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 29, 2016

SAP's initiative to hire people with autism

The case study SAP SE: Autism at Work studies the software maker's goal to have people with autism make up 1 percent of its workforce by 2020. "The program is not viewed as a subsidized Corporate Social Responsibility activity but as a positive net benefit activity, as well as a way of addressing skills shortages by tapping into non-traditional pools of (considerable) talent," write case authors Gary P. Pisano and Robert D. Austin.

The business of removing space debris

Nobu Okada is concerned that space debris above the earth will ultimately take out critical satellites and threaten both the information economy and space travel. His plan, the subject of a new case study: An affordable program to redirect space junk. "This case is intended to help students understand how a tragedy of the commons develops in a specific, nearly textbook example," according to the authors. "As important, this case is about potential solutions to the tragedy of the commons when the market and policy both fall short." Astroscale, Space Debris, and Earth's Orbital Commons was written by Matthew Weinzierl, Angela Acocella, and Mayuka Yamazaki.

A student text on successful management

The introductory management text Management: An Integrated Approach explores one key question for students: How are leaders successfully managing competitive companies in the twenty-first century? It was written by Ranjay Gulati, Anthony Mayo, and Nitin Nohria. "By demonstrating the interconnectivity among the three key pillars of management, students see how decisions impact strategic choices, organizational alignment, and leadership approaches, ultimately leading to the overall performance of the company."

A complete list of new research and publications from Harvard Business School faculty follows.

— Sean Silverthorne
 
  • 2016
  • Boston: Cengage Learning

Management: An Integrated Approach

By: Gulati, Ranjay, Anthony Mayo, and Nitin Nohria

Abstract—The goal of Management: An Integrated Approach, 2nd ed., is to prepare students for leadership positions in 21st century companies by addressing the many facets involved in answering one key question: How are leaders successfully managing competitive companies in the 21st century? Today's constantly changing business environment presents challenges and opportunities that are more dynamic and complex than ever before, requiring a clear understanding of the interactive nature of strategy, organizational design, and leadership. Management: An Integrated Approach is the only introductory management text on the market to address this challenge by taking an integrated and holistic approach to management, as opposed to a functional approach, making it more relevant to how today's organizations run. By demonstrating the interconnectivity among the three key pillars of management, students see how decisions impact strategic choices, organizational alignment, and leadership approaches, ultimately leading to the overall performance of the company.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=50648

  • 2016
  • New York: Oxford University Press

Consumers, Corporations, and Public Health: A Case-Based Approach to Sustainable Business

By: Quelch, John A.

Abstract—The public health footprint associated with corporate behavior has come under increased scrutiny in the last decade, with an increased expectation that private profit not come at the expense of consumer welfare. Consumers, Corporations, and Public Health assembles 17 case studies at the intersection of business and public health to illustrate how each side can inform and benefit the other. Through contemporary examples from a variety of industries and geographies, this collection provides students with an appreciation for the importance of consumer empowerment and consumer behavior in shaping both health and corporate outcomes.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=50822

  • forthcoming
  • Manufacturing & Service Operations Management

How Do Customers Respond to Increased Service Quality Competition?

By: Buell, Ryan W., Dennis Campbell, and Frances X. Frei

Abstract—When does increased service quality competition lead to customer defection, and which customers are most likely to defect? Our empirical analysis of 82,235 customers exploits the varying competitive dynamics in 644 geographically isolated markets in which a nationwide retail bank conducted business over a five-year period. We find that customers defect at a higher rate from the incumbent following increased service quality (price) competition only when the incumbent offers high (low) quality service relative to existing competitors in a local market. We provide evidence that these results are due to a sorting effect, whereby firms trade off service quality and price, and in turn, the incumbent attracts service (price) sensitive customers in markets where it has supplied relatively high (low) levels of service quality in the past. Furthermore, we show that it is the high-quality incumbent’s most profitable customers who are the most attracted by superior quality alternatives. Our results appear to have long-run implications whereby sustaining a high level of service quality is associated with the incumbent attracting and retaining more profitable customers over time.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=50796

  • forthcoming
  • Annals of Surgical Oncology

Value-Based Breast Cancer Care: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Defining Patient-Centered Outcomes

By: Feeley, Thomas W., Fayanju M. Oluwadamilola, Tinisha L. Mayo, Tracy E. Spinks, Seohyun Lee, Carlos H. Barcenas, Benjamin D. Smith, Sharon H. Giordano, et al.

