Robert S. Huckman

Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Business Administration

Unit: Technology and Operations Management

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Robert Huckman is the Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the faculty co-chair of the HBS Healthcare Initiative. He teaches the first-year MBA course in Technology and Operations Management and has taught the second-year MBA course in Operations Strategy. Professor Huckman is on the faculty of Executive Education's Managing Health Care Delivery  and Leadership and Strategy in Pharmaceuticals and Biotech.  He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and the co-chair of the management track of Harvard's doctoral program in health policy.

Professor Huckman's research focuses on the linkages between organizational characteristics and operating performance, with an emphasis on the health care industry. His articles have appeared in publications including the American Economic Journal, the American Economic Review, Harvard Business Review, Health Affairs, the Journal of Health Economics, Management Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, Organization Science, and the Strategic Management Journal. His worked has been cited in numerous media outlets, including a 2007 profile in The Financial Times. He is an associate editor of Management Science, a senior editor of Production and Operations Management, and a member of the editorial review board of Organization Science.

Professor Huckman received a Ph.D. in Business Economics from Harvard University and an A.B. in Public Policy, summa cum laude, from Princeton University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Prior to his graduate studies, Professor Huckman was a Principal and Founding Equity Member of Stamos Associates, Inc., a strategy and operations consulting firm serving clients in the health care industry. In 1997, Stamos Associates was acquired by Perot Systems, Inc. Professor Huckman has also worked at Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc.

Featured Work

Publications

Journal Articles

  1. The Impact of Electronic Health Record Use on Physician Productivity

    To examine the impact of the degree of electronic health record (EHR) use and delegation of EHR tasks on clinician productivity in ambulatory settings.
    Study Design: We examined EHR use in primary care practices that implemented a web-based EHR from athenahealth (n = 42) over 3 years (695 practice-month observations). Practices were predominantly small and spread throughout the country. Data came from the athenahealth practice management system and EHR task logs.
    Methods: We developed monthly measures of EHR use and delegation to support staff from task logs. Productivity was measured using work relative value units (RVUs). Using fixed effects models, we assessed the independent impacts on productivity of EHR use and delegation. We then explored the interaction between these 2 strategies and the role of practice size.
    Results: Greater EHR use and greater delegation were independently associated with higher levels of productivity. An increase in EHR use of 1 standard deviation resulted in a 5.3% increase in RVUs per clinician workday; an increase in delegation of EHR tasks of 1 standard deviation resulted in an 11.0% increase in RVUs per clinician workday (P <.05 for both). Further, EHR use and delegation had a positive joint impact on productivity in large practices (coefficient, 0.058; P <.05), but a negative joint impact on productivity in small practices (coefficient, –0.142; P <.01).
    Conclusions: Clinicians in practices that increased EHR use and delegated EHR tasks were more productive, but practice size determined whether the 2 strategies were complements or substitutes.

    Keywords: electronic health records; health care; productivity; healthcare IT; Information Technology; Performance Productivity; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Adler-Milstein, Julia, and Robert S. Huckman. "The Impact of Electronic Health Record Use on Physician Productivity." Special Issue on Health Information Technology. American Journal of Managed Care 19, no. SP10 (2013): SP345–SP352. View Details
  2. Learning from Customers: Individual and Organizational Effects in Outsourced Radiological Services

    The ongoing fragmentation of work has resulted in a narrowing of tasks into smaller pieces that can be sent outside the organization and, in many instances, around the world. This trend is shifting the boundaries of organizations and leading to increased outsourcing. Though the consolidation of volume may lead to productivity improvement, little is known about how this shift toward outsourcing influences learning by providers of outsourced services. When producing output, the content of the knowledge gained can vary from one unit to the next. One dimension along which output can vary—a dimension with particular relevance in outsourcing—is the end customer for whom it is produced. The performance benefits of such customer experience remain largely unexamined. We explore this dimension of volume-based learning in a setting where doctors at an outsourcing firm complete radiological reads for hospital customers. We examine more than 2.7 million cases read by 97 radiologists for 1,431 customers and find evidence supporting the benefits of customer-specific experience accumulated by individual radiologists. Additionally, we find that variety in an individual's customer experience may increase the rate of individual learning from customer-specific experience for a focal task. Finally, we find that the level of experience with a customer for the entire outsourcing firm also yields learning and that the degree of customer depth moderates the impact of customer-specific experience at the individual level. We discuss the implications of our results for the study of learning as well as for providers and consumers of outsourced services.

