Strategy Forum / Panelist

Andrea Fosfuri

Department of Management and Technology

Bocconi University

Italy

Andrea Fosfuri is a professor of management and technology at Bocconi University, where he serves as dean of the PhD School. Professor Fosfuri has taught at Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, IESE Business School, and University Carlos III (Madrid) and has been a research affiliate of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).

Voting History

Statement Response
The diametric experiences of Disney and UEFA illustrate that firms should refrain from making political statements in support of particular stakeholders. Disagree “Research shows that positioning in support of particular stakeholders might create value. This is usually the case when such activism is credible, thus when the issue is salient and controversial. Positioning is more likely to create value in very competitive markets because it creates differentiation.”
BP’s decision to dial back plans for cutting oil and gas production shows that short-term financial performance pressure will make it difficult for many firms to transition their strategies toward more sustainable business models. Agree “Most strategies toward more sustainable business models take time to produce visible effects on the bottom line, so the tension is inevitable. However, firms that delay the transition will face a competitive disadvantage in the long term.”
Digital platform companies like Uber and Netflix have lost their first-mover advantage. Disagree “Competitors are catching up, but the strong network effects that leading digital platforms enjoy over rivals give them a solid advantage that is likely to last.”
The use of generative AI will restore competition in search. Disagree “The search industry is currently dominated by a few large players, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. While the use of generative AI might change the names of the main players, the industry will most likely remain concentrated due to the high fixed costs and the importance of accessing large amounts of data.”
New salary transparency laws will cause companies to increase bonus pay and other nonreportable perks as a share of total compensation. Strongly agree “Salary transparency is likely to generate employee complaints and salary adjustment requests as pay differentials become more visible. Managers who anticipate these complaints and requests might respond by compressing the differences in the fixed component of the salary while preserving incentives by increasing bonus pay and other nonreportable perks as a share of total compensation.”
Artificial intelligence is reducing wasteful holiday giving (i.e., deadweight loss) by helping online retailers to better match people to presents. Neither agree nor disagree “The total effect on the absolute amount of holiday giving is unclear. While the share of wasteful holiday giving might reduce, total holiday giving is likely to increase because of the use of artificial intelligence by online retailers.”
Charging for user verification will lead to increased user engagement and trust on Twitter. Neither agree nor disagree “Account verification, if properly performed, helps establish trust and engagement. Charging for account verification might help increase trust and engagement if the collected fees are instrumental to implementing a more careful verification process at a larger scale.”
Corporate investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion should be expected to generate a monetary return on investment. Disagree “While corporate investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion could have a positive effect on the bottom line, such an expectation should not be the reason behind these investments.”
The era of dominance for Tesla in the EV market is coming to an end. Agree “It is unlikely that Tesla will display the same dominance it has today if the EV market overtakes traditional vehicles. Standardization of charging stations is indeed crucial for the latter to happen. However, standardization of charging stations will eliminate an important driver behind the current competitive advantage of Tesla in many markets.”
Online education and specialized degrees will supplant the traditional two-year full-time MBA.  Disagree “Online education is unlikely to affect the traditional two-year full-time MBA. In Europe, the two-year full-time degree is likely to be supplanted by the one-year full-time degree, and MBA degrees are likely to suffer from the competition of master of science degrees. However, after many years of decline, MBA applications worldwide have increased recently.”
Starbucks’s plans to increase wages for nonunionized workers is a shortsighted strategy. Strongly agree “While the strategy might have an underlying logic, the reputational implications for Starbucks already show that it was shortsighted and likely to negatively affect the value of the brand.”
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Disagree “Human rights violations in global supply chains have been a growing concern for multinational firms in recent years due to the recognition that sensitive issues about social (and environmental) responsibilities are often neglected at supplier sites. Sanctions against Russia are just another facet of the same phenomenon.”
Blockchain is more likely to be a sustaining innovation than a disruptive innovation in the financial sector. Agree “Blockchain is already having a transformative impact on the financial sector by affecting banks (from payments to clearance and settlement systems), stock trading and hedge funds, crowdfunding, accounting, loans and credit, wills, insurance, and charity. However, in most cases, incumbents are moving quickly with the goal of improving the efficiency and quality of their product portfolio. So using Christensen’s definition, it is most likely a sustaining innovation.”
The field of strategic management has overlooked the role of corporate purpose in driving business performance. Agree “It would be great to have more empirical research on the relationship between corporate purpose and performance, proving that the former drives the latter and exploring under what conditions (certain types of) purpose might enhance or constrain firm growth and performance.”
Socially responsible mutual funds are more of a marketing tool than a solution to environmental and social problems. Disagree “Socially responsible mutual funds offer investors the possibility to align their investments with their social preferences. These funds screen companies to ensure they have practices that conform to the values of the fund. They often use their ownership rights to influence management. Companies face greater pressures to be socially responsible. Ultimately, these funds have an impact.”
When hackers take data hostage, companies should pay the ransom. Disagree “Companies might pay the ransom because they could otherwise face a costly closure, customers’ personal information might be released triggering fines and reputational damage, [and] proprietary information might be sold to competitors. However, paying the ransom increases the risks of future cyberattacks (to other companies). If no company pays the ransom, there will be no hackers taking data hostage. However, a company’s commitment [to not] paying the ransom might not be credible. Thus, companies pay the ransom, but they shouldn’t!”
Relaxing the rules around physical presence in the office will improve employee productivity and firm performance. Agree “Employees will benefit from reduced commuting costs and greater flexibility to manage their time according to their preferences. This is likely to increase satisfaction, motivation, and, ultimately, productivity. However, for these benefits to materialize, reward systems must be adjusted. As a byproduct of greater flexibility, a firm can attract and retain talent, which in turn can boost productivity. On the other hand, working outside the workplace might reduce employee commitment, which might negatively affect productivity, especially in the long run. Moreover, fewer face-to-face interactions might make coordination more challenging.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Disagree “The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to revise some of their processes. Disruptions in the value chain both upstream and downstream have signaled potential weaknesses that companies had addressed or have to address. Most of the changes have been either acceleration of ongoing transformation (e.g., digitization, online consumption) or the implementation of more efficient and/or safer solutions. Some of these changes have an impact on costs that could potentially affect business strategy. However, overall, the way firms create and capture value has not permanently changed with the pandemic.”