Leadership & Management

444 Results

 

Learning From Japan’s Remarkable Disaster Recovery

Harvard Business School students make an annual trek to businesses in the Japanese area wrecked by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Their objectives: learn all they can about human resilience and share their own management knowledge. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Starbucks Reinvented

Nancy Koehn's new case on the rebirth of Starbucks under Howard Schultz "distills 20 years of my thinking about the most important lessons of strategy, leadership, and managing in turbulence." Open for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Decision Making Under Information Asymmetry: Experimental Evidence on Belief Refinements

Managers often have to make decisions in settings where they (1) know more about the prospects of their firm than other parties and (2) care about how the less-informed party responds to their decisions. For instance, a manager may care about how the stock market responds to the firm's expansion plans. In such situations, the manager's decision may signal the firm's prospects to the less-informed party. This phenomenon has been researched in a variety of situations, including new product and service introductions, competitive entry, supplier contracts, and capacity investments. A common assumption in researching such issues is that managers will make decisions that perfectly reveal the firm's prospects to the less-informed party, even if it is costly to do so. For example, a firm facing a big market opportunity will open more stores than is optimal in order to signal its favorable prospects. The number of stores the firm opens must be so high that a firm facing a small opportunity will find it too expensive to mimic the number of store openings. While such predicted outcomes underpin much of the operations theory developed in these settings, they have not been reconciled against the decisions made by actual decision makers. In a laboratory experiment involving more than 200 participants, the researchers conduct such an analysis. Their findings offer the first evidence that decision makers choose not to make decisions that reveal the firm's market opportunity and instead make the same decision regardless of the firm's prospects. The researchers go on to demonstrate that the discrepant predictions change the theoretical implications of prior research. Read More

What Is Warren Bennis’s Legacy?

Summing Up Jim Heskett's readers ponder the life and legacy of leading management educator Warren Bennis. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Climbing Down from the Ivory Tower

Nava Ashraf explains why it makes sense for field researchers to co-produce knowledge with the people they study and serve. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Teaching The Deal

In his Negotiation and Deals courses, Kevin Mohan uses his VC experience to teach students that showing emotion, asking questions, and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses can be key to a successful agreement. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Learning from the Kursk Submarine Rescue Failure: The Case for Pluralistic Risk Management

During a military exercise in August 2000, a state-of-the-art Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk, sank in the Barents Sea, triggering global media attention and an international rescue effort. In addition to Russia's Northern Fleet, two other organizations got involved in the rescue operation: the UK Submarine Rescue Service and a Norwegian offshore-diving company. Between them, these three parties seemingly had all that was needed to rescue the trapped sailors, yet the entire crew was lost. How did this happen? In this paper, focusing on the multiparty "virtual organization" formed by Russian, British, and Norwegian forces during the Kursk rescue mission, the authors explore the organizational, cultural, and structural origins of coordination failure. Then, reflecting on the limited ability of traditional, diagnostic risk management controls to address the demands of situations such as this, they call for the inclusion of pluralistic control principles into the risk-management practices of complex, multiparty organizations. Read More

Eyes Shut: The Consequences of Not Noticing

In his new book The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See, Max Bazerman explains how and why many executives fail to notice critical information in their midst. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Innovation Is Magic. Really

When Stefan Thomke teaches students how to manage innovation and creativity, he turns to an unexpected source: Magician Jason Randal. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Are Today’s Business Heroes Challenging Our Ideas About Leadership?

SUMMING UP New leadership styles should not cause us to challenge our belief in traditional leadership values, Jim Heskett's readers write. Open for comment; 40 Comments posted.

The Role of Emotions in Effective Negotiations

HBS Senior Lecturer Andy Wasynczuk, a former negotiator for the New England Patriots, explores the sometimes intense role that emotions can play in negotiations. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

FIELD Trip: Conquering the Gap Between Knowing and Doing

Forget what you remember about school field trips. Harvard Business School is in its fourth year of a bold innovation that ships all first-year students on global excursions. FIELD leaders Alan MacCormack and Tony Mayo describe lessons learned so far. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Does ‘Could’ Lead to Good? Toward a Theory of Moral Insight

When people encounter difficult ethical challenges, research has shown, they generally ask themselves the question, "What should I do?" Organizations, too, frame the principles to guide managerial conduct in terms of "should." Despite the pervasiveness of having a "should" mindset when confronting moral dilemmas, however, the authors of this paper argue that a significant class of ethical challenges, often overlooked in efforts to understand misconduct, benefit from the application of unconventional thinking. When encountering ethical dilemmas, shifting one's mindset from "What should I do?" to "What could I do?" generates moral insight, defined as the realization that ostensibly competing values are not entirely incompatible. Moral insight allows for exploration of more possible solutions beyond the apparent constraints of the problem provided, and for the formulation of creative solutions that satisfy multiple moral imperatives. Although our natural inclination is to contemplate dilemmas with a "should" mindset, the authors argue that adopting a "could" mindset opens a broader range of possibilities and brings us one step closer to moral insight. Read More

In Venture Capital, Birds of a Feather Lose Money Together

The more affinity there is between two VCs investing in a firm, the less likely the firm will succeed, according to research by Paul Gompers, Yuhai Xuan and Vladimir Mukharlyamov. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘Collective Genius’

Leaders of innovation teams are successful when they collaborate, engage in discovery-driven learning, and make integrative decisions. Read an excerpt from the book Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation, by Linda Hill and coauthors. Read More

Leading Innovation is the Art of Creating ‘Collective Genius’

As Linda Hill sees it, innovation requires its own brand of leadership. The coauthor of the new book Collective Genius discusses what's been learned from 16 of the best business innovators. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Handshaking Promotes Cooperative Dealmaking

A simple handshake can have large consequences for a negotiation. In this paper the authors suggest that handshakes before negotiations—or the lack thereof—serve as subtle but critical indicators of negotiators' social motives. In particular, handshakes signal willingness to act cooperatively during negotiations. The authors propose and show through experiments that handshakes increase cooperative behaviors at the bargaining table and, as a result, influence outcomes in both integrative and distributive negotiations. Integrative negotiations are those in which parties' interests are neither completely opposed nor completely compatible, allowing negotiators to mutually benefit by making efficient trades. In contrast, distributive or "zero-sum" negotiations—in which the parties' interests are completely opposed—are characterized by a different set of strategies such as appearing firm and even lying about one's interests. Overall, these results contribute to research and scholarship on social motives. The work also has practical implications for the importance of building rapport in negotiation and conflicts more generally. Read More

The Manager in Red Sneakers

Wearing the corporate uniform may not be the best way to dress for success. Research by Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan shows there may be prestige advantages when you stand out rather than fit in. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Fixing the ‘I Hate Work’ Blues

Many employees report they are overworked and not engaged—a recent New York Times article on the phenomenon was titled, "Why You Hate Work." The problem, says Bill George, is that the way we design work stifles engagement. Here's the fix. Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Research Symposium 2014

Harvard Business School professors presented their research to colleagues, with topics including speaking up at work, a manager's responsibility to capitalism, and a strategy to fix the health care system. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Morality Rebooted: Exploring Simple Fixes to Our Moral Bugs

Although scholars know far more now than they used to about the conditions under which individuals are likely to behave, current understandings are still primarily descriptive. This paper responds to the challenge of advancing knowledge of unethical behavior from largely descriptive research to a framework aimed to reduce or even eliminate unethical behavior in organizations. The goal is twofold: First, the authors identify approaches to mitigating unethical behavior based on empirical evidence from existing research in moral psychology and behavioral ethics. Second, they develop a framework for evaluating different strategies with prescriptive recommendations on how to reduce unethical behaviors. Overall they find that ethical fixes emerge in two broad categories: values-oriented and structure-oriented approaches. Values-oriented approaches shift people's preferences to be moral, whereas structure-oriented approaches seek to design incentives, decisions, and tasks such that the unethical option is less tempting. Based on theory and empirical findings, the authors propose that adopting both values-oriented and structure-oriented approaches mitigates the risk of adverse effects from one strategy taken from a single approach. Read More

‘My Bad!’ How Internal Attribution and Ambiguity of Responsibility Affect Learning from Failure

As scholars and practitioners have observed, failure clearly presents a valuable opportunity for learning in organizations. All too often, however, the opportunity is lost. Indeed, prior studies on the topic suggest that, perhaps ironically, such learning often fails to occur. In this paper the authors begin to uncover when and why individuals are more likely to learn from failed experiences. Specifically, they present evidence from three studies that support a conceptual model of learning from failure as operating through individuals' internal attributions of failure, driven in part by low ambiguity of responsibility, that lead to increased learning effort and subsequent improvement. The paper thus makes theoretical advances and carries implications for managers. Theoretically, the authors focus attention on the role of attribution in learning from failure, showing that attribution style is an important moderator of the relationship between failure and learning. Next, they identify a key situational determinant of individuals' responses to failure: ambiguity of responsibility. Third, they highlight the key role of effort as a mechanism for the effects of learning from failure. For managers, these results emphasize a specific measure that organizational leaders might take before an experience to enhance learning: actively managing perceptions of ambiguity of responsibility. Read More

Reflecting on Work Improves Job Performance

New research by Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano, and colleagues shows that taking time to reflect on our work improves job performance in the long run. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Better Deals Through Level II Strategies: Advance Your Interests by Helping to Solve Their Internal Problems

While most of us focus on our own interests in negotiation, our counterparts are more likely to say "yes" to a proposal if it meets their interests. Frequently, their interests entail satisfying, or at least not annoying, their "behind the table" constituencies. These may include a boss, board, investor group, spouse, client, union membership, community group, NGO, political party, or the US Senate that must ratify the treaty that negotiators prepare on behalf of the President. The author of this paper argues that a potent barrier to success in negotiation is often the prospect that your or the other side's constituents will reject the deal. While most negotiators are highly sensitive to their own constituencies, they tend to pay far less attention to the other side's constituents: "that's their problem. Let them solve it." Yet one low-cost way for negotiators to advance their own interests can be help the other side solve its internal constituency problems—in a manner consistent with each both side's interests. Sophisticated negotiators have been amazingly inventive in coming up with practical and highly valuable approaches to this often‐unexplored challenge. This paper develops and illustrates several such approaches. Read More

Facts and Figuring: An Experimental Investigation of Network Structure and Performance in Information and Solution Spaces

How can managers create organizations that bring people together to successfully solve problems? One increasingly popular managerial tactic to improve problem-solving performance is to increase the connectedness, or what academics call clustering, of the organization. Using everything from transparent, open offices to open social collaboration platforms, connecting everyone and everything, the theory goes, will produce better solutions. True or false? In the lab, the authors randomly assigned individuals to 70 sixteen-person organizations—some more clustered than others—and asked each organization to solve a complex problem: divine the who, what, where, and when of an impending terrorist attack (akin to the famous Clue® whodunit game). They did so using a platform not unlike real intelligence problem-solving environments: Through their computers, individuals could search for information, share information with each other, and share theories about the solutions, while the platform tracked all behavior. The results? Connectedness had different effects on the "facts" and "figuring" stages of problem solving. Search for information (facts) was, indeed, more efficient the more connected the organization. But performance in interpreting the information (figuring) to develop solutions was undermined by too much connectedness. The same connections that helped individuals coordinate their search for information also encouraged individuals to reach consensus on less-than-perfect solutions, making connectedness a true double-edged sword. The authors conclude with a discussion of implications for both theory and practice in our increasingly connected 'small world' and suggest directions for future research. Read More

Learning By Thinking: How Reflection Improves Performance

Knowledge plays an important role in the productivity and prosperity of economies, organizations, and individuals. Even so, research on learning has primarily focused on the role of doing (experience) in fostering progress over time. To compare the effectiveness of different sources of learning, the authors take a micro approach and study learning at the individual level. They argue that learning from direct experience can be more effective if coupled with reflection—that is, the intentional attempt to synthesize, abstract, and articulate the key lessons taught by experience. Using a mixed-method approach that combines laboratory experiments and a field study in a large business process outsourcing company in India, they find support for this prediction. Further, they find that the effect of reflection on learning is mediated by greater perceived ability to achieve a goal (i.e., self-efficacy). Together, these results reveal reflection to be a powerful mechanism behind learning, confirming the words of American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey: "We do not learn from experience ... we learn from reflecting on experience." Read More

Book Excerpt--‘Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World’

Management and leadership are not the same thing. But which is more important to a growing, innovative organization? An excerpt from John Kotter's new book, Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

John Kotter’s Plan to Accelerate Your Business

In the fast-paced modern economy, businesses can no longer rely on just one organizational design, argues John Kotter in a new book, Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World. Why we need two "operating systems." PLUS Book excerpt. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Excerpt: ‘The Art of Negotiation’

Great jazz musicians are a model for negotiators, says Michael Wheeler in his new book, The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World. Creativity at the bargaining table starts with disruption of familiar routines and old assumptions. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Better Deals Through Level II Strategies: Advance Your Interests by Helping to Solve Their Internal Problems

While most of us focus on our own interests in negotiation, our counterparts are more likely to say "yes" to a proposal if it meets their interests. Frequently, their interests entail satisfying, or at least not annoying, their "behind the table" constituencies. These may include a boss, board, investor group, spouse, client, union membership, community group, NGO, political party, or the United States Senate that must ratify the treaty that negotiators prepare on behalf of the President. The author of this paper argues that a potent barrier to success in negotiation is often the prospect that your or the other side's constituents will reject the deal. While most negotiators are highly sensitive to their own constituencies, they tend to pay far less attention to the other side's constituents: "that's their problem. Let them solve it." Yet one low-cost way for negotiators to advance their own interests can be help the other side solve its internal constituency problems-in a manner consistent with each both side's interests. Sophisticated negotiators have been amazingly inventive in coming up with practical and highly valuable approaches to this often‐unexplored challenge. This paper develops and illustrates several such approaches. Read More

Negotiation and All That Jazz

In his new book The Art of Negotiation, Michael Wheeler throws away the script to examine how master negotiators really get what they want. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Managing the Family Business: Firing the CEO

Firing a CEO is never easy—but the task gets even more difficult in a family business. John A. Davis discusses when to change out the chief executive. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Managing the Family Business: Leadership Roles

Poorly designed leadership roles set up a family business for failure. John A. Davis offers a system that produces the decisiveness and unity needed for long-term performance. Open for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Private Sector, Public Good

What role, if any, does business have in creating social good? A new seminar series at Harvard Business School tackles this complex question. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Has Listening Become a Lost Art?

Summing Up: Managers may have ears, but do they use them? Jim Heskett's readers offer opinions on why listening might be a lost art. Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

Family CEOs Spend Less Time at Work

CEOs who are related to the owners of family-owned firms work significantly fewer hours than nonfamily CEOs, according to a new study by Raffaella Sadun and colleagues. This is in light of the fact that longer working hours are associated with higher productivity, growth, and profitability. Open for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Language Wars Divide Global Companies

An increasing number of global firms adopt a primary language for business operations—usually English. The problem: The practice can surface dormant hostilities around culture and geography, reports Tsedal Neeley. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Technology Re-Emergence: Creating New Value for Old Innovations

Every once in a while, an old technology rises from the ashes and finds new life. Ryan Raffaelli explains how the Swiss watch industry saved itself by reinventing its identity. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Managing the Family Firm: Evidence from CEOs at Work

According to prior research, firm performance is weaker among companies with CEOs who have a family connection to the firm owners compared with nonfamily CEOs, that is professionals. Given the ubiquity of family firms and the implications for aggregate income and growth, what explains this variation? This paper provides evidence on the causes, features, and correlates of CEO attention allocation by looking at a simple yet critical difference between family and professional CEOs: the time they spend working for their firms. The Indian manufacturing sector makes an excellent case study because family ownership is widespread and the productivity dispersion across firms is substantial. Examining the time allocation of 356 CEOs of listed firms in this sector, the authors make several findings. First, there is substantial variation in the number of hours CEOs devote to work activities. Longer working hours are associated with higher firm productivity, growth, profitability, and CEO pay. Second, family CEOs record 8 percent fewer working hours relative to professional CEOs. The difference in hours worked is more pronounced in low-competition environments and does not seem to be explained by measurement error. Third, estimates with respect to the cost of effort, due to weather shocks and popular sport events, suggest that family CEOs place a higher relative weight on leisure, which could be due to either a wealth effect or job security. Overall, the evidence highlights the importance of how corporate leaders allocate their managerial attention. Read More

Lessons from the Lance Armstrong Cheating Scandal

Clayton S. Rose's recent case study looks at the behavior of teammates who were swept up in Lance Armstrong's cheating scandal. When do followers need to break away from their leader? Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Cultural Disharmony Undermines Workplace Creativity

Managing cultural friction not only creates a more harmonious workplace, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, but ensures that you reap the creative benefits of multiculturalism at its best. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

HBS Faculty Remember Nelson Mandela

Harvard Business School faculty Nitin Nohria, Linda Hill, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Gautam Mukunda remember Nelson Mandela, a leader who truly made a difference in the world. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Is Walmart Defying Economic Gravity?

Summing Up Can Walmart sustain its half-a-trillion-dollar enterprise much longer? Jim Heskett's readers see a conflict between the company's immense size and its business model. Closed for comment; 17 Comments posted.

Pulpit Bullies: Why Dominating Leaders Kill Teams

Power interrupts, and absolute power interrupts absolutely. Francesca Gino and colleagues discover that a high-powered boss can lead a team into poor performance. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: The Good Struggle: Responsible Leadership in an Unforgiving World

In a turbulent, sometimes dangerous world, responsible leaders need a broader view of critical decisions. An excerpt from Joseph L. Badaracco's new book. Read More

Responsible Leadership in an Unforgiving World

In a provocative new book, Joseph Badaracco argues that our world is increasingly characterized by struggle—for labor, technology, funds, and partners. Leaders who embrace that struggle can also reap its rewards. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Management: Theory and Practice, and Cases

The author reflects upon his diverse experiences throughout his career with the benefits and challenges of case method teaching and case writing. The case method is undergoing tremendous innovation as students in the twenty-first century engage in learning about corporations, management, and board oversight. In particular, the creative and analytical process of writing the novelAdventures of an IT Leader is examined. The book's "hero's journey" foundation continued in a second Harvard Business Press book, Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a Twenty-First Century Leader, focusing on CEO leadership in the global economy and the fast-changing IT-enabled pace of business. A third novel is in preparation: It concerns corporate leadership challenges into reinventing boards of directors for the twenty-first century. Read More

Overcoming Nervous Nelly

In situations from business negotiations to karaoke, Alison Wood Brooks explores the harmful effects of anxiety on performance—and how to combat them. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Is Leadership an Increasingly Difficult Balancing Act?