    Keywords: Job Cuts and Outsourcing; Medical Specialties; Health Care and Treatment; Customer Focus and Relationships; Learning; Customer Satisfaction; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Clark, Jonathan R., Robert S. Huckman, and Bradley R. Staats. "Learning from Customers: Individual and Organizational Effects in Outsourced Radiological Services." Organization Science 24, no. 5 (September–October 2013): 1539–1557. View Details
  3. Broadening Focus: Spillovers, Complementarities and Specialization in the Hospital Industry

    The long-standing argument that focused operations outperform others stands in contrast to claims about the benefits of broader operational scope. The performance benefits of focus are typically attributed to reduced complexity, lower uncertainty, and the development of specialized expertise, while the benefits of greater breadth are linked to the economies of scope achieved by sharing common resources, such as advertising or production capacity, across activities. Within the literature on corporate strategy, this tension between focus and breadth is reconciled by the concept of related diversification (i.e., a firm with multiple operating units, each specializing in distinct but related activities). We consider whether there are similar benefits to related diversification within an operating unit and examine the mechanism that generates these benefits. Using the empirical context of cardiovascular care within hospitals, we first examine the relationship between a hospital's level of specialization in cardiovascular care and the quality of its clinical performance on cardiovascular patients. We find that, on average, focus has a positive effect on quality performance. We then distinguish between positive spillovers and complementarities to examine the following: 1) the extent to which a hospital's specialization in areas related to cardiovascular care directly impacts performance on cardiovascular patients (positive spillovers) and 2) whether the marginal benefit of a hospital's focus in cardiovascular care depends on the degree to which the hospital "co-specializes" in related areas (complementarities). In our setting, we find evidence of such complementarities in specialization.

    Keywords: Performance Capacity; Operations; Advertising; Production; Corporate Strategy; Relationships; Medical Specialties; Complexity; Risk and Uncertainty; Experience and Expertise; Diversification; Quality; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Clark, Jonathan R., and Robert S. Huckman. "Broadening Focus: Spillovers, Complementarities and Specialization in the Hospital Industry." Management Science 58, no. 4 (April 2012): 708–722. View Details
  4. Fluid Tasks and Fluid Teams: The Impact of Diversity in Experience and Team Familiarity on Team Performance

    In this paper, we consider how the structures of tasks and teams interact to affect team performance. We study the effects of diversity in experience on a team's ability to respond to task changes by separately examining interpersonal team diversity (i.e., differences in experience across the entire team) and intrapersonal team diversity (i.e., whether individuals on the team are more or less specialized). We also examine whether team familiarity-team members' prior experience working with one another-helps teams to better manage challenges created by task changes and greater interpersonal team diversity. Using detailed project- and individual-level data from an Indian software services firm, we find that the interaction of task change with intrapersonal diversity is related to improved project performance, while the interaction of task change with interpersonal diversity is related to diminished performance. Additionally, the interaction of team familiarity with interpersonal diversity is related to improved project performance in some cases. Our results highlight a need for more nuanced approaches to leveraging experience in team management.

    Keywords: Management; Groups and Teams; Performance; Problems and Challenges; Projects; Experience and Expertise; Change; Diversity Characteristics; Information Technology Industry; India;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Bradley R. Staats. "Fluid Tasks and Fluid Teams: The Impact of Diversity in Experience and Team Familiarity on Team Performance." Manufacturing & Service Operations Management 13, no. 3 (summer 2011): 310–328. View Details
  5. Input Constraints and the Efficiency of Entry: Lessons from Cardiac Surgery

    Prior studies suggest that, with elastically supplied inputs, free entry may lead to an inefficiently high number of firms in equilibrium. Under input scarcity, however, the welfare loss from free entry is reduced. Further, free entry may increase use of high-quality inputs, as oligopolistic firms underuse these inputs when entry is constrained. We assess these predictions by examining how the 1996 repeal of certificate-of-need (CON) legislation in Pennsylvania affected the market for cardiac surgery in the state. We show that entry led to a redistribution of surgeries to higher-quality surgeons and that this entry was approximately welfare neutral.

    Keywords: Government Legislation; Health Care and Treatment; Medical Specialties; Market Entry and Exit; Welfare or Wellbeing; Health Industry; Pennsylvania;

    Citation:

    Cutler, David M., Robert S. Huckman, and Jonathan T. Kolstad. "Input Constraints and the Efficiency of Entry: Lessons from Cardiac Surgery." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2, no. 1 (February 2010): 51–76. View Details
  6. Are You Having Trouble Keeping Your Operations Focused?

    As a business broadens over time, it can lose the operational edge that led to its original success. Core strengths atrophy, efficiency or quality suffers, and sharper rivals close in to take advantage of the loss of focus. In his classic article "The Focused Factory" (HBR May-June 1974), Wickham Skinner proposed that manufacturers whose product lines had proliferated create specialized units, each dedicated to a distinct task. To make this economically feasible, he suggested the plant within a plant, or PWP, model, whereby an existing facility is physically and organizationally divided into autonomous operations. Many organizations—from airlines to hospitals to department stores—have since adopted the model, in the form of focused units that share people, equipment, and other assets to some extent. But they've found it difficult to implement. That's because, the author writes, they don't give every unit narrowly defined objectives; they underestimate the challenges related to sharing resources; they don't fully consider to what degree best practices, knowledge, and talent should be shared; and they don't anticipate the political tensions that can arise. Huckman provides guidelines for setting clear objectives, getting the boundaries between units right, establishing rules for sharing, and customizing performance criteria. And, he says, leaders must continually remind units of their individual and collective goals and purposes whenever decisions about resources, performance measurement, and compensation are made.

