Harvard Business Review January - February 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 softer side of performance

When seeking to construct the ideal workplace, we tend to focus on big cerebral concepts, such as purpose and shared values. But that might not be enough. Leaders also need to attend to employees’ feelings, according to Sigal Barsade and Olivia O’Neill. In “Manage Your Emotional Culture” (page 58), the authors discuss how the emotional state of a workforce can influence everything from employee satisfaction to profitability. That’s the lead article in this month’s Spotlight on the Emotional Organization, which looks at some of the softer but still critical aspects of corporate performance. In “The Limits of Empathy” (page 68), Adam Waytz maintains that although empathy is a highly valued skill these days, it isn’t an infinite resource, and thus it should be used judiciously. In fact, asking employees to empathize…


Sreedhari Desai remembers a pivotal moment teaching an introductory organizational behavior class some years ago. “We were talking about unethical and deviant behavior in the workplace, and a student challenged me,” says the assistant professor of organizational behavior at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business. “The student asked, ‘But how do you really say no if your boss asks you to do something unethical?’ It was a brilliant question.” Desai has been thinking about it ever since. Part of the answer can be found in this month’s Defend Your Research (page 34), which examines a surprisingly simple way to avoid being caught between your paycheck and your principles. Paul Villinski, the son of a U.S. Air Force navigator, is himself a pilot of sailplanes, paragliders, and singleengine airplanes. Thus, it’s not surprising…

the best-performing ceos in the world

What’s the true test of a leader’s worth? The results he or she produces over the long run. To see who stacked up, HBR analyzed the shareholder returns CEOs generated over their entire tenures and factored in their companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance ratings. Combining two kinds of measures makes sense. As this year’s #1 CEO, Novo Nordisk’s Lars Sørensen, has pointed out, a company’s values and share price are inextricably linked. I would like to find out how employees and customers feel about each company’s CEO—in particular, whether he or she is the right person for the job. It would reveal whether the CEO is managing people’s perceptions well. For example, Jack Welch was awesome for GE, but some employees felt he was too hard-nosed. I’d be interested…

entrepreneurship how unicorns grow

FACEBOOK +$135.7B (6 INCHES OFF THE PAGE) Seven years ago Uber didn’t exist. Five years ago it was limited to San Francisco. Today it offers rides in more than 65 countries and at this writing is valued at more than $50 billion. Along the way the company has amassed an impressive war chest to fund its expansion and ward off competitors: It has raised more than $8 billion from private investors. The meteoric rise of Uber and other “unicorns”— private, venture-backed companies valued at a billion dollars or more—feels unprecedented. But is it? And does that matter? Research from Play Bigger, a Silicon Valley consultancy that works with VC-backed startups, confirms that they really are growing faster in recent years, at least as measured by market capitalization. It also examines whether raising lots…

“the more money you raise, the less value you create”

WhatsApp, which you funded, was sold to Facebook for $19 billion just five years after its founding. Is that growth indicative of changes in the market? WhatsApp spent almost nothing on marketing—word of mouth drove adoption. And today start-ups have the App Store and Google Play, which allow them to touch 3 billion consumers. For the first time in the mobile ecosystem, you can reach half the planet without building a distribution system. The size and scale of some new opportunities will reflect that. If start-ups don’t need VC cash for marketing, should they be raising so much capital? In our portfolio there is a correlation between cash required and long-term market cap—but it’s negative. The more you raise, the less value you create. Google, Cisco, and Oracle were incredibly efficient…


Critics of high executive pay have complained for many years about the role played by compensation consultants—professionals hired to help figure out the right salary for CEOs (often by benchmarking industry competitors), along with the various other components (bonus, equity, perks) of pay packages. Some claim that comp consultants have an incentive to set pay too high: They want to appeal to CEOs shopping for consultant services and to please executives who might retain them for other, more lucrative types of consulting, the argument goes. To provide transparency around this issue, in 2006 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began requiring companies to identify any consultants used to help determine compensation. But do consultants really lead companies to pay CEOs more? To answer that question, researchers used SEC data to compare pay…