Fall 1995
Volume 37, Issue # 1

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Returns Policies: Make Money by Making Good

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

ALTHOUGH RETURNS POLICIES HAVE BEEN WIDELY USED FOR MANY YEARS, THEY CONTINUE TO BE A SOURCE OF CONTROVERSY. THE AUTHORS present a framework that explains when and how to adopt returns policies. They analyze the benefits and costs of accepting returns from distributors, and also compare returns policies to alternative ways of coordinating the distribution channel.

The Nonmarket Strategy System

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 36 min 

For managers, the challenge of understanding nonmarket forces — government, interest groups, activists, and the public — is frequently more difficult than understanding the market environment. The author develops a strategy system of principles, frameworks, and action plans to deal with the issues, in-stitutions, interests, and information that characterize the nonmarket environment. He uses the concept of a rent chain, analogous to the value chain, to show how com-panies can participate in policy-setting processes and generate leverage to their own benefit.

Rebuilding Behavioral Context: Turn Process Reengineering into People Rejuvenation

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 42 min 

Why are some companies able to remain vital, even after extensive reengineering, while others flounder and fail? The answer, according to these authors, lies in a company’s ability to rejuvenate its employees by establishing a behavioral context with four characteristics — discipline, support, trust and stretch. The authors show how companies like Intel and 3M have been able to renew themselves by creating an environment in which people are the most important resource.

Improve Software Quality by Reusing Knowledge and Experience

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

THE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING QUALITY IN MANUFACTURING PROCESSES DON’T WORK ESPECIALLY WELL FOR SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT. THE AUTHORS provide a quality improvement paradigm for the software industry that builds on manufacturing models but focuses on reused learning and experience by establishing “experience factories.” Their iterative process enables an organization to acquire core competencies to support its strategic capabilities.

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