Strategy Forum / Panelist

Annamaria Conti

Faculty of Business and Economics (HEC Lausanne)

University of Lausanne

Switzerland

Annamaria Conti is an associate professor of strategy at the University of Lausanne’s Faculty of Business and Economics and serves as co-editor of the Journal of Economics & Management Strategy. Professor Conti’s research in the fields of entrepreneurship and economics of science focuses on the organization and performance determinants of technology startups and determinants of Ph.D. students’ productivity and career outcomes. Professor Conti’s research has been published in journals including Management Science, The Review of Economics and Statistics, Organization Science, and the Strategic Management Journal.

Voting History

Statement Response
Corporate investments in diversity, equity, and inclusion should be expected to generate a monetary return on investment. Agree “Firms should distinguish between the short run and long run. While in the short run an inclusive policy may entail integrating costs, studies have shown that diversity produces several benefits in the long run, including conceiving a larger spectrum of products that better satisfy consumer needs.”
The era of dominance for Tesla in the EV market is coming to an end. Disagree “Demand for EVs is surging. With the increased market demand, other car manufacturers have found it profitable to invest in EVs. A larger market does not imply declining market shares for Tesla, at least for now. Traditional car manufacturers will have to restructure their factory and supply network to outcompete Tesla, but this takes time.”
Online education and specialized degrees will supplant the traditional two-year full-time MBA.  Disagree “Online education and specialized degrees will supplant low-ranked but not highly ranked MBA programs. Highly ranked programs will still be able to offer benefits in terms of interactions with renowned faculty and student networks, all of which require colocation and whose value will justify MBA fees. Having said that, highly ranked programs will have to make considerable investments to remain at the frontier of knowledge.”
Starbucks’s plans to increase wages for nonunionized workers is a shortsighted strategy. Agree “Increasing wages only for nonunionized workers might hurt Starbucks’s reputation, with a consequential adverse effect on Starbucks’s sales and ability to attract personnel.”
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Disagree “Demand for oil, gas, and wheat is rather inelastic, at least for European countries which lack these resources. In the short- to medium-run, multinationals from these countries will diversify their portfolio of suppliers, most probably turning to countries like Algeria and Qatar with dubious human rights policies.”
Blockchain is more likely to be a sustaining innovation than a disruptive innovation in the financial sector. Agree “Blockchain is unlikely the disruptive innovation that will drive financial intermediaries out of the market. These intermediaries are investing in blockchain — internally or through startup acquisitions — to better serve their existing customers.”
The field of strategic management has overlooked the role of corporate purpose in driving business performance. Disagree “The field of strategic management has increasingly acknowledged the importance of corporate purpose in, for instance, attracting and retaining talent and building long-term relationships with suppliers and customers.”
Socially responsible mutual funds are more of a marketing tool than a solution to environmental and social problems. Disagree “Socially responsible mutual funds may change the incentives of firms to implement practices that have positive social impacts.”
When hackers take data hostage, companies should pay the ransom. Disagree “In 1991, the Italian government passed a law imposing an obligatory freeze on assets belonging to the kidnapped victim's family. This was to end the repeated game between Italian families and kidnappers, whereby families would pay the ransom, and kidnappers would continue kidnapping. Shortly afterwards, a relative of mine was kidnapped. His family bitterly complained that the new law was equivalent to a death penalty on the [person] kidnapped. Likewise, firms have no incentive to pay the ransom unless they are banned from doing so, or if they want to send a credible signal that they will not pay in the future if their data are taken hostage again. As in the Italian case, governments might have a role to play in changing players' action sets.”
Relaxing the rules around physical presence in the office will improve employee productivity and firm performance. Disagree “While relaxing the rules about physical presence may meet workers’ desire for more flexibility, it risks hampering face-to-face interactions, which have been found to play a fundamental role in fostering innovation and productivity. Employee productivity and firm performance may suffer as a result.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Neither agree nor disagree “While the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the adoption of certain technologies, such as digital technologies, which have induced firms to rethink certain aspects of their business strategies, including the interaction with their customers and their approach toward data security, other changes are temporary. For instance, those business model changes triggered by a reduction in consumer demand are likely to last until the pandemic ends. The extent to which specific aspects are permanent or not also depends on the type of business. B2C companies are likely to implement more permanent changes than B2B companies.”