Harvard Business Review May/June 2019

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


esg comes of age

FOR YEARS CORPORATE LEADERS have acknowledged that business should play a role in addressing urgent challenges like climate change and cybersecurity. But for all their good intentions, these executives have also recognized that environmental, social, and governance matters are a secondary concern for their biggest investors. Executives may want to manage for the long term, but they believe that the market demands they keep their eye on quarterly results. That’s changing. “The impression among business leaders is that ESG just hasn’t gone mainstream in the investment community. That perception is outdated,” say Saïd Business School’s Bob Eccles and the World Bank’s Svetlana Klimenko. In “The Investor Revolution” (page 106), the two present the most persuasive evidence yet that institutional investors are making ESG a priority. In interviews with leaders of dozens…


Robert Eccles, a visiting professor at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, has been listening for years to CEOs’ complaints that investors don’t reward them for their sustainability efforts. That’s about to change, Eccles says. He and his coauthor in this issue recently interviewed leaders at many of the world’s largest asset owners and asset managers. Their findings suggest that sustainable investing has gone mainstream. His message to CEOs? “Be careful what you wish for, because investors are going to start looking hard at your ESG performance.” Last year a professional services firm asked Tiziana Casciaro, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto, to help its various groups bridge the divides between them so that they could better deliver integrated expertise to clients. In doing so,…

when scandal engulfs a celebrity endorser

IN DECEMBER OF 2009 marketers at Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, General Motors, Gillette, Nike, TAG Heuer, and other companies faced a difficult decision. After tabloid reports of infidelity and an alleged altercation with his wife that ended in a car crash, Tiger Woods—who had endorsement deals with those firms—publicly (if vaguely) apologized for his behavior and announced that he was taking an indefinite leave from golf. The following days brought more salacious stories. Should the companies abandon Woods or stay the course? Over the next few weeks investors in firms that used Woods in advertisements lost $12 billion as share prices fell. For managers at those companies, the question became: How to mitigate the damage? Previous research has shown that firms tend to suffer financially when a celebrity endorser becomes mired in…

“few celebrities are squeaky clean”

For more than 20 years Bob Williams, the CEO of Burns Entertainment, has matched brands with celebrity endorsers. (Among his deals: securing the actress Mila Kunis for the liquor brand Jim Beam and signing the NBA star Steph Curry with Degree antiperspirant.) Williams recently spoke with HBR about how companies react when an endorser is caught up in a scandal. Edited excerpts follow. How much do companies worry about endorser scandals? Twenty years ago the level of worry was one on a 10-point scale. Today it’s eight. I mark the change at 2003, when Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault. [Editor’s note: The charges were dismissed; Bryant publicly apologized and settled a civil suit.] Until then A-list celebrities had an aura of invincibility. Afterward advertisers began looking differently at the…

the bully in the corner office

Military and sports opponents commonly consider a rival leader’s personality when mulling a competitive move, such as an attack. In business strategy, however, this element is rarely studied; firms are presumed to make strategic moves on the basis of competitive dynamics or microeconomic factors. New research looked for links between the personal bearing of CEOs and the incidence of competitive attacks against their firms. Drawing on the theory that victims in general tend to be either submissive and unlikely to fight back or so provocative that rivals strike preemptively (think of schoolyard and barroom fights), the researchers coded publicly available videos of 102 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies from 2010 to 2016, rating each leader on submissive and provocative tendencies. Then, using news articles, they identified which of the executives’ firms…

can the gig economy close the wage gap?

In discussions about the persistent inequities between men’s and women’s pay, factors such as managerial discrimination, a lack of transparency regarding salaries, and women’s reluctance to negotiate dominate. A new study takes those things out of the equation by focusing on a novel data set: Uber drivers. The researchers examined data on all UberX and UberPOOL drivers in the United States (totaling more than 1.87 million) from January 2015 to March 2017. They learned that on average, men made $21.28 per hour (before expenses), while women pulled in just $20.04—a difference of 7%. Because fares are set by formulas that don’t vary from driver to driver, managerial discretion and employee bargaining styles cannot explain the disparity. Discrimination on the part of riders was investigated and ruled out. Controlling for various other…