    Keywords: Business Units; Business Growth and Maturation; Goals and Objectives; Resource Allocation; Operations; Performance Efficiency;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S. "Are You Having Trouble Keeping Your Operations Focused?" Harvard Business Review 87, no. 9 (September 2009): 90–95. View Details
  7. A Detailed Analysis of the Reduction Mammaplasty Learning Curve: A Statistical Process Model for Approaching Surgical Performance Improvement

    Background: The increased focus on quality and efficiency improvement within academic surgery has met with variable success among plastic surgeons. Traditional surgical performance metrics, such as morbidity and mortality, are insufficient to improve the majority of today's plastic surgical procedures. In-process analyses that allow rapid feedback to the surgeon based on surrogate markers may provide a powerful method for quality improvement.

    Methods: The authors reviewed performance data from all bilateral reduction mammaplasties performed at their institution by eight surgeons between 1995 and 2007. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted to determine the relative impact of key factors on operative time. Explanatory learning curve models were generated, and complication data were analyzed to elucidate clinical outcomes and trends.

    Results: A total of 1,068 procedures were analyzed. The mean operative time for bilateral reduction mammaplasty was 134 ± 34 minutes, with a mean operative experience of 11 ± 4.7 years and total resection volume of 1,680 ± 930 g. Multiple linear regression analyses showed that operative time (R = 0.57) was most closely related to surgeon experience and resection volume. The complication rate diminished in a logarithmic fashion with increasing surgeon experience and in a linear fashion with declining operative time.

    Conclusions: The results of this study suggest a three-phase learning curve in which complication rates, variance in operative time, and operative time all decrease with surgeon experience. In-process statistical analyses may represent the beginning of a new paradigm in academic surgical quality and efficiency improvement in low-risk surgical procedures.

    Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Health Care and Treatment; Medical Specialties; Outcome or Result; Performance Efficiency; Performance Improvement;

    Citation:

    Carty, Matthew, MD, Rodney Chan, Robert S. Huckman, Daniel C. Snow, and Dennis Orgill. "A Detailed Analysis of the Reduction Mammaplasty Learning Curve: A Statistical Process Model for Approaching Surgical Performance Improvement." Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 124, no. 3 (September 2009): 706–714. View Details
  8. Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services

    Much of the literature on team learning views experience as a unidimensional concept captured by the cumulative production volume of, or the number of projects completed by, a team. Implicit in this approach is the assumption that teams are stable in their membership and internal organization. In practice, however, such stability is rare, as the composition and structure of teams often changes over time or between projects. In this paper, we use detailed data from an Indian software services firm to examine how such changes may affect the accumulation of experience within, and the performance of, teams. We find that the level of team familiarity (i.e., the average number of times that each member has worked with every other member of the team) has a significant positive effect on performance, but we observe that conventional measures of the experience of individual team members (e.g., years at the firm) are not consistently related to performance. We do find, however, that the role experience of individuals in a team (i.e., years in a given role within a team) is associated with better team performance. Our results offer an approach for capturing the experience held by fluid teams and highlight the need to study context-specific measures of experience, including role experience. In addition, our findings provide insight into how the interactions of team members may contribute to the development of broader firm capabilities.

    Keywords: Experience and Expertise; Learning; Performance Improvement; Projects; Groups and Teams; Familiarity; Information Technology Industry; India;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., Bradley R. Staats, and David M. Upton. "Team Familiarity, Role Experience, and Performance: Evidence from Indian Software Services." Management Science 55, no. 1 (January 2009): 85–100. View Details
  9. Does Focus Improve Operational Performance? Lessons from the Management of Clinical Trials

    Keywords: Performance; Operations; Learning; Management; Health;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Darren Zinner. "Does Focus Improve Operational Performance? Lessons from the Management of Clinical Trials." Strategic Management Journal 29, no. 2 (February 2008): 173–193. View Details
  10. Managing the Impact of Employee Turnover on Performance: The Role of Process Conformance

    We examine the impact of employee turnover on operating performance in settings that require high levels of knowledge exploitation. Using 48 months of turnover data from U.S. stores of a major retail chain, we find that, on average, employee turnover is associated with decreased performance, as measured by profit margin and customer service. The effect of turnover on performance, however, is mitigated by the nature of management at the store level. The particular aspect of management on which we focus is process conformance—the extent to which managers aim to reduce variation in store operations in accordance with a set of prescribed standards for task performance. At high-process-conformance stores, managers use discipline in implementing standardized policies and procedures, whereas at low-process-conformance stores, managers tolerate deviations from these standards. We find that increasing turnover does not have a negative effect on store performance at high-process-conformance stores; at low-process-conformance stores, the negative effect of turnover is pronounced. Our results suggest that, in settings where performance depends on the repetition of known tasks, managers can reduce turnover's effect by imposing process discipline through standard operating procedures.

