Fall 2019 Issue
Volume 61, Issue # 1

Access the full Table of Contents below.
Issues archive
advertisement

Special Report: Collaborating With Impact

MAG-Cross-Collaboration-2400

Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder

Through analytics, companies can reduce the costs of collaboration — and reap its rewards.

MAG-Bernstein-Collaboration-2400

Improving the Rhythm of Your Collaboration

Alternating between always-on connectivity and heads-down focus is essential for problem-solving.

MAG-Toegel-Thin-Ice-2400

It’s Time to Tackle Your Team’s Undiscussables

Taboo or undiscussable topics can make it impossible for teams to function. But they can fix that.

From the Editor

What We Publish, and Why

September 10, 2019 | Lisa Burrell

When we consider articles for publication, we look for three things: ideas that will help managers navigate an increasingly digital world, evidence-based thinking, and accessible frameworks and recommendations that readers can apply. We’re eager to hear from our readers about what they value in MIT SMR, what topics they would like to see us explore more often or more deeply, and what we could do better.

Features

Casting the Dark Web in a New Light

A value chain lens reveals a growing cybercrime ecosystem and new strategies for combating it.

The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick

The most memorable experiences are suffused with emotion — not extra features or value for money.

Creating Digital Offerings Customers Will Buy

Find the sweet spot between what digital technologies can deliver and what customers need.

How Algorithms Can Diversify the Startup Pool

Data and algorithms can mitigate gender bias in venture capital funding.

advertisement

The 2019 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

The 2019 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

September 10, 2019 | MIT Sloan Management Review

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development. The 2019 award goes to “Building an Ethically Strong Organization,” by Catherine Bailey and Amanda Shantz.

Frontiers

Exploring the Digital Future of Management

Why Teams Still Need Leaders

While hierarchy can impede innovation, handled well it can provide important benefits.

Columns

Hacking Inequality at Home

Apps can help working couples share household labor more equitably if they’re used the right way.

advertisement

Executive Briefings

An Executive Guide to the Fall 2019 Issue

September 10, 2019 | MIT Sloan Management Review

This guide to the Fall 2019 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review summarize the issue’s key articles. The articles discuss finding better ways to collaborate; how to give customers what they’re looking for; the organized ecosystem of Dark Web cybercrime; and how algorithms can reduce bias.

It’s Time to Tackle Your Team’s Undiscussables

  • Essay
  • Read Time: 23 min 

When leadership teams struggle with undiscussables, symptoms range from unresolved conflicts and uneven participation in meetings to destructive groupthink and employee disengagement. The more undiscussables there are, the more difficult it is for the team to function. Ignoring them results in strained relationships and bad decisions. Here’s how leaders can bring the four types of undiscussables to light, improving team learning, problem-solving, and performance.

Improving the Rhythm of Your Collaboration

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 21 min 

With so many digital tools in the workplace, collaboration has gone omnichannel. Given how hyperconnected people are, the authors set out to explore the implications for organizations and teams. In their research, they discovered that always-on connectivity was good for fact finding and information sharing but not for problem-solving, as we tend to assume. For tasks that require imagination, it’s better to alternate between connectivity and quiet focus. Leaders must help establish a good rhythm.

Collaborate Smarter, Not Harder

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 19 min 

Feeling pressure to become more agile and “networked,” organizations tend to overwhelm employees with collaboration demands, putting a drag on performance and engagement. But through analytics, they can scale collaboration more effectively, improve collaborative design and execution, drive planned and emergent innovations through networks, streamline work by diagnosing and reducing collaborative overload, and engage talent by identifying social capital enablers.

The 2019 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

  • Read Time: 2 min 

The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development. The 2019 award goes to “Building an Ethically Strong Organization,” by Catherine Bailey and Amanda Shantz.

advertisement

What We Publish, and Why

  • Read Time: 2 min 

When we consider articles for publication, we look for three things: ideas that will help managers navigate an increasingly digital world, evidence-based thinking, and accessible frameworks and recommendations that readers can apply. We’re eager to hear from our readers about what they value in MIT SMR, what topics they would like to see us explore more often or more deeply, and what we could do better.