Summing Up: Do we long for the days of the conventional authority figure? Jim Heskett sums up this month's column. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Earnings Calls That Get Lost in Translation

Clear communication is critical for a successful earnings call. The challenge is doubly hard for foreign executives conducting calls in English. New research by Gwen Yu and Francois Brochet provides guidance to executives speaking to investors in any language. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Firm Competitiveness and Detection of Bribery

Bribery is widespread around the world, illegal, detrimental to economic progress and social stability, and at the same time it can have clear economic benefits for a firm. While the benefits of bribery for a firm, through acquisition of contracts or avoidance of government bureaucracy, are intuitive and well documented, the costs after detection are less well understood. In this paper the author examines how the impact on firm competitiveness from the detection of bribery varies with the identity of the initiator, the method bribery was detected, and the firm's response after detection. All three dimensions are significantly associated with the impact on firm competitiveness. In addition, the data suggest that the most significant impact is on employee morale, followed by business relations and reputation, and then regulatory relations. Read More

Is There Still a Role for Judgment in Decision-Making?

Summing Up: Human judgment should be a part of all decisions, but play a dominant role in significantly fewer of them, according to many of Jim Heskett's readers. Is good old-fashioned intuition out of date? What do YOU think? Closed for comment; 47 Comments posted.

J. Richard Hackman (1940-2013)

This paper—a tribute to the lifework of the late scholar J. Richard Hackman, a professor of social and organizational psychology at Harvard—recalls his many contributions to our understanding of work design and team effectiveness. As the authors note, Hackman's research changed the face of work design in countless industries, from service and manufacturing jobs, to education, health care, and the performing arts. His theory (with Greg Oldham) of job characteristics, and his evidence about how one could redesign and enrich jobs, made it possible for workers not only to perform well but also to develop and make meaningful contributions through their work. The author or coauthor of 10 books on group effectiveness, Hackman revitalized teams research with his insights into the conditions under which effective collective work processes emerge. Read More

A Manager’s Moral Obligation to Preserve Capitalism

Harvard Business School's Rebecca M. Henderson and Karthik Ramanna argue that company managers have a moral obligation to preserve capitalism. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Why Unqualified Candidates Get Hired Anyway

Why do businesses evaluate candidates solely on past job performance, failing to consider the job's difficulty? Why do university admissions officers focus on high GPAs, discounting influence of easy grading standards? Francesca Gino and colleagues investigate the phenomenon of the "fundamental attribution error." Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Helping You Help Me: The Role of Diagnostic (In)Congruence in the Helping Process within Organizations

Coming up with new ideas and solving difficult problems in modern organizations is increasingly accomplished through collaboration and teamwork. Often when people collaborate to tackle a knowledge-intensive project, they still need external help to achieve their goals: advice, assistance with task completion, team coaching, mentoring, and/or socio-emotional support. Yet we know little about the helping process itself. Indeed, sometimes helping attempts are useless, or worse. By conducting a field study of helping in a major design firm, the authors of this paper analyzed how the helping process unfolded. In particular, they focused on aspects of the process, differentiating episodes that employees assessed as successful from those they deemed unsuccessful. They discovered that the key differentiator was whether the helper and the person being helped established "diagnostic congruence" at the outset - a shared understanding of the state of the project and what sort of help was needed. Overall, the study contributes to our understanding of helping in organizations by discovering the interactional influences on the success of a helping episode. It also sheds light on help from a process perspective, highlights the importance of timing in aspects of the process, and uncovers the prominent role of emotion in perceptions of unsuccessful helping. Read More

Is Your iPhone Turning You Into a Wimp?

The body posture inherent in operating everyday gadgets affects not only your back, but your behavior. According to a new study by Maarten Bos and Amy Cuddy, operating a relatively large device inspires more assertive behavior than working on a small one. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Do We Need to Extend ‘No Surprises Management?’

Summing Up: Jim Heskett's readers agree that 'no surprises management' should be practiced by bosses as well their direct reports. Closed for comment; 27 Comments posted.

From McRibs to Maseratis: The Power of Scarcity Marketing

In the new book Happy Money: the Science of Smarter Spending, behavioral economists Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton describe how money can buy happiness—but only if we spend it the right way. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

How to Spot a Liar

Key linguistic cues can help reveal dishonesty during business negotiations, whether it's a flat-out lie or a deliberate omission of key information, according to research by Lyn M. Van Swol, Michael T. Braun, and Deepak Malhotra. Closed for comment; 55 Comments posted.

Why Isn’t ‘Servant Leadership’ More Prevalent?

Summing Up: After plowing through an unusually full inbox of reader e-mails, Jim Heskett wonders whether the term "servant leadership" is an oxymoron? Closed for comment; 137 Comments posted.

Who Sets Your Benchmarks?

In his new book, What You're Really Meant to Do, Robert Steven Kaplan outlines a step-by-step approach to defining success on your own terms. Closed for comment; 9 Comments posted.

How to Demotivate Your Best Employees

Many companies hand out awards such as "employee of the month," but do they work to motivate performance? Not really, says professor Ian Larkin. In fact, they may turn off your best employees altogether. Closed for comment; 62 Comments posted.

Will Women Leaders Influence the Way We Work?

Summing Up: Readers are split on Jim Heskett's question about whether men and women manage differently. Closed for comment; 28 Comments posted.

Pulling Campbell’s Out of the Soup

Campbell Soup had lost its way when Douglas Conant took charge in 2001. His first task: get out of his quiet zone and apply bold measures. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

How CEOs Sustain Higher-Ambition Goals

At a recent conference, executives underscored the importance of employee engagement, contributing to the community, and creating sustainable environment strategies. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Marissa Mayer Should Bridge Distance Gap with Remote Workers

Marissa Mayer's decision to bring work-at-home Yahoo! employees back to the office has set off a firestorm. Lakshmi Ramarajan writes on how to mitigate the problem. Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

The Dirty Laundry of Employee Award Programs: Evidence from the Field

Many scholars and practitioners in human resource management have recently argued that awards and other forms of on-the-job recognition provide a "free" way to motivate employees. But are there unintended, negative effects of such awards? In this paper, the authors simultaneously examine the costs and benefits of an attendance award program that was implemented in an industrial laundry plant. The award used in the study was effective in that it reduced the average rate of tardiness among employees. However, it also led to a host of potential spillover effects that the plant manager readily admits were not considered when designing the program, and that reduced overall plant productivity. Overall, findings demonstrate that an award program that appears to be effective may also induce unintended consequences severely reducing the net value of the program. These results highlight the impact such a program can have on the overall performance of the firm and suggest caution when designing and implementing such programs. Read More

Sidetracked: Why Can’t We Stick to the Plan?

In her new book, Sidetracked, behavioral scientist and professor Francesca Gino explores the unexpected forces that often keep people from following through with their plans, both professional and personal. Closed for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Big Deal: Reflections on the Megamerger of American and US Airways

The proposed marriage between American Airlines and US Airways would create the nation's largest airline. Professors Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Stuart Gilson reflect on a megamerger. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Why a Harvard Finance Instructor Went to the Kumbh Mela

Every 12 years, millions of Hindu pilgrims travel to the Indian city of Allahabad for the Kumbh Mela, the largest public gathering in the world. In this first-person account, Senior Lecturer John Macomber shares his first impressions and explains what he's doing there. Closed for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Altruistic Capital: Harnessing Your Employees’ Intrinsic Goodwill

Everyone comes to the table with some amount of "altruistic capital," a stock of intrinsic desire to serve, says professor Nava Ashraf. Her research includes a study of what best motivates hairdressers in Zambia to provide HIV/AIDS education in their salons. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Culture Changers: Managing High-Impact Entrepreneurs

In her new Harvard Business School course, Creative High-Impact Ventures: Entrepreneurs Who Changed the World, professor Mukti Khaire looks at ways managers can team with creative talent in six "culture industries": publishing, fashion, art-design, film, music, and food. Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Should We Rethink the Promise of Teams?

Summing Up: Teams that are properly structured and managed can support innovative thinking that depends on contributions from both extroverts and introverts, according to Professor Jim Heskett's readers. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Teaming in the Twenty-First Century

Today's teams are not well designed for getting work done in the twenty-first century, argues Professor Amy C. Edmondson. One starting point: learn the skill of "teaming." Open for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Should Managers Bother Listening to Predictions?

Summing Up Should we use predictions at all when planning for the future? Jim Heskett's readers offer a variety of opinions. What do YOU think? Closed for comment; 38 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: Harder Than I Thought

Harder Than I Thought: Adventures of a Twenty-First Century Leader invites readers to critique the fictional journey of Jim Barton, the new CEO of a west coast aerospace firm. The book was written by business scholars Robert Austin, Richard Nolan, and Shannon O'Donnell. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: Against the Grain

Dealing with pervasive, institutionalized corruption is tough but not impossible. A new case study on Tanzania joins a series of cases in professor Karthik Ramanna's research that explore the deep-seated problems of corruption as well as multiple entrepreneurial paths to combat it. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

No Margin, No Mission? A Field Experiment on Incentives for Pro-Social Tasks

Organizations from large corporations to NGOs use a range of nonfinancial performance rewards to motivate their employees, and these rewards are highly valued. While theory has suggested mechanisms through which nonfinancial incentives can elicit employee effort, evidence on the mechanisms, and on their effectiveness relative to financial incentives, remains scarce. This paper helps to fill this gap by providing evidence from a collaboration with a public health organization based in Lusaka, Zambia, that recruits and trains hairdressers and barbers to sell condoms in their shops. This setting is representative of many health delivery programs in developing countries where embedded community agents are called upon to deliver services and products, but finding an effective way to motivate them remains a significant challenge. Findings show the effectiveness of financial and nonfinancial rewards for increasing sales of condoms. Agents who are offered nonfinancial rewards ("stars" in this setting) exert more effort than either those offered financial margins or those offered volunteer contracts. Read More

HBS Cases: Sir Alex Ferguson--Managing Manchester United

For almost three decades, Sir Alex Ferguson has developed the Manchester United soccer club into one of the most recognized sports brands in the world. Professor Anita Elberse discusses the keys to Sir Alex's long-time success. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: Judgment Calls

In their book Judgment Calls, Visiting Professor Thomas H. Davenport and independent consultant Brook Manville share the tales of several organizations that made successful choices through collective judgment. Read our excerpt on growing pains at Tweezerman. Open for comment; 3 Comments posted.

Are You Paying a Tip--or a Bribe?

Both are rewards for service, so why is one considered outside the boundaries of ethical behavior? Harvard Business School professor Magnus Thor Torfason on the thin line. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Developing the Global Leader

The shift from a country-centric company to one more global in its outlook will have a radical impact on leadership development, says Professor of Management Practice William George. Closed for comment; 15 Comments posted.

America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance

In their new book, Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance, Harvard Business School professors Gary P. Pisano and Willy C. Shih discuss the dangers of underinvesting in the nation's manufacturing capabilities. This excerpt discusses the importance of the "industrial commons." Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

What Do Managers Do? Exploring Persistent Performance Differences among Seemingly Similar Enterprises

Decades of research using a wide variety of detailed plant- and firm-level data has provided strong evidence of persistent performance differences among seemingly similar enterprises. But what causes these differences? In this paper, the chapter of a forthcoming book, Gibbons and Henderson focus on the role of "relational contracts" in sustaining persistent performance differences among seemingly similar enterprises. The paper provides evidence both that many important management practices rely on relational contracts, and that relational contracts can be hard to build and change. They explore a number of reasons that relational contracts may be difficult to build, exploring both "bad parameters" and "bad luck" and the difficulties inherent in communicating the full terms of an evolving contract. They suggest that this perspective opens up a rich field of research into the role that managers play in sustaining superior performance and explore a number of theoretical and empirical approaches that may prove fruitful in building further understanding. Read More

Book Excerpt: Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter

In his new book, Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter, HBS professor Gautam Mukunda addresses the question of whether leaders create history or are created by it. Read our excerpt. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Level II Negotiations: Helping the Other Side Meet Its ‘Behind the Table’ Challenges

Many situations make it important to productively synchronize "internal" with "external" negotiations. In fact, much research to date has focused on how each side can best manage its internal opposition to agreements negotiated "at the table." Often implicit in this research is the view that each side's leadership is best positioned to manage its own internal conflicts. Traditionally, a negotiator does this by 1) pressing for deal terms that will meet its internal objections, and 2) effectively "selling" the agreement to its key constituencies. However, James Sebenius argues that to achieve your own goals in negotiation it is also vital to understand all the ways in which you can help the other side with the its "behind-the-table" barriers (and vice versa). Independent of any altruistic motives, helping them to solve "their internal negotiation problem" is often the best way to get them to say yes to an agreement that is in your interest. To do this, negotiators should explicitly probe the full set of the other party's interests including the other side's interest in dealing effectively with its internal, behind-the-table challenges and conflicts. This requires you to deeply probe the context in which they are enmeshed: the web of favorable and opposing constituencies as well as their relationships, perceptions, sensitivities, and substantive interests. By way of a number of challenging case examples, this paper details a number of ways to develop this fuller understanding and to act effectively on it. Read More

Why Most Leaders (Even Thomas Jefferson) Are Replaceable

Leaders rarely make a lasting impact on their organizations—even the really, really good ones. Then out of the blue comes a Churchill. Gautam Mukunda discusses his new book, Indispensable: When Leaders Really Matter. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Field Evidence on Individual Behavior & Performance in Rank-Order Tournaments

Contests abound in everything from amateur and professional sports to arts, architecture, manual labor, and engineering. Just as large-scale online contest platforms that provide ongoing tournament-based work and compensation have emerged, large industrial companies increasingly use them as a complement to in-house research and development. What difference does increased competition make to individual participants? This paper analyzes data from algorithmic programming contests to shed light on the mechanisms that underlie changes in performance in reaction to increased competition. Three mechanisms may account for a performance decline: reduction in effort, increased risk taking, and deterioration in cognitive processing. The study also shows how the ability of competitors affects their reactions to increased competition. Overall, results suggest that a better understanding of behavioral responses in contests can aid both public policy and contest designers. Read More

Should CEOs Worry About ‘Too Big to Succeed?’

Summing Up Is there a right size for a company? Jim Heskett's readers ponder his question: Can companies become too big to succeed? Open for comment; 20 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘Talk, Inc.’

In their book Talk, Inc. Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind show how several global companies are adapting the principles of face-to-face conversation to improve companywide corporate communication. Closed for comment; 1 Comment posted.

The Power of Conversational Leadership

Communication is always a challenge, especially in multinational corporations. Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind discuss why it makes sense to adopt the principles of face-to-face conversation in organizational communication. Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Penn State Lesson: Today’s Cover-Up was Yesterday’s Opportunity

While leaders may rationalize that a cover-up protects the interests of their organizations, the inevitable damage harms their institutions far more than acknowledging a mistake, says professor Bill George. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘The Strategist’

It's time for CEOs to start reclaiming strategy as a key executive responsibility, argues Cynthia A. Montgomery in her new book, The Strategist. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Are You a Strategist?

Corporate strategy has become the bailiwick of consultants and business analysts, so much so that it is no longer a top-of-mind responsibility for many senior executives. Professor Cynthia A. Montgomery says it's time for CEOs to again become strategists. Closed for comment; 43 Comments posted.

Negotiation Processes As Sources of (And Solutions To) Interorganizational Conflict

Negotiations are often conceptualized as a means of managing or resolving conflict. Yet just as the process of negotiation may be a solution to conflict in some cases, it may be a source of conflict in others. This paper examines how contextual features within organizations affect negotiation processes and outcomes, and how these processes in turn become a source of or solution to interorganizational conflict. The authors argue that principals, agents, and teams face different sets of constraints and opportunities in negotiations. It is thus important to understand the link between unfolding interactions (the subject of considerable negotiation process research) and more macro features of organizations, such as formalization of roles, culture, or party representation. Read More

Communicating Frames in Negotiations

Economists examining bargaining behavior and outcomes often disregard the complex role of communication, restrict interaction to offers and counteroffers, or study the mere presence of communication while ignoring or constraining its content. This paper asks: How and why does talk sometimes make bargaining more cooperative and other times make bargaining more competitive? The answer may depend on examining what is being communicated about the underlying purpose of the interaction. Kathleen L. McGinn and Markus Noth argue that the content of communication frames the bargaining situation and thus can help predict bargaining behavior and final agreements. Read More

The Unconscious Executive

Postdoctoral fellow Maarten Bos investigates how unconscious processes improve decision-making. Conscious deliberation, it turns out, does not always lead to the best outcomes. Closed for comment; 26 Comments posted.

Why Is Trust So Hard to Achieve in Management?

Summing Up There are many reasons for the trust gap between employees and management—but also many ways to bridge the divide, according to Jim Heskett's readers. What do YOU think? Closed for comment; 108 Comments posted.

Collaborating Across Cultures

Learning to collaborate creatively with people from other cultures is a vital skill in today's business environment, says professor Roy Y.J. Chua, whose research focuses on a key measure psychologists have dubbed "cultural metacognition." Closed for comment; 24 Comments posted.

Teaching Leadership: What We Know

The field of leadership education has reached a critical stage. After several decades of experimentation, "The Handbook for Teaching Leadership," Scott A. Snook, Rakesh Khurana, and Nitin Nohria, is intended to be a foundational reference for educators facing this increasingly important challenge. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Better by the Bunch: Evaluating Job Candidates in Groups

The key to avoiding gender stereotyping in the hiring process lies in evaluating job candidates as a group, rather than one at a time. So says new research by Iris Bohnet, Alexandra van Geen, and Max H. Bazerman. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

When Business Competition Harms Society

In highly competitive markets, many firms are likely to bend the rules if doing so will keep their customers from leaving for a rival, according to new research by professor Michael W. Toffel and colleagues. Case in point: service stations that cheat on auto emissions testing. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Is Something Wrong with the Way We Work?