    Keywords: Customer Focus and Relationships; Governance Compliance; Retention; Standards; Service Operations; Business Processes; Retail Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Ton, Zeynep, and Robert S. Huckman. "Managing the Impact of Employee Turnover on Performance: The Role of Process Conformance." Organization Science 19, no. 1 (January–February 2008): 56–68. View Details
  11. The Effects of Cardiac Specialty Hospitals on the Cost and Quality of Medical Care

    Keywords: Health; Cost; Quality; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Barro, Jason R., Robert S. Huckman, and Daniel P. Kessler. "The Effects of Cardiac Specialty Hospitals on the Cost and Quality of Medical Care." Journal of Health Economics 25, no. 4 (July 2006): 702–721. View Details
  12. The Role of Information in Medical Markets: An Analysis of Publicly Reported Outcomes in Cardiac Surgery

    Keywords: Information; Health; Markets; Theory; Outcome or Result;

    Citation:

    Cutler, David, Robert S. Huckman, and Mary Beth Landrum. "The Role of Information in Medical Markets: An Analysis of Publicly Reported Outcomes in Cardiac Surgery." American Economic Review 94, no. 2 (May 2004): 342–346. (Papers and Proceedings.) View Details
  13. Technological Development and Medical Productivity: The Diffusion of Angioplasty in New York State

    A puzzling feature of many medical innovations is that they simultaneously appear to reduce unit costs and increase total costs. We consider this phenomenon by examining the diffusion of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)—a treatment for coronary artery disease—over the past two decades. We find that growth in the use of PTCA led to higher total costs despite its lower unit cost. Over the two decades following PTCA's introduction, however, we find that the magnitude of this increase was reduced by between 10 and 20% due to the substitution of PTCA for CABG. In addition, the increased use of PTCA appears to be a productivity improvement. PTCAs that substitute for CABG cost less and have the same or better outcomes, while PTCAs that replace medical management appear to improve health by enough to justify the cost.

    Keywords: Innovation and Invention; Cost; Health Care and Treatment; Health Disorders; Performance Improvement; Product; New York (state, US);

    Citation:

    Cutler, David M., and Robert S. Huckman. "Technological Development and Medical Productivity: The Diffusion of Angioplasty in New York State." Journal of Health Economics 22, no. 2 (March 2003): 187–217. View Details

Working Papers

  1. Cohort Turnover and Productivity: The July Phenomenon in Teaching Hospitals

    We consider the impact of cohort turnover—the planned simultaneous exit of a large number of experienced employees and a similarly sized entry of new workers—on productivity in the context of teaching hospitals. Specifically, we examine the impact of the annual July turnover of residents in American teaching hospitals on levels of resource utilization and quality in teaching hospitals relative to a control group of non-teaching hospitals. We find that, despite the anticipated nature of the cohort turnover and the supervisory structures that exist in teaching hospitals, this annual cohort turnover results in increased resource utilization (i.e., longer length of hospital stay) for both minor and major teaching hospitals, and decreased quality (i.e., higher mortality rates) for major teaching hospitals. Particularly in major teaching hospitals, we find evidence of a gradual trend of decreasing performance that begins several months before the actual cohort turnover and may result from a transition of responsibilities at major teaching hospitals in anticipation of the cohort turnover.

    Keywords: Quality; Higher Education; Service Delivery; Groups and Teams; Performance Productivity; Retention; Health Care and Treatment; Resignation and Termination; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., Hummy Song, and Jason R. Barro. "Cohort Turnover and Productivity: The July Phenomenon in Teaching Hospitals." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 14-113, May 2014. View Details

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Infection Control at Massachusetts General Hospital

    The case explores the challenges facing Massachusetts General Hospital concerning the adoption of a new infection control policy, which promises to improve operational performance, patient safety, and profitability. The new policy requires coordination between different departments within the hospital, namely the Emergency Department, the Infection Control Unit, and Admission Services. Students are initially asked to assess the operational, financial and clinical implications of the new policy. They are then asked to examine different approaches to its implementation.

    Objective: The case allows readers to examine a setting where internal coordination across different departments provides significant aggregate benefits for an organization. Coordination in this case, however, also leads to inequitable allocation of costs and benefits across the different departments, which then provides students with an opportunity to explore various implementation challenges and strategies.

    Keywords: Safety; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Integration; Health Care and Treatment; Policy; Health Industry; Boston;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Nikolaos Trichakis. "Infection Control at Massachusetts General Hospital." Harvard Business School Case 614-044, November 2013. View Details
  2. Process Analytics Simulation: Solutions

    A set of exercises and instructions to be used with the Process Simulator software made by Pro Model. These exercises allow students to investigate the impact of variable processing times on the performance of simple in-line processes. Includes color exhibits.

