Strategy Forum / Panelist

Kathleen Eisenhardt

School of Engineering

Stanford University

United States

Professor Eisenhardt’s research focus is strategy and organization, especially in technology-based companies and high-velocity industries. She is currently studying the use of heuristics and other cognitive strategies, strategic interaction in new markets and novel ecosystems, and strategy making by boards of directors.

Voting History

Statement Response
Sanctions against Russia will cause multinational companies to consider human rights protections in supply chains more broadly. Neither agree nor disagree “I doubt that Russian sanctions will have much affect on multinational corporations’ attention to this issue. The war and the global supply chain strike me as very different issues.”
The field of strategic management has overlooked the role of corporate purpose in driving business performance. Strongly agree “Corporate purpose and performance is an intriguing research topic and perhaps more importantly, a relevant one for society at large.”
Socially responsible mutual funds are more of a marketing tool than a solution to environmental and social problems. Disagree “Socially responsible mutual funds are, well, “socially responsible.” So they are better than nothing. That is, they let people invest according to their passions as well as send relevant signals to the market and society as a whole. But they are clearly not real game changers. ”
When hackers take data hostage, companies should pay the ransom. Disagree “Paying ransom encourages more data hostage-taking. So, vicious downward spiral. Better to invest the money in security.”
Relaxing the rules around physical presence in the office will improve employee productivity and firm performance. Agree “Relaxing physical presence rules will be positive for employees and firms but to a point. That is, flexibility as compared with pre-COVID-19 norms is likely to be effective and, of course, saves commute time! But actual face time with physical presence broadly contributes to innovation through chance and scheduled encounters, promotes greater trust among employees and commitment to the organization via enhanced familiarity and engagement, and accelerates and improves coordination. Finally, the positive influence of physical presence is also likely contingent on the nature of the work, with more independent work particularly improved. But even here, regular check-ins with others are likely to be a plus.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how companies should think about business strategy. Agree “The COVID-19 pandemic is triggering a shift in strategic thinking toward strategies that are much more robust and resilient regarding the likelihood of intense and lengthy disruptions. The pandemic is more than a health crisis. Rather, it is also a signal of climate, equity, and populist issues. For strategists, it means more use of scenario thinking such as reimagining resupply chains and more probing strategies to meet alternative futures.”
In the wake of recent climate-related disasters and related events, such as the bankruptcy of PG&E, corporations are now planning for the increased operational risks and potential liabilities caused by climate change. Strongly agree “Executives with whom I work are all concerned about climate change and consider planning for it as a critical risk.”
Antitrust policy should intervene more decisively to limit the scope of large technology platforms. Neither agree nor disagree “There clearly needs to be greater regulation of the tech giants such as around privacy, ‘fake news,’ and disruption of democratic political processes. That said, antitrust seems too extreme at this stage of discussion.”
U.S. regulations have been rolled back in a number of areas, including emissions standards and clean water. Companies will decide to voluntarily adhere to rules that closely resemble the original standards. Neither agree nor disagree “Many executives will want to stay with the old and tougher rules. But competitive pressure from rivals who take advantage of the eased regulations will push them backward on this issue. Net effect: Some will regress and some will not.”
The Business Roundtable’s new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation indicates a shift away from shareholder value maximization as the sole purpose of the corporation and toward a broader view of value creation.
This shift will have material impact on the well-being of U.S. workers.
Agree
“This statement is a step forward for employees. But old habits die slowly. Plus, lots of other worthy constituencies like climate change interests are in the wings.”
In the next decade, we will see the first sustainably profitable private commercial activities in space. Agree “The technology has already arrived. There is demand — both commercial and civilian. I wish that I could afford the trip!”
In the next five years, the blockchain will have a transformative effect on finance in emerging markets. Neither agree nor disagree “This is such a wide-open space — so hard to predict. I’m on the conservative side though.”
In the absence of a carbon tax, industry self-regulation can help mitigate the worst fallout from climate change. Disagree “Climate change is a commons problem that needs some sort of government intervention — tax, regulation, etc.”
Restrictions on skilled immigration will cause US firms to to shift more operations overseas. Did not answer
Uber has to develop self-driving cars in the next 10 years in order to remain viable. Disagree “Others are developing self-driving cars, Uber can obtain them from others.”
A trade war will be more disruptive to business than to consumers. Agree “A trade war will be particularly disruptive to businesses as they scramble to reconsider and perhaps reconstruct supply chains. By contrast, consumers will be stuck — they will either pay or not.”
Concern over consumer privacy will fundamentally limit businesses’ ability to use big data. Did not answer