Harvard Business Review April 2016

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.

United States
Harvard Business School Publishing
6 期号


the best of hbr

Here at Harvard Business Review, we strive in every article we publish to deliver the ideas, insights, and practical guidance you need to accelerate your business or advance your career. Each year an august panel of judges—drawn from both academia and the private sector—selects our very best article, which is honored with the HBR McKinsey Award. The judges score every issue’s feature articles on the basis of their rigor, relevance, and readability. The top-scoring articles make the ballot, which we present again to the judges, as well as to members of our Advisory Council of readers, for a final vote. And the latest results are in! The winner of the 2015 HBR McKinsey award is “Engineering Reverse Innovations,” by Amos Winter and Vijay Govindarajan. The piece, which appeared in our July–August issue,…


Marshall Van Alstyne dropped out of MIT to launch a start-up during the dot-com boom. The crash that followed got him thinking about the patterns that distinguish winners from losers in information markets—and since he needed to finish his PhD, he teamed up with Geoffrey Parker to study two-sided networks. Their insights about how firms can profitably price information at zero led to a seminal HBR article on the topic in 2006 and to Van Alstyne’s latest work on platform strategy, coauthored by Parker and Sangeet Paul Choudary, on page 54. Vin Rathod, this month’s Spotlight artist (page 53), studied to be an architect before he became an architectural photographer. Based in Sydney, Australia, he is intrigued by negative spaces and the interplay between brightness and darkness, colors and shades. Every morning…

the dark side of empathy

HBR article by Adam Waytz, January–February Empathy may be a critical leadership skill, but it’s also a finite resource, says Waytz. It taxes us mentally and emotionally and can even impair our ethical judgment. Managers should enact smart strategies that protect employees from the ill effects of empathy but promote the good ones. The issues discussed in the article arise not from empathy per se but from its misuse. Let’s start with problem #1 (“it’s exhausting”). This is lessened if people are given time to recover, as the article advises. But empathy can also be energizing if it isn’t limited to “negative” feelings. Haven’t you ever been thrilled for another’s accomplishments? That’s an example of empathy that gives you energy. So you can actually replenish empathy by focusing on other people’s positive…

revolutionizing customer service

Getting customer interactions right has never been more important, especially since social media has given unhappy customers a louder voice. Many companies want to raise their level of service, but the question is, How? The typical response is to rewrite frontline employees’ scripts and conduct pilot projects. Those tactics may lead to incremental improvement, which is fine for a company whose customer service operation is functioning reasonably well. But if the operation is badly broken, or the company’s industry is being disrupted and customers suddenly have a wider array of choices, Jochen Wirtz and Ron Kaufman, Singaporebased researchers and consultants, recommend deeper cultural change. On the basis of 25 years of work with global customer service operations, they suggest jettisoning four conventional practices, singly or in combination. Don’t start with customer-facing employees.…

“people wondered, is this guy nuts?”

Your company faced high debt, low morale, and a global recession. Why focus on service? When your properties need upgrades and you’re struggling with cash flow, how do you make a difference? People are the key. Our business is largely unsupervised, so you’ve got to instill in frontline providers the mindset that service comes naturally and from within. Once we did that, we started gaining traction. We’ve been able to grow room rates, and gradually we are investing back into the properties. What did the initiative consist of? We involved everybody on all our sites—3,000 people—talking about where we were going and how to get there. It gave people the confidence to be proactive, not reactive—to go to any lengths to help guests celebrate life. We also had “innovation challenges” to encourage employees…

can robots do the work of marketers?

One of the scarier side effects of technology is the prospect that computers, algorithms, or robots may make some workers obsolete. But McKinsey researchers Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi say that the best way to analyze how machines will change work is to look at individual tasks rather than entire jobs. In a recent study they found that less than 5% of jobs could be completely automated—but for more than half of all occupations, machines could perform nearly a third of daily tasks. That’s true not just of manufacturing and customer service but of higher-level functions such as marketing as well. The chart below shows what percentage of the tasks of various marketing professionals could be automated, along with how many people in the U.S. hold each job. Even…