    Keywords: Operations; Business Processes; Performance; Mathematical Methods;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Roy D. Shapiro. "Process Analytics Simulation: Solutions." Harvard Business School Exercise 614-029, September 2013. View Details
  3. New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. (Abridged)

    Considers whether New Balance, one of the world's five largest manufacturers of athletic footwear, should respond to Adidas' planned acquisition of Reebok—a transaction that would join the second- and third-largest companies in the industry. Highlights the unique aspects of New Balance's strategy—focusing on fit and performance by offering long-lived shoes in a wide variety of widths and eschewing celebrity endorsement of its products—and discusses New Balance's operations decisions to support that strategy. These include significant use of domestic manufacturing at a time when nearly all other competitors sourced finished shoes from Asian suppliers and an emphasis on improving inventory management for its network of small and large retailers. Set just after the announcement of the Adidas-Reebok transaction in 2005, with New Balance having recently initiated a companywide effort to improve operational performance through the application of concepts from lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System. Asks students to consider whether New Balance should change aspects of its operations strategy in light of the consolidation among its competitors or whether the Adidas-Reebok transaction represents an opportunity for New Balance to emphasize the importance of moving forward with its current approach.

    Keywords: Production; Competitive Strategy; Supply Chain; Brands and Branding; Apparel and Accessories Industry; Sports Industry; Retail Industry; Asia; United States;

    Citation:

    Bowen, H. Kent, Robert S. Huckman, Carin-Isabel Knoop, and Matthew Preble. "New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 613-006, November 2012. View Details
  4. Amazon Web Services

    Considers the development of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a division of Amazon.com, Inc., specializing in the provision of web-based storage and computing services to web developers. The case focuses on the issues facing Andy Jassy, the head of AWS, in 2008 as AWS faces increased competition from established technology giants, such as Google, Microsoft, and IBM. Students are asked to consider whether entry into web services by Amazon, which had established its brand in retail, represented a prudent move by the company. The case provides an opportunity to highlight the benefits of AWS's variable pricing for developers and to determine where overlaps exist between Amazon's core retailing business and AWS. Students are also provided with an opportunity to discuss operational diversification and its limits within the AWS context.

    Keywords: Price; Market Entry and Exit; Service Operations; Competition; Diversification; Retail Industry; Web Services Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., Gary P. Pisano, and Liz Kind. "Amazon Web Services." Harvard Business School Case 609-048, October 2008. (Revised February 2012.) View Details
  5. JetBlue Airways: Deicing at Logan Airport

    The case explores a deicing capacity expansion decision made by JetBlue at Boston Logan International Airport in the summer of 2010. The need for capacity expansion was driven by significant challenges faced during the previous winter combined with substantial scheduled growth for the upcoming winter.

    Keywords: operational disruptions; Strategic Planning; Disruption; Cost vs Benefits; Air Transportation; Service Operations; Logistics; Operations; Air Transportation Industry; Boston;

    Citation:

    Fearing, Douglas, and Robert S. Huckman. "JetBlue Airways: Deicing at Logan Airport." Harvard Business School Case 612-028, August 2011. (Revised August 2012.) View Details
  6. JetBlue Airways: Managing Growth

    Considers the situation facing David Barger, President and CEO of JetBlue Airways, in May 2007 as he addresses the airline's need to slow its growth rate in the response to increasing fuel costs and the effects of major operational crisis for the airline in February 2007. In 2005, JetBlue-typically viewed as a low-cost carrier (LCC)-made a move that is often considered antithetical to the LCC model. Specifically, JetBlue moved from a single aircraft type (i.e., the Airbus 320, or A320) to a fleet with two types of aircraft by adding the smaller Embraer 190, or E190. Students are initially asked to consider the impact of this decision on JetBlue's operations strategy and business model. They are then asked to consider how the reductions in aircraft capacity growth should be spread across the two plane types. This discussion hinges not only on issues of aircraft efficiency but also on those of operational focus and the ultimate competitive priorities of the airline as a whole.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Growth Management; Operations; Performance Capacity; Performance Efficiency; Competitive Strategy; Air Transportation Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Gary P. Pisano. "JetBlue Airways: Managing Growth." Harvard Business School Case 609-046, October 2008. (Revised June 2011.) View Details
  7. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center: Spine Care

    Describes the Spine Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, a multidisciplinary unit that offers patients suffering from spinal problems "one-stop" access to a range of providers including orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, neurologists, medical specialists in physical medicine and pain management, mental health providers, and occupational and physical therapists. The Center was created to address what its founder, James Weinstein, M.D., saw as the uncoordinated and inefficient delivery of spinal care in the United States. The Center emphasized using non-surgical treatments (e.g., physical therapy and exercise, behavioral modification, pain-relieving drugs) as either a complement to, or substitute for, surgical procedures, and patients were actively engaged in the process of determining what type of care to pursue. In addition, Weinstein and his staff collected data from the Center's clinical practice to conduct academic research on the outcomes and cost-effectiveness of various approaches to treatment. The case allows for a critical analysis of the Spine Center's unique approach to care delivery and provides an opportunity to examine the applicability of this model in other clinical areas.