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Customer Participation

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 7 min 

Even though frontline employees are committed to advancing the objectives of the business, they sometimes see themselves as caught between representing the views of customers and what they think is reasonable. To preserve morale, businesses must keep employees engaged and confident that management has their backs.

‘Just Enough’ Piracy Can Be a Good Thing

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 5 min 

When piracy is rampant, its negative impact makes manufacturers and retailers worse off — but anti-piracy measures are often expensive. Before going full force against piracy, organizations should ponder whether doing so would be a worthwhile investment. One factor to consider: Research shows that a moderate level of piracy — not too much, not too little — can actually benefit the manufacturer, the retailer, and consumers, all at the same time.

Creating Digital Offerings Customers Will Buy

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 14 min 

How can companies decide which new digital offerings to pursue? Successful digital offerings are created at the intersection of what technologies can deliver and what customers want and will pay for. That point of intersection, however, has proved to be elusive. To find it, companies must experiment repeatedly, cocreate with customers, and assemble cross-functional development teams — and the insights gleaned along the way must be shared internally.

How Algorithms Can Diversify the Startup Pool

  • Essay
  • Read Time: 18 min 

Biases related to gender and other demographic factors creep into decisions about which projects to fund with venture capital. Data-driven approaches can help tease out those biases and limit their impact. Algorithmic methods identify potential instances of discrimination and increase transparency, making it easier to find and fix problems. Aversion to algorithms can be tempered by letting decision makers retain some subjective control over the data-driven process.

advertisement

Hacking Inequality at Home

  • Read Time: 5 min 

Working couples are turning to technology to divide household labor more equitably. But the results have been mixed. Those who treat chore-management apps as the solution to imbalance often jump straight to implementation, making things worse. A better approach is to first have probing conversations about the underlying forces driving imbalance in the relationship. These discussions aren’t easy, but they form the basis of a deal, and then the couple can use technology to help make it happen.

The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 20 min 

Research has shown that memorable experiences can drive customer decisions as much as price and functionality. Yet there have been few meaningful improvements in customer experience over time. The missing ingredient? Emotion. Customers want their choices to align as much with their feelings and senses as with their values and ethics. The rational approaches taught at most business schools — offer more value for money, add features, make service more efficient — are not enough.

Why Teams Still Need Leaders

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 8 min 

While flat organizational structures have gained favor in recent years, hierarchies continue to provide many important benefits, says the University of Michigan’s Lindy Greer. Depending on the circumstances, the answer isn’t to eliminate hierarchy but to train leaders and teams to use it flexibly.

How Managers Can Help Workers Tackle Digital Distractions

  • Read Time: 5 min 

Managers and staff alike have been conditioned to respond to digital messaging platforms to the exclusion of all else — and digital distraction is costing businesses big in employee productivity. Managers can teach their reports how to tune out the siren song of digital devices, but they must model these behaviors themselves if they’re to encourage employees to do the same.

advertisement

Casting the Dark Web in a New Light

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency, sophistication, and impact. Defending against them requires a new perspective on the attacks and the attackers. By applying a value chain lens to the problem, we can better understand the dark web as an ecosystem in which well-orchestrated attacks are assembled by entrepreneurs and supported by well-organized service offerings. This casts new light on the dark web and suggests more effective and proactive responses to cyberattacks.

New Frontiers in Re-skilling and Upskilling

  • Read Time: 6 min 

Everyone at some point will have to spend time either reskilling (learning new skills for a new position) or upskilling (learning current tasks more deeply). Embracing this idea requires an individual sense of agency, but corporations also have to step up. There are promising pilots underway: Some companies are figuring out how to engage on this issue, to the advantage of both individuals and the businesses themselves.