Summing Up Who is to blame for our pressure-packed 24/7 work culture? Technology? Globalization? Increasingly demanding customers? Jim Heskett's readers say it's best to first look in the mirror. Closed for comment; 41 Comments posted.

The Business of Life

Scholarly economic theory applies to more than just business. The same causal mechanisms that drive big corporations to success can be just as effective in driving our personal lives, says Professor Clayton M. Christensen. Closed for comment; 9 Comments posted.

Breaking the Smartphone Addiction

In her new book, Sleeping With Your Smartphone, Leslie Perlow explains how high-powered consultants disconnected from their mobile devices for a few hours every week—and how they became more productive as a result. Such "predictable time off" might help phone-addled employees better control their workdays and lives. Open for comment; 33 Comments posted.

The Flattened Firm—Not as Advertised

For decades, management consultants and the popular business press have urged large firms to flatten their hierarchies. Flattening (or delayering, as it is also known) typically refers to the elimination of layers in a firm's organizational hierarchy, and the broadening of managers' spans of control. While flattening is said to reduce costs, its alleged benefits flow primarily from changes in internal governance: by pushing decisions downward, firms not only enhance customer and market responsiveness, but also improve accountability and morale. But has flattening actually delivered on its promise and pushed decisions down to lower-level managers? In this paper, Julie Wulf shows that flattening actually can lead to exactly the opposite effects from what it promises to do. Wulf used a large-scale panel data set of reporting relationships, job descriptions, and compensation structures in a sample of over 300 large U.S. firms over roughly a 15-year period. This historical data analysis was complemented with exploratory interviews with executives (what CEOs say) and analysis of data on executive time use (what CEOs do). Results suggest that flattening transferred some decision rights from lower-level division managers to functional managers at the top. Flattening is also associated with increased CEO involvement with direct reports—the second level of top management—suggesting a more hands-on CEO at the pinnacle of the hierarchy. In sum, flattening at the top is a complex phenomenon that in the end looks more like centralization. Yet it is crucial to consider different types of decisions and activities and how they vary by level in the hierarchy. Read More

Clayton Christensen’s “How Will You Measure Your Life?”

World-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen explores the personal benefits of business research in the forthcoming book How Will You Measure Your Life? Coauthored with James Allworth and Karen Dillon, the book explains how well-tested academic theories can help us find meaning and happiness not just at work, but in life. Open for comment; 75 Comments posted.

The Art of Haggling

When teaching negotiation skills, many educators now focus almost exclusively on an interest-based approach in which both parties openly collaborate to find a mutually satisfying solution. However, argues HBS Professor Mike Wheeler, it's important for students to know that there's still a time and place for old-school haggling. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Can the “Leadership Industry” Fulfill Its Promise?

Summing Up: Jim Heskett's readers believe leadership is teachable—to a point. Closed for comment; 72 Comments posted.

The Importance of Teaming

Managers need to stop thinking of teams as static groups of individuals who have ample time to practice interacting successfully and efficiently, says Amy Edmondson in her new book, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy. The reason: Today's corporate teams band and disband by the minute, requiring a more dynamic approach to how teams absorb knowledge. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

When Performance Trumps Gender Bias: Joint versus Separate Evaluation

Gender-based discrimination in hiring, promotion, and job assignments is difficult to overcome. This paper suggests a new intervention aimed at avoiding biased assessments: an "evaluation nudge," in which employees are evaluated jointly rather than separately regarding their future performance. While joint evaluation is common for most hiring decisions, especially at the lower levels, it is rarely used when job assignments and promotions are being considered. The research shows that a joint-evaluation mode succeeds in helping employers choose based on past performance, irrespective of an employee's gender and the implicit stereotypes the employer may hold. While it is not always feasible to bundle promotion decisions and explicitly compare candidates, the research suggests that, whenever possible, joint evaluation would increase both efficiency and equality. Findings have implications for organizations that want to decrease the likelihood that hiring, promotion, and job-assignment decisions will be based on irrelevant criteria triggered by stereotypes. Read More

Crowded at the Top: The Rise of the Functional Manager

It's not lonely at the top anymore—today's CEO has an average of 10 direct reports, according to new research by Julie M. Wulf, Maria Guadalupe, and Hongyi Li. Thank a dramatic increase in the number of "functional" managers for crowding in the C-suite. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Occupy Wall Street Protestors Have a Point

The concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement are not far different from what business leaders have told professors Joseph L. Bower, Herman B. Leonard, and Lynn S. Paine. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Learning from My Success and From Others’ Failure: Evidence from Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery

The importance of failure in the learning process is well recognized. In organizations as work grows increasingly fragmented—more specialized and divided into smaller tasks—the role of individuals in organizational learning becomes more important. This paper examines how individuals learn directly from their own past experience, and indirectly from the past experience of others. Focusing on one particular performance outcome, the quality of surgeries, findings indicate that individuals learn the most from their own successes and the failures of others, possibly because in both cases they attribute the outcomes to internal rather than external factors. This research has implications for healthcare and organizations more generally. Research by KC Diwas, Bradley R. Staats, and Francesca Gino. Read More

The Case Against Racial Colorblindness

Research by Harvard Business School's Michael I. Norton and colleagues shows that attempting to overcome prejudice by ignoring race is an ineffective strategy that—in many cases—only serves to perpetuate bias. Closed for comment; 23 Comments posted.

Team Scaffolds: How Minimal In-Group Structures Support Fast-Paced Teaming

It is increasingly necessary for 24/7 shift operations to include some component of team-based work. But how can organizations support such work among constantly changing groups of people in a setting where stable teams are not feasible? This research investigates an organizational structure the authors call team scaffolds: a role set with collective responsibility for accomplishing interdependent tasks. Studying the implementation of team scaffolding in a high-stakes setting, a city hospital emergency room, the authors observed that workers readily affiliated with the temporary teams—even without ongoing relationships—and worked together intensely during the short duration of these groupings, even developing a competitive dynamic with other team scaffolds. The role sets established job placeholders in an interdependent group so that people starting up a shift could take their places in the set and immediately understand the interdependence and accountability they shared with others. Overall, this design improved the ability and motivation of clinicians to engage in teaming. Read More

Earnings Management from the Bottom Up: An Analysis of Managerial Incentives Below the CEO

Many studies as well as anecdotes document a link between the structure of chief executive officer (CEO) compensation and various measures of earnings manipulation. In this paper, HBS professors Oberholzer-Gee and Wulf analyze all components of compensation packages for CEOs and for managers at lower levels in a large sample of firms over more than 10 years, between 1986 and 1999. Results suggest that the effects of incentive pay on earnings management vary considerably by both type of incentive pay and position. Overall, it appears that the primary focus of compensation committees on equity incentives for CEOs overlooks a critical component in curbing earnings manipulation. If one wanted to weaken incentive pay to get more truthful reporting, diluting bonuses-particularly that of the chief financial officer (CFO)-would be the place to start. This may be the first study to analyze the relationship between CEO, division manager, and CFO compensation and earnings management. Read More

Measuring the Efficacy of the World’s Managers

Over the past seven years, Harvard Business School's Raffaella Sadun and a team of researchers have interviewed managers at some 10,000 organizations in 20 countries. The goal: to determine how and why management practices differ vastly in style and quality not only across nations, but also across various organizations and industries. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Behavioral Ethics: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Moral Judgment and Dishonesty

What makes even good people cross ethical boundaries? Society demands that business and professional schools address ethics, but the results have been disappointing. This paper argues that a behavioral approach to ethics is essential because it leads to understanding and explaining moral and immoral behavior in systematic ways. The authors first define business ethics and provide an admittedly biased history of the attempts of professional schools to address ethics as a subject of both teaching and research. They next briefly summarize the emergence of the field of behavioral ethics over the last two decades, and turn to recent research findings in behavioral ethics that could provide helpful directions for a social science perspective to ethics. These new findings on both intentional and unintentional unethical behavior can inform new courses on ethics as well as new research investigations. Such new directions can meet the demands of society more effectively than past attempts of professional schools. They can also produce a meaningful and significant change in the behavior of both business school students and professionals. Read More

Are Creative People More Dishonest?

In a series of studies, Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely found that inherently creative people tend to cheat more than noncreative people. Furthermore, they showed that inducing creative behavior tends to induce unethical behavior. It's a sobering thought in a corporate culture that champions out-of-the-box thinking. Closed for comment; 87 Comments posted.

Thinking Slow: An Argument for Bureaucracy?

Summing Up Readers of Jim Heskett's column this month offer guidelines for when to think fast and when to think slow, from author Daniel Kahneman's book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Open for comment; 26 Comments posted.

The Organization of Firms Across Countries

Economists have been paying increasing attention to the role that culture plays in a firm's overall performance. This paper focuses on how trust—a key cultural factor—affects firms' decision-making process, size, and productivity. Research was conducted by Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, Rafaella Sadun of the Harvard Business School, and John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics. Read More

The Ultimate Question in Management

Summing Up: Many of Jim Heskett's readers this month offered suggestions for the ultimate question in management. What's yours? Closed for comment; 57 Comments posted.

Horrible Boss Workarounds

Bad bosses are generally more inept than evil, and often aren't purposefully bad, says Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. She discusses common bad-boss behaviors, and how good colleagues can mobilize to overcome the roadblocks. Closed for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Chasing Stars: Why the Mighty Red Sox Struck Out

When the Red Sox announced they had signed away veteran pitcher John Lackey from the Anaheim Angels, it was the start of one of the most expensive talent hunts in baseball history. So why were the Red Sox an epic failure in 2011? Lackey's lackluster performance is a case study in the perils of chasing superstars, says Professor Boris Groysberg. Open for comment; 7 Comments posted.

Building a Business in the Context of a Life

Careers rarely run on a track from Point A to Point B—life experiences often change our goals. At Harvard Business School, Senior Lecturer Janet J. Kraus teaches students to take a life plan as seriously as they would a business plan. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

The Steve Jobs Legacy

Harvard Business School faculty offer their perspectives on the legendary career of Steve Jobs, who remade several industries even as he changed how we use technology. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

How Will the ‘Moneyball Generation’ Influence Management?

Sum-up Nontraditional performance measures, as highlighted in the movie 'Moneyball', will become an increasingly important part of the young manager's toolkit, Jim Heskett's readers say. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Measuring Teamwork in Health Care Settings: A Review of Survey Instruments

It is critical to accurately assess teamwork in health-care organizations. About 60 percent of primary-care practices in the United States use team-based models to coordinate work across the broad spectrum of health professionals needed to deliver quality care; in many other countries the percentage is almost 100 percent. While the benefits of effective teamwork are substantial, effective teamwork is often lacking in these settings, with negative consequences for patients. To date, little has been known about the survey instruments available to measure teamwork. In this paper Valentine, Nembhard, and Edmondson report the results of their systematic review of survey instruments that have been used to measure teamwork in various contexts. Their research helps to identify existing teamwork scales that may be most useful in testing theoretical models. Read More

Gender and Competition: What Companies Need to Know

Do women shy away from competition and thus hurt their careers? New research by Harvard's Kathleen L. McGinn, Iris Bohnet, and Pinar Fletcher suggests the answer is not black and white, and that employers need to understand the "genderness" of their work. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

High Ambition Leadership

Higher-ambition business leaders skillfully integrate both economic and social value. Professor Emeritus Michael Beer explains what makes them special, and how you can learn what they know, in his new book, Higher Ambition: How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value. Q&A plus book excerpt. Closed for comment; 3 Comments posted.

The Power of Leadership Groups for Staying on Track

Twenty-first-century organizations are breaking with traditional command-and-control hierarchies to develop a new generation of values-centered leadership, argues Professor Bill George, author of True North. The best way to get there? True North Groups. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Cheese Moving: Effecting Change Rather Than Accepting It

In his new business fable, I Moved Your Cheese, Professor Deepak Malhotra challenges the idea that change is simply something we must anticipate, tolerate, and accept. Instead, the book teaches readers that success often lies in first questioning changes in the workplace and, if necessary, in effecting new changes ourselves. Q&A plus book excerpt. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

How Small Wins Unleash Creativity

In their new book, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, authors Teresa M. Amabile and Steven J. Kramer discuss how even seemingly small steps forward on a project can make huge differences in employees' emotional and intellectual well-being. Amabile talks about the main findings of the book. Plus: book excerpt. Closed for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Getting to Eureka!: How Companies Can Promote Creativity

As global competition intensifies, it's more important than ever that companies figure out how to innovate if they are going to maintain their edge, or maintain their existence at all. Six Harvard Business School faculty share insights on the best ways to develop creative workers. Closed for comment; 20 Comments posted.

How Dangerous Is Common Sense to Managers?

Forum Closed Summing Up: Is experience really the best teacher? Sure—when not much is on the line, according to readers commenting on Professor Jim Heskett's column on common sense. Closed for comment; 65 Comments posted.

Collaborating Across Cultures: Cultural Metacognition and Affect-Based Trust in Creative Collaboration

Creative solutions often are born when two unrelated ideas come together for the first time. That's more likely to happen when the collaborators come from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, thus diminishing the likelihood of redundant ideas. In this paper, via a series of studies, Roy Y.J. Chua, Michael W. Morris, and Shira Mor examine the factors that make intercultural creative collaboration happen. Read More

Rupert Murdoch and the Seeds of Moral Hazard

Harvard Business School faculty Michel Anteby, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Robert Steven Kaplan explore the moral, ethical, and leadership issues behind Rupert Murdoch's News of the World fiasco. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Looking in the Mirror: Questions Every Leader Must Ask

"Show me a company or nonprofit or government in trouble, and I will almost invariably show you a set of leaders who are asking absolutely the wrong questions," says professor Robert Steven Kaplan. He discusses his new book, What to Ask the Person in the Mirror. Plus: book excerpt. Closed for comment; 19 Comments posted.

Non-competes Push Talent Away

California is among several states where non-compete agreements are essentially illegal. Is it a coincidence that so many inventors flock to Silicon Valley? New research by Lee Fleming, Matt Marx, and Jasjit Singh investigates whether there is a "brain drain" of talented engineers and scientists who leave states that allow non-competes and move to states that don't. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

So We Adapt. What’s the Downside?

Summing Up Jim Heskett's readers ponder the question of whether the virtues of adaptability in a chaotic world undermine an organization's ability to commit. Closed for comment; 28 Comments posted.

Are You a Level-Six Leader?

Asking the question, whom do you serve? is a powerful vector on which to build a useful typology of leadership. Visiting professor Modesto Maidique offers a six-level Purpose-Driven Model of Leadership ranging from Sociopath to Transcendent. Closed for comment; 78 Comments posted.

Recovering from the Need to Achieve

In his new book, Flying without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success, HBS professor Thomas J. DeLong explores the world of "high-need-for-achievement professionals" or HNAPs—those for whom the constant, insatiable need to achieve can lead to anxiety and dysfunction. Plus: book excerpt. Open for comment; 23 Comments posted.

Sharpening Your Skills: Motivation

Can employers motivate employees to work more creatively, ethically, or productively? Or does that power reside solely within the individual? Recent research at Harvard Business School suggests workers can be motivated by their environment. Read More

Why Leaders Lose Their Way

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is just the latest in a string of high-profile leaders making the perp walk. What went wrong, and how can we learn from it? Professor Bill George discusses how powerful people lose their moral bearings. To stay grounded executives must prepare themselves to confront enormous complexities and pressures. Closed for comment; 77 Comments posted.

Inducement Prizes and Innovation

Throughout recent history, many foundations have tried to induce innovation through competition, offering massive cash prizes to inventors who meet the challenge of creating world-changing inventions. For instance, in 1996 the X Prize Foundation offered $10 million to the first non-government organization to launch a reusable, suborbital manned spacecraft twice within two weeks. The prize was awarded in 2004 to a project financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The problem is that inventors cannot win these competitions if they cannot come up with funding to realize their inventions, and research and development costs often exceed the amount of the cash prize. So, does the incentive of an eventual prize really induce innovation? In this paper, Liam Brunt, Josh Lerner, and Tom Nicholas look to answer that question, using a data set of prizes awarded by the Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE) between 1839 and 1939. Read More

Signing at the Top: The Key to Preventing Tax Fraud?

In filling out self-reported documents such as tax forms, we declare the information truthful with our signature, but usually we sign at the end of the form. Researchers Francesca Gino and Lisa Shu discuss whether governments and companies can bolster honesty simply by moving the honesty pledge and signature line to the top of the form, before people encounter the opportunity to cheat. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Embracing Paradox

CEOs are often innovation cheerleaders, hoping that new ventures will eventually help reshape the industry for the better. But in tough economic times, the other senior company executives often choose to ignore innovative ventures and focus instead on the traditional core business, which reliably generate cash flow. This leads to a situation in which the CEO turns into more of a broker than a leader—trying to negotiate deals between the heads of the core units and the new units. That's a recipe for failure, according to Michael L. Tushman, Wendy K. Smith, and Andy Binns, who argue that firms can thrive only if the whole senior management team can embrace the tensions between the new and the old. In this paper, they introduce three guiding principles to help executives grow their core businesses while still nurturing their new ones. Read More

The Impact of Forward-Looking Metrics on Employee Decision Making

In marketing, the use of the customer lifetime value (CLV) metric encourages a focus on long-term customer relationships over short-term sales. This paper examines a situation in which a European bank introduced CLV data to its customer-facing employees, while still maintaining the incentives linked to short-term profitability; the goal was to discover whether and how these employees would modify their mortgage sales decisions. Research was conducted by Pablo Casas-Arce of Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and F. Asís Martínez-Jerez and V.G. Narayanan of Harvard Business School. Read More

Moving From Bean Counter to Game Changer

New research by HBS professor Anette Mikes and colleagues looks into how accountants, finance professionals, internal auditors, and risk managers gain influence in their organizations to become strategic decision makers. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

How Ethical Can We Be?

Summing Up Managers like to think they act ethically, but at the end of the day ethical action is subjective, readers tell Jim Heskett. Reaction to the new book Blind Spots. Closed for comment; 38 Comments posted.

