First Look

January 23, 2008

Dove soap is found all over the world, but it wasn't always so. In fact, the globalization of toiletries and cosmetics could carry lessons for marketers today who might otherwise try one-size-fits-all strategies. As HBS professor Geoffrey Jones explains in the February issue of Economic History Review, in his article "Blonde and Blue-eyed? Globalizing Beauty, c. 1945-c. 1980," soaps, shampoos, creams, and cosmetics met a number of business, economic, and cultural hurdles in different consumer markets. By 1980, he writes, the world standard for beauty and hygiene ideals remained wide, though less wide than when such products first traveled in the mid-1940s. Also this week, guidelines for designing efficient markets; a case on the societal and subsequent economic turmoil at Tintaya Copper Mine in the Peruvian highlands; and a case on innovative leadership in health care information technology in the U.S. state of Arizona.
— Martha Lagace

Working Papers

A Resource Belief-Curse: Oil and Individualism


We study the correlation between a belief concerning individualism and a measure of luck in the US during the period 1983-2004. The measure of beliefs is the answer to a question related to whether the poor should be helped by the government or if they should help themselves, while the measure of luck is the share of the oil industry in the state's economy multiplied by the price of oil. The correlation is negative, suggesting that more reliance on luck is correlated with less individualism. We provide three short models that help interpret this correlation. One implication of this finding is that societies that depend heavily on oil, and perhaps natural resources more generally, will experience a heavier demand for government intervention. We argue that this is one aspect that the good design of policies on the extraction of oil and mineral resources should take into account.

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Entrepreneurial Ventures and Whole-body Donations: A Regional Perspective from the United States


Human cadavers are crucial to medical science. While the debate on how to secure sufficient cadavers has focused primarily on donors' behaviors, procuring organizations' roles in increasing donations remain less explored. The United States offers a unique setting in which to examine this question since entrepreneurial ventures supplying cadavers for medical science have recently emerged alongside traditional academic-housed programs, raising both hopes and fears about their impact on whole-body donations.

To assess their potential impact, an archival survey of voluntary, in-state whole-body donors to two programs procuring in the same U.S. state was conducted. The programs' specimen recipients were also analyzed. One program is academic-housed and the other is an entrepreneurial venture. Both offered equal levels of financial support to donating parties. Eighty donations and 120 specimen shipping invoices from 2005 were analyzed in each program. Donations to the two programs did not significantly differ in terms of donors' sex, marital status, maximum educational level, and estimated hourly wage. The entrepreneurial venture's donors were, however, significantly younger, more likely to be from a minority group, and more likely to have died from cancer. For-profit organizations, continuing medical training organizations, and medical device companies were more likely recipients of the entrepreneurial venture's specimens. Non-profit and academic organizations were more likely recipients of the academic-housed program's specimens.

These findings suggest that although the programs procured from a somewhat similar pool of donors, they also complemented one another. The entrepreneurial program procured donations that the academic-housed program often did not attract. Specimen recipients' distinct demands partly explain these procurement behaviors. Thus, organizational efforts to meet demands seem to shape the supply. Examining organizations alongside donors might provide new answers to secure donations.

Blonde and Blue-eyed? Globalizing Beauty, c.1945-c.1980


This article examines the globalization of the beauty industry between 1945 and 1980. This industry grew quickly. Firms employed marketing and marketing strategies to diffuse products and brands internationally, despite business, economic, and cultural obstacles to globalization. The process was difficult and complex. The globalization of toiletries proceeded faster than cosmetics, skin care, and hair care. By 1980, strong differences remained among consumer markets. Although American influence was strong, it was already evident that globalization had not resulted in the creation of a stereotyped American blonde and blue-eyed female beauty ideal as the world standard, although it had significantly narrowed the range of variation in beauty and hygiene ideals.

What Have We Learned from Market Design?


This essay discusses some things we have learned about markets, in the process of designing marketplaces to fix market failures. To work well, marketplaces have to provide thickness, i.e., they need to attract a large enough proportion of the potential participants in the market; they have to overcome the congestion that thickness can bring, by making it possible to consider enough alternative transactions to arrive at good ones; and they need to make it safe and sufficiently simple to participate in the market, as opposed to transacting outside of the market, or having to engage in costly and risky strategic behavior. I'll draw on recent examples of market design ranging from labor markets for doctors and new economists, to kidney exchange, and school choice in New York City and Boston.

Third-World Multinationals: A Look Back


No abstract is available at this time.


