement in the literature while the Undefeated refinement is rarely employed. Our results have material implications for both research and practice because the Undefeated and Intuitive Criterion refinements often produce divergent predictions. Our results demonstrate that conformance to the Undefeated and Intuitive Criterion refinements is influenced by changes in the underlying newsvendor model parameters. We also show that adherence to the Undefeated refinement is especially pronounced among subjects who report a high level of understanding of the game and that subjects whose choices conformed with the predictions of the Undefeated refinement were rewarded by investors with higher payoffs in the game. Finally, we demonstrate, through a reexamination of Cachon and Lariviere (2001), how the application of the Undefeated refinement can substantively extend the implications of extant signaling game theory in the operations management literature.

Download working paper: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/download.aspx?name=15-001.pdf

 

Cases & Course Materials

  • Harvard Business School Case 414-078

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board

In 2014, as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) has just brought former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on as chairman of the board, Jean Rogers, founder and CEO, struggles with how best to ensure the nonprofit's financial sustainability while pushing for broad acceptance of its nonfinancial accounting metrics.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/the-sustainability-accounting-standards-board/an/414078-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 614-063

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (A)

In 2006, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals was a fast-growing biotechnology company. Its leadership team was divided over whether to keep R&D organized in functional departments or transition to interdisciplinary teams. As a small company, Merrimack's R&D organization had established a culture of collaboration across scientific disciplines that some worried would diminish with larger functional departments. Others were concerned that an interdisciplinary team-based design would be inefficient and difficult to manage. This case describes the two proposed organizational designs and presents the arguments within Merrimack's leadership team for and against each. It highlights the tradeoffs associated with each design as they relate to accountability, efficiency, innovation, product orientation, and people management at every stage in the R&D process. Students will explore the relationships between task complexity, collaboration, and organizational design in R&D.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/merrimack-pharmaceuticals-inc-a/an/614063-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 614-083

Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (B)

In 2006, the leadership team at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, Inc. had to decide whether to keep its R&D organization in functional departments or restructure it into interdisciplinary teams. This case follows the outcomes of this decision from 2006 to mid-2014 and considers their impact on productivity, accountability, communication, and skill development from the perspectives of employees in Merrimack's R&D organization.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/merrimack-pharmaceuticals-inc-b/an/614083-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 914-416

Oceanbulk Maritime S.A. (B)

No abstract available.

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http://hbr.org/product/Oceanbulk-Maritime-S-A---/an/914416-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 414-044

Houston We Have A Problem: NASA and Open Innovation (A)

Jeff Davis, director of Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) at NASA, has been working for several years to raise awareness amongst scientists and researchers in his organizations of the benefits of open innovation as a successful and efficient way to collaborate on difficult research problems regarding health and space travel. Despite a number of initiatives, SLSD members have been skeptical about incorporating the approach into their day-to-day research and work and have resisted Davis's and his strategy team's efforts. The (A) case outlines these efforts and the organization members' reactions.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/houston-we-have-a-problem-nasa-and-open-innovation-a/an/414044-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 414-057

Houston We Have A Solution: NASA and Open Innovation (B)

The (B) case details what Davis and the SLSD strategy team learned, and how they adapted their efforts to successfully incorporate open innovation as one of many tools used in collaborative research at NASA.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/414057-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 214-048

Valuing Yahoo! in 2013

In late July 2013, Danielle Engle, Managing Director of Clairemont Capital, was contemplating what to do about a large investment her fund had in the stock of Yahoo! Inc. In mid-2012, Clairemont had invested nearly $75M in Yahoo! after the tech company settled a highly visible proxy fight with prolific activist investor Daniel Loeb of hedge fund Third Point. Since that time, Loeb and his colleagues had joined the board, the company had hired a new CEO and the stock price was up nearly 80%-increasing the value of Clairemont's investment by $60M in less than a year. But Yahoo! had just announced an agreement to buy back two-thirds of Third Point's stake in the company. It had also announced that Loeb and two other company directors appointed at his request would step down from the board. At the same time, Alibaba, the giant Chinese e-commerce company of which Yahoo! owned a sizable stake, was widely expected to go public in the near future. What should Clairemont Capital do with its investment in Yahoo! in response to this news? This case provides students with opportunities to discuss shareholder activism, the interaction between a company growth strategy and business model and its valuation, discounted cash-flow valuation analysis, multiples valuation, transaction-based valuation, and company valuation by parts.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/Valuing-Yahoo--in-2013/an/214048-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 714-053

Saudi Arabia: Finding Stability after the Arab Spring

In 2014, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was juggling several balls. At home, there were pressures for liberalization, from women and youth, and pressures for more conservative religious observance and policy from the Muslim "ulema." His domestic economic policy, which entailed diversification, infrastructure construction, education and a move towards a "knowledge economy," remained difficult to implement because of oil's immense role in the GDP, trade, and the budget. Internationally, Saudi Arabia's Middle East region was a mess; troubles as always with Israel and Palestine, but also with Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran. In all of this, a central question loomed: could Saudi Arabia modernize without westernizing?

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/product/Saudi-Arabia--Finding-Sta/an/714053-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 911-049

Treu Pharma: Role for Alex Hoffman

No abstract available.

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http://hbr.org/product/Treu-Pharma--Role-for-Ale/an/911049-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 911-050

Treu Pharma: Role for Stef Kuehne

No abstract available.

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http://hbr.org/product/Treu-Pharma--Role-for-Ste/an/911050-PDF-ENG