MIT Sloan Management Review Fall 2020

MIT Sloan Management Review leads the discourse among academic researchers, business executives and other influential thought leaders about advances in management practice, particularly those shaped by technology,  that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT SMR disseminates new management research and innovative ideas so that thoughtful executives can capitalize on the opportunities generated by rapid organizational, technological and societal change.

United States
MIT Sloan Management Review
$16.10(Incl. tax)
$87.88(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

2 min
seize the moment

By now, many of us have accepted what was unthinkable in March: We will never really get back to normal. The old world where business leaders could dismiss the idea of a global pandemic as a remote risk no longer exists, and many of our routines and expectations may be forever changed. Meanwhile, moving forward with confidence may be stalled by uncertainties that make it difficult to think long term: Can the business reopen? Can employees send kids to school or day care? But perhaps being caught between the past and future is not such a bad place to be. That’s where we find the present moment where life actually happens, as John Lennon famously sang, while we’re busy making other plans. Our present moment is rife with opportunity, and the authors…

3 min
the 2020 richard beckhard memorial prize

RICHARD BECKHARD One of the founders and architects of the field of organizational development, professor Richard Beckhard was a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty for more than 20 years. A longtime friend of MIT Sloan Management Review, Beckhard was known for his efforts to help organizations function in a more humane and high-performing manner and to empower people to be agents of change. His books include Organizational Development: Strategies and Models; Organizational Transitions: Managing Complex Change; Changing the Essence: The Art of Creating and Leading Fundamental Change in Organizations; and his autobiography, Agent of Change: My Life, My Practice. The prize was established in 1984 by the faculty of the MIT Sloan School of Management upon Professor Beckhard’s retirement, and it was renamed the Richard Beckhard Memorial…

12 min
being the agile boss

Leading in late 2020 means carving a new path through an epic disruption precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spawned health, economic, and social crises that have rendered the best-laid plans useless. With no road map for the marathon ahead, navigating through these times is a test of agility. Together, you and your organization will have to experiment, execute, and learn from successes and failures to invent your organization’s future. Agile leadership matters now more than ever — it is about leveraging, not reacting to, the turbulence around you. How can you empower your team to solve problems nimbly and resourcefully when circumstances are in flux and reliable data is elusive? How can you create the conditions for your organization to survive? How do you create new ways of engaging…

8 min
getting smarter about smart buildings

We’re seeing renewed energy around smart buildings as organizations, their landlords, and developers consider what it will take to facilitate a mass return to physical workspaces mid- and post-pandemic. In particular, they’re thinking about how emerging technologies, beyond garden-variety sensors and apps, can be used to track employees and keep them safe. It’s increasingly possible, for instance, to analyze radio waves, like Wi-Fi, to monitor where people are and how they move — without any connection to a smartphone or other hardware.1 Employers and builders are also reconceiving optimal office design.2 A new global Smart Building Certification process is even underway. However, in response to all this energy, one must ask: What will come of it? Is “smart” really getting smarter — and taking us where we want to go? Smart environments…

8 min
can surveillance ai make the workplace safe?

As the world recovers from the initial shock wave caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are preparing for their transitions back to their physical workplaces. In most cases, they are opening up gradually, with an unprecedented focus on keeping workers safe as they return. To protect employees’ health and well-being, organizations must systematically reengineer their workspaces. This may include reconfiguring offices, rearranging desks, changing people’s shifts to minimize crowding, and allowing people to work remotely long term. Then there are the purely medical measures, such as regular temperature checks, the provision of face masks and other personal protective equipment, and even onsite doctors. Such precautions would have seemed extreme a short time ago but are quickly becoming accepted practices. Soon, organizations may also start monitoring employees’ whereabouts and behavior more closely…

8 min
confronting the uncomfortable reality of workplace discrimination

George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police late in May sent protesters into the streets in every U.S. state and around the world almost daily for weeks. As the Black Lives Matter movement reminds us — and as the murders of Floyd, Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, and too many others have made painfully obvious — Black people often experience a harsher standard of treatment at the hands of the police than White people do. The sheer number and variety of people now speaking out on social media against discrimination and police brutality, and organizing and attending diverse protests worldwide, suggest that the push toward greater accountability and racial equality in law enforcement is gaining momentum. We could not be happier about this development — but we can’t stop…