Cases & Course Materials

Bayesian Estimation & Black-Litterman

Harvard Business School Note 208-085

Describes a practical method for asset allocation that is more robust to estimation errors than the traditional implementation of mean-variance optimization with sample means and covariances. The Bayesian inspired Black-Litterman model is described after introducing the intuition of the Bayesian approach to inference in a univariate setting.

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Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT)

Harvard Business School Case 608-036

Translating innovative ideas form the clinician to the patient remains a major problem in the field of medicine. Dr. John Parrish and colleagues created an organization (CIMIT) that brings the technical, financial, and administrative resources to these innovative clinicians and facilitates the development of the ideas so they eventually become medical practice. While successful on many dimensions, Parrish is faced with the dilemma of stable, long-term funding and an understanding of how to replicate CIMIT at other locations around the globe.

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Corporate Responsibility & Community Engagement at the Tintaya Copper Mine (A)

Harvard Business School Case 506-023

Located in the highlands of Peru, the Tintaya copper mine has long been a source of intense conflict between local community members and mine operators. The mine, which was owned and managed first by the Peruvian state and later by BHP Billiton, stands on 2,300 hectares of land expropriated from local subsistence farmers. In 2000, to contest this loss of land, mining-related environmental degradation, and allegations of human rights abuses, a coalition of five indigenous communities forged an alliance with a group of domestic and international NGOs to build their case against the BHP Billiton and pursue it directly with the company's Australian headquarters. The outcome of these efforts was the inception of a unique corporate-community negotiation process known as the Tintaya Dialogue Table. In December 2004, after three years of negotiation, BHP Billiton and the five communities signed an agreement compensating families for lost land and livelihoods and establishing a local environmental monitoring team and community development fund. However, just as the company resolves one conflict, another group of local stakeholders emerges with new demands-ones that the company may not be able to meet. The conflict with this new group culminates in a violent takeover of the mine in May 2005, whereupon BHP Billiton staff are forced to shut down operations, abandon the mine site, and devise a new strategy for winning back local support.

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Differences at Work: The Individual Experience

Harvard Business School Note 608-068

This note introduces students to the underlying social psychology of stereotyping and discrimination as barriers to respect and fair treatment.

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Don Jenkins: Between Opportunities

Harvard Business School Case 408-094

No abstract is available at this time.

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General Motors: Packard Electric Division

Harvard Business School Case 691-030

Packard Electric is the division of General Motors (GM) that does all of the electrical wiring and cabling for GM automobiles. They developed a new approach for passing the cables through the firewall between the engine and passenger compartments. The new technology called the RIM (Reaction Injection Molded) grommet, was supported heavily by the product development group because it was simpler to design and improved the leak seat. Process development was against using it because it cost more, complicated the manufacturing process, and provided only minor improvements in leak resistance. The students must analyze the risk in continuing with the project, the potential benefits from product simplification and the potential benefits from improving the leak resistance. The students must also review the product development process to determine conflicts before they reach a crisis.

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JetBlue Airways: Valentine's Day 2007

Harvard Business School Case 608-001

Describes an operational crisis for JetBlue Airways during an ice storm in the eastern United States in February 2007 and chronicles the airline's immediate response. Provides detail concerning the history of the airline from its founding in 1999 through the February 2007 crisis, which forced the airline to cancel more than 1,000 flights over the course of six days. In addition, discusses the initial response to the crisis by CEO David Neeleman and his management team. Students are provided with the opportunity to evaluate this response in terms of its impact on customer relations, growth prospects, and ongoing operations for JetBlue.

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Social Identity Profile

Harvard Business School Exercise 608-091

This survey asks students to identify their various social identities and the impact these identities have on how they behave and are treated in HBS and in other settings.

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Transforming Arizona's Health Care System: Developing and Implementing the Health-e Connection Roadmap

Harvard Business School Case 808-072

Addresses the issues of leadership and change management in the process of transforming an industry through an innovative public-private partnership approach to policy making. In 2005, the Governor of Arizona issued an Executive Order to create a roadmap for the state to achieve statewide electronic health data exchange between various entities in the health care delivery system. The Roadmap development project, a key initiative for Arizona, was led primarily by the State CIO. Being one of the first states to develop a statewide Roadmap, Arizona was being recognized as a national leader in the area of healthcare IT. While the CIO and his team had successfully initiated a large-scale transformation within the state, they were now faced with the challenge of transforming the blueprint into reality. Documents the process of creating this Roadmap and the issues that need to be addressed to achieve a true and lasting transformation in the healthcare arena.

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