Spring 2010
Volume 51, Issue # 3

Access the full Table of Contents below.
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Image courtesy of Flickr user .bobby.

What Execs Don’t Get About Office Romance

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 23 min 

Sexual harassment — and how to deal with it — is well understood by most companies. But now new dangers are being recognized in the ways an office romance affects the people around it. “Hostile work environment” claims, and their financial costs, are just the start.

Courtesy of Novartis.

What Every CEO Needs to Know About Nonmarket Strategy

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 23 min 

Nonmarket strategy recognizes that businesses are social and political beings, not just economic agents. Smart executives engage with their social and political environment, helping shape the rules of the game and reducing the risk of being hemmed in by external actors. These executives realize that in a global economy, sustained competitive advantage arises from tackling social, political and environmental issues as part of a corporate strategy — not just pursuing business as usual.

Courtesy of Procter & Gamble

Is Your Company As Customer-Focused As You Think?

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 19 min 

To become a customer-focused organization requires senior executives to open up communication with people throughout the organization so they can hear what is actually going on — as opposed to a sanitized version. Few companies make this leap, even though not doing it can hurt long-term performance. However, managers can come to terms with their company’s weaknesses in the realm of customer focus by posing a set of five questions specifically designed to uncover their vulnerabilities.

Learning When to Stop Momentum

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 24 min 

Teams that fight wildfires have much to teach business managers about preventing complex and dynamic problems from spiraling out of control.


Courtesy of New York: Basic Books

Are You ‘Pushing’ in a ‘Pull’ World?

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 3 min 

A fundamental shift from push to pull is not limited to marketing; it’s occurring in all aspects of business, from human resources to research and development. A new book argues that companies need to adapt to this change.

Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

A Business Plan? Or a Journey to Plan B?

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 13 min 

From Apple to Twitter, some of the most successful businesses are not what their inventors originally envisioned. The Twitter story, in fact, is a powerful reminder that an entrepreneur’s main job is not to flawlessly execute the business idea so lovingly articulated in his or her business plan. It’s to embark on a learning journey that may or may not reach the destination originally envisioned. Instead, the company may end up at a more successful Plan B.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Pixelsior.

The Compliant Customer

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 3 min 

Customer-centricity may sound like a good idea. But a new breed of companies focuses instead on getting the customer to comply with a company’s systems.

Image courtesy of NASA/Sean Smith.

The Digital Natives, and You

  • Opinion & Analysis
  • Read Time: 2 min 

What it means when people who grew up with technology in their hands become the heart of a work force — and what it means if managers don’t understand them.


Courtesy of Flickr user cafemama.

Can Product Returns Make You Money?

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 12 min 

Marketers and sellers hate product returns, but smart companies aren’t passively accepting them as bitter pills to be swallowed. They’re managing product-return policies to maximize future profits.

The Collective Intelligence Genome

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 28 min 

This 2010 article explores how large, loosely organized groups of people are working together electronically in surprisingly effective ways — sometimes without even knowing it. To take advantage of the new possibilities and potential of collective intelligence, managers need a deep understanding of how these systems work. The authors employ an analogy from biology and call the building blocks that are combined and recombined in various ways the “genes” of collective intelligence systems.