First Look

October 9, 2018

Of special interest among new research papers, case studies, articles, and books released this week by Harvard Business School faculty:

Is cash the best motivator for employees?

As many organizations struggle to hire and retain talent in the current tight labor market, business leaders are looking for the best ways to reward employees. In an upcoming Compensation and Benefits Review piece, Ashley V. Whillans and colleagues explore whether cash is truly the best motivator to encourage the most hard-working employees to stick around. Winning the War for Talent: Modern Motivational Methods for Attracting and Retaining Employees.

The quest for personal data vs. consumer privacy

These days companies are seeking to access more and more of our personal data, everything from where we are located at any given moment to what’s in our DNA. Leslie K. John asks in a recent Harvard Business Review article whether it’s possible for businesses to reap the rewards of this data while continuing to respect consumers’ privacy. Uninformed Consent.

The reinvention of a chocolate business

Hironobu Tsujiguchi, a Japanese chocolatier, chose not to focus on just one or two sweet treats as many pastry chefs do, but rather to work on a variety of projects. While he enjoyed success, he still felt the need to reinvent his business, since not all of his stores were thriving. In a recent case study, Boris Groysberg and Naoko Jinjo chronicle the questions Tsujiguchi wrestles with as he restructures his business. Hironobu Tsujiguchi and His Sweet Revolution.

A complete list of new research and publications from Harvard Business School faculty follows.

— Dina Gerdeman
 
  • 2018
  • Redwood City, Stanford Business Books

The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society

By: Kerr, William R.

Abstract—The global race for talent is on, with countries and businesses competing for the best and brightest. Foreign talent has transformed U.S. science and engineering, reshaped the economy, and influenced society at large. But America is bogged down in thorny debates on immigration policy, and the world around the United States is rapidly catching up, especially China and India. The future is uncertain, and the global talent puzzle deserves close examination. This book combines insights and lessons from business practice, government policy, and individual decision-making to give voice to data and ideas that should drive the next wave of policy and business practice.

Publisher's link: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=55056

  • forthcoming
  • Strategic Management Journal

When Does Advice Impact Startup Performance?

By: Chatterji, Aaron, Solene Delecourt, Sharique Hasan, and Rembrand Koning

Abstract—Why do some entrepreneurs thrive while others fail? We explore whether the advice entrepreneurs receive about managing their employees influences their startup's performance. We conducted a randomized field experiment in India with 100 high-growth technology firms whose founders received in-person advice from other entrepreneurs who varied in their managerial style. We find that entrepreneurs who received advice from peers with a formal approach to managing people—instituting regular meetings, setting goals consistently, and providing frequent feedback to employees—grew 28% larger and were 10 percentage points less likely to fail than those who got advice from peers with an informal approach to managing people, two years after our intervention. Entrepreneurs with MBAs or accelerator experience did not respond to this intervention, suggesting that formal training can limit the spread of peer advice.

Publisher's link: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=55072

  • September–October 2018
  • Harvard Business Review (website)

Uninformed Consent

By: John, Leslie K.

Abstract—Companies want access to more and more of your personal data—from where you are to what’s in your DNA. Can they unlock its value while respecting consumers’ privacy?

Publisher's link: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=55059

  • in press
  • Compensation & Benefits Review

Winning the War for Talent: Modern Motivational Methods for Attracting and Retaining Employees

By: Thibault-Landry, Anais, Allan Schweyer, and Ashley V. Whillans

Abstract—Given the struggle that many organizations face hiring and retaining talent in today's tight labor market, it is critical to understand how to effectively reward employees. To address this question, we review relevant evidence that explains the importance of workplace rewards and recognition. Based on a review and synthesis of the current literature, we make the case that organizations should move beyond salary and traditional cash rewards to place greater emphasis on non-pecuniary, tangible and intangible rewards and recognition initiatives. We further highlight the importance of aligning rewards with universal psychological needs. Finally, we discuss the need to conduct more research to understand when and for whom cash and non-cash rewards increase intrinsic motivation, organizational commitment, and optimal functioning in order to improve the design and implementation of existing reward programs.