    Keywords: Health Care and Treatment; Medical Specialties; Service Delivery; Service Operations; Integration; Value Creation; Health Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., Michael E. Porter, Rachel Gordon, and Natalie Kindred. "Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center: Spine Care." Harvard Business School Case 609-016, March 2009. (Revised September 2010.) View Details
  8. JetBlue Airways: Valentine's Day 2007 (A)

    Describes an operational crisis for JetBlue Airways during an ice storm in the eastern United States in February 2007 and chronicles the airline's immediate response. Provides detail concerning the history of the airline from its founding in 1999 through the February 2007 crisis, which forced the airline to cancel more than 1,000 flights over the course of six days. In addition, discusses the initial response to the crisis by CEO David Neeleman and his management team. Students are provided with the opportunity to evaluate this response in terms of its impact on customer relations, growth prospects, and ongoing operations for JetBlue.

    Keywords: Customer Relationship Management; Crisis Management; Growth Management; Management Teams; Service Delivery; Air Transportation Industry; Eastern United States;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., Gary P. Pisano, and Virginia Fuller. "JetBlue Airways: Valentine's Day 2007 (A)." Harvard Business School Case 608-001, August 2007. (Revised June 2010.) View Details
  9. New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. (TN)

    Teaching Note for [606094].

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Production; Strategy; Performance Improvement; Brands and Branding; Networks; Management; Consolidation; Competition; Opportunities; Apparel and Accessories Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S. "New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc. (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-072, April 2010. View Details
  10. Flextronics International, Ltd.

    Describes Flextronics' evolution from providing outsourced manufacturing services for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the electronics industry to developing entire unbranded products for purchase by OEMs. In 2001, Flextronics began a development program that yielded several unbranded cell phones that--even by the admission of several OEMs--delivered performance comparable to that of branded products at a significantly lower cost. Nonetheless, as of early 2003, no major OEM had yet agreed to purchase any of these phones from Flextronics. As chairman and CEO of Flextronics, Michael Marks must decide how aggressively to pursue full product development.

    Keywords: Growth and Development Strategy; Product Development; Production; Service Operations; Performance Effectiveness; Electronics Industry; Manufacturing Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Gary P. Pisano. "Flextronics International, Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 604-063, November 2003. (Revised April 2010.) View Details
  11. GlaxoSmithKline: Reorganizing Drug Discovery (A)

    Describes the reorganization of drug discovery at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) following the formation of GSK from the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham. This reorganization placed nearly 2,000 research scientists into six centers of excellence in drug discovery (CEDD). Each CEDD focused on a small set of therapeutic areas and possessed decision rights over the progression of pharmaceutical compounds through the early stages of development. Describes the proposed structure for the CEDDs and their relationship to remaining centralized departments within GSK's R&D organization. Addresses issues about the benefits of focus vs. diversification in R&D, the role of decentralized vs. coordinated decision making, and the importance of alignment between the structural and infrastructural (e.g., performance incentives) aspects of an operating model. Using the empirical context of mergers in the pharmaceutical industry, the case allows students to build broader insights about the interaction between organizational form and operating performance.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Decision Choices and Conditions; Operations; Organizational Structure; Performance Improvement; Research and Development; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Eli Strick. "GlaxoSmithKline: Reorganizing Drug Discovery (A)." Harvard Business School Case 605-074, May 2005. (Revised April 2010.) View Details
  12. Managing Orthopaedics at Rittenhouse Medical Center (TN)

    Teaching Note for [607152].

    Keywords: Health Care and Treatment; Management; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Richard M.J. Bohmer. "Managing Orthopaedics at Rittenhouse Medical Center (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-070, April 2010. (Revised April 2010.) View Details
  13. Balancing Specialization and Diversification in Operations

    This note describes a module—taught as part of Operations Strategy, a second–year MBA elective at Harvard Business School—that helps students understand and manage the tradeoff between specialization and diversification in operations. The module introduces students to the benefits and limitations of focused operating models. It then examines the challenges created by operational diversification. It concludes by examining the multispecialty operation, a common organizational approach to managing the tradeoff between the benefits of focus and operational diversification. The module provides insight into addressing common challenges in the design and implementation of multispecialty models.

    Keywords: Operations; Diversification; Organizational Design; Curriculum and Courses;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S. "Balancing Specialization and Diversification in Operations." Harvard Business School Module Note 610-079, April 2010. View Details
  14. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals: Spurring Scientific Creativity with Metrics

    Describes the reorganization of the drug discovery organization at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and focuses on the decisions to: (1) centralize decision-making within drug discovery and (2) institute numerical metrics--jointly affecting all R&D scientists--for the progression of compounds through the Wyeth pipeline. Highlights issues concerning the degree to which scientific activity can be evaluated via numerical metrics, the extent to which R&D can be structured as a process, and the degree to which decision-making should be centralized in commercial R&D activities.

