Leadership

Leadership is a featured research topic and an initiative at Harvard Business School.
 
As our world grows increasingly global, intricate, and ever-changing, the role of leaders is becoming more and more complex and critical to business success. In the 1950s and 1960s, Fritz Roethlisberger and Elton Mayo's contributions to the "Hawthorne effect," and work by Paul Lawrence and Jay Lorsch on organizational integration, sparked the field of Organizational Behavior. Early work by Michael Beer on leading organizational change, Rosabeth Kanter on innovation for productivity, John Kotter on power and influence, and Michael Tushman on innovation management helped shape today's understanding of organizational transformation. With an interest in Leadership that spans our academic units, our approach to research is collaborative and multi-disciplinary. We leverage a wide range of research methodologies – from onsite field research to surveys, experiments, and extensive longitudinal studies. 
  1. Tanfeeth: Bringing Service Excellence to the GCC

    Lynda M. Applegate and Arnold B. Peinado

    Tanfeeth, a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm in the United Arab Emirates, was founded in July 2011 as a fully owned subsidiary of Emirates NBD, the largest bank in the Gulf Corporation Council. When Tanfeeth was founded, Emirates NBD, along with the leaders of Tanfeeth, decided that Tanfeeth would begin by improving processes at the bank. However, two years after its founding, some Tanfeeth executives felt that the organization needed to take on work from outside clients. They were concerned that if Tanfeeth waited too long, its first-mover advantage and position as market leader would deteriorate. Additionally, if Emirates NBD held back Tanfeeth’s growth ambitions, some of the world-class talent Tanfeeth had been able to attract might leave. What was the best course of action for Emirates NBD and Tanfeeth?

    Keywords: entrepreneurship; Middle East; outsourcing; leadership; Entrepreneurship; Leadership; Middle East;

    Citation:

    Applegate, Lynda M., and Arnold B. Peinado. "Tanfeeth: Bringing Service Excellence to the GCC." Harvard Business School Case 815-129, May 2015. View Details
  2. Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs

    David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano

    The authors of the bestselling Competing on Internet Time (a Business Week top 10 book) analyze the strategies, principles, and skills of three of the most successful and influential figures in business—Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs—offering lessons for all managers and entrepreneurs on leadership, strategy, and execution.
    In less than a decade, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Andy Grove founded three companies that would define the world of technology and transform our lives. At their peaks, Microsoft, Apple, and Intel were collectively worth some $1.5 trillion. Strategy Rules examines these three individuals collectively for the first time—their successes and failures, commonalities, and differences—revealing the business strategies and practices they pioneered while building their firms.
    David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano have studied these three leaders and their companies for more than thirty years, while teaching business strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship at Harvard and MIT. In this enlightening guide, they show how Gates, Grove, and Jobs approached strategy and execution in remarkably similar ways—yet markedly differently from their erstwhile competitors—keeping their focus on five strategic rules. Strategy Rules brings together the best practices in strategic management and high-tech entrepreneurship from three path-breaking entrepreneurs who emerged as CEOs of huge global companies. Their approaches to formulating strategy and building organizations offer unique insights for start-up executives as well as the heads of modern multinationals.

    Keywords: Management; Strategy; Leadership; Information Technology; Entrepreneurship; Information Technology Industry;

    Citation:

    Yoffie, David B., and Michael A. Cusumano. Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs. New York: HarperBusiness, 2015. View Details
  3. Steve Jobs: Leader Strategist

    Cynthia A. Montgomery and David B. Yoffie

    Strategically, Steve Jobs got it brilliantly right some times and terribly wrong other times. This case examines Jobs' development as a leader strategist over the course of his entire career. The successes and failures of Apple, NeXT, and Pixar are used to probe the role of strategy in organizational success and to examine a leader's distinctive responsibility to set (and reset) a viable course for a business. While Jobs' greatness may make him seem inaccessible at times, a closer look shows that some of his most valuable managerial capabilities were honed slowly, painfully, over time, and that there is much others can learn from his experience.

