The Most Popular Stories and Research Papers of 2015

The year’s most popular Working Knowledge stories looked at such diverse topics as how children benefit from a mom who works outside the home, the perils of humblebragging, and gauging a startup’s chances for success.

Research that explores how children benefit from having a working mom blew away the field for most popular feature article on Harvard Business School Working Knowledge in 2015.

With nearly 84,000 visits, twice the number of the second most popular article, Kids Benefit From Having a Working Mom touched controversial issues including gender equality and the conflicting emotions experienced both by women who work and those who stay home to raise families. Other popular stories, listed below, looked at such diverse topics as the perils of humblebragging, how to gauge a startup’s chances for success, and the role of hormones in cheating.

"Tell us what you think were the most significant trends, ideas, or management lessons from 2015."

Also worth reading is our list of the year’s most popular articles from the archives, which date back to 2001. Enduring management issues addressed in these features include improving our professional image, authentic leadership, and several Jim Heskett columns that attracted more than 200 reader comments.

Finally, the five most-downloaded research working papers are highlighted.

After exploring the research that most resonates with our readers, tell us what you think were the most significant trends, ideas, or management lessons from 2015. Then look ahead to next year. How do you think the 2016 presidential election will change the American economy? Will there be breakthroughs in promoting gender equality in the workplace? Does the rapid boil under the wealth gap heat up or cool down? Will the climate change accord catalyze investment in alternative energy? What impact will international terrorism have on business?

Please add your comments below.

10 Most Popular Articles 2015

Kids Benefit From Having a Working Mom (83,903 visits)
Women whose moms worked outside the home are more likely to have jobs themselves, are more likely to hold supervisory responsibility at those jobs, and earn higher wages than women whose mothers stayed home full time, according to research by Kathleen McGinn and colleagues.

The Battle for San Francisco (39,514)
In San Francisco, tech companies are hoping to make the world a better place—but the fabric of the city is changing in the process. A case study by Clayton Rose explores this clash of cultures, and the role of business in promoting the right balance.

How Our Brain Determines if the Product is Worth the Price (37,030)
Are consumers more likely to buy if they see the price before viewing the product? Uma Karmarkar and colleagues scan the brains of shoppers to find out.

How Hormones Foretell Whether People Will Cheat (35,635)
There's a key link between our hormone levels and unethical behavior, according to by Francesca Gino and colleagues. The good news: businesses can do something about it.

Need to Solve a Problem? Take a Break From Collaborating (34,516)
Organizations spend a lot of money enabling employees to solve problems collectively. But inducing more collaboration may actually hinder the most important part of problem-solving: actually solving the problem. Research by Ethan Bernstein and colleagues.

The 5 Strategy Rules of Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs (34,436)
David Yoffie and Michael Cusumano find common leadership lessons from the tech titans of Microsoft, Intel, and Apple in the new book, Strategy Rules.

Men Want Powerful Jobs More Than Women Do (32,083)
While women and men believe they are equally able to attain high-level leadership positions, men want that power more than women do, according to research by Francesca Gino, Caroline Wilmuth, and Alison Wood Brooks.

Excellence Comes From Saying No (31,511)
In a new course designed by Frances Frei and Amy Schulman, business and law students help each other define and achieve their own interpretations of success. Lesson one: You can't be great at everything.

‘Humblebragging’ is a Bad Strategy, Especially in a Job Interview (25,829)
While humblebragging runs rampant on Twitter, it's a lousy self-promotion tactic that usually backfires according to recent research by Ovul Sezer, Francesca Gino, and Michael Norton.

How to Predict if a New Business Idea is Any Good (23,396)
Pian Shu tackles one of the most difficult questions in the startup world: How can you tell if a new business will succeed?

The Year’s 10 Most Popular Articles from Our Archives

What Is Management’s Role in Innovation? (31,511 visits in 2015)
It's an open question whether management contributes much to creativity and innovation, says Jim Heskett. What changes will allow managers to add value to the creative process? What do YOU think?

What Makes a Good Leader? (25,360)
Leadership comes in many shapes and sizes, and often from entirely unexpected quarters. In this excerpt from the HBS Bulletin, five HBS professors weigh in with their views on leadership in action.

Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing (20,015)
About 95 percent of new products fail. The problem often is that their creators are using an ineffective market segmentation mechanism, according to Clayton Christensen. It's time for companies to look at products as customers do: a way to get a job done.

Creating a Positive Professional Image (19,535)
In today’s diverse workplace, your actions and motives are constantly under scrutiny. Time to manage your own professional image before others do it for you.

What Is the Government’s Role in US Health Care? (18,291)
Jim Heskett asks, are we addressing health care cost issues with the creativity they deserve? What do YOU think?

How Should Pay Be Linked to Performance? (18,284)
Jim Heskett sums up 98 reader responses from around the world. As he concludes, is there another subject as important as this one about which we assume so much and know so little?

Why Companies Fail—and How Their Founders Can Bounce Back (16,865)
Leading a doomed company can often help a career by providing experience, insight, and contacts that lead to new opportunities, says Shikhar Ghosh.

Make Restructuring Work for Your Company (16,149)
A bungled corporate restructuring can turn a good idea into disaster. In a book excerpt, Stuart Gilson outlines the keys for a successful corporate makeover.

Why Leaders Lose Their Way (12,085)
Bill George discusses how powerful people lose their moral bearings. To stay grounded executives must prepare themselves to confront enormous complexities and pressures.

How to Demotivate Your Best Employees (11,975)
Many companies hand out awards such as "employee of the month," but do they work to motivate performance? Not really, says Ian Larkin. In fact, they may turn off your best employees altogether.

Most Popular Faculty Working Papers from 2015

Are “Better” Ideas More Likely to Succeed? An Empirical Analysis of Startup Evaluation (547 visits)
Pian Shu and colleagues examines whether assessment of early-stage startup ideas by experienced entrepreneurs and business experts can predict their subsequent commercialization.

How Should We Pay for Health Care? (536)
Michael E. Porter and Robert S. Kaplan argue that reimbursement for medical services through bundled payments is the only approach that aligns providers, payers, and suppliers in a healthy competition to increase patient value.

Incentives versus Reciprocity: Insights from a Field Experiment (523)
What are the most effective forms of sales force compensation? Findings provided by Doug J. Chung and Das Narayandas offer guidance to firms on how to use conditional and unconditional compensation to enhance sales rep productivity and better manage the achievement of sales forecasts.

Multi-Sided Platforms (493)
Andrei Hagiu and Julian Wright study the economic tradeoffs that drive organizations to position themselves closer to or further away from a multi-sided platform business model.

How Best-Self Activation Influences Emotions, Physiology and Employment Relationships (433)
Through a series of experiments, Francesca Gino and colleagues show what happens when an organization helps to activate individuals' "best selves."

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