Winter 2021 Editorial Preview

This issue of MIT SMR offers up important solutions for achieving success in critical areas of management. Read the full lineup below.

Content subject to change.

Special Report: Building Better Teams

The MIT SMR special report help managers better understand why teams work well, why they don’t, and how to tackle problems in order to ensure that collaboration delivers the best results.

When Collaboration Fails and How to Fix It

Leaders can diagnose team dysfunction by looking for six common patterns.

— Rob Cross (Babson College and Connected Commons) and Inga Carboni (Raymond A. Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary)

Teaming Alone

How working together pulls people apart.

— Constance N. Hadley (Boston University Questrom School of Business) and Mark Mortensen (INSEAD)

Virtual Collaboration Won’t Be the Death of Creativity

Shifting to remote work can help groups generate better ideas — and more of them.

— Leigh Thompson (The Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University)

Articles Featured in the Winter Issue

Working With Robots in a Post-Pandemic World

Plug-and-play automation systems can be rapidly set up to meet sudden surges in demand — and quickly reconfigured when needs change.

— Matt Beane (University of California and Stanford University) and Erik Brynjolfsson (Stanford)

Cut Costs and Keep Growing With Customer Focus

Cost-trimming initiatives at B2B companies should be guided by an intense focus on customer value.

— Vikas Mittal (Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University), Shrihari Sridhar (Mays Business School, Texas A&M University), and Roger Best (Lundquist College of Business, University of Oregon)

Harnessing the Power of Data to Drive Racial Equity

Collecting and analyzing the right employee data can help leaders identify meaningful actions and measure progress toward more equitable workplaces.

— Elizabeth J. Kennedy (The Sellinger School of Business and Management, Loyola University Maryland)

Why Your Board Needs a Plan for AI Oversight

AI demands increased board fluency with technology, and attention to its risks as well as its rewards.

— Karen Silverman (The Cantellus Group)

The Data Problem Stalling AI Implementation

AI efforts can fail to move out of the lab if organizational issues with data accessibility aren’t managed from the start.

— Gregory Vial (HEC Montréal), Jinglu Jiang (Binghamton University), Tanya Giannelia (HEC Montréal), and Ann-Frances Cameron (HEC Montréal)

What a Crisis Teaches Leaders About Innovation

Understanding why it’s easier to develop new ideas and drive change during an emergency can help us innovate even in the absence of a crisis.

— Elsbeth Johnson and Fiona Murray (both from MIT Sloan School of Management)

Accelerating Supply Chain Scenario Planning

The pandemic showcases a need to make slow-moving supply chains nimbler. Using data and collaborating with partners on scenario planning can empower companies to adapt.

— Nitin Joglekar (Questrom School of Business at Boston University and the journal Production and Operations Management) and Shardul Phadnis (Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation and MIT Global SCALE Network)

The 4 Competencies Every IT Workforce Needs

Digital business demands technology staff skilled in new ways of working.

— Ayse Karaevli, Serden Özcan, and Anja Wintermeyer (all from WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management)

The Promise of Self-Sufficient Production

As global supply chains have revealed their vulnerabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, digital fabrication technologies have demonstrated an alternative way forward.

— Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld (Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University), Alan Gershenfeld (E-Line Media), and Neil Gershenfeld (MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms)

How Would-be Category Kings Become Commoners

Innovative companies may succeed in pioneering new markets, but often fail to dominate the categories they create.

— Rory McDonald (Harvard Business School) and Keith Krach (U.S. Department of State’s Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment)

The New Elements of Digital Transformation

The competitive advantages offered by digital technology have evolved. Here’s how to capture them.

— Didier Bonnet (IMD Business School and Capgemini Invent) and George Westerman (MIT Sloan School of Management)

The Transformational Power of Recommendation

Recommendation engines promise to revolutionize how customers buy and employees work.

— Michael Schrage (MIT Sloan School of Management’s Initiative on the Digital Economy)

Is Your Business Ecosystem Healthy?

Paying attention to the right metrics and red flags can help leaders avoid outsize losses in the four phases of ecosystem development.

— Ulrich Pidun, Martin Reeves, and Edzard Wesselink (all from Boston Consulting Group and BCG Henderson Institute)

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