Sunday, July 20, 2014

Harvard Business School First Look: "New working papers, case studies, and publications"

From the HBS Working Knowledge blog:
July 15
How information sharers squelch innovation
An article in a recent Academy of Management Journal looks at one issue that arises when venture capital firms often team up with multiple startups in the same industry. "VCs may be inclined to redirect information from one startup to another to increase their chances of being an investor in one of the outsized winners," write researchers Emily Cox Pahnke, Rory McDonald, Dan Wang, and Benjamin Hallen. They explain how information sharing affects innovation in "Exposed: Venture Capital, Competitor Ties, and Entrepreneurial Innovation."

How animals inspire innovation
Anyone who has seen a spider web or a beaver dam understands that the animal kingdom knows a thing or two about product design. The Center for Bioinspiration at the San Diego Zoo has made it its mission to build bridges between nature and industry by advancing "the development of nature-inspired products, services, and processes that benefit humanity, wildlife, and habitats." Karim R. Lakhani, Vish V. Krishnan, and Ruth Page discuss the organization's vision and business model in a new multimedia case, "Bioinspiration at the San Diego Zoo."

How the uninformed inform our decisions The consequence of a decision often depends on how someone else responds to it—even when the respondent knows much less about the subject than the decision-maker does. In a new working paper, experimental researchers William Schmidt and Ryan W. Buell discuss how people make decisions when the decision's value is dependent on a less-informed party. Read "Decision Marking Under Information Asymmetry: Experimental Evidence on Belief Refinements."
  • August 2013
  • Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Business Model Evaluation: Quantifying Walmart's Sources of Advantage
By: Brea-Solís, Humberto, Ramon Casadesus-Masanell, and Emili Grifell-Tatjé
Abstract—We develop an analytical framework on the basis of the economics of business performance to provide quantitative insight into the link between a firm's business model choices and its profit consequences. The method is applied to Walmart by building a qualitative representation of its business model and mapping that representation on an analytical model that quantifies the company's sources of advantage over time. The analysis suggests that the effectiveness of a particular business model depends not only on its design (its levers and how they relate to one another) but also, most importantly, on its implementation (how the levers are pulled).
Publisher's link:


Here's last week's First Look:
July 8
Learning how to notice The first step to solving ethical problems is noticing that they exist in the first place. Unfortunately, many managers possess underdeveloped noticing skills. Fortunately, Max Bazerman offers some great tips in the article "Becoming a First-Class Noticer: How to Spot and Prevent Ethical Failures in Your Organization," which appears in the current issue of Harvard Business Review.

Analyzing hedge fund activism
Sometimes a hedge fund buys up a large stake in a company with the primary goal of gaining a seat on the company's board and, subsequently, effecting major change. A new working paper examines the causes and effects of hedge fund activism, using a sample of nearly 2,000 activist events between 2004 and 2012. Read "Activist Directors: Determinants and Consequences" by Ian D. Gow, Sa-Pyung Sean Shin, and Suraj Srinivasan.