Most Popular Stories of 2012

What topics intrigued Harvard Business School Working Knowledge readers in 2012? Read our Top 10 list of most-read stories, then tell us your candidate for most significant business issue of the year.
by Staff

The following articles were the most read pieces on Harvard Business School Working Knowledge in 2012. Now two questions for you. What do you think was the most important business issue of the year? Fiscal cliff? China's slowdown? Also please share your opinion about what will be the most significant economic development of 2013. Use the "Comments" link to tell us what and why.

Most Popular Stories In 2012

1. Clayton Christensen's "How Will You Measure Your Life?"
Published: May 9, 2012
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.

2. Is JC Penney's Makeover the Future of Retailing?
Published: March 5, 2012
The stuffy department store chain has become emboldened under new CEO Ron Johnson, with plans for an innovative store upgrade, simplified prices, and a brand polish. Professor Rajiv Lal discusses whether Johnson can repeat his previous magic at Apple and Target.

3. Are You a Strategist?
Published: July 16, 2012
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.

4. The Power of Conversational Leadership
Published: July 23, 2012
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.

5. Breaking the Smartphone Addiction
Published: May 14, 2012
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.

6. HBS Cases: Sir Alex Ferguson--Managing Manchester United
Published: November 7, 2012
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.

7. Why Is Trust So Hard to Achieve in Management?
Published: July 5, 2012
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?

8. The Business of Life
Published: June 4, 2012
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.

9. Five Ways to Make Your Company More Innovative
Published: May 23, 2012
How do you create a company that unleashes and capitalizes on innovation? HBS faculty experts in culture, customers, creativity, marketing, and the DNA of innovators offer up ideas.

10. How to Brand a Next-Generation Product
Published: April 23, 2012
Upgrades to existing product lines make up a huge part of corporate research and development activity, and with every upgrade comes the decision of how to brand it. Harvard Business School marketing professors John T. Gourville and Elie Ofek teamed up with London Business School's Marco Bertini to suss out the best practices for naming next-generation products.

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In order to be published, comments must be on-topic and civil in tone, with no name calling or personal attacks. Your comment may be edited for clarity and length.
    • Anonymous
    Most significant economic development issue of 2012, increased use of shale oil and gas in the US: portends much but mainly a move away from all fossil fuels sooner than later. 2013: new business arrangements internationally and internally within each Nation, mainly, finding livings for all of us via sustainable work and production of food, fiber and fame. Get on board now for your best opportunties!
    • M S S Krishnan
    • Major General (retd), Indian Army
    The past is behind us; but those who forget the past can never effectively go into the future. Although much effort has gone into developing systems and formulating policies for management of our environment, little has actually been achieved. Even today, organisations are only and only focussed on profits. Whatever is being done towards reversing the damage caused to the environment is inadequate. Gobal team-building, management of knowledge and technology, cross-cultural M & A, harnessing the power of Information systems and so on are all set to grow upwards. But the growth stories will not have happy endings if sincerity towards our environment is lacking.
    It is not the sole responsibilities of Governments to find solutions to problems facing our planet. It is time that the leaders of business the world over shifted their attention on reversing some of the damage inflicted on our environment. I think, this is a major challenge which few are bold enough to accept. 2013 will judge business leaders on their ability to contribute towards a better world for posterity.
    • Hugh
    • home, none
    Surely 'The Business of Life' has to be the most important of the choices. Hugh Quick
    • Kapil Kumar Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC(India) Private Limited
    The most important concern of 2012 which will also remain in 2013 is fiscal and economy management. Eventhough we saw Obama sail through, he has to face many challenges nationally and internationally. Unemployment is a big issue. Then the lowering revenues. Taxing the rich at steeper rates is bound to be resisted.
    Business ethics need to improve and companies will have to follow the guidelines strictly. Some amount of expenditure control, personal as also of the State, is also a need of 2013.
    Afghanistan and such countries where US has strategic involvement will also dominate attention of the Government during the year just set in.
    • ahmed alaa
    • senior undergraduate, Ain shams university
    economic performance now is getting better for developing and bad for developed because in my opinion the way United states manages its economy and i say US because its the largest economy in the world which is the most critical and important the role it plays in the world economy it manages the economy in a bad way . because fiscal cliff is not a crisis in economy but it is a crisis to the people who affect the economy ( rich people ) ( middle class people) so we have to make an equilibrium between them by increasing taxes on rich who possess the businesses but increasing also the share of middle class people who work for these businesses as increasing working hours and increase restrictions on vacations and increase productivity of work . so we take additional money from rich but increase the outcome of their corporations and businesses so they wont affected negatively and not to take money from middle classes and not make them p
    ay another taxes but in contrast they must work longer and achieve more and so on . and the other issue is government spending which i think must be relatively not affected because people wont achieve more if they could not take the public services and facilities they need to achieve more .
    • Dr Nada S Almutawa
    • head of research unit, kuwait university
    i gues the most inresting topic is the role of trust in management issues , as trust is proven to be a major component of the continuity and transformation Family businesses in the gulf countries , and a major charecteristic of economic networks in the middle east .
    Dr Nada S Almutawa
    Author of " Globalization the role of networks in the GCC "
    Head of the Research and Studies Unit at the Gulf center ,Kuwait University .
    • Shaiful
    • APEX
    Leadership issue is going to be top concern in 2013. Vacuum area which still waiting to be filled by next responsible leader. I think the continuing concern is what the quality should one possess before we hail him as a leader. Then, life quality issue is also a top concern as we are still searching the true meaning of life and its purpose.
    • Anonymous