Publisher's link: https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=55066

Using proprietary artificial intelligence technology, startup Tailor Brands set out to democratize branding by allowing small businesses to create their brand identities by automatically generating logos in just minutes at minimal cost with no branding or design skills required. As it sets out to raise its Series B, the founders make some critical changes to their business model, moving to a subscription model and adding additional products and services to automate other parts of the branding and marketing process. Can algorithms, machine learning, and artificial intelligence help Tailor Brands outperform graphic designers and branding agencies in developing brand identities? And, can Tailor Brands differentiate itself from the many other logo generators popping up in the market?

Purchase this case:
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/product/519017-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School 619-014

Zebra Medical Vision

An Israeli startup founded in 2014, Zebra Medical Vision developed algorithms that produced diagnoses from X-rays, mammograms, and CT-scans. The algorithms used deep learning and digitized radiology scans to create software that could assist doctors in making diagnoses. By July 2018, Zebra had developed seven algorithms to analyze scans for emphysema, liver density, compression fractures, bone density, brain bleeds, breast cancer, and a calcium score used to detect calcified plaque in coronary arteries. For each scan analyzed, Zebra charged hospitals $1. By 2018 Zebra found itself in a race with its competitors to perfect these algorithms, create software tools, distribute the tools to physician partners, and create a market. Zebra already had several partners in the U.S. and Europe who gave feedback on its development. Management had to answer the following questions: What should they do next at Zebra? Should they work on the accuracy of the already developed algorithms or continue to develop many new tools? If they chose to develop new products, which applications should they address? And how should they go to market?

Purchase this case:
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/product/619014-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School 419-011

Hironobu Tsujiguchi and His Sweet Revolution

Hironobu Tsujiguchi, a Japanese chocolatier, had chosen an unusual path to success as a pastry chef. Instead of spending most of his time in his kitchen and focusing on one or two confectionery categories like most pastry chefs, he chose to work on diverse projects and leverage his reputation as a winning competitive chef to experiment with tastes and achieve business success. While Tsujiguchi enjoyed popularity and success in a broad array of projects, such as managing 10 brands and 26 shops across different categories, he also felt the need to reinvent his core confectionery business since not all stores of all his brands were thriving as he had wished. Equally central to the mission was the need to restructure the brand portfolio and operational model. Tsujiguchi asked himself these questions: How can I orchestrate these efforts? Can I continue to rely on the diversification model that has led me to success so far, or should I be more focused? What should I continue, start, or stop doing to stay relevant?

Purchase this case:
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/product/419011-PDF-ENG

Medtronic is adapting its strategy to changes in healthcare competition and payments. It has decided to develop new relationships with payers, hospitals, and physicians to become more accountable for patient outcomes and total costs. The case describes new forms of partnerships for therapy optimization, management of acute care episodes, and management of chronic care patients. The case also illustrates how integrated practice units (IPUs) provide focused, comprehensive care for two high-volume and expensive medical conditions: type-1 diabetes and morbid obesity.

Purchase this case:
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/product/718471-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School 417-023

Kurt Summers: Investing in Our Chicago

In 2016, Kurt Summers, the Chicago City Treasurer, faced a decision with potential personal and political ramifications: whether or not to ask the city’s Mayor to join a class action antitrust suit against the city’s creditors for actions they took during the Global Financial Crisis. Summers reflects on his time growing up in gang-controlled neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago as well as his career experiences in both the public and private sector. These include stints at Harvard Business School, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, the Chicago Olympics bid, and in local government. He tries to assess what he should do in this situation and what the best next steps should be in terms of his career. The case also discusses his work and leaderships styles; his personal life, including his relationship with his wife; and how he has adjusted to the new role of being a politician.

Purchase this case:
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/product/417023-PDF-ENG

In 2016, Kurt Summers, the Chicago City Treasurer, considered his future in Chicago politics. With an unpopular governor and mayor soon up for reelection, should Summers consider running for higher office? Summers reflects on his time growing up in gang-controlled neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago as well as his career experiences in both the public and private sector. These include stints at Harvard Business School, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, the Chicago Olympics bid, and in local government. He tries to assess what he should do in this situation and what the best next steps should be in terms of his career. The case also discusses his work and leadership styles; his personal life, including his relationship with his wife; and how he has adjusted to the new role of being a politician.

Purchase this case:
https://hbsp.harvard.edu/product/418034-PDF-ENG