Is Web Surfing Distracting Your Workers?

If you think that banning web surfing at work will improve your employees' productivity, think again. In new research on the effects of temptation, HBS research fellow Marco Piovesan and colleagues found that the act of resisting temptation distracted subjects enough that their work performance actually suffered. Closed for comment; 10 Comments posted.

When Smaller Menus are Better: Variability in Menu-Setting Ability and 401(k) Plans

Economists love menus, which can be used to help understand people's choices. For example, do we prefer more choices (larger menu) or fewer (shorter menu)? But the menu itself has to be pre-selected. Research by David Goldreich (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto) and Hanna Halaburda (Harvard Business School) focuses on the menu setter's decisions about what to include, and how large a menu to construct in the context of 401(k) plan choices. Read More

What CEOs Do, and How They Can Do it Better

A CEO's schedule is especially important to a firm's financial success, which raises a few questions: What do they do all day? Can they be more efficient time managers? HBS professor Raffaella Sadun and colleagues set out to find some answers. Open for comment; 67 Comments posted.

Blind Spots: We’re Not as Ethical as We Think

Even when we think we are making principled decisions, recent research reveals we are not as ethical as we would like to believe. Professor Max H. Bazerman discusses his new book, Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It. Plus: Book excerpt. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Top Executive Background and Financial Reporting Choice: The Case of Goodwill Impairment

In the management literature, some theories hold that corporate actions and strategic choices can be partially predicted by knowing the functional background of executives. The authors provide evidence on how CEOs and CFOs who were former investment bankers, auditors, and private equity/venture capital executives managed decisions around goodwill impairments (essentially goodwill charge-offs)—a complex accounting choice involving a high degree of managerial discretion. Research by HBS professor Francois Brochet and doctoral candidate Kyle Welch. Read More

It’s Not Nagging: Why Persistent, Redundant Communication Works

Managers who inundate their teams with the same messages, over and over, via multiple media, need not feel bad about their persistence. In fact, this redundant communication works to get projects completed quickly, according to new research by Harvard Business School professor Tsedal B. Neeley and Northwestern University's Paul M. Leonardi and Elizabeth M. Gerber. Closed for comment; 65 Comments posted.

Delay as Agenda Setting

A common business (and life) practice involves delaying a decision in order to avoid immediate commitment. James J. Anton (Fuqua School of Business) and Dennis A. Yao (HBS) discuss ways in which delaying or, alternatively, speeding up commitment can be a valuable tactic, how these tactics influence the actions of other decision makers, and ways in which such actions affect other decisions. Changing the speed at which a decision is made affects how others allocate resources to influence how that and other decisions will eventually be made. The researchers identify two tactics associated with changing decision speed: "pinning" and "focusing." Read More

Reinventing the National Geographic Society

How do you transform a 123-year-old cultural icon and prepare it for the digital world? Slowly, as a new case on the National Geographic Society by professor David Garvin demonstrates. Open for comment; 19 Comments posted.

When Power Makes Others Speechless: The Negative Impact of Leader Power on Team Performance

History has shown that possessing a great deal of power does not necessarily make someone a good leader. This paper explores the idea that power actually has a detrimental effect on leadership, especially with regard to how it affects open communication within a team. Research was conducted by Leigh Plunkett Tost of the University of Washington, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and Richard P. Larrick of Duke University. Read More

From SpinPop to SpinBrush: Entrepreneurial Lessons from John Osher

At a panel discussion on entrepreneurship, professor William A. Sahlman and several successful start-up veterans discussed the case of John Osher, father of Dr. John's Products, Ltd., and the wildly popular battery-powered toothbrush, the SpinBrush. Read More

What Do CEOs Do?

If time is money, as the old adage goes, then a CEO's schedule is especially important to a firm's financial success. This raises a fair question: What do CEOs do all day? To that end, researchers followed the activities of 94 CEOs in Italy over the course of a pre-specified week, enlisting the CEOs' personal assistants to track their bosses' activities with time-use diaries. Research was conducted by Raffaella Sadun of Harvard Business School, Luigi Guiso of the European University Institute, and Oriana Bandiera and Andrea Prat of the London School of Economics. Read More

Temptation at Work

Among the many distractions that keep office employees from their work, surfing the web is arguably the most irresistible time-waster of all. In order to deal with that problem, many companies either prohibit Internet use during working hours, or closely monitor employees' web activity. This means workers must wait until they get home to get their daily YouTube fix. But does forbidding this distraction actually increase productivity? In this paper, researchers find that the answer is no—and that delaying gratification actually has a negative impact on employee performance. Research was conducted by Alessandro Bucciol of the University of Verona and the University of Amsterdam, Daniel Houser of George Mason University, and Marco Piovesan, a research fellow at Harvard Business School. Read More

Risky Trust: How Multi-entity Teams Develop Trust in a High Risk Endeavor

Work that comes with high risk requires a great deal of trust among the individuals involved, whether it's the financial risk of producing a high-budget film or the personal safety risk of working in a war zone. In this paper, reporting on case study research on a high-risk, multimillion-dollar construction project, HBS doctoral candidate Faaiza Rashid and professor Amy C. Edmondson explore the concept of "risky trust," and examine how colleagues can learn to trust each other in the midst of high-risk work situations. Read More

Are We Thinking Too Little, or Too Much?

In the course of making a decision, managers often err in one of two directions—either overanalyzing a situation or forgoing all the relevant information and simply going with their gut. HBS marketing professor Michael I. Norton discusses the potential pitfalls of thinking too much or thinking too little. Open for comment; 44 Comments posted.

Driven by Social Comparisons: How Feedback about Coworkers’ Effort Influences Individual Productivity

Francesca Gino and Bradley R. Staats explore how the valence (positive versus negative), type (direct versus indirect), and timing (one-shot versus persistent) of performance feedback affects an employee's job productivity. Specifically, through field experiments at a Japanese bank, they investigate the extent to which job performance is affected when employees learn where they stand relative to their coworkers. Read More

To What Degree Does the Job Make the Person?

Summing Up: Jobs shape us as much as we shape our jobs, Jim Heskett's readers suggest. Closed for comment; 41 Comments posted.

Memory Lane and Morality: How Childhood Memories Promote Prosocial Behavior

Little Damien from The Omen notwithstanding, we generally associate childhood with goodness, purity, and innocence. This paper investigates whether feelings of moral purity can be triggered by reminding adults of their childhoods, and whether this can help to induce kind and philanthropic behavior both in social settings and in the workplace. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino and Sreedhari D. Desai of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Read More

Why Companies Fail--and How Their Founders Can Bounce Back

Leading a doomed company can often help a career by providing experience, insight, and contacts that lead to new opportunities, says professor Shikhar Ghosh. Closed for comment; 35 Comments posted.

The Importance of ‘Don’t’ in Inducing Ethical Employee Behavior

In a new study, HBS professors Francesca Gino and Joshua D. Margolis look at two ways that companies can encourage ethical behavior: the promotion of good deeds or the prevention of bad deeds. It turns out that employees tend to act more ethically when focused on what not to do. That can be problematic in firms where success is commonly framed in terms of advancement of positive outcomes rather than prevention of bad ones. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Naivete and Cynicism in Negotiations and Other Competitive Contexts

In business and in life, it's important to strike a smart balance between naďveté and cynicism. Act too naďvely, and someone is bound to take advantage of you. Skew cynical, and you may miss out on new opportunities with good people. This paper discusses the decision errors inherent in leaning too far in either direction. Research was conducted by Chia-Jung Tsay, Lisa. L. Shu, and Max H. Bazerman of Harvard Business School. Read More

Are We Going “Back to the Future” In Researching Management?

Summing Up Jim Heskett's readers wonder whether the best business management ideas over the next decade will be for cleaning up the messes from the previous one. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens March 10) Closed for comment; 104 Comments posted.

Terror at the Taj

Under terrorist attack, employees of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower bravely stayed at their posts to help guests. A new multimedia case by Harvard Business School professor Rohit Deshpandé looks at the hotel's customer-centered culture and value system. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Being the Boss

Striking the right balance between good management and good leadership is a daunting but necessary challenge for anyone endeavoring to be a good boss. In Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader, Harvard Business School professor Linda A. Hill and former executive Kent Lineback discuss the steps to take and the roadblocks to avoid in order to meet that challenge. Q&A with Hill, plus book excerpt. Closed for comment; 14 Comments posted.

The Learning Effects of Monitoring

It's a challenge that all good managers face: How do you strike the right balance between encouraging autonomy among your employees and mitigating the risk that they'll make bad decisions? Using both field and quantitative data from the MGM-Mirage Group, this paper discusses how management controls affect the learning rates of lower-level employees. Research, focusing on hotel casino hosts, was conducted by Dennis Campbell and Francisco de Asís Martinez-Jerez of Harvard Business School and Marc Epstein of Rice University. Read More

Managing the Support Staff Identity Crisis

Employees not connected directly to profit and loss can suffer from a collective "I-am-not-strategic" identity crisis. Professor Ranjay Gulati suggests that business managers allow so-called support function employees to become catalysts for change. Open for comment; 29 Comments posted.

Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model

HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen and coauthors have created an ontological approach to creating leaders in which leadership emerges through spontaneous and intuitive natural self-expression. Read More

Making Right Choices: Art or Science?

Summing Up Is choice an art or science? Jim Heskett's readers wonder whether the question is the right one to ask. (Online forum has closed; next forum opens January 6.) Closed for comment; 46 Comments posted.

Seven Strategy Questions: A Simple Approach for Better Execution

Successful business strategy lies not in having all the right answers, but rather in asking the right questions, says Harvard Business School professor Robert Simons. In an excerpt from his new book, Seven Strategy Questions, Simons explains how posing these questions can help managers make smart choices. Read More

Do Bonuses Enhance Sales Productivity? A Dynamic Structural Analysis of Bonus-Based Compensation Plans

Companies generally pay their sales staff with some combination of salary, commissions, and bonuses for meeting quotas-with sales force costs averaging about 10 percent of sales revenue in the United States. This paper aims to gain insight into the most effective way to design a compensation plan, concentrating on whether bonuses boost sales productivity and whether they should be awarded quarterly or annually. Research, focusing on the sales force of a large office supply company, was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Thomas Steenburgh and Doug J. Chung and K. Sudhir of the Yale School of Management. Read More

Making the Numbers? ‘Short Termism’ & the Puzzle of Only Occasional Disaster

Executives at public companies are always under pressure to "meet the numbers" each quarter, often so much so that they sacrifice long-term investments in order to make everything look rosy in the short term. In this paper, Harvard Business School professor Rebecca M. Henderson and Sloan School of Management professor Nelson P. Repenning set out to reconcile the apparently contradictory strategies of short-term results and long-term investments. Read More

Will I Stay or Will I Go? How Gender and Race Affect Turnover at ‘Up-or-Out’ Organizations

Gender and racial inequalities continue to persist at "up-or-out" knowledge organizations, making it difficult for women and minorities to advance to senior levels, professor Kathleen McGinn says. Read More

The Distinct Effects of Information Technology and Communication Technology on Firm Organization

At what point in the corporate food chain are big decisions made? It depends on technology, according to new research, which finds that information-based software will help to push decisions further down the corporate ladder, whereas communication technologies will push decisions up to the top. Research was conducted by Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University; Assistant Professor Raffaella Sadun of Harvard Business School; and Luis Garicano and John Van Reenen of the London School of Economics. Read More

John Kotter: Four Ways to Kill a Good Idea

Every visionary knows the frustration of pitching a great idea, only to see it killed by naysayers, say HBS professor emeritus John P. Kotter and University of British Columbia professor Lorne A. Whitehead. In an excerpt from their new book, Buy-IN: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down, the authors reveal strategies used by your critics—and how to defend against them. Read More

Introverts: The Best Leaders for Proactive Employees

Think effective leadership requires gregariousness and charisma? Think again. Introverts actually can be better leaders than extraverts, especially when their employees are naturally proactive, according to Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino. Closed for comment; 95 Comments posted.

Customer Experts Lose Influence When Teams are Pressured

Group dynamics can take a bad turn when a team feels heightened pressure from stakeholders. In this Q&A, HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner explains why performance pressure makes team members do what seems irrational: defer to high-status "generalist" experts while ignoring colleagues close to the client. Read More

The Task and Temporal Microstructure of Productivity: Evidence from Japanese Financial Services

Boredom and fatigue often hamper the productivity of workers whose jobs consist of repeating the same tasks. This paper explores ways in which companies can combat this problem, introducing the idea of the "restart effect" - a deliberate disruption that kindles productivity. Research, which focused on a loan-application processing line at a Japanese bank, was conducted by HBS professor Francesca Gino and Kenan-Flagler Business School assistant professor Bradley R. Staats. Read More

Power Posing: Fake It Until You Make It

Nervous about an upcoming presentation or job interview? Holding one's body in "high-power" poses for short time periods can summon an extra surge of power and sense of well-being when it's needed, according to Harvard Business School professor Amy J.C. Cuddy. Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

From Bench to Board: Gender Differences in University Scientists’ Participation in Commercial Science

Does gender affect whether a university scientist will be invited to work with for-profit companies? Indeed it does. A new paper finds that male professors receive more opportunities than their female counterparts to join scientific advisory boards and start new companies. Research, focusing on the biotechnology field, was conducted by Haas School of Business professor Waverly W. Ding, MIT Sloan professor Fiona Murray, and HBS professor Toby E. Stuart. Read More

Mindful Leadership: When East Meets West

Harvard Business School professor William George is fusing Western understanding about leadership with Eastern wisdom about the mind to develop leaders who are self-aware and self-compassionate. An interview about his recent Mindful Leadership conference taught with a Buddhist meditation master. Closed for comment; 33 Comments posted.

How Transparent Should Boards Be?

Summing Up: When should boards fire CEOs? How transparent should boards be? Jim Heskett's readers are divided as they look at the HP/Mark Hurd case. What do you think? (Online forum has closed; next forum opens October 8.) Closed for comment; 50 Comments posted.

Turning Employees Into Problem Solvers

To improve patient safety, hospitals hope their staff will use error-reporting systems. Question is, how can managers encourage employees to take the next step and ensure their constructive use? New research by Julia Adler-Milstein, Sara J. Singer, and HBS professor Michael W. Toffel. Read More

Managerial Practices That Promote Voice and Taking Charge among Frontline Workers

How can front-line workers be encouraged to speak up when they know how to improve an organization's operation processes? This question is particularly urgent in the US health- care industry, where problems occur often and consequences range from minor inconveniences to serious patient harm. In this paper, HBS doctoral student Julia Adler-Milstein, Harvard School of Public Health professor Sara Singer, and HBS professor Michael W. Toffel examine the effectiveness of organizational information campaigns and managerial role modeling in encouraging hospital staff to speak up when they encounter operational problems and, when speaking up, to propose solutions to hospital management. The researchers find that both mechanisms can lead employees to report problems and propose solutions, and that information campaigns are particularly effective in departments whose managers are less engaged in problem solving. Read More

The Drive to Acquire’s Impact on Globalization

Humans have evolved four priorities or "drives," according to HBS professor emeritus Paul R. Lawrence: the drive to acquire, to defend, to bond, and to comprehend. In an excerpt from his new book, Driven to Lead: Good, Bad, and Misguided Leadership, Lawrence describes how the four drives impact globalization. Read More

The Limits of Nonprofit Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance

The social sector is in the midst of a search for metrics of impact. Over the past 20 years, there has been an explosion in methodologies and tools for assessing social performance and impact, but with little systematic analysis and comparison across these approaches. In this paper, HBS professors Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan provide a synthesis of the current debates and, in so doing, offer a typology and contingency framework for measuring social performance. Their contingency approach suggests that—given the varied work, aims, and capacities of social sector organizations—some organizations should be measuring long-term impacts, while others should stick to measuring shorter-term results. The researchers provide a logic for determining which kinds of measures are appropriate, as driven by the goals of the organization and its operating model. Read More

The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective

How should the most appropriate employers and job candidates find each other? Newly minted economists typically send applications to an average of 80 potential employers, and as a result, many employers receive hundreds of applications. It is extremely time-consuming to sort through all the applications, and as the process unfolds, there is a risk of coordination failure, in which employers and candidates who would be well-suited do not manage to create a match. In this paper, HBS professors Peter A. Coles and Alvin E. Roth and colleagues provide an overview of the market for new PhD economists and describe new mechanisms to improve the matching process. They conclude by discussing the emergence of platforms for transmitting job market information, and other design issues that may arise in the market for new economists. Read More

Just Say No to Wall Street: Putting A Stop to the Earnings Game

Over the last decade, companies have struggled to meet analysts' expectations. Analysts have challenged the companies they covered to reach for unprecedented earnings growth, and executives have often acquiesced to analysts' increasingly unrealistic projections, adopting them as a basis for setting goals for their organizations. As Monitor Group cofounder Joseph Fuller and HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen write, improving future relations between Main Street and Wall Street and putting an end to the destructive "earnings game" between analysts and executives will require a new approach to disclosure based on a few simple rules of engagement. (This article originally appeared in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance in the Winter 2002 issue.) Read More

What Top Scholars Say about Leadership

As a subject of scholarly inquiry, leadership—and who leaders are, what makes them tick, how they affect others—has been neglected for decades. The Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice, edited by Harvard Business School's Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, brings together some of the best minds on this important subject. Q&A with Khurana, plus book excerpt. Read More

Introductory Reading For Being a Leader and The Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological Model

Effective leadership does not come from mere knowledge about what successful leaders do; or from trying to emulate the characteristics or styles of noteworthy leaders; or from trying to remember and follow the steps, tips, or techniques from books or coaching on leadership. And it certainly does not come from merely being in a leadership position or in a position of authority or having decision rights. This paper, the sixth of six pre-course reading assignments for an experimental leadership course developed by HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen and coauthors, accompanies a course specifically designed to provide actionable access to being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership as one's natural self-expression. Read More

What Is the Future of MBA Education?