Abstract—Value in healthcare—i.e., patient-centered outcomes achieved per healthcare dollar spent—can define quality and unify performance improvement goals with health outcomes of importance to patients across the entire cycle of care. We describe the process through which value-based measures for breast cancer patients and dynamic capture of these metrics via our new electronic health record (EHR) was developed at our institution. Methods. Contemporary breast cancer literature on treatment options, expected outcomes, and potential complications was extensively reviewed. Patient perspective was obtained via focus groups. Multidisciplinary physician teams met to inform a 3-phase process of (1) concept development, (2) measure specification, and (3) implementation via EHR integration. Results. Outcomes were divided into 3 tiers that reflect the entire cycle of care: (1) health status achieved, (2) process of recovery, and (3) sustainability of health. Within these tiers, 22 patient-centered outcomes were defined with inclusion/exclusion criteria and specifications for reporting. Patient data sources will include the Epic Systems EHR and validated patient-reported outcome questionnaires administered via our institution’s patient portal. Conclusions. As healthcare costs continue to rise in the United States and around the world, a value-based approach with explicit, transparently reported patient outcomes will not only create opportunities for performance improvement but will also enable benchmarking across providers, healthcare systems, and even countries. Similar value-based breast cancer care frameworks are also being pursued internationally.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=50865

  • forthcoming
  • The Oxford Handbook of Dynamic Capabilities

How Leaders Use Values-based Guidance Systems to Create Dynamic Capabilities

By: Kanter, Rosabeth M., Matthew Bird, Ethan Bernstein, and Ryan Raffaelli

Abstract—How do strategic leaders create change-adept organizations? Based on qualitative field research, this chapter argues that well-defined institutionalized purpose, values, and principles act as an organizational guidance system that integrates and strengthens the micromechanisms that enable leaders to build dynamic capabilities and, therefore, change-adept organizations. From empirical case studies, we distill micromechanisms through which organizational guidance systems create fertile soil for dynamic capabilities. The five micromechanisms are values-based decision heuristics; intrinsic motivation with positive emotions; an organizational control system based on entrepreneurial self-organization, self-management, and peer regulation; an organizational identity that (a) fosters a longer-term perspective and (b) widens the firm’s scope; and ecosystem creation. While much of the dynamic capabilities literature has focused on testing causal relationships between key performance variables and constructs, our goal here is to “open up” the regression model, provide a closer qualitative inspection of the “how-to” micromechanisms, and thereby advance a multidisciplinary research agenda.

Publisher's link: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=50833

Abstract—As Americans' trust in government nears historic lows, frustration with government performance approaches record highs. We propose that Americans’ views of government can be reshaped by increasing government’s operational transparency—that is, the extent to which citizens can see the often-hidden work that government performs. Across three studies using laboratory and field data, increasing operational transparency improves citizens’ views of and increases engagement with government. In Study 1 (N=554), viewing a five-minute computer simulation highlighting the work performed by the government of an archetypal American town—from building roads to ensuring food safety—increased trust in government and support for government services. In Study 2 (N=125), Boston residents who interacted with a website that visualizes both citizens’ service requests—such as potholes and broken streetlamps—and efforts by city government to address them became more trusting and supportive of government. Study 3 (N=21,986) was a natural experiment using data from a mobile phone application through which Boston residents submit service requests to their city government. Users who viewed photos of the city workers responding to their service requests were more likely to continue using the app over the ensuing 13 months, demonstrating that operational transparency led to sustained engagement with government.

Download working paper: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=45842

Abstract—The platform—a business model that creates value by connecting groups of users—is increasingly popular in many industries. Extant papers largely assume that platforms dominate the pricing decision, whereas in practice, prices in business-to-business transactions are often determined by a bargaining process. We study how the relative bargaining power of business partners affects pricing and competition in a two-sided market. We compile a unique and comprehensive dataset using sales data from the U.S. daily deal market and specify a structural model based on Nash bargaining solutions. We find that Groupon, the larger deal platform, has more price-bargaining power than LivingSocial and that larger and chain merchants have more bargaining power than smaller and independent merchants. The difference in bargaining power between different types of merchants, interestingly, is more substantial on LivingSocial than on Groupon. Therefore, the size of a platform has two faces: while a larger customer base helps attract merchants, the platform’s bargaining power may motivate some merchants to work with its smaller competitors, over which they have more influence on price setting. Our counterfactual results show that the allocation of price-bargaining power plays an important role in the daily deal markets and that merchants are significantly worse off if platforms have higher price-bargaining power during the negotiation. Furthermore, as it increases the bargaining power, LivingSocial would be able to boost its profits but lose its attraction in acquiring merchants.

Download working paper: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=50826

How the International Monetary Fund (IMF) defined and carried out its mandate has evolved considerably since 1944, when it was founded to serve a vital but narrow function in maintaining the global foreign exchange system and thus enabling international trade. This note gives an overview of the IMF's evolution by describing key phases in its history, including the Bretton Woods system and its collapse, the international debt crisis of the 1980s, the Washington Consensus era, and reform efforts in the 2000s.

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https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/711040-PDF-ENG

Course overview of “The Entrepreneurial Manager.”