    Keywords: strategy; leadership; strategist; Steve Jobs; competitive advantage; Apple; Leadership; Competitive Advantage; Personal Development and Career;

    Citation:

    Montgomery, Cynthia A., and David B. Yoffie. "Steve Jobs: Leader Strategist." Harvard Business School Case 715-454, April 2015. View Details
  4. Dutch Bros. Coffee: A Compelling Future

    Joshua Margolis and Christine Snively

    Travis Boersma, co-founder and President of the Dutch Bros. coffee chain, faces three operational decisions that will shape the company's growth trajectory and distinctive culture. First, should they offer a specialty coffee at a subset of their stores in one region where customers are clamoring for it, contrary to the company's commitment to a consistent experience across all stores? Second, as the company continues to expand, should they roll out an electronic point-of-sale system, which has interfered with customer service in prior pilot tests? Third, how can Dutch Bros. provide opportunities for their best employees, who aspire to own and operate their own franchise stores but often lack the expertise and funding to do so.

    Keywords: leadership; culture; Culture and Community; service management; retail; food; managing growth; family business; small business; Leadership; Culture; Food and Beverage Industry; Oregon;

    Citation:

    Margolis, Joshua, and Christine Snively. "Dutch Bros. Coffee: A Compelling Future." Harvard Business School Case 415-010, April 2015. View Details
  5. Korea

    Forest Reinhardt, Jonathan Schlefer, Keith Chi-ho Wong and Mayuka Yamazaki

    South Korea's economic success and its transition from authoritarianism to democracy teach important lessons in national strategy and political economy. Now, though, its famous chaebols may need reform, the population is aging, and relations with the North are as tense as ever. What should the country's leaders do?

    Keywords: Economics; Governance; Government and Politics; Leadership; Globalization; Demographics; Asia;

    Citation:

    Reinhardt, Forest, Jonathan Schlefer, Keith Chi-ho Wong, and Mayuka Yamazaki. "Korea." Harvard Business School Case 715-047, April 2015. (Revised April 2015.) View Details
  6. Leave No Slice of Genius Behind: Selecting and Developing Tomorrow's Leaders of Innovation

    Linda A. Hill

    Keywords: innovation; human resources; talent management; talent development and retention; leadership; Innovation Leadership; Human Resources; Talent and Talent Management; Leadership; Leadership Development;

    Citation:

    Hill, Linda A. "Leave No Slice of Genius Behind: Selecting and Developing Tomorrow's Leaders of Innovation." In The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders, edited by Dave Ulrich, William A. Schiemann, and Libby Sartain, 233–240. Alexandria, VA: HR Certification Institute, 2015. View Details
  7. Tim Keller at Katzenbach Partners LLC (A) (Abridged)

    Boris Groysberg and James Weber

    Tracks the first 6 months of a recent MBA grad, Tim Keller, at Katzenbach Partners, a boutique consulting firm focused on organizational change and strategy. Covers how Keller initially struggles with his assignment and ends with a question of whether or not he should attend a meeting that he was not invited to, where more senior consultants plan to implement the system dynamics tool that he was responsible for creating—on a Sunday when he had a major personal engagement.

    Keywords: Interpersonal relations; Organization Behavior; leadership; Superior & subordinate; Managing projects; informal organization; consulting; professional services; Leadership; Work-Life Balance; Decision Choices and Conditions; Organizations; Rank and Position; Product Development; Service Industry; Consulting Industry;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and James Weber. "Tim Keller at Katzenbach Partners LLC (A) (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 415-070, March 2015. View Details
  8. Delhaize Group: Developing Leaders

    Boris Groysberg and Sarah L. Abbott

    Delhaize Group, the Belgian-based global food retailer, was focused on competing in the food retailing industry by developing leading positions in key markets via localized retailing strategies. Delhaize was committed to offering its customers superior value while maintaining high social, environmental, and ethical standards. For Frans Muller, Delhaize's president and CEO, the key to executing on this strategy was ensuring that the Group was developing leaders with the requisite skills and competencies. In light of this, Muller felt it was important to assess the Group's leadership development practices. Were the current training and development programs effective? What were the leadership skills that would be needed to execute on Delhaize's strategic plan, both today and in the future?

    Keywords: leadership development; strategy; organizational alignment; organizational culture; talent management; human capital; Leadership Development; Globalized Firms and Management; Human Capital; Talent and Talent Management; Corporate Strategy; Organizational Culture; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; Belgium;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and