Why get an MBA degree? Transformations in business and society make this question increasingly urgent for executives, business school deans, students, faculty, and the public. In a new book, Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, Harvard Business School's Srikant M. Datar, David A. Garvin, and Patrick G. Cullen suggest opportunities for innovation. Q&A with Datar and Garvin plus book excerpt. Read More

One Report: Better Strategy through Integrated Reporting

Stakeholders expect it. And smart companies are doing it: integrating their reporting of financial and nonfinancial performance in order to improve sustainable strategy. HBS senior lecturer Robert G. Eccles and coauthor Michael P. Krzus explain the benefits and value of the One Report method. Plus: book excerpt from One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy. Read More

Why Are Fewer and Fewer U.S. Employees Satisfied With Their Jobs?

This month's column yielded many hypotheses to explain why U.S. employees' job satisfaction is at a 23-year low, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. Readers also offered antidotes to job malaise. (Online forum now closed. New forum begins May 5.) Closed for comment; 95 Comments posted.

Ruthlessly Realistic: How CEOs Must Overcome Denial

Even the best leaders can be in denial—about trouble inside the organization, about onrushing competitors, about changing consumer behavior. Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow looks at history and discusses how executives can acknowledge and deal with reality. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Successful Negotiation

Can you out-negotiate Wal-Mart? Can women overcome gender stereotypes to win equitable pay? Recent research from Harvard Business School looks at important factors to consider before sitting down at the bargaining table. Read More

To What Degree Does “Identity” Affect Economic Performance?

Summing up comments to his March column, Jim Heskett says perceptions vary widely on the issue of "identity" and economic performance, particularly as it applies to the U.S. What will it take to turn around negative trends in employee identity? (Forum now closed. Next forum begins April 2.) Closed for comment; 33 Comments posted.

Tragedy at Toyota: How Not to Lead in Crisis

"Toyota can only regain its footing by transforming itself from top to bottom to deliver the highest quality automobiles," says HBS professor Bill George of the beleaguered automobile company that in recent months has recalled 8 million vehicles. He offers seven recommendations for restoring consumer confidence in the safety and quality behind the storied brand. Read More

Manager Visibility No Guarantee of Fixing Problems

Managers who merely put in time "walking the floor" are not doing enough when it comes to problem solving; in fact, it can make employees feel worse about their situation, says HBS professor Anita Tucker. Read More

What’s the Best Way to Make Careful Decisions?

Summing up reader responses, Professor Jim Heskett finds compelling arguments for a process involving intuition based on analysis and experience. Should people also make their own decision-making process more transparent to others and to themselves? (Next forum begins March 3.) Closed for comment; 87 Comments posted.

Going Through the Motions: An Empirical Test of Management Involvement in Process Improvement

How can managers better lead their organizations to improve work processes? Describing their study of hospitals over an 18-month period, HBS professor Anita L. Tucker and Harvard School of Public Health professor Sara J. Singer detail how and why managers' taking action was more effective than their communicating about actions taken. Findings suggest, first, that taking action on known problems in specific work areas on at least a quarterly basis may improve the organizational climate for improvement. Second, the study indicates that managers would be well advised to take action-preferably substantive and intense action-in response to frontline workers' communications about problems. Overall, the research provides insight for senior managers who want to improve their organization's climate for process improvement. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Managing the Economic Crisis

The economic crisis is tapping the inner reserves of experienced leaders and introducing a new generation of managers to crisis management. These previous WK articles explore leadership, the role of the Board, the emotional needs of managers, and the risk to corporate giving programs. Read More

Optimal Auction Design and Equilibrium Selection in Sponsored Search Auctions

Reserve prices may have an important impact on search advertising marketplaces. But the effect of reserve prices can be opaque, particularly because it is not always straightforward to compare "before" and "after" conditions. HBS professor Benjamin G. Edelman and Yahoo's Michael Schwarz use a pair of mathematical models to predict responses to reserve prices and understand which advertisers end up paying more. Read More

Integrity: Without It Nothing Works

"An individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honour their word," says HBS professor Michael C. Jensen in this interview that appeared in Rotman: The Magazine of the Rotman School of Management, Fall 2009. Jensen (and his coauthors, Werner Erhard and Steve Zaffron) define and discuss integrity ("a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, in perfect condition"); the workability that integrity creates for individuals, groups, organizations, and society; and its translation into organizational performance. He also discusses the costs of lacking integrity and the fallacy of using a cost/benefit analysis when deciding whether to honor your word. Read More

The End of Chimerica

For the better part of the past decade, the world economy has been dominated by a unique geoeconomic constellation that the authors call "Chimerica": a world economic order that combined Chinese export-led development with U.S. overconsumption on the basis of a financial marriage between the world's sole superpower and its most likely future rival. For China, the key attraction of the relationship was its potential to propel the Chinese economy forward by means of export-led growth. For the United States, Chimerica meant being able to consume more, save less, and still maintain low interest rates and a stable rate of investment. Yet, like many another marriage between a saver and a spender, Chimerica was not destined to last. In this paper, economic historians Niall Ferguson of HBS and Moritz Schularick of Freie Universität Berlin consider the problem of global imbalances and try to set events in a longer-term perspective. Read More

State Owned Entity Reform in Absence of Privatization: Reforming Indian National Laboratories and Role of Leadership

Is privatization necessary? In India and across emerging markets, state-owned entities (SOEs) continue to make up a large proportion of industrial sales, yet they lag behind private counterparts on performance measures. But SOEs may be able to significantly improve performance even in the absence of property rights, according to HBS doctoral candidate Prithwiraj Choudhury and professor Tarun Khanna. As they document, 42 Indian state-owned laboratories started from a base of negligible U.S. patents, yet in the period 1993-2006 (during which the Indian government launched an ambitious privatization program), the labs were granted more patents than all domestic private firms combined. The labs then licensed several of these patents to multinationals, and licensing revenue increased from 3 percent to 15 percent as a fraction of government budgetary support. Findings are relevant to firms and R&D entities around the world that depend on varying degrees of government budgetary support and government control, especially in emerging markets like India, where SOEs control up to one-third of all industrial activity. Read More

Walking the Talk in Multiparty Bargaining: An Experimental Investigation

Talk can unite, but it can also divide. In multiparty bargaining, communication can focus parties on a fair distribution of resources, but it can also focus parties on a competitive distribution of resources. As HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and coauthors Katherine L. Milkman and Markus Nöth show through experiments, at the onset of interaction the dominant logic in discussions—be it fairness or competition—strongly influences the equality of payoffs even in complex, full-information multiparty bargaining. Increases in the relative frequency of talk about fairness are associated with payoffs closer to an equal split. Talk about competitive reasoning has the opposite effect, driving payoffs away from an equal division, though these effects are less consistent than fairness talk effects. The researchers' results add critical insights to our understanding of the role of communication in multiparty bargaining. Read More

Management’s Role in Reforming Health Care

Health care managers are the missing link in debate over reform. Their skills and ideas are needed to sustain and improve upon multiple advances in the delivery of health care for the benefit of patients. An interview with HBS professor Richard M.J. Bohmer, MD, and an excerpt from his book Designing Care: Aligning the Nature and Management of Health Care. Read More

Management and the Financial Crisis (We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us …)

We have spent the past year mired in a global financial crisis that few saw coming and that will plague us for years to come. Such crises are gut-wrenching. Collectively and individually, we search for causes and solutions. Too often, we look for quick fixes that do long‐term damage, or we put the equivalent of duct tape on obvious problems, missing the true root causes. HBS professor William A. Sahlman argues that the macroeconomic problems were the result of terrible microeconomic decisions. The root cause of bad decision‐making resides in the nexus of culture, incentives, control and measurement, accounting, and human capital. We now have a unique opportunity to force a review of all the players in the financial system, from individual consumers to politicians and regulators to management teams at financial services firms. Read More

The Times Captures History of American Business

"We are not the first to face what seem like overwhelming challenges," says HBS professor and business historian Nancy F. Koehn. A new volume edited and narrated by Koehn, The Story of American Business: From the Pages of The New York Times, presents more than a hundred timely articles from the 1850s to today. Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

Come Fly with Me: A History of Airline Leadership

A new book looks at the history of the U.S. aviation industry through the eyes of its entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders—men like Pan Am's Juan Trippe and Southwest Airlines' Herb Kelleher—each emerging at different stages of the industry's evolution from start-up to rebirth. Who comes next? An interview with coauthor Anthony J. Mayo. Read More

The New Deal: Negotiauctions

Whether negotiating to purchase a company or a house, dealmaking is becoming more complex. Harvard Business School professor Guhan Subramanian sees a new form arising, part negotiation, part auction. Call it the negotiauction. Here's how to play the game. Read More

Transforming Giants

A new type of 21st century company is emerging that is transforming how business is conducted. These are values-driven companies that define a core set of values and rely on these values in making all strategic decisions. Read More

7 Lessons for Navigating the Storm

Leading in crisis requires a combination of skills and behaviors—personal and professional—that can be mastered, says HBS professor Bill George. A crisis, difficult as it is, also presents an opportunity to develop and grow. Q&A and excerpt from 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis. Read More

The Vanguard Corporation

In the book SuperCorp, Rosabeth Moss Kanter lays out a model for 21st-century companies that care as much about creating value for society as they do value for shareholders and employees. The best part: It pays to be good. Read More

Can the “Masks of Command” Coexist with Authentic Leadership?

Summing up. "Instructors seek case studies that provoke discussion on both sides of an issue and raise many questions. We seem to have found such an issue this month," says Professor Jim Heskett, reviewing nearly 80 insightful comments. (Online forum now closed; next forum begins November 4.) Closed for comment; 79 Comments posted.

“I read Playboy for the articles”: Justifying and Rationalizing Questionable Preferences

We want others to find us good, fair, responsible and logical; and we place even more importance on thinking of ourselves this way. Therefore, when people behave in ways that might appear selfish, prejudiced, or perverted, they tend to engage a host of strategies designed to justify questionable behavior with rational excuses: "I hired my son because he's more qualified." "I promoted Ashley because she does a better job than Aisha." Or, "I read Playboy for the articles." In this chapter from a forthcoming book, HBS doctoral student Zoë Chance and professor Michael I. Norton describe various means of coping with one's own questionable behavior: through preemptive actions and concurrent strategies for re-framing uncomfortable situations, forgoing decisions, and forgetting those decisions altogether. Read More

SuperCorp: Values as Guidance System

In her new book SuperCorp, professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter details how vanguard companies such as IBM, Cemex, and Omron are rewriting the nature of the business enterprise and how firms will gain sustainable prosperity in the 21st century. Read our excerpt. Read More

A Decision-Making Perspective to Negotiation: A Review of the Past and a Look into the Future

The art and science of negotiation has evolved greatly over the past three decades, thanks to advances in the social sciences in collaboration with other disciplines and in tandem with the practical application of new ideas. In this paper, HBS doctoral student Chia-Jung Tsay and professor Max H. Bazerman review the recent past and highlight promising trends for the future of negotiation research. In the early 1980s, Cambridge, Massachusetts, was a hot spot on the negotiations front, as scholars from different disciplines began interacting in the exploration of exciting new concepts. The field took a big leap forward with the creation of the Program on Negotiation, an interdisciplinary, multicollege research center based at Harvard University. At the same time, Roger Fisher and William Ury's popular book Getting to Yes (1981) had a pronounced impact on how practitioners think about negotiations. On a more scholarly front, a related, yet profoundly different change began with the publication of HBS professor emeritus Howard Raiffa's book The Art and Science of Negotiation (1982), which for years to come transformed how researchers would think about and conduct empirical research. Read More

In Favor of Clear Thinking: Incorporating Moral Rules into a Wise Cost-Benefit Analysis

Policy decisions may be the most important set of decisions we make as a society. In this realm, moral rules often play an active and dysfunctional role. The typical way in which we make decisions—by weighing them individually—leads us to overuse moral rules in a manner that is inconsistent with the more reflective set of preferences we would identify through joint consideration of options. In their response to a companion article in Perspectives on Psychological Science, Max Bazerman, of HBS, and Joshua D. Greene, of Harvard University, argue that cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is unfairly stereotyped. The critique of CBA in the companion article could be better framed as a set of considerations that can contribute to more careful CBAs. Read More

High Commitment, High Performance Management

High commitment, high performance organizations such as Southwest Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, and Toyota effectively manage three paradoxical goals, says HBS professor Michael Beer. His new book explains what all companies can learn. Q&A Read More

Authority versus Persuasion

In directing employees, managers often face a choice between invoking authority and persuasion. In particular, since a firm's formal and relational contracts and its culture and norms are quite rigid in the short term, a manager who needs to prevent an employee from undertaking the wrong action has the choice of either trying to persuade the employee or relying on interpersonal authority. In choosing between persuasion and authority the manager makes a cost-benefit trade-off. This paper studies that trade-off, focusing in particular on conflicts that originate in open disagreement. Read More

Firsthand Experience and the Subsequent Role of Reflected Knowledge in Cultivating Trust in Global Collaboration

How can workers better collaborate across vast geographical distances? Distributed collaboration—in which employees work with, and meaningfully depend on, distant colleagues on a day-to-day basis—allows firms to leverage their intellectual capital, enhance work unit performance, face ever-changing customer demands more fluidly, and gain competitive advantage in a dynamic marketplace. Research over the last decade, however, has provided mounting evidence that while global collaboration is a necessary strategic choice for an ever-increasing number of organizations, socio-demographic, contextual, and temporal barriers engender many interpersonal challenges for distant coworkers and are likely to adversely affect trust between and among workers across sites. In this paper that examines employee relations at a multinational organization, HBS professor Tsedal Beyene and MIT Sloan School of Management professor Mark Mortensen find that firsthand experience in global collaborations is a crucial means of engendering trust from shared knowledge among coworkers. Their findings reinforce the important role of others' perceptions in our own self-definition, and suggest a means of addressing some of the problems that arise in cross-cultural global collaborations. Read More

Performance Pressure as a Double-Edged Sword: Enhancing Team Motivation While Undermining the Use of Team Knowledge

Why do teams often fail to use their knowledge resources effectively even after they have correctly identified the experts among them? Project teams are a prominent feature of the knowledge-based economy, and member expertise has long been recognized as an important resource that can greatly affect team performance, but only to the extent that it is accurately recognized and used to accomplish the objective. The step between recognizing others' expertise and then actually applying it to achieve a collective outcome, however, is highly problematic: Even when individuals know who holds relevant task expertise, they are often unwilling or unable to give the experts appropriate influence over the group process and outcomes. HBS professor Heidi K. Gardner takes a multidisciplinary approach to develop theory explaining how interpersonal dynamics in teams affect members' use of each other's distinct knowledge, ultimately leading to differential performance outcomes. Read More

Are You Ready to Manage in an Irrational World?

It is becoming clear that human behavior is much less rational than we assumed, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. Judging from replies to this month's question, there are many nuances to managing in an irrational world. (Online forum now closed. Next forum begins August 7.) Closed for comment; 97 Comments posted.

Conducting Layoffs: ’Necessary Evils’ at Work

"The core challenge for everyone who performs necessary evils comes from having to do two seemingly contradictory things at once: be compassionate and be direct," say Joshua D. Margolis of Harvard Business School and Andrew L. Molinsky of Brandeis University International Business School. Their research sheds light on best practices—typically overlooked—for the well-being of those who carry out these emotionally difficult tasks. Q&A Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Leading Change

Nothing like a global recession to test your change-management skills. We dig deep into the Working Knowledge vault to learn about building a business in a down economy, motivating the troops, and other current topics. Read More

Don’t Just Survive—Thrive: Leading Innovation in Good Times and Bad

The financial crisis provides a sobering reminder of what happens when innovation fails to drive productive economic growth. For over a decade, money from around the world poured into the United States seeking innovation. Despite these massive investments, when adjusted for inflation, U.S. GDP grew slowly with much of the growth coming from government, professional, and business services, including real estate and outsourcing. What's more, inflation adjusted wages stalled for many, even as consumer spending increased. This paper argues that innovation is not a side business to a real business: rather, innovation is the foundation of a successful business. Read More

Innovation Communication in Multicultural Networks: Deficits in Inter-cultural Capability and Affect-based Trust as Barriers to New Idea Sharing in Inter-Cultural Relationships

What makes sharing new ideas across cultural lines so difficult? Given that disclosing new ideas makes one person vulnerable to the other, innovation communication requires trust. The literature on workplace relationships distinguishes affect-based trust—feelings of socio-emotional bond with the other—and cognition-based trust—judgments of the other's reliability and competence. Recent organizational psychology research on capabilities needed to work across cultures has also identified affect-relevant strengths such as confidence and nonverbal communication. HBS professor Roy Y.J. Chua and Columbia Business School professor Michael W. Morris survey a sample of business executives with diverse professional networks, assessing their inter-cultural capability and measuring both kinds of trust as well as idea sharing in their working relationships. Read More

GM: What Went Wrong and What’s Next

For decades, General Motors reigned as the king of automakers. What went wrong? We asked HBS faculty to reflect on the wrong turns and missed opportunities of the former industry leader, and to suggest ideas for recovery. Read More

Business Summit: Enterprise Risk Management

Risk management is a key to sustained firm growth, says professor Robert S. Kaplan. Key ingredients to a successful risk management program include the proper culture, clear parameters, discipline, measurement, and accountability. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Managing Teams

The ability to lead teams is fast becoming a critical skill for all managers in the 21st century. Here are four HBS Working Knowledge stories from the archives that address everything from how teams learn to turning individual performers into team players. Read More

The IT Leader’s Hero Quest

Think you could be CIO? Jim Barton is a savvy manager but an IT newbie when he's promoted into the hot seat as chief information officer in The Adventures of an IT Leader, a novel by HBS professors Robert D. Austin and Richard L. Nolan and coauthor Shannon O'Donnell. Can Barton navigate his strange new world quickly enough? Q&A with the authors, and book excerpt. Read More

Building Businesses in Turbulent Times

An economic crisis is a charter for business leaders to rewrite and rethink how they do business, says Harvard Business School professor Lynda M. Applegate. The key: Don't think retrenchment; think growth. Read More

Corporate Social Entrepreneurship

Accelerated organizational transformation faces a host of obstacles well-documented in the change management literature. Because corporate social entrepreneurship (CSE) expands the core purpose of corporations and their organizational values, it constitutes fundamental change that can be particularly threatening and resisted. Furthermore, it pushes the corporation's actions more broadly and deeply into the area of social value creation where the firm's experiences and skill sets are less developed. The disruptive social innovations intrinsic to the CSE approach amplify this zone of discomfort. Fortunately, the experiences of innovative companies such as Timberland and Starbucks show how these challenges may be overcome. Read More

The Flattening Firm and Product Market Competition: The Effect of Trade Liberalization

Corporate hierarchies are becoming flatter: Spans of control have broadened, and the number of levels within firms has declined. But why? Maria Guadalupe of Columbia University and HBS professor Julie M. Wulf investigate how increased competition in product markets—and, in particular, product market competition resulting from trade liberalization—may be fundamentally altering how decisions are being made. Guadalupe and Wulf also shed light on the possible reasons behind certain organizational choices and on the importance of communication and decision-making processes inside firms. Read More

Professional Networks in China and America

While American managers prefer to separate work and personal relationships, Chinese counterparts are much more likely to intermingle the two. One result: Doing business in China takes lots of time, says HBS professor Roy Y.J. Chua. Read More

Beyond Gender and Negotiation to Gendered Negotiations

How does gender affect negotiations within organizations or rather how do organizations affect gender relations? Deborah Kolb, a professor at Simmons College School of Management, and HBS professor Kathleen McGinn explore how definitions of work, specified roles in organizations, status hierarchies, and the politics and practices of organizational realities affect how gender plays out in organizations. Considering gender in organizations from a "negotiated order perspective"—that is, from the perspective that cultural patterns and work practices are the result of past interaction and negotiation—not only expands the range of issues that are potentially negotiable, it also turns attention to rethinking certain dimensions of the negotiation process itself. Read More

How Frank or Deceptive Should Leaders Be?

