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MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review Summer 2017

MIT Sloan Management Review leads the discourse among academic researchers, business executives and other influential thought leaders about advances in management practice, particularly those shaped by technology,  that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT SMR disseminates new management research and innovative ideas so that thoughtful executives can capitalize on the opportunities generated by rapid organizational, technological and societal change.

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United States
MIT Sloan Management Review
4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
the end of corporate culture as we know it

We are evolving toward the age of networked enterprise, in which the traditional hierarchies of the corporation will be supplanted by self-organizing systems collaborating on digital platforms. It will be the era of entrepreneurship, distributed leadership, and the continual reorganization of people and resources. It will be the time of disintermediation both within and between organizations. Layers of management will fall; the need for centralized systems and trusted go-betweens will dissipate, if not disappear. Or so many experts predict. As for me? Yes, I do believe this is the future toward which we are slowly advancing. Those of us deeper into our careers may not see it come to full fruition during our organizational lives, but the trends are real, and they are already on display if you care to look for them. And…

8 min.
supply chains built for speed and customization

The newest wave of digital customer engagement is developing in one of the oldest of industries: manufacturing. Thanks to emerging technologies like 3-D printing, manufacturers can offer consumers customized products and do so with unprecedented speed. Intrigued by a new product you saw in a YouTube video? Well, soon you may be able to personalize it, order it via the company’s website, and have it in your hands in a matter of days. We are seeing this phenomenon emerge in a variety of consumer product sectors, including personalized running shoes pioneered by the likes of Adidas AG and Nike Inc. The age of mass customization is finally here, backed by a new kind of supply chain. Across product categories, we find companies engaging with customers online and inviting them to customize and…

10 min.
the power of consumer stories in digital marketing

When we think of storytelling, we tend to conjure up memories of childhood — fairy tales, fables, and campfires. Stories are an essential form of human communication and are often among the first conveyors of cultural norms and values. There’s a reason why many childhood lessons are conveyed as stories: Research has shown that the human brain likes to encode, store, and retrieve information in narrative form. When consumers prepare to make purchase decisions, stories can deliver important information and shape the decision and the overall brand experience. With the advent of consumer-to-consumer social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, stories can be powerful tools for shaping cognitive processing, recall, brand image, and choice. However, relatively little is known about how this process works in digital marketing. Over the past…

8 min.
the jobs that artificial intelligence will create

The threat that automation will eliminate a broad swath of jobs across the world economy is now well established. As artificial intelligence (AI) systems become ever more sophisticated, another wave of job displacement will almost certainly occur. It can be a distressing picture. But here’s what we’ve been overlooking: Many new jobs will also be created — jobs that look nothing like those that exist today. In Accenture PLC’s global study of more than 1,000 large companies already using or testing AI and machine-learning systems, we identified the emergence of entire categories of new, uniquely human jobs. These roles are not replacing old ones. They are novel, requiring skills and training that have no precedents. (Accenture’s study, “How Companies Are Reimagining Business Processes With IT,” will be published this summer.) More specifically, our research…

8 min.
seeing beyond the blockchain hype

After eluding close inspection by most business leaders outside of the tech and financial sectors, blockchain technology has recently taken center stage in the conversation about management’s digital makeover. Indeed, many believe the impact of blockchain on the ways organizations function and produce value may be greater than the technologies that have grabbed most of our recent attention — data and analytics, the cloud, even artificial intelligence. As with any emerging technology, it can be difficult to separate promise from probability. That is among the reasons why a new working paper from MIT Sloan School of Management professor Christian Catalini and University of Toronto Rotman School of Management professor Joshua S. Gans is so valuable: It offers a balanced analysis of blockchain through an economic lens. Catalini discussed several of the study’s…

8 min.
a data-driven approach to identifying future leaders

Having a strong pool of talent is critical for success in today’s business environment. After all, weak leadership can be one of the biggest impediments companies face. Diversity in leadership is a potential key to unlocking high performance within organizations. However, despite significant attention and investment, the top management of the largest U.S. corporations remains not very diverse. Our own study of 245 organizations with operations in North America found that while 71% of organizations aspire toward having a diverse culture, only 11% report having one. Moreover, the higher up you look in most organizations, the less diversity you’re likely to see. According to the Center for American Progress, women represent 59% of the college-educated workforce at the entry level, but only 14.6% of executive officer positions are held by women.…