    Keywords: Decision Making; Measurement and Metrics; Business Processes; Organizational Structure; Research and Development; Science-Based Business; Creativity; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., Gary P. Pisano, and Mark Rennella. "Wyeth Pharmaceuticals: Spurring Scientific Creativity with Metrics." Harvard Business School Case 607-008, February 2007. (Revised April 2010.) View Details
  15. Brigham and Women's Hospital: Shapiro Cardiovascular Center (TN)

    Teaching Note for 608-175.

    Keywords: Health; Non-Governmental Organizations; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Michael E. Porter. "Brigham and Women's Hospital: Shapiro Cardiovascular Center (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-030, September 2009. (Revised April 2010.) View Details
  16. Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center: Spine Care (TN)

    Teaching Note for [609016].

    Keywords: Health Care and Treatment; Health Disorders; Research; Performance Effectiveness; Outcome or Result; Education Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Michael E. Porter. "Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center: Spine Care (TN)." Harvard Business School Teaching Note 610-068, April 2010. View Details
  17. Managing Orthopaedics at Rittenhouse Medical Center

    Considers the issues associated with running multiple business models–a private practice and an academic faculty practice--within the confines of the orthopaedics department of a single medical center. Students assume the role of Neela Wilson, Executive Director of Rittenhouse Medical Center, in managing the operational requirements of, and organizational tensions created by, these competing models. In analyzing the case, students have the opportunity to: (1) gain a better understanding of operational focus and the concept of a "focused factory" in health care, (2) consider the concept of a "factory within a factory" in the context of an academic medical center, and (3) build an appreciation of the managerial challenges associated with operating related, and often competing, business units within the same organization.

    Keywords: Business Units; Business Model; Health Care and Treatment; Service Operations; Conflict Management; Competition; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Bohmer, Richard M.J., Robert S. Huckman, James Weber, and Kevin J. Bozic. "Managing Orthopaedics at Rittenhouse Medical Center." Harvard Business School Case 607-152, June 2007. (Revised March 2010.) View Details
  18. BYD Company, Ltd.

    Considers whether BYD Co., Ltd., the largest Chinese maker of rechargeable batteries, should enter the Chinese automobile industry by acquiring Qinchuan Auto, a state-owned car manufacturer. Set just after BYD's initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2002, it describes the development of BYD's labor-intensive approach to battery manufacturing -- an approach decidedly different from its more capital-intensive Japanese competitors and one that took advantage of the abundant supply of low-cost labor in China. Highlights the unique benefits and challenges created by BYD's operations strategy and asks students to determine whether the capabilities developed by the company in battery manufacturing can productively be applied to the automobile sector. Asks students to consider which, if any, aspects of BYD's operations constitute sources of sustainable competitive advantage for the company.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Labor; Production; Competitive Advantage; Diversification; Auto Industry; Battery Industry; Manufacturing Industry; China;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Alan D. MacCormack. "BYD Company, Ltd." Harvard Business School Case 606-139, April 2006. (Revised September 2009.) View Details
  19. New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.

    Considers whether New Balance, one of the world's five largest manufacturers of athletic footwear, should respond to Adidas' planned acquisition of Reebok--a transaction that would join the second- and third-largest companies in the industry. Highlights the unique aspects of New Balance's strategy--focusing on fit and performance by offering long-lived shoes in a wide variety of widths and eschewing celebrity endorsement of its products--and discusses New Balance's operations decisions to support that strategy. These include significant use of domestic manufacturing at a time when nearly all other competitors sourced finished shoes from Asian suppliers and an emphasis on improving inventory management for its network of small and large retailers. Set just after the announcement of the Adidas-Reebok transaction in 2005, with New Balance having recently initiated a companywide effort to improve operational performance through the application of concepts from lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System. Asks students to consider whether New Balance should change aspects of its operations strategy in light of the consolidation among its competitors or whether the Adidas-Reebok transaction represents an opportunity for New Balance to emphasize the importance of moving forward with its current approach.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Production; Supply Chain Management; Performance Improvement; Competition; Consolidation; Apparel and Accessories Industry;

    Citation:

    Bowen, H. Kent, Robert S. Huckman, and Carin-Isabel Knoop. "New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc." Harvard Business School Case 606-094, April 2006. (Revised June 2008.) View Details
  20. Brigham and Women's Hospital: Shapiro Cardiovascular Center

    Considers the situation facing Gary Gottlieb, president of Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), prior to the opening of BWH's integrated cardiovascular center. This case allows students to develop an appreciation of the strategic, financial, organizational, clinical, and physical aspects of integrating health care delivery around specific categories of disease. It provides an opportunity to evaluate BWH's approach to integration along all of these dimensions and to identify the nature of the tradeoffs that hospitals-specifically, academic medical centers-face as they attempt to create disease-specific models of integrated care. Finally, students have the opportunity to evaluate the degree to which integrated models of care can be developed within academic medical centers.