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https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/816065-PDF-ENG

Industry self-regulation has, in general, a lousy track record. Many studies have shown that it is often ineffective unless backed by the power of the state, and that in some cases it serves rather to forestall government intervention or to reduce competition than as genuine self-regulation. Many observers doubt that accelerated private sector regulation could really make a difference against the major public goods issues of our time. Yet we live in a time when many public goods issues are global and global governance mechanisms are at the very earliest stage of development, and in industry after industry leading firms are banding together in an attempt to regulate conduct—designing metrics, relying on independent auditors, and attempting to enforce compliance. Is this a plausible path forward? This note summarizes work in history, political science, and economics—drawing particularly on the work of Eleanor Ostrom—to explore this issue in depth.

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https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/315074-PDF-ENG

This case is designed to provide an elementary introduction to options and option pricing for beginning finance students. Analysis of the case requires students to compare the prices of put and call options with various exercise prices and maturity dates on two equities (JPMorgan Chase and Facebook) that had identical closing stock prices on January 14, 2014 but very different volatilities. These common features and differences enable students to do a series of static comparisons that reveal the impact of a change in one determinant of an option's price while holding other factors constant. The business setting involves a mutual fund board considering the initiation of an option trading strategy to enhance the risk-adjusted performance of the fund and, through covered call writing, to increase earned income that can be used to support cash dividend distributions. Although the administrative situation is fictional, the data contained in the case are real. The case is best positioned at the beginning of a course module on derivatives and risk management.

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https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/216041-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 297-047

Stone Container Corporation (A)

In early 1993, Stone Container was heavily burdened by debt following a series of highly leveraged acquisitions. A prolonged depression in paper prices necessitated the development of a comprehensive financial plan to relieve the financial pressures on Stone. Among the alternatives to be considered are straight debt, convertible debt, and equity.

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  • Harvard Business School Case 716-447

UFO Moviez—Gentle Disruption

No abstract available.

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  • Harvard Business School Case 616-042

SAP SE: Autism at Work

This case describes SAP's "Autism at Work" program, which integrates people with autism into the company's workforce. The company has a stated objective of making 1% of its workforce people with autism by 2020. SAP's rationale for the program is based on the belief that "neurodiversity" contributes to the company's overall innovative capabilities ("We believe that innovation comes from the edges"). Thus, the program is not viewed as a subsidized Corporate Social Responsibility activity but as a positive net benefit activity, as well as a way of addressing skills shortages by tapping into non-traditional pools of (considerable) talent. The case explores how SAP is also using the program to rethink and re-engineer its Human Resource Management policies and processes to make them more inclusive and effective.

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  • Harvard Business School Case 516-076

Consumer Health

No abstract available.

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  • Harvard Business School Case 516-074

Employee Health

No abstract available.

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  • Harvard Business School Case 716-038

Woolf Farming and the California Water Crisis

This case highlights the tough choices, competing interests, and decision-making mechanisms involved in California's management of its severe drought, entering its fifth year in 2015. Stuart Woolf, CEO of Woolf Farming, a grower and processor of almonds, tomatoes, and other crops in California's Central Valley, must decide how to respond to the changing operating environment. Scarce water resources—and institutional constraints on the use of water—have forced many producers, including Woolf, to fallow farmland. Meanwhile, competing demands for water from municipalities and environmental interests have raised the public's scrutiny of agricultural water use. This case describes farming in California's Central Valley and reviews the state's complicated system for managing water rights and resources. It invites students to analyze the relative merits of competing perspectives on how to allocate water, the institutional mechanisms for doing so, and the potential responses of agricultural producers to the changing marketplace. Is now the time to double down on farming in the Central Valley, shift to a higher-value-added crop portfolio (e.g., organics), or retreat from this challenging business?

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  • Harvard Business School Case 801-421

Charlene Barshefsky (A)

Describes the challenges former U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky faced while negotiating a trade agreement with China to improve its domestic intellectual property rights enforcement. After briefly describing Barshefsky's past experience with trade negotiations, this case discusses the history of U.S.–China trade relations and analyzes Ambassador Barshefsky's strategy in coalition building in the United States and abroad.

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  • Harvard Business School Case 116-036

Stephen Richards: Addressing FAQ

Stephen Richards, former global head of sales at Computer Associates, addresses frequently asked questions from "A Letter from Prison."

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  • Harvard Business School Case 716-037

Astroscale, Space Debris, and Earth's Orbital Commons

An engineer and technology entrepreneur, Nobu Okada, had turned a mid-life crisis into a bold—some would say quixotic—quest to prevent a tragedy of the commons at the global scale. Namely, Okada believed the accumulation of debris in near-Earth orbital space posed a serious threat to a vast array of critical satellites and, thereby, both the modern information economy and the future of human activities in space. Frustrated at what he saw as far too slow a reaction to the threat among major space powers, Okada planned to develop a spacecraft capable of adhering to, and redirecting, that debris. By lowering the costs of debris removal, he hoped to make it routine, even in the absence of government action. As of 2016 his company, Astroscale, which had secured private funding years earlier, was nearing the first demonstration of the technology. This case is intended to help students understand how a tragedy of the commons develops in a specific, nearly textbook example. As important, this case is about potential solutions to the tragedy of the commons when the market and policy both fall short.

Purchase this case:
https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/716037-PDF-ENG