HBS professor Jim Heskett sums up comments to this month's column. Given the possibility that a naturally pessimistic (or perhaps more realistic) CEO might adversely affect everything from market reactions to employee morale, HBS Working Knowledge readers' comments are full of advice for honesty, candor, and an optimistic bias. Closed for comment; 119 Comments posted.

When Goal Setting Goes Bad

If you ever wondered about the real value of goal setting in your organization, join the club. Despite the mantra that goals are good, the process of setting beneficial goals is harder than it looks. New research by HBS professor Max H. Bazerman and colleagues explores the hidden cost when stretch goals are misguided. Read More

What’s Good about Quiet Rule-Breaking

If your company quietly allows employees to break some rules with the tacit approval of management, that's a moral gray zone. And your company is not alone. When rules are broken but privileges are not abused, such unspoken pacts between workers and management can allow both to achieve their respective goals of expressing professional identity and sustaining efforts in positive ways, says HBS professor Michel Anteby. Q&A Read More

Goals Gone Wild: The Systematic Side Effects of Over-Prescribing Goal Setting

For decades, goal setting has been promoted as a halcyon pill for improving employee motivation and performance in organizations. Advocates of goal setting argue that for goals to be successful, they should be specific and challenging, and countless studies find that specific, challenging goals motivate performance far better than "do your best" exhortations. The authors of this article, however, argue that it is often these same characteristics of goals that cause them to "go wild." Read More

Uncompromising Leadership in Tough Times

As companies batten down the hatches, we need leaders who do not compromise on standards and values that are essential in flush times. Fortunately, such leaders do exist. Their insights can help other organizations weather the current crisis, says HBS professor Michael Beer. Q&A. Read More

Why Can’t We Figure Out How to Select Leaders?

Managers discuss their own experience in organizations in response to February's column. All good leaders teach as well as learn, says Jim Heskett. Is it possible with any degree of confidence to select people for certain leadership jobs? (Forum now closed. Next forum begins March 5.) Closed for comment; 88 Comments posted.

The Decentering of the Global Firm

Firms such as Caterpillar are typically considered American companies by virtue of history while Honda, for example, is regarded as a Japanese company. However, the archetypal multinational firm with a particular national identity and a corporate headquarters fixed in one country is becoming obsolete as firms continue to maximize the opportunities created by global markets. The defining characteristics of what makes a firm belong to a country—where it is incorporated, where it is listed, the nationality of its investor base, the location of its headquarters functions—are no longer bound to one country. Why are these changes taking place, and what are their consequences? This paper places the increasing mobility of corporate identities within the broader setting of transformations to the "shape" of global firms over the last half century. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Career & Life Balance

Achieving a life that balances the pleasures and demands of work and life has never been easy. Here are four HBS Working Knowledge stories from the archives that address everything from spirituality in leadership to understanding when "just enough" is truly enough. Read More

Decoding the Artful Sidestep

Do you notice when someone changes the subject after you ask them a question? If you don't always notice or even mind such conversational transformations, you're not alone. New research by Todd Rogers and Harvard Business School professor Michael I. Norton explores the common occurrence of "conversational blindness." Q&A with Rogers. Read More

The Marketing of a President

Barack Obama's run for the White House was a model of marketing excellence, argues Professor John Quelch. Here's why it worked so well. Read More

Variation in Experience and Team Familiarity: Addressing the Knowledge Acquisition-Application Problem

Team familiarity helps team members successfully locate knowledge within a group, share the knowledge they possess, and respond to the knowledge of others. While team familiarity may help all teams to better coordinate their actions, it may play a particularly important role for teams with individuals looking to apply knowledge from their varied experience. This possibility leads to the question that provides the foundation for this paper: Does team familiarity moderate the relationship between variation in experience and performance? Prior research attempting to link variation in experience and performance has found effects ranging from positive to neutral to negative. Huckman and Staats explain these differential results by drawing on related work from learning, knowledge management, and social networking. Read More

The Seven Things That Surprise New CEOs

In the newly released book On Competition, Professor Michael E. Porter updates his classic articles on the competitive forces that shape strategy. We excerpt a portion on advice for new CEOs, written with HBS faculty Jay W. Lorsch and Nitin Nohria. Read More

Making the Gambler’s Fallacy Disappear: The Role of Experience

The Gambler's Fallacy refers to the belief that chance is a self correcting process. The longer the random run of one outcome, the stronger the belief that the opposite outcome is due to appear. This paper asks whether the way we acquire information, by sequential experience or by simultaneous description, plays a critical role in the emergence of the bias in a binary prediction task (betting on red or black roulette outcomes, for example). The results show that the fallacy only occurs when decision makers experience outcomes over time and not when past outcomes are revealed all at once. The question is interesting since several recent papers on decisions from experience and descriptions suggest that the way people acquire information can have a significant effect on behavior. Read More

Book Excerpt: A Sense of Urgency

Urgency can be a positive force in companies, says leadership expert and HBS professor emeritus John P. Kotter. His new book, A Sense of Urgency (Harvard Business Press), makes that conviction clear. Our excerpt describes how leaders might skillfully transform a crisis into an organizational motivator for the better. Read More

How Much Time Should CEOs Devote to Customers?

Every corporate mission statement pays lip service to respecting customer needs, but actual customer expertise is typically a mile wide and an inch deep, says Harvard Business School professor John Quelch. Here's why every CEO should spend at least 10 percent of his or her time thinking about, talking to, and steering the organization to the customer. Read More

How Can Decision Making Be Improved?

While scholars can describe how people make decisions, and can envision how much better decision-making could be, they still have little understanding of how to help people overcome blind spots and behave optimally. Chugh, Milkman, and Bazerman organize the scattered knowledge that judgment and decision-making scholars have amassed over several decades about how to reduce biased decision-making. Their analysis of the existing literature on improvement strategies is designed to highlight the most promising avenues for future research. Read More

Creating Leaders for Science-Based Businesses

The unique challenges of managing and leading science-based businesses—certain to be a driver of this century's new economy—demand new management paradigms. At Harvard Business School, the opportunities start just across the street. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

HBS Cases: Walking Away from a $3 Billion Deal

Managers of the ABRY Fund V were so successful they had investors waiting to pour in an additional $3 billion. But to invest that much would require trade-offs that could jeopardize the chemistry that made the fund successful in the first place. Take the money or walk away? From HBS Bulletin. Read More

The Inner Life of Leaders

"Even when leaders try to hide and disguise their character, their traits are recognizable to others," says HBS professor emeritus Abraham Zaleznik. His new book, Hedgehogs and Foxes: Character, Leadership, and Command in Organizations, explores the internal complexities of people in control. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

Has the Time Come for “Stretch” in Management?

Summing Up HBS professor Jim Heskett sums up comments from his readers on the topic of stretch goals. Does stretch still make sense as an organizing principle? What, if anything, should be done to ensure that stretch is allowed to flourish in companies today? What do you think? Closed for comment; 68 Comments posted.

Communication (and Coordination?) in a Modern, Complex Organization

Coordination, and the communication it implies, is central to the very existence of organizations. Despite their fundamental role in the purpose of organizations, scholars have little understanding of actual interaction patterns in modern, complex, multiunit firms. To open the proverbial "black box" and begin to reveal the internal wiring of the firm, this paper presents a detailed, descriptive analysis of the network of communications among members of a large, structurally, functionally, geographically, and strategically diverse firm. The full data set comprises more than 100 million electronic mail messages and over 60 million electronic calendar entries for a sample of more 30,000 employees over a three-month period in 2006. Read More

Are Followers About to Get Their Due?

Online forum now closed. Leadership may be much-discussed, but followership merits equal attention, suggests HBS professor Jim Heskett. As a follower, what advice would you give other followers who want to have an impact on their jobs and organizations? As a leader, what do you do to foster good followership? Closed for comment; 77 Comments posted.

Gender in Job Negotiations: A Two-Level Game

The traditional division of labor between the sexes—women managing the private realm and men the public—continues to have an indirect influence on job negotiation outcomes through links between private realm and public realm negotiations. Women's negotiations at work are often constrained by agreements in negotiations at home. There still remains a significant "unexplained" difference in male and female compensation that, according to research in the past several years, cannot be accounted for by gender differences in work commitment, education, and experience, or other considerations such as unionization. The literature on gender in negotiation may offer insights with regard to how negotiation contributes to or could help diminish gender differences in compensation. Bowles and McGinn review two bodies of literature on gender in negotiation—one from psychology and organizational behavior on candidate-employer negotiations, and another from economics and sociology on household bargaining over chores and child care. Read More

Why Don’t Managers Think Deeply?

Online forum closed. Summing Up. According to Gerald and Lindsay Zaltman, nearly all research techniques commonly used today probe humans only at their conscious level, though it is the subconscious level that really determines behavior. Closed for comment; 136 Comments posted.

Spending on Happiness

Money can't buy you love but it can buy happiness—as long as it's money for someone else. New research by HBS professor Michael I. Norton and colleagues Elizabeth W. Dunn and Lara B. Aknin, described in the journal Science, looks into how and why spending money on others promotes happiness. Norton explains more in this Q&A. Read More

Some Neglected Axioms in Fair Division

This paper considers allocation and bargaining problems, and introduces conditions that one might expect fair procedures to satisfy. However, not all conditions one might hope for can be satisfied simultaneously. Furthermore, some apparently plausible and widely proposed axioms and procedures have consequences whose undesirability clearly goes far beyond what can be excused in this way. Thus pitfalls lurk in the field of fair division. Read More

Negotiating with Wal-Mart

What happens when you encounter a company with a great deal of power, like Wal-Mart, that is also the ultimate non-negotiable partner? A series of Harvard Business School cases by James Sebenius and Ellen Knebel explore successful deal-making strategies. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Diffusing Management Practices within the Firm: The Role of Information Provision

Managers face a range of options to diffuse innovative practices within their organizations. This paper focuses on one such technique: providing practice-specific information through mechanisms such as internal seminars, demonstrations, knowledge management systems, and promotional brochures. In contrast to corporate mandates, this "information provision" approach empowers facility managers to decide which practices to actually implement. The authors examine how corporate managers diffused advanced environmental management practices within technology manufacturing firms in the United States. The study identifies several factors that encourage corporate managers to employ information provision, including subsidiaries' related expertise, the extent to which the subsidiaries were diversified or concentrated in similar businesses, and the geographic dispersion of their employees. Read More

JetBlue’s Valentine’s Day Crisis

It was the Valentine's Day from hell for JetBlue employees and more than 130,000 customers. Under bad weather, JetBlue fliers were trapped on the runway at JFK for hours, many ultimately delayed by days. How did the airline make it right with customers and learn from its mistakes? A discussion with Harvard Business School professor Robert S. Huckman. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Disaster!

Disaster brings out the best in some, the worst in others. But every disaster tells a tale we can learn from. Here we look at lessons learned from failures involving polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, NASA, and a Mount Everest climbing team. Read More

An Investigation of Earnings Management through Marketing Actions

Earnings management behavior may be divided into two categories: 1) the opportunistic exercise of accounting discretion; and 2) the opportunistic structuring of real transactions. This paper focuses on the latter by providing evidence that managers use retail-level marketing actions (price discounts, feature advertisements, and aisle displays) to influence the timing of consumers' purchases in relation to their firms' fiscal calendars and financial performance. The results will be of interest to practitioners negotiating with suppliers as well as those responsible for setting price and promotion strategy in response to competitor actions, and practitioners responsible for designing incentive-based compensation as well as regulators monitoring reporting of fiscal period-ending promotion. Read More

Embracing Commitment and Performance: CEOs and Practices Used to Manage Paradox

How do chief executives establish strategic practices around their visions and intents? How do such practices make it possible to create both high commitment and high performance? The central puzzle for HBS professor emeritus Michael Beer and colleagues is not the creation of high commitment per se, but the kind of commitment that is useful for the implementation of strategy and sustainable performance. Beer et al. sought out major companies in North America and Europe that had a history of sustainable, above-average financial performance, and where there were indications of the companies being high-commitment organizations. They then conducted in-depth interviews with 26 CEOs of such companies, asking about activities and practices that help create commitment and performance. Read More

Unconventional Insights for Managing Stakeholder Trust

Most organizations understand the need to manage stakeholder trust. The bad news: Most organizations don't really understand how to manage the difficult job effectively. However, for those companies wishing to reap the benefits of improved cooperation with suppliers, increased motivation and productivity among employees, enhanced loyalty among customers, and higher levels of support from investors, managing stakeholder trust is a prudent, if not critical investment. Trust management may require an appreciation for some unconventional insights regarding the appropriate investment of resources. Stakeholders differ in regard to the kinds and degrees of vulnerability they face; what they need to believe before they will trust also differs. Would-be trust managers will be wise to consider these varying needs and to anticipate the tradeoffs that exist in strengthening relationships with specific stakeholders. Read More

Psychological Influence in Negotiation: An Introduction Long Overdue

This paper attempts to encourage a better dialogue between research on social influence and on negotiation. It provides an overview of the literature on both areas, and identifies opportunities for creating more effective and useful research. First, HBS professors Deepak Malhotra and Max Bazerman identify those elements of psychological influence that do not require the influencer to change the economic or structural aspects of the bargaining situation in order to persuade the target. Second, they review prior research on behavioral decision-making in negotiation to identify those ideas that may be relevant to influence in negotiation. Third, they provide a framework for thinking about how to leverage behavioral decision research to wield influence in negotiation. Fourth, they consider how targets of influence might defend against these tactics. Fifth, because psychological influence is, by definition, aimed at achieving one's own ends through the strategic manipulation of another's judgment, they consider the ethical issues surrounding its application in negotiation. Read More

How Sustainable Is Sustainability in a For-Profit Organization?

Online forum now closed. For managers, sustainability can mean the integration and intersection of social, environmental, and economic responsibilities. The concept is admirable, says Jim Heskett, but does it also confuse managers entrusted with the bottom line? How should they make trade-offs? Jim sums up reader responses. Closed for comment; 77 Comments posted.

New Challenges in Leading Professional Services

Professional service firms are being challenged as never before—by clients, associates, and the competition, just for starters. But old-style PSF leaders are not equipped to respond, says Harvard Business School professor Thomas J. DeLong. He discusses his new book When Professionals Have to Lead. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

Does Judgment Trump Experience?

It's a question as relevant for business as for the U.S. presidential campaign, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. If "judgment capability" is a function of experience, what kind of experience is important? Does plenty of experience really improve judgment? Online forum now CLOSED. Closed for comment; 111 Comments posted.

What Is Management’s Role in Innovation?

Online forum closed. It's an open question whether management, as it is currently practiced, contributes much to creativity and innovation, says HBS professor Jim Heskett. What changes will allow managers, particularly in larger organizations, to add value to the creative process? What do you think? Closed for comment; 93 Comments posted.

Teaching The Moral Leader

In The Moral Leader course at Harvard Business School, students exchange their business management case studies to discuss some of the great protagonists in literature. Professor Sandra Sucher discusses how we all can find our own definition of moral leadership. Read More

Growing CEOs from the Inside

Who is the best CEO candidate? An insider with intimate knowledge of your company, or an outsider who is ready to put sacred cows out to pasture? The answer, says HBS professor Joseph L. Bower, is both. In this Q&A, he discusses his new book, The CEO Within, and why inside-outsiders are the key to succession planning. Read More

Six Steps for Reinvigorating America

In the early stages of the 21st century, America has lost its way both at home and in the world, argues Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In her new book, America the Principled, she details 6 opportunities for America to boost its economic vitality and democratic ideals. Q&A plus excerpt. Read More

Management Education’s Unanswered Questions

Managers want the status of professionals, but not all managers want the constraints that go along with professions. Why? For more than 100 years, business education at the top universities has been searching for its soul. HBS professor Rakesh Khurana, author of a new book, says business school education is at a turning point. Read More

Has Managerial Capitalism Peaked?

