Harvard Business Review September/October 2020

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 Issues

in this issue

1 min
new urgencies and an old question

AS I DRAFT THIS NOTE, halfway through 2020, I count three crises so far—a global pandemic, a major economic shock, and, in the United States, a painful national reckoning over systemic racism. These are problems that every institution, including ours, is engaging with. HBR has the ability, and the responsibility, to publish new thinking on these topics—and that’s what we’ve been doing, both in this magazine and online. Three articles in this issue tackle problems arising from the first two crises: “Adapt Your Business to the New Reality” will help you discern which changes in customers’ behavior are permanent and which will fade away. “Global Supply Chains in a Post-Pandemic World” is a blueprint for reinventing operations if disruptions to international trade persist. “Joint Ventures and Partnerships in a Downturn” provides…

1 min
special issue

Business leaders and companies must confront racism at a systemic level—in their own organizations and in the economy as a whole. That’s easier said than done. But there’s proven research about what works, from hiring practices to methods for interrupting personal bias. We’ve combed through our archives to find the most relevant and practical articles HBR has published to help leaders and companies make the changes we need to build a just workplace—and a just world. Each quarterly Harvard Business Review Special Issue focuses on a single, timely theme and includes expert authored articles from HBR’s rich archives, along with concise, helpful article summaries. Harvard Business Review FALL ISSUE AVAILABLE ON NEWSSTANDS AND AT HBR.ORG STARTING AUGUST 11.…

2 min

A decade ago, when Harvard Business School’s George Serafeim started publishing data suggesting that firms with exceptional environmental, social, and governance (ESG) records outperformed in capital markets, he felt like a “voice in the wilderness.” His work is now widely accepted by investor and corporate audiences. In this issue, he argues that integrating ESG with traditional strategy is the key to sustainable—and superior—financial returns. 38 Social-Impact Efforts That Create Real Value In the 1990s Robert Livingston was completing a PhD in romance literature and linguistics at UCLA, exploring themes of colonialism and oppression, when a chance encounter with a social psychology student opened his eyes to the need for examining oppression in society. He switched fields and never looked back. Now at Harvard’s Kennedy School, he has dedicated his career to advancing…

19 min
idea watch

IN THEORY BOOST YOUR RESISTANCE TO PHISHING ATTACKS Simple changes to employee training can improve results. RYAN WRIGHT AND Matthew Jensen have phished thousands of people over the past decade, and they’re not planning to let up anytime soon. The two aren’t hackers angling for valuable data or funds; they’re researchers working with companies, governments, and universities around the world to understand why we so often fall for phishing attacks and what organizations can do to mitigate the threat. Corporate security departments go to some lengths to educate people about phishing, which accounts for 90% of all data breaches—but an estimated 30% of fraudulent emails are opened nonetheless. With the cost of a successful attack averaging $3.8 million, that’s an uncomfortably high share. And it could grow as cybercriminals exploit the disruption caused…

6 min
we actively avoid information that can help us

Emily Ho of Northwestern University and two coresearchers asked more than 2,300 survey participants whether they would like to get various kinds of information that could be useful to them, including how their retirement accounts stacked up against their peers’, what listeners thought of a speech they’d recently given, and how coworkers rated their strengths and weaknesses. The team found that the respondents opted out 32% of the time, on average. The conclusion: Professor Ho, Defend Your Research HO: The conventional wisdom is that people should be eager to get information that can benefit them. That’s the idea behind marketing and public health messaging. But across several scenarios we saw that from 15% to more than 50% of people declined the information we were offering. This is the first study to examine…

14 min
how i did it 23andme’s ceo on the struggle to get over regulatory hurdles

Late on a Friday in November 2013 I was at a strategy offsite when my executive assistant texted that we had received a package by courier from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At the time, 23andMe had been in a years-long back and-forth with the FDA over how we should be regulated, so this news made me anxious. Hoping to gain as much time as possible, I texted back, “Don’t sign for it!” She replied, “It’s too late, I already did.” As it turned out, that package contained a warning letter that would forever change the course of 23andMe. On Monday morning the FDA released the letter to the press—something it rarely does with such short notice. Reporters began calling. Then David Kessler, the former FDA commissioner who’d been unofficially…