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Spring 2011
Volume 52, Issue # 3

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George A. Akerlof, the Koshland Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley

Overheard at MIT: Nobel Laureates on the State of Finance

  • Read Time: 2 min 

In January, a group of economists and finance experts assembled on the MIT campus for a two-day economics and finance symposium that was part of MIT’s 150th anniversary celebration.

chocolates-indulgences

Making the Price of Indulgence Right

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Want to increase sales of a bundle of goods or services that includes both pleasurable and utilitarian items? Research suggests that a discount will increase sales more effectively if it’s offered on the pleasurable item.

Image courtesy of Flickr user gak.

Flat World, Hard Boundaries – How To Lead Across Them

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 20 min 

While technological innovations have revolutionized the workplace, it is ironic that relational boundaries — obstacles to productive human interactions — remain largely unchanged. This article identifies five types of such boundaries, and suggests that all five of them may be overcome when collaborative and creative leaders engage in six boundary spanning practices: buffering, reflecting, connecting, mobilizing, weaving and transforming.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Linh_rOm.

What Great Projects Have in Common

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 9 min 

From time to time a company’s project truly stands out, creating exceptional value and having an impact on the industry. IBM’s AS/400 development effort in the 80s was a game changer and gave IBM a competitive edge. Apple Inc.’s success in creating the iPod portable media player and iTunes online store is another more recent example of a great project — one that changed the way people listen to and buy music. Why are such projects so rare — and why can’t more projects be like them?

Image courtesy of Flickr user **Maurice**.

Putting the ‘Relationship’ Back Into CRM

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 26 min 

Many think that the way to capture value through relationship marketing is to focus on the “good” customers and get rid of the “bad” ones. But there is more to best practice relationship management than maximizing revenues on individual customers and minimizing costs to serve. This article provides guidelines for companies that want to improve the value of customer relationships. For most companies, the transition to a relationship-based approach will require a significant shift in practice.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user indywriter

New Sustainability Study: The ‘Embracers’ Seize Advantage

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 34 min 

How fast are businesses adopting sustainability-driven management? The new Sustainability & Innovation Study identifies two distinct camps — ‘embracers’ and ‘cautious adopters’ — and offers a snapshot of how the management future will look.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Lee Jordan.

From “Trust Me” to “Show Me”: Moving Sustainability at Shell Oil From “Priority” to “Core Value”

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 17 min 

The timeline of energy development projects now is largely driven by sustainability and social performance issues, says Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil. That’s prompting innovations in how the company involves external stakeholders, incentivizes employees and drives changes throughout the entire energy industry.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Nathan Eal Photography.

Why Companies Have to Trade “Perfect Data” for “Fast Info”

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 15 min 

Companies have been trained to think about data all wrong, say Attivio’s Ali Riaz and Sid Probstein. “Analytics don’t have to be based on super-precise data,” they say. “The report doesn’t have to be perfect. It needs to capture the behavior, not the totality of it.”