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Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review December 2015

For over 80 years, Harvard Business Review magazine has been an indispensable and unrivaled source of ideas, insight, and inspiration for business leaders worldwide. Each issue contains breakthrough ideas on strategy, leadership, innovation and management. Now, newly redesigned, HBR presents these ideas in a smart new design with improved navigation and rich infographics. Become a more effective leader by subscribing to Harvard Business Review.

Pays:
United States
Langue:
English
Éditeur:
Harvard Business School Publishing
Fréquence:
Bimonthly
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1 min.
the disruption conversation

Disruption. It may be the most overused—and misused—word in today’s business lexicon. (Grist.org’s report last year on “disruptive” mayonnaise says it all.) The term also generates great passion. Steve Jobs said he was “deeply influenced” by the book that introduced the concept to the world: Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. Another prominent fan, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, requires his top executives to read the book. Then there are the detractors. Jill Lepore, a Harvard history professor, wrote a powerful takedown of disruption theory in the New Yorker last year, calling Christensen’s sources “dubious” and his logic “questionable.” And this year Andrew King, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, and Baljir Baatartogtokh, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia, put the theory through their own stress test and found it…

2 min.
contributors

“Disruptive innovation” may be one of the most overused phrases in the English language. No surprise, then, that it has come under criticism of late. On page 44, Clay Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor behind the concept, looks at the downsides to the term’s adoption throughout the cultural landscape. In his own life, though, he tends to be more focused on his students, family, and church than on the cultural zeitgeist. In fact, those closest to him are amused by just how oblivious to pop culture he is. His assistant, Emily Snyder, once accompanied him to the Tribeca Film Festival, where Justin Bieber was being given a disruptive innovator award. “His daughter Katie and I had to tell him who Justin Bieber was,” Snyder says. “He really had no…

4 min.
get ready for multiculturalism

The author notes that many companies “have activities that may benefit from letting people leave messages open to interpretation, and…need to think carefully about processes that might erode valuable ambiguity in an effort to improve communication.” As you may know, people on the autism spectrum (we call ourselves Aspies) typically have a very hard time getting any kind of communication that isn’t explicit or even literal. For many of us, ambiguity equals gibberish. As an Aspie who helps fellow Aspies better understand and relate to other people—and vice versa—I find your discovery fascinating. Can you detail how ambiguity helps those firms work better? Jeffrey Deutsch, founder, A SPLINT Meyer responds:Many creative companies find that collective innovation happens more naturally when things are in a phase of exploration. The process of clarifying and nailing…

5 min.
team building in the cafeteria

Some companies go to extraordinary lengths to build bonds among workers. At disk-drive maker Seagate Technology, for example, former CEO Bill Watkins used to take groups of 200 employees on a 40-kilometer adventure race through the middle of New Zealand. Fortune’s Jeffrey O’Brien described Seagate’s “Eco week” as a pep rally that existed not as a reward but as an attempt at extreme team building. Watkins, O’Brien wrote, “thinks Eco week…helps build a more collaborative, team-oriented company.” Most efforts at team building are considerably more mundane. Many corporations plan outings that include such things as ropes courses, trust falls, and game playing. Even those consume time, attention, and money. Worse yet, many participants find them to have no value; trust falls have become a frequently mocked, Dilbertesque symbol of managers’ wrongheaded…

2 min.
“cooking lines up with the way we work”

Why did you choose a cooking event? Our company regularly holds team-building activities. We try to be creative with them—my team has done a pub crawl and taken a trapeze class. We’ve found that events involving a casual environment and food build the best camaraderie and get people to open up. The cooking event brought everyone together to create something—it really encouraged collaboration. And there’s something fundamental about sitting together over a meal. I’d say it was the best event we’ve done. A lot of team-building activities—ropes courses, for instance—reward athleticism. Is that a problem? Exactly. The trapeze event was fun, but it wasn’t a level playing field, and it was more of an independent activity. Cooking lines up better with the way we work. Everybody could do it. I actually…

2 min.
how to prevent overbilling

Items listed on eBay for multiples of $100 sell for 5% to 8% less than items with more-exact prices—yet such listings are common, apparently because they move goods more quickly. “CHEAP TALK, ROUND NUMBERS, AND THE ECONOMICS OF NEGOTIATION,” BY MATTHEW BACKUS, TOM BLAKE, AND STEVEN TADELIS Overbilling and other kinds of fraud are rampant. But it may be possible to induce vendors, contractors, and employees to become more ethical just by changing how you ask them to account for their work. Focusing on units (hours needed, tasks performed, widgets produced) rather than overall price encourages accountability in providers. That’s the finding from new research involving university students, online participants, and auto repair garages. Across four studies, people were 26% to 59% less likely to overbill if they were required to report the…