Leadership & Management: General Leadership

53 Results

 

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; 36 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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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: ‘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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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