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MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review Winter 2013

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

2 min.
the art of managing change

THE PACE OF CHANGE in the contemporary business world can be daunting. New technologies and platforms keep emerging — and with them new markets, new business models and, often, new competitors. With that in mind, this issue of MIT Sloan Management Review includes a number of articles that focus on different aspects of managing and leading change in business. In “How to Change an Organization Without Blowing It Up” (p. 35), Karen Golden-Biddle offers an alternative to the kind of dramatic — and often traumatic — large-scale change initiatives that attempt to shake up an organization but may yield few beneficial long-term results. Instead, Golden-Biddle advocates for a more moderate approach to change that involves engaging a company’s employees in looking for disconnects between how work is done — and how…

1 min.
on the web

Using technology to radically improve the performance or reach of enterprises is becoming a prime topic for companies across the globe. And it’s not just high-tech companies that are leading the charge. In every industry, companies are seeking to remake themselves through technologies such as social media, analytics, mobile and embedded devices. The new Digital Transformation area of our website explores these changes through videos and articles, as well as through highlights of new research on digital transformation that was produced jointly by the MIT Center for Digital Business and Capgemini Consulting. Visit the area: sloanreview.mit.edu/digital GE’s Internal Social Network Colab, an internal social network at General Electric Company, is mimicking the good things that people get in their personal lives with Facebook: quick responses, connections with people they know and coordination…

2 min.
quick takes

“The reality is that many retailers either aren’t willing or aren’t able to invest the resources to turn shopper data into insight .” (From Dawar and Stornelli, “Rebuilding the Relationship Between Manufacturers and Retailers,” page 83.) “The task of the global strategist is to build a platform of capabilities… to transplant those capabilities wherever appropriate; and then to systematically upgrade and renew them — ahead of the competition.” (From Lessard et al., “Building Your Company’s Capabilities Through Global Expansion,” page 61.) “Some people point to the tremendous growth in technology, increasing wealth and the rise of China and other emerging economies to argue that hunger and poverty will soon be a memory .” (From Sterman, “What the Future May Bring,” page 13.) “Meetings took too long to arrange, and multiple levels of approval…

7 min.
how to use analogies to introduce new ideas

While change and innovation clearly produce much of the turbulence that besets modern businesses, research suggests that change itself is not the culprit, but rather how organizations perceive and cope with change. Both people and organizations rely on analogies to help them comprehend change, including the meaning and potential of new technologies, systems and processes. But do all analogies function in the same way? How strongly should organizations adhere to their chosen analogies? These and similar questions prompted us to explore the role analogies play in change management. Our research found that in coping with change and innovation, companies generally engage in a three-phase process that involves assimilation, analysis and adaptation. Importantly, there is a strong distinction between analogies that focus on aspects that are familiar and those that center on…

7 min.
what the future may bring

Many authors writing about the future dismiss doubts and contrary opinions, striving with provocative titles such as The End of History and the Last Man (by Francis Fukuyama) or The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (by Ray Kurzweil) to persuade readers that the future they envision is not only plausible but inevitable. Thankfully, Jorgen Randers foregoes this temptation in his new book, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years (White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012). Randers, an expert on business and sustainable development and currently a professor of climate strategy at BI Norwegian Business School, offers a nuanced analysis of the state of the world today and a forecast for global development for the coming decades. It’s not a pretty picture. Writing in the first…

9 min.
when one size does not fit all

Most operations strategies focus on either efficiency, sometimes referred to as a push strategy, or responsiveness, sometimes called a pull strategy. Either the company seeks operational efficiency and tries to hold down costs across all functional areas, or it focuses on responsiveness and tries to ratchet up speed, order fulfillment and service levels. Although seasoned operations and supply chain executives understand the difference between efficiency and responsiveness, many are confused about when to apply each strategy. In recent years, more and more companies have been caught in the bind in which Dell Inc. found itself in 2008, when it realized that the highly responsive configure-to-order supply chain that had made its online store the world’s largest channel for personal computers sales no longer fit the needs of some of its fastest-growing…