Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Rotman Management

Rotman Management Winter 2011

Published in January, May and September by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Rotman Management explores themes of interest to leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Each issue features thought-provoking insights and problem-solving tools from leading global researchers and management practitioners. The magazine reflects Rotman’s role as a catalyst for transformative thinking that creates value for business and society.

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
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$19.90(Incl. tax)
$52.45(Incl. tax)
3 Issues


3 min.
thinking about thinking ii

NEW GLOBAL REALITIES are rapidly working their way into the very structure of our existence: economic, social, political and environmental realities with profound implications for thinking and learning. As a result, the power of the mind to command itself and regularly engage in self-analysis will increasingly determine the quality of our work and our lives. Unfortunately, most people don’t give any thought to how they think, and we often look at decisions as a series of either/or propositions, or trade-offs: we can either keep costs down OR invest in better service; we can either have steady growth OR pioneer new ways of designing and building things. But what if there was a way to do both? My Rotman colleagues and I believe that there is a way to integrate the advantages…

15 min.
the mash up: merging ideas takes more than wishful thinking; it takes integrative thinking

IN THE HEADY DAYS OF THE DOTCOM BOOM, convergence was all the rage. The new economy was about to overtake the old, and the future was all about ecommerce, clicks and URLs. New business models based on online eyeballs made traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses look old fashioned and boring. Nothing summed up the spirit of the boom quite so well as the merger of AOL and Time Warner in the year 2000. It was a huge deal, the largest in history, and it saw upstart AOL purchase venerable Time Warner for some $160 billion in stock, creating a $350 billion, fully-integrated newmedia powerhouse. Time Warner CEO Jerry Levin made the case for the merger by highlighting the synergies that would be generated between the world’s leading Internet service provider (ISP) and a…

11 min.
thought leader interview: howard gardner

You have referred to intelligence as ‘a biopsychological potential’. Please explain this term. People often use the terms ‘mind’ and ‘brain’ interchangeably, but they are not one and the same. The brain is an organ within the skull, while the mind is a hypothetical construct that includes cultural knowledge, interaction with other people, societal rules etc. By using the term ‘biopsychological’ to describe intelligence, I am straddling the fence between Biology and Psychology, making it clear that the mind and the brain are separate entities. As for the potential part, no form of intelligence expresses itself automatically; it has to be stimulated, guided, nurtured or channeled by the surrounding culture. Your Theory of Multiple Intelligences defines eight distinct intelligences (see page 12). In your view, which one (or combination thereof) is most…

12 min.
the path to insight: cognitive abilities for dealing with ill-structured problems

PROBLEMS IN LIFE CAN BE DIVIDED into two general classes: well-defined and ill-defined. With a well-defined problem, the correct formulation is given. That is, the problem is presented with the expectation that the current state, the goal state and the ‘operators’ – the resources available to get from one state to the other – will be sufficiently obvious to allow steady progress towards the goal. If progress cannot be made, this will be due to a lack of relevant knowledge or skill, rather than to some inadequacy in the problem formulation. Unfortunately, most of today’s problems look nothing like this. Instead, they are ill-defined: uncertainty is inherent not only in whether the goal will be reached, but in how best to conceive of the current state, the goal state, and the…

15 min.
managing with the brain in mind

WHILE WE ARE ONLY JUST BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND the inner workings of the brain, research to date has made one thing clear: the human brain is a social organ. Its physiological and neurological reactions are directly and profoundly shaped by social interaction. This presents enormous challenges to managers. Although a job is often regarded as a purely economic transaction whereby people exchange their labour for financial compensation, the brain experiences the workplace first and foremost as a social system. People who feel betrayed or unrecognized – for example, when they are reprimanded, given an assignment that seems unworthy, or told to take a pay cut – experience it as a neural impulse, as powerful and painful as a blow to the head. Most people learn to rationalize or temper their reactions; they…

16 min.
beyond strategic thinking: strategy as experienced

THE IDEA THAT STRATEGY EXISTS within the realm of thought is pervasive. Grounded in the realm of the rational and the objective, this paradigm emphasizes the value of effective strategic rhetoric that defines powerful core concepts, provides clear guidelines for action and uses simple maxims to communicate vividly. It urges strategic planning processes that utilize conscious forethought, commit aspirations and plans to paper, generally include a strong quantitative component, stress effective communication and carefully measure and monitor outcomes. In short, it makes a great deal of sense. Within this mindset, gaining employees’ intellectual acceptance of a new strategy is seen as an early milestone in successful strategy implementation. The problem managers face is that this approach does not appear to be working very well: the gap between strategic rhetoric and strategic…