Summing Up. Professor Jim Heskett considers his reader's comments on the growing imbalance between what John Bogle terms managerial capitalism and owners' capitalism. Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

Fair (and Not So Fair) Division

"Fair" could be defined as what people of good will would want to be. This does not constitute an operational definition, however. This paper provides a specific procedure to calculate what could be considered fair and reasonable for various situations that require a fair division. A simple example would be a family that has inherited objects of artistic and/or sentimental value and wants to divide them up fairly while taking into account differences in taste. Laymen, mathematicians, and economists all have their own proposals for creating a fair division. Pratt suggests a procedure that, when put to the test of a range of examples, produces outcomes that accord with our intuitive sense of what is fair and desirable while previously proposed procedures do not. Read More

Dealing with the ‘Irrational’ Negotiator

"Negotiators who are quick to label the other party 'irrational' do so at great potential cost to themselves," say HBS professors Deepak Malhotra and Max H. Bazerman. Their new book, Negotiation Genius, combines expertise in psychology with practical examples to show how anyone can improve dealmaking skills. In this excerpt, Malhotra and Bazerman describe what to do when the other party's behavior does not make sense. Read More

Encouraging Dissent in Decision-Making

Our natural tendency to maintain silence and not rock the boat, a flaw at once personal and organizational, results in bad—sometimes deadly—decisions. Think New Coke, The Bay of Pigs, and the Columbia space shuttle disaster, for starters. Here's how leaders can encourage all points of view. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Negotiation

A new HBS Working Knowledge feature called Sharpening Your Skills debuts on the topic of negotiation. Sharpening Your Skills collects together past articles to offer readers practical advice around a specific business management topic. Let us know what you think! Read More

Why We Aren’t as Ethical as We Think We Are: A Temporal Explanation

People commonly predict that they will behave more ethically in the future than they actually do. When evaluating past (un)ethical behavior, they also believe they behaved more ethically than they actually did. These misperceptions, both of prediction and of recollection, have important ramifications for the distinction between how ethical we think we are and how ethical we really are, as well as understanding how such misperceptions are perpetuated over time. This paper draws on recent research in psychology and decision-making to gain insight into these forces. It also provides recommendations for reducing them. Read More

Mattel: Getting a Toy Recall Right

Mattel has been criticized heavily for having to recall not once but twice in as many weeks 20 million toys manufactured in China. But Mattel also deserves praise for stepping up to its responsibilities as the leading brand in the toy industry. Harvard Business School professor John Quelch examines what Mattel did right. Read More

How Will Millennials Manage?

Gen Yers or "millennials"—those born beginning in the late 1970s—are generally bright, cheery, seemingly well-adjusted, and cooperative, says Jim Heskett. Their work styles are sometimes confounding, though. As managers, how will they shape organizations of the future? Online forum now closed. Closed for comment; 112 Comments posted.

How Much of Leadership Is About Control, Delegation, or Theater?

Forum now closed. Summing up the many responses, Jim Heskett says that the mix of control, delegation, and theater employed by successful leaders depends on timing and circumstances. "The strongest messages I received were that if leadership involves control, it is only over setting an organization's course and priorities." Closed for comment; 127 Comments posted.

Five Steps to Better Family Negotiations

Family relationships are complicated, even more so when your uncle, mother, or daughter is your business partner. Harvard Business School's John A. Davis and Deepak Malhotra outline 5 ways to analyze and improve dealmaking and dispute resolution while protecting family ties. As they write, family negotiations are difficult yet also contain built-in advantages. Read More

Alignment in Cross-Functional and Cross-Firm Supply Chain Planning

Organizational behavior has become an increasingly important aspect of operations management. In this paper, alignment refers to an organization's sales and manufacturing groups working toward the same target for the sales of a particular product. What are the best conditions in supply chain planning for alignment across functions and across the firm? Kraiselburd and Watson push the frontier of theory with their use of mathematical modeling and game theory. They show that seemingly behavioral and psychological effects may still occur if both parties are rational profit maximizers in an economic sense. Read More

Learning to Make the Move to CEO

Even experienced managers need to learn more if they hope to ascend to the C-Suite. In a program created by Harvard Business School Executive Education, participants learn new techniques and perspectives not only from faculty but from their cohorts as well. Read More

HBS Cases: Beauty Entrepreneur Madam Walker

She may have been the first self-made African American millionaire. Born of emancipated slaves, Madam C.J. Walker traveled from the cotton fields to business fame as a purveyor of hair-care products that offered beauty and dignity. Harvard Business School's Nancy F. Koehn and Katherine Miller explain what motivated her triumph. Read More

Leading and Creating Collaboration in Decentralized Organizations

No matter how a multi-divisional organization is designed, it will need to find effective ways for its units to spontaneously and responsively cross boundaries. This paper discusses 3 key barriers to collaboration and information-sharing within an organization, and offers 3 strategies to overcome them. Read More

The Key to Managing Stars? Think Team

Stars don't shine alone. As Harvard Business School's Boris Groysberg and Linda-Eling Lee reveal in new research, it is imperative that top performers as well as their managers take into account the quality of colleagues. Groysberg and Lee explain the implications for star mobility and retention in this Q&A. Read More

How Do Managers Think?

"Uncertainty sometimes is essential for success" asserts a new book, How Doctors Think. The work of doctors raises intriguing questions about managing, says Jim Heskett, since diagnostics are an important part of managerial decision-making, too. Jim sums up nearly 60 responses from readers around the world, including practicing physicians. Closed for comment; 59 Comments posted.

The Authentic Leader

Podcast: The best leaders are not the "follow me over the hill" type, says Professor Bill George. Rather, they're the people who lead from the heart as well as the head, and whose leadership style springs from their fundamental character and values. George discusses his new book True North, co-written with Peter Sims. Read More

Feeling Stuck? Getting Past Impasse

Feeling "stuck," as psychologically painful as it is, is the first step to awareness of new opportunities in career and in life, says Harvard Business School's Timothy Butler. In this Q&A and excerpt from his new book, Getting Unstuck, he explains six steps for getting from here to there. Read More

Making the Move to General Manager

Managers face a critical transition when they rise from functional expert to general manager. It's an exciting shift but it's also fraught with pitfalls. A new executive education program at Harvard Business School aims to smooth and accelerate this transition, as professor and program chair Benjamin C. Esty explains. Read More

Learning from Failed Political Leadership

Strategic independence and better leadership assessment—these are the critical issues for both business and government in the future, says Professor D. Quinn Mills. In this Q&A he describes key lessons from his new book, Masters of Illusion, coauthored with Steven Rosefielde. A book excerpt follows. Read More

Managing Know-How

For many firms, the ability to create, organize, and disseminate know-how is a key factor in their ability to succeed. But should all companies engage in formal knowledge management? If not, which companies derive most value from a formal knowledge system? Conditional on implementing such a system, should the company focus more on learning from successes or learning from failures? Should such knowledge systems simply capture all experience, or should they be more selective? This paper develops and applies an economic framework to examine these questions. Read More

Is There Too Little “Know Why” In Business?

There's know-how in business and then there's "know why." Purpose is a powerful motivator on many levels, says Jim Heskett. Can we aspire to a strong sense of "know why" even if our organization is not out to change the world? What do you think? Online forum now open. Closed for comment; 83 Comments posted.

When Good Teams Go Bad

Know when teamwork doesn't work—and how to fix it. Professors Jeff Polzer and Scott Snook teach "The Army Crew Team" case and the dilemma faced by a rowing coach who has great individual parts but can't get them to synchronize. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

The Challenge of Managing National Security

What can we learn from mistakes made in managing national intelligence before 9/11? Professor Jan Rivkin discusses the difficulties of integrating a highly differentiated organization, and the dangers of overcentralizing decision making. From HBS Alumni Bulletin. Read More

Who Rises to Power in American Business?

Business leaders in the United States have usually been white men who were blessed with the right religion, family, or education. But "outsiders" have also created their own paths to leadership, a trend on the rise today. Paths to Power is the first book in fifty years to exhaustively analyze the demographics of leadership and access in business in the U.S., and how the face of American leadership might be changing. A Q&A with Anthony J. Mayo. Read More

Grooming Next-Generation Leaders

Organizations succeed by identifying, developing, and retaining talented leaders. Professors W. Earl Sasser and Das Narayandas, who teach leadership development in one of Harvard Business School's Executive Education programs, discuss the fine points of leadership development. Read More

The Business of Free Software: Enterprise Incentives, Investment, and Motivation in the Open Source Community

IBM has contributed more than $1 billion to the development and promotion of the Linux operating system, and other vendors such as Sun are ramping up open source software efforts and investment. Why do information technology vendors that have traditionally sold proprietary software invest millions of dollars in OSS? Where have they chosen to invest, and what are the characteristics of the OSS projects to which they contribute? This study grouped OSS projects into clusters and identified IT vendors' motives in each cluster. Read More

Three Perspectives on Team Learning: Outcome Improvement, Task Mastery, and Group Process

Organizations increasingly rely on teams to carry out critical strategies and operational tasks. How do teams learn, and what factors are most important to team learning? This paper reports on current perspectives and findings that address these questions, looking at empirical studies on team learning from three areas of research: outcome improvement, task mastery, and group process. Overall, Edmondson and coauthors characterize the nature of research to date and assemble what is known and unknown about the theoretically and practically important topic of team learning. Read More

How Important Is Quality of Labor? And How Is It Achieved?

A new book by Gregory Clark identifies "labor quality" as the major enticement for capital flows that lead to economic prosperity. By defining labor quality in terms of discipline and attitudes toward work, this argument minimizes the long-term threat of outsourcing to developed economies. By understanding labor quality, can we better confront anxieties about outsourcing and immigration? Closed for comment; 48 Comments posted.

Andy Grove: A Biographer’s Tale

Podcast: For Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow, Intel co-founder Andy Grove is one of the most important and intriguing CEOs in American business history. In this interview, Tedlow discusses his new biography, Andy Grove: The Life and Times of an American with Jim Aisner. Read More

Organizational Response to Environmental Demands: Opening the Black Box

How and why do organizations respond differently to pressures from different stakeholders? This question is central to organizational theory and feeds into strategic management research as well. Delmas and Toffel develop and test a model that describes why organizations respond differently to similar stakeholder pressures. They suggest that differences in how organizations distribute power across their internal corporate departments lead their facilities to prioritize different institutional pressures and thus adopt different management practices. Read More

The History and Influence of Andy Grove

In a soon-to-be-released biography, Harvard Business School professor Richard S. Tedlow profiles one of the most influential business leaders of our time—Intel's Andy Grove. Tedlow discusses his research on the Silicon Valley legend and how Grove altered much more than the chip industry. Read More

Negotiating in Three Dimensions

"Negotiation is increasingly a way of life for effective managers," say HBS professor James Sebenius and colleague David Lax. Their new book, 3-D Negotiation, describes how you can shape important deals through tactics, deal design, and set-up, and why three dimensions are more powerful than one. Here's a Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

Negotiating When the Rules Suddenly Change

Following the adoption of a collective bargaining agreement in 2005, National Hockey League GMs had one month to absorb the new rules and put a team together. How to best negotiate in an uncertain environment? Michael Wheeler advises looking to military science for winning strategies. Read More

Are We Ready for Self-Management?

On its face, self-management looks like a "win-win" answer to the scarcity of good managers and the predominance of low-involvement entry-level jobs. But are sufficient numbers of entry-level employees ready for self-management? And is management ready? Closed for comment; 94 Comments posted.

On Managing with Bobby Knight and “Coach K”

Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski are arguably the two most successful college basketball coaches in the country. But their leadership styles could not be more different. Professor Scott Snook wonders: Is it better to be loved or feared? Read More

When Not to Trust Your Gut

Most of us trust our intuition more than we should, especially when the pressure is on in negotiations. Professors Max Bazerman and Deepak Malhotra on negotiating more rationally. From Negotiation. Read More

How Important Is “Executive Intelligence” for Leaders?

Leadership talent is enjoying a perceived "seller's market," says Jim Heskett. As we select and train future leaders for all levels of our organizations, how much effort do we really spend assessing executive intelligence as opposed to personality and style? What do YOU think? Closed for comment; 97 Comments posted.

Why CEOs Are Not Plug-and-Play

Company-specific skills may be valuable in a new job under the right conditions, say Harvard Business School's Boris Groysberg, Andrew N. McLean, and Nitin Nohria. They studied GE; here's an excerpt from Harvard Business Review. Read More

Resisting the Seductions of Success

"The basic problem with the flow of success is that life can look very good when it really isn't," writes Harvard Business School's Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. His new book, Questions of Character, uses literature to look closely at issues of leadership. Here's an excerpt. Read More

Deep Links: Business School Students’ Perceptions of the Role of Law and Ethics in Business

The researchers spent more than a year eliciting twelve MBA students' thoughts and feelings about the role of law in starting and running a U.S. business. This research offers new insights into the ongoing debate about how best to educate the business leaders of tomorrow. More than a standalone course in business law or ethics, it would be wise for educators to use an approach that treats the role of law and business in the broader context of societal needs and norms. Read More

Four Strategies for Making Concessions

"Concessions are often necessary in negotiation," says HBS professor Deepak Malhotra. "But they often go unappreciated and unreciprocated." Here he explains four strategies for building good will and reciprocity. From Negotiation. Read More

Corporate Values and Employee Cynicism

A values-driven organization poses unique risks for its leaders—in particular, charges of hypocrisy if the leaders make a mistake. Sandra Cha of McGill University and Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School discuss what to do when values backfire. Read More

When Rights of First Refusal Are a Bad Deal

Contracts that include a right of first refusal usually benefit the holder of that right. But not always. New research by professor Alvin E. Roth and colleague Brit Grosskopf explains when it's wise to say no. Read More

Oprah: A Case Study Comes Alive

Writing a business case on the icon of daytime television and chief executive of a major media empire was challenge enough for HBS professor Nancy Koehn and colleagues. Oprah Winfrey's visit to campus to talk with graduating students made it ample reward. Read More

When Gender Changes the Negotiation

Gender is not a good predictor of negotiation performance, but ambiguous situations can trigger different behaviors by men and women. Here is how to neutralize the differences and reduce inequities. From Negotiation. Read More

Looking Behind Bad Decisions

In a recent HBS Working Paper, HBS professor Max Bazerman and colleagues explore how biases and human psychology impede policy-making efforts that could vastly improve people's lives. Read More

Maximizing Joint Gains: Transaction Utility Within and Between Groups

Win-win deals are more easily described than carried out. Earlier studies have shown that when people don't know the gender or social category of their negotiating partner, they are happy to make a profit even if their partner earns a greater profit. Four new studies looked at how gender or other social contexts influence the way people cut a deal. Read More

Making Credibility Your Strongest Asset

Dealmakers often forget the power of a good reputation. In this article from Negotiation, HBS professor Michael Wheeler tells why having a storehouse of credibility will put you head and shoulders above the competition. Read More

The Truck Driver Who Reinvented Shipping

Malcolm P. McLean (1914-2001) hit on an idea to dramatically reduce labor and dock servicing time. An excerpt from In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century by Harvard Business School's Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria. Read More

Effects of Task Difficulty on Use of Advice

We make most of our choices by weighing other people's advice counter to our own opinions. People generally underweight advice from others, though the practice is not universal. In two studies, it is determined that people overweight advice on difficult tasks but underweight it on the easy ones. Read More

What Perceived Power Brings to Negotiations

What role does "perceived power" play in negotiations? For one thing, it may help all the parties take away a win at the table. Professor Kathleen McGinn discusses new research done with Princeton’s Rebecca Wolf. Read More

What are the Lessons of New Orleans?

The response by public officials to the Hurricane Katrina disaster will be analyzed for years. Can lessons learned in the private sector instruct us in minimizing the suffering and damage from inevitable future calamities? Closed for comment; 44 Comments posted.

Balancing the Future Against Today’s Needs

It's hard to dream five years out when your organization is doing all it can to take care of the here and now. This article from Harvard Management Update offers a new lens for positioning growth efforts within your company while staying focused on your core strengths today. Read More

How to Choose the Best Deal

Weighing different options can seem as difficult as comparing apples and oranges. The first step is to find the equalizer—then proceed from there, writes HBS professor Michael Wheeler in this article from Negotiation. Read More

The Potential Downside of Win-Win

You and your negotiating partner may reach a wonderful agreement for both parties, but have you forgotten people who aren't at the bargaining table, such as your consumers? HBS Professor Max H. Bazerman reflects in this article from Negotiation. Read More

Asian and American Leadership Styles: How Are They Unique?

Business leadership is at the core of Asian economic development, says HBS professor D. Quinn Mills. As he explained recently in Kuala Lumpur, the American and Asian leadership styles, while very different, also share important similarities. Read More

Don’t Listen to “Yes”

It's essential for leaders to spark conflict in their organizations, as long as it is constructive. A Q&A with Professor Michael Roberto, author of the new book Why Great Leaders Don't Take Yes for an Answer. Read More

Six Steps for Making Your Threat Credible

It damages your reputation, your company, and the deal if you make empty threats in negotiation. In this article from Negotiation, HBS professor Deepak Malhotra explains six steps for powerful follow-through. Read More

Reinforcing Values: A Public Dressing Down

Often the hardest part of a turnaround is improving bad interpersonal behavior in the organization. A Harvard Business Review excerpt by professors David Garvin and Michael Roberto. Read More

Should Business Management Be Regarded as a Profession?

How would the business world—and society—be different if managers needed to be licensed the way doctors, lawyers, and the clergy are? Closed for comment; 22 Comments posted.

Governance and CEO Turnover: Do Something or Do the Right Thing?

CEOs who become "entrenched" by the board of directors can gain an extra buffer between themselves and angry shareholders. Entrenchment has potential costs (a poorly performing CEO hangs on to the job) but also benefits (the board can deflect shareholder cries for dismissal of a CEO who was merely unlucky). The authors hope to shift the emphasis of the debate on entrenchment to a consideration of these tradeoffs and to shift the focus of the entrenchment-performance discussion toward the decisions, such as CEO dismissal, that are directly tied to the actions of the board. Read More

Is Business Management a Profession?

If management was a licensed profession on a par with law or medicine, there might be fewer opportunities for corporate bad guys, argue HBS professors Rakesh Khurana and Nitin Nohria, and research associate Daniel Penrice. Read More

If You Blink, Will You Miss?

Malcolm Gladwell's popular new book is about the power of snap judgements and the ways in which people develop the ability to make them. Can—and should—people make typical business decisions in the blink of an eye? Closed for comment; 30 Comments posted.

