First Look

December 5, 2006

Studying the march of innovation from corporate research and development labs to diffusion can be a frustrating exercise. That's because data on company R&D spending, as well as patent data and citation flows, are often maddeningly divorced from each other, making it difficult for researchers to connect the dots between R&D spending, technology adoption, and productivity growth. In response, William R. Kerr of Harvard Business School and Shihe Fu of Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China have created a database that traces these linkages. The dataset, broadly described, "serves as a starting point for macroeconomic research like the impact of U.S. patent regulations on innovation and entrepreneurship," the authors write. Other recent HBS faculty work noted below includes a journal article on successful customer relationship management programs and some seventeen new case studies of companies and individuals including a look at initiatives by Avon's Andrea Jung.
— Sean Silverthorne

Working Papers

The Industry R&D Survey — Patent Database Link Project


This paper details the construction of a firm-year panel dataset combining the NBER Patent Dataset with the Industry R&D Survey conducted by the Census Bureau and National Science Foundation. The developed platform offers an unprecedented view of the R&D-to-patenting innovation process and a close analysis of the strengths and limitations of the Industry R&D Survey. The files are linked through a name-matching algorithm customized for uniting the firm names to which patents are assigned with the firm names in the Census Bureau's SSEL business registry. Through the Census Bureau's file structure, this R&D platform can be linked to the operating performances of each firm's establishments, further facilitating innovation-to-productivity studies.

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Cases & Course Materials

Andrea Jung: Empowering Avon Women

Harvard Business School Case 406-095

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Atheros Communications

Harvard Business School Case 806-093

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Boat Building Exercise: Four Modes of Propulsion

Harvard Business School Exercise 606-148

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Cathy Benko: Winning at Deloitte (A)

Harvard Business School Case 907-026

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Harvard Business School Case 807-031

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EXACT Sciences Corp.: Commercializing a Diagnostic Test

Harvard Business School Case 307-055

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Good Technology: Empowering Mobility around the Globe (A)

Harvard Business School Case 805-139

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Gordon Bethune at Continental Airlines

Harvard Business School Case 406-073

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Howard Schultz: Building Starbucks Community

Harvard Business School Case 406-127

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HP Nanotech: Partnership with CNSI

Harvard Business School Case 606-045

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Jack Carlisle, CIO

Harvard Business School Case 606-153

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Juan Trippe and Pan American World Airways

Harvard Business School Case 406-086

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MassMEDIC: The Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council

Harvard Business School Case 706-498

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Patrimonio Hoy: A Financial Perspective

Harvard Business School Case 207-059

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Texas Gulf Sulphur: The Timmins Ontario Mine

Harvard Business School Case 204-114

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Timing of Option Grants at UnitedHealth Group (A)

Harvard Business School Case 107-028

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The Virtual Entrepreneurial Team Exercise—VETE; Overview and Instructions for Participants

Harvard Business School Note 806-158



CRM Implementation: Effectiveness Issues and Insights


Conceptually, customer relationship management (CRM) has been widely embraced by businesses. In practice, however, examples of success contrast with anecdotes where the diffusion of CRM into organizations continues to be a slow process and/or where CRM implementation outcomes have fallen short of expectations. Successful implementation depends on a number of factors such as fit between a firm's CRM strategy and programs and its broader marketing strategy, and intraorganizational and interorganizational cooperation and coordination among entities involved in implementation. Building on the results of a survey of the CRM-implementation-related experiences of 101 U.S.-based firms, in this article the authors identify factors associated with successful CRM implementation and advance directions for future research.

Old Hand or New Blood?


Bill MacLeod, Fusilier's CEO, has to choose between two very different candidates for the top sales job: a veteran sales director who has excelled under the old order and a brash outsider who has experience selling solutions but doesn't know the industry. With an outside board director pressuring him to accelerate the pace of change, MacLeod ponders which candidate can best help the company make the transition. Fusilier's new solutions strategy has made the decision that much more difficult. Under this model, the company must revamp its incentives, training, and processes for deploying the sales force. Historically, compensation has been based largely on an individual rep's results, and sales training has focused on product features and cost-performance advantages, not on the business issues facing customers. Now salespeople need to understand, promote, and select from an entire portfolio of products and services offered both by Fusilier and its business partners. What's more, they need to collaborate with Professional Services, the new consulting unit whose mission is to jump-start the solutions-centric approach. Whom should MacLeod hire for the top sales job, and what should he do to put Fusilier back on a growth track?

Disrupting Gender, Revising Leadership


In this chapter, we present a case study of men on two off-shore oil platforms—a workplace that has traditionally rewarded men for their masculine displays of bravado and their interactions centered on proving masculinity—in which such displays and interactions were notably absent. Although the company did not set out to change the traditional gendered patterns of roles, relations, and leadership, its self-conscious focus on increasing safety and effectiveness—which compelled workers to adopt a set of work practices that supported deep and ongoing learning—had the secondary consequence of disrupting and revising the hyper-masculine codes of behavior that were normal within the oil industry. We use this case to develop theory about how the operational and cultural conditions of an organization can disrupt conventional masculine interaction patterns and identity-construction processes by decoupling images of leadership/competence from idealized images of masculinity. We conclude that an organization's commitment to a set of work practices that are rooted in the real requirements of its work, rather than in stereotypical images of masculinity, may foster more effective leadership and may open leadership roles to women and to men who do not conform to stereotypical images of masculinity.