    Keywords: Health Care and Treatment; Health Disorders; Service Delivery; Organizational Design; Integration; Health Industry;

    Citation:

    Porter, Michael E., Robert S. Huckman, and Jeremy Lance Friese. "Brigham and Women's Hospital: Shapiro Cardiovascular Center." Harvard Business School Case 608-175, June 2008. View Details
  21. Procter & Gamble: Electronic Data Capture and Clinical Trial Management

    Considers whether the management of Procter & Gamble (P&G) Pharmaceuticals should adopt Web-based electronic data capture (EDC) as the default standard for the management of its clinical drug trials. Provides a detailed description of the existing paper-based process for clinical trial management at P&G and asks students to consider whether and to what extent the use of information technology--in the form of Web-based EDC--could improve that process. Highlights tensions surrounding the implementation of new technologies and considered potential barriers to implementation both within the firm and with other firms in the value chain. Finally, considers how a firm should structure relationships with external providers of new, process-related technologies.

    Keywords: Health Testing and Trials; Internet; Information Technology; Adoption; Business Processes; Industry Structures; Technological Innovation; Service Operations; Pharmaceutical Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Mark J. Cotteleer. "Procter & Gamble: Electronic Data Capture and Clinical Trial Management." Harvard Business School Case 606-033, August 2005. (Revised December 2006.) View Details
  22. GlaxoSmithKline: Reorganizing Drug Discovery (B)

    Supplements the (A) case.

    Keywords: Mergers and Acquisitions; Decisions; Operations; Performance; Research and Development; Restructuring; Organizations; Pharmaceutical Industry;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Eli Strick. "GlaxoSmithKline: Reorganizing Drug Discovery (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 605-075, May 2005. View Details
  23. MedSource Technologies

    Considers the issues facing Richard Effress, MedSource's chairman and CEO, as the firm approaches the Precision Cut project--the first test of MedSource's capabilities as an integrated, contract manufacturer in the medical device industry. MedSource Technologies was formed in 1999 by the simultaneous acquisitions of seven component manufacturing companies serving original equipment manufacturers in the medical device industry. The firm's model of integrated manufacturing aimed to leverage its expertise in manufacturing to become a single-source supplier of customized services in product design and development, rapid prototyping, component manufacturing, device assembly, and supply chain management.

    Keywords: Product Development; Production; Mergers and Acquisitions; Product Design; Supply Chain Management; Management Teams; Medical Devices and Supplies Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S. "MedSource Technologies." Harvard Business School Case 603-081, November 2002. (Revised August 2003.) View Details
  24. Oxford Health Plans (B): Crisis Strikes

    Supplements the (A) case. A rewritten version of an earlier supplement.

    Keywords: Crisis Management; Health Care and Treatment; Health Industry; United States;

    Citation:

    Huckman, Robert S., and Jody H. Gittell. "Oxford Health Plans (B): Crisis Strikes." Harvard Business School Case 800-366, April 2000. (Revised July 2001.) View Details

    Research Summary

  1. The Impact of Team Familiarity on Operational Performance

    This stream of Professor Huckman's research examines the impact of team familiarity--the degree to which individuals have previously worked with each other--on operational performance in a variety of settings ranging from health care to software development. This work addresses several specific issues. To what extent is the performance of a team attributable to the individual experience of its members versus their familiarity with each other? To what extent can familiarity compensate for the coordination challenges created by the diverse sets of prior experience held be individual team members? Professor Huckman's work related to these questions suggests that team familiairity plays an important role in improving performance.
  2. Balancing Specialization and Diversification in Operations

    In a series of papers and cases, Professor Huckman considers how firms balance the competing benefits of specialization and diversification in operations. His work provides a framework for the design and implementation of multispecialty operating models that help organizations manage this tradeoff.
  3. Restructuring Diversified Operations in Response to Focused Competitors: Evidence from Health Care

    Professor Huckman's research in this area considers how existing diversified firms in two health care industries--hospitals and pharmaceuticals--are impacted by competition from more focused competitors. In addition to identifying how the entry of focused competitors affects the behavior of diversified firms, Professor Huckman also considers the implementation issues that diversified organizations face as they attempt to restructure in response to such competition.

    Teaching

  1. Managing Health Care Delivery - Executive Education

    While delivering patient care has always been a primary goal of health care organizations, financial outcomes have long been the metric by which success is measured. Increasingly, however, health care leaders are being held accountable for both medical and financial outcomes. As a result, health care executives and providers must understand the determinants of organizational effectiveness—strategy, finance, operations, and leadership.

    This leadership development program provides a transformational learning experience that goes far beyond the traditional debate over health care costs. In this global offering, you will examine the critical processes required to develop and implement a superior health care delivery system.