How to Put Meaning Back into Leading

When research on leadership pays more attention to financial results than a person's ability to give the company a sense of purpose, something crucial is lost. Three Harvard Business School scholars are working to change the debate. A Q&A with Joel M. Podolny, Rakesh Khurana, and Marya Hill-Popper. Read More

How Leaders Create Winning Streaks

Executive summary of a Harvard Business School Publishing Virtual Seminar presentation by Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, on "Confidence: How Leaders Create Winning Streaks (and Avoid Losing Streaks)." Read More

Sharing News That Might Be Bad

We've all taken a vow of transparency, but how do you give employees news that is potentially bad—but extremely ambiguous? Harvard Management Update suggests that managers draw from negotiation strategy. Read More

Why Do Managers Fail to Act on Their Predictions?

Important trends are identified as part of nearly every strategic planning exercise. But the efforts to address them too often stop there. How come? Closed for comment; 15 Comments posted.

Should the Wisdom of Crowds Influence Our Thinking About Leadership?

New research suggests that large groups of people are better than a few experts at everything from estimating the true magnitude of things to diagnosing causes of problems to predicting outcomes. If this is correct, what does it say about the true nature of effective leadership? Closed for comment; 26 Comments posted.

The New CEO’s Wrong Message

Any new CEO who tries to wield power unilaterally will pay for it, according to Harvard Business School professors Michael E. Porter, Jay W. Lorsch, and Nitin Nohria. An excerpt from Harvard Business Review. Read More

Planning for Surprises

A company doesn't need a crystal ball to see impending disasters. Harvard Business School professor Max H. Bazerman and INSEAD professor Michael D. Watkins explain how to foresee and avoid predictable surprises. Read More

IBM Finds Profit in Diversity

Former CEO Lou Gerstner established a diversity initiative that embraced differences instead of ignoring them. In this Harvard Business Review excerpt, professor David A. Thomas describes why IBM made diversity a cornerstone strategy. Read More

How Leaders Build Winning Streaks

Confidence is infectious, says HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, author of Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End. In this excerpt, she explains how leaders must bring out the best in others. Read More

Do We Listen to Advice Just Because We Paid for It? The Impact of Cost of Advice on Its Use

People make decisions every day by weighing their own opinions with advice from other sources. But do we know whether people use advice in a way that is helpful to them? In two experiments performed under controlled, laboratory conditions, Gino found that all else being equal, people weigh advice differently according to the amount of money they pay for it. Also, the cost of advice affects the degree to which people use it. Read More

A Better Way to Negotiate: Backward

"When you map a negotiation backward, you envision your preferred outcome and think in reverse about how to get there," says Harvard Business School professor and negotiation specialist James K. Sebenius. From Negotiation. Read More

How Important are Big Ideas?

A couple new books, including most controversially Does IT Matter? focus on sources of competitive advantage. Are management concepts on their own the best way to compete? And, does it matter that new concepts—and their guru practitioners—seem to come from the U.S.? Closed for comment; 21 Comments posted.

How Team Leaders Show Support–or Not

What does a team leader do so that employees know they are being supported? A Q&A with HBS professor and creativity expert Teresa Amabile about new research. Read More

Becoming an Ethical Negotiator

Think you negotiate fairly? Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler and colleague Carrie Menkel-Meadow have co-edited a new book, What’s Fair: Ethics for Negotiators. Here’s a Q&A. Read More

The Watsons: IBM’s Troubled Legacy

For over seventy years, Thomas Watson Sr. and Thomas Watson Jr. shaped and built IBM. In a new book, Professor Richard Tedlow explores the complex relationship between father and son. Read More

Waking Up a Sleeping Company

What do you do when you’re the new CEO and your employees tell you, "But that’s the way we’ve always done it"? An excerpt from Bill George’s new book, Authentic Leadership. Read More

What Great American Leaders Teach Us

A new database on great American leaders offers surprising insights on the nature of leadership. A Q&A with Tony Mayo, executive director of the Harvard Business School Leadership Initiative. Read More

Six Ways to Build Trust in Negotiations

All negotiations involve risk. That’s why establishing trust at the bargaining table is crucial. Professor Deepak Malhotra presents strategies to build trustworthiness. From Negotiation. Read More

Secret to Success: Go for “Just Enough”

Being the very best in your chosen field is, paradoxically, a matter of accepting your limitations. A book excerpt by Harvard Business School’s Laura Nash and Howard Stevenson. Read More

Got a New Strategy? Now Make it Happen

Many strategies never take off for lack of honest discussion, say Harvard Business School's Michael Beer and co-author Russell A. Eisenstat. A Harvard Business Review excerpt. Read More

Leadership: A Matter of Sustaining or Eliminating Groupthink?

Fighting groupthink is probably just as worthy an endeavor as attaining "buy in." But what are the risks for the leader and his or her subordinates? What has worked for you? What hasn't worked? Closed for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Negotiation and All That Jazz

Negotiation is improvisational—demanding quick, informed responses and decisions. Professor Kathleen L. McGinn lays out the score in this article from Negotiation. Read More

The New Global Business Manager

What are the critical skills global managers need today compared to ten years ago? An interview with Harvard Business School professor Christopher A. Bartlett. Read More

Women Leaders and Organizational Change

Merely expanding the number of women in leadership roles does not automatically induce organizational change. Harvard professor Robin Ely and Debra Meyerson call for fundamental changes to transform organizations. Read More

Is That Really Your Best Offer?

In this article from Negotiation, HBS professor Michael Wheeler describes six "tells" of the bargaining table. Read More

A Fast Start on Your New Job

Your first ninety days in a new position are fraught with peril—and loaded with opportunity. HBS professor Michael Watkins explains how to get a running start. A Q&A and book excerpt. Read More

Negotiating Challenges for Women Leaders

When negotiating compensation, women often sell themselves short. Some practical advice on claiming the power to lead in this interview with HBS professor Kathleen L. McGinn and Harvard's Hannah Riley Bowles. Read More

HBS Cases: Developing the Courage to Act

Professor David A. Garvin offers a rare inside glimpse at how the case method is used by both faculty and students in classrooms at Harvard Business School. Read More

How New Managers Become Great Managers

Newly minted managers must commit themselves to lifelong self-improvement. Read an excerpt from HBS professor Linda A. Hill’s update of her classic, Becoming a Manager. Read More

Are We Facing an Attitude Shortage?

How should organizations juggle the need for the right skills as well as the right attitudes? What goes wrong when one or the other is missing? Closed for comment; 35 Comments posted.

Shackleton: An Entrepreneur of Survival

Polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is the subject of a new HBS case study. Professor Nancy F. Koehn discusses lessons for leaders from the voyage of the Endurance. Read More

Geographically-Colocated Subgroups in Globally Dispersed Teams: A Test of the Faultline Hypothesis

Team diversity can harness strengths or drive a team apart. Troublesome faultlines appear when team members identify with a subgroup more strongly than with the larger team. Previous research, conducted on teams who worked face-to-face, has shown that these faultlines can be based on demographic factors (such as differences in nationality). The authors of this paper conducted a study on faultlines that arise between subgroups in different geographic locations. They found that faultline dynamics did indeed occur in teams with subgroups in different locations, and that their geographic diversity caused disruptive group relations, diminished trust, and increased conflict between subgroups. Read More

Understaffed and Overworked: What Now?

When resources are scarce, you need a plan for managing your career, your team, and even your boss. Here's what works: balance, focus, and effective communication. Read More

Are You Supporting Your B Players?

B players are the heart and soul of top organizations, says HBS professor Thomas J. DeLong. Here’s why—and what you can do to manage B players better. Read More

Psychology, Pathology, and the CEO

In difficult times, organizational pathologies can cause a death spiral. Here’s how the CEO can win back the hearts and minds of staff, according to HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Read More

What Can Aspiring Leaders Be Taught?

Let’s say you are left in charge of an MBA program. How would you and your students sort through the tensions in corporate life vis-à-vis society, employees, and investors? How would you build those learnings into your program and make them stick? Closed for comment; 38 Comments posted.

Stuck in Gear: Why Managers Don’t Act

Most top executives are smart and far sighted, so why can't they change gears fast enough to meet change? Professor Donald N. Sull provides answers in a new book. Read More

Sharing the Responsibility of Corporate Governance

Is business malfeasance always the board's fault? HBS professor Constance Bagley argues that everyone has a stake in ethical behavior and moral reasoning. Read More

What It Takes to Restore Trust in Business

What’s still wrong with American business? Start with pervasive conflicts of interest and the limits of enforcement. Read More

SEC Commissioner Sees “Healing and Reform”

SEC Commissioner Harvey J. Goldschmid blames corporate failures in part on inadequate gatekeepers, but sees healing in history. Read More

Three Steps for Crisis Prevention

Can you predict a business disaster? In this Harvard Business Review excerpt, professors Michael D. Watkins and Max H. Bazerman outline the keys for disaster prevention: recognition, prioritization, and mobilization. Read More

How the U.S. Army Develops Leaders

Leadership development in the U.S. Army has ramifications beyond American borders. In this e-mail interview, HBS professor Scott A. Snook, a retired Army colonel, describes how military leaders grow. Plus: Book excerpt Read More

At the Center of Corporate Scandal Where Do We Go From Here?

What’s at the heart of recent corporate misdeeds and scandals? Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark looks at the causes and the potential remedies needed to restore public trust in institutions of business. Read More

The Ingredients of a Deal Disaster

A deal can unravel quickly if it doesn’t embody the mutual understanding—the social contract—behind the words on paper. The risk factors surrounding negotiation are detailed in this Harvard Business Review excerpt, co-authored by HBS professor James K. Sebenius. Read More

Can Business Schools Teach the Craft of Getting Things Done?

No one doubts business schools are expert at teaching management theory. But what about teaching real-world basics? In short, can students be taught execution? Closed for comment; 25 Comments posted.

Fixing Corporate Governance: A Roundtable Discussion at Harvard Business School

Bad business practices on a huge scale have made corporate governance Topic A of late. In a roundtable discussion, Harvard Business School professors Krishna Palepu, Jay Lorsch, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Nancy Koehn, Brian Hall, and Paul Healy explore guidelines for change. Read More

Where Morals and Profits Meet: The Corporate Value Shift

Although recent headlines focus on business boondoggles, HBS professor Lynn S. Paine's research shows a rising standard of corporate performance that includes moral and financial dimensions. In an interview, she details this trend and her new book, Value Shift. Read More

The Parable of the Bungled Baggage And the Unhappy Customer

Sometimes a seemingly harmless corporate decision such as a budget trim can lead to big problems elsewhere. HBS professor W. Earl Sasser tells what happens when budget constraints and customers collide. Read More

Your Crisis Response Plan: The Ten Effective Elements

Shooter on site. Epidemic. Major power outage. Is your organization prepared to deal with crisis? HBS professor Michael Watkins explains what you need to know, and offers a checklist to evaluate your preparedness. Read More

The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs

Companies reflexively look to charismatic CEOs to save them, and that's a bad idea, says HBS professor Rakesh Khurana. In this excerpt from his new book and in an e-mail interview with HBS Working Knowledge, he explains how the CEO cult arose. Read More

High-Stakes Decision Making: The Lessons of Mount Everest

On May 10, 1996, five mountaineers from two teams perished while climbing Mount Everest. Is there anything business leaders can learn from the tragedy? HBS professor Michael A. Roberto used the tools of management to find out. Plus: Q&A with Michael Roberto Read More

Get Off the Dime!

If you want large-scale change in your organization, you must change people's behaviors, say authors John Kotter and Dan Cohen. In an excerpt from their new book, The Heart of Change: Real Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, the authors outline the importance of imparting urgency to the troops. Read More

What it Takes to Lead Through Turmoil

What are the characteristics of companies that successfully transition in times of dramatic change? HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter separates the leaders from the laggards in times of turmoil. Read More

Four Keys of Enduring Success: How High Achievers Win

What is success to you? HBS professor Howard Stevenson offers insights from research he and HBS senior research fellow Laura Nash are conducting on the meaning of success for high achievers. Read More

Reinventing the Industrial Giant

It's not easy to transform a trusty but ailing old stalwart. In an excerpt from their book, Changing Fortunes: Remaking the Industrial Corporation, HBS professor Nitin Nohria and co-authors Davis Dyer and Frederick Dalzell discuss how General Motors and Kodak are attempting precisely that. Read More

Disruption: The Art of Framing

Your chief competitor creates a breakthrough technology. Should you frame that event inside your company as a threat or opportunity? The answer in this Harvard Business Review excerpt by HBS professors Clark Gilbert and Joseph L. Bower just may surprise you. Read More

How to Succeed With Your New Boss

We all know it's true: Managing up is as important as managing down. That's especially true when you are starting a relationship with a new boss. HBS professor Michael Watkins discusses the importance of clearly defining goals with your superior. Read More

Bringing the Master Passions to Work

Ambition, envy, self-deception. These "master passions" are everywhere, say HBS professor Nitin Nohria and the University of Toronto's Mihnea C. Moldoveanu, co-authors of Master Passions: Emotion, Narrative, and the Development of Culture. In this excerpt, they describe what master passions mean for you. Read More

Star Power! How to Win in Professional Services

Leaders of professional service firms face challenges unknown to most other CEOs. Jay W. Lorsch, an HBS professor, and Thomas J. Tierney, of The Bridgespan Group, explain why, in this excerpt from their new book Aligning the Stars: How to Succeed When Professionals Drive Results. Plus: Q&A with Jay Lorsch Read More

Does Spirituality Drive Success?

Is there a place for spirituality in the workplace? Executives from Silicon Valley to Boston tell how they twine their business leadership with religious and personal values. Read More

Breakthrough Negotiation: Don’t Leave It On the Table

Ponder this. Businesses are constantly involved in negotiations but rarely develop these skills in their leaders. Harvard Business School professor Michael Watkins explains the secrets of powerful negotiators. PLUS: Book excerpt. Read More

The Quiet Leader—and How to Be One

Think of a business leader and who comes to mind? A brash type like Jack Welch? But real leaders solve tough problems in all kinds of ways, and often quietly, says Harvard Business School's Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. Read More

Secrets of the Successful Businesswoman

What are the secrets of successful women in business? In separate keynote talks, Gail McGovern, a recent pick as one of Fortune magazine's fifty most powerful women in corporate America, and HBS professor Nancy F. Koehn laid out the facts. Read More

Manager or Mentor? Why You Must Be Both

In a frank discussion on diversity with a large group of Harvard University managers, HBS professor David A. Thomas explains why managers need to do more than just mentor. Read More

Can Religion and Business Learn From Each Other?

Do religion and business have anything to say to each other? HBS senior research fellow Laura Nash believes they do. Read More

Rethinking E-Leadership

Old-school leadership practices are back in the spotlight, according to consultant Melissa Raffoni. The boisterous dot-com style has died down, she writes in this Harvard Management Update article, and now it's time to air out the tried and true. Read More

What You Don’t Know About Making Decisions

As you weigh the options for your company's next step, how do you decide which way to turn? HBS professors David A. Garvin and Michael A. Roberto offer some tips in this excerpt from Harvard Business Review. Plus: Q&A with Garvin and Roberto Read More

The Negotiator’s Secret: More Than Merely Effective

What turns merely effective negotiators into all-out expert negotiators? The ability to overcome six common mistakes, according to HBS professor James K. Sebenius. In this excerpt from the Harvard Business Review, he describes one of the most glaring. Read More

Looking for CEOs in All the Wrong Places

In searching for a new CEO, many companies depend on board contacts to find candidates and diminish the role of search firms. And that may be a big mistake, suggests HBS assistant professor Rakesh Khurana. Read More

How to Compete Like a Judo Strategist

Movement, balance, and leverage: Savvy executives use these principles to compete every day. In this excerpt from their new book Judo Strategy: Turning Your Competitors' Strength to Your Advantage, HBS professor David B. Yoffie and research associate Mary Kwak reveal five techniques of the masters. Read More

Machiavelli, Morals, and You

What do a butler and a prince know about leadership? A lot more than you would think, as MBA students in Harvard Business School’s course The Moral Leader find out. Here is how they use great literature to become better leaders.
Read More

Why Leaders Need Great Books

How do leaders get to be leaders? HBS professor Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.'s remarkable course uses works of literature instead of case studies to teach leadership. Find out what’s on his reading list. Read More

From Tigers to Kaleidoscopes: Thinking About Future Leadership

What's up for leaders next year and in the next century? HBS faculty members Linda A. Hill, Christopher A. Bartlett, and Rosabeth Moss Kanter offer new insights in Management 21C: Someday We'll All Manage This Way, a new collection about 21st century leadership. Read More

What Makes a Good Leader?

Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes, and often from entirely unexpected quarters. In this excerpt from the HBS Bulletin, five HBS professors weigh in with their views on leadership in action. Read More

Evolving for Success [Part Two]

Grappling with rapid change is one of the greatest challenges facing companies now, says HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. She tells how companies can forge ahead in part two of an interview about her new book, Evolve!:Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow. Read More

Evolving for Success [Part One]

In part one of an interview about her latest book, Evolve!: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow, HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter talks about how companies can get ahead, now and in the future. Read More

Under the Magnifying Glass: The Benefits of Being a Case Study

What is it like for a company to go under the business school magnifying glass? According to executives from four Latin American enterprises that have been the subject of case studies at HBS and elsewhere, the process is both nerve-wracking and intensely enlightening. While case studies may be a great way to educate students in an MBA classroom, they said, their companies discovered unforeseen advantages for themselves, as well. Read More

The Emerging Art of Negotiation

A negotiation is rarely open-and-shut, but research is starting to reveal a number of ways that this complicated and often-volatile process might go a lot better for all concerned. HBS Professor Kathleen L. Valley, HBS Senior Research Fellow Max H. Bazerman and two colleagues point the way toward a new understanding of the psychology of negotiation. Read More

What’s Next & So What? Leading in the 21st Century

Efficient, restructured, and reengineered organizations may have been good enough to succeed in the 20th century, say John Kotter and Gary Hamel, but organizations that want to compete in the next century need to develop the leadership and innovation to change the marketplace. Read More

Building Bridges: New Dimensions in Negotiation

How does a master negotiator negotiate? HBS Professor James Sebenius, founder of the school's Negotiation Unit, frames options in such a way that "what you choose in your perceived interest is, in fact, what I want." How does he accomplish this? Through what he calls "three-dimensional negotiation:" persuasion at the bargaining table; delving into the deeper interests that underlie the parties' positions; and a studied determination of whether to take the deal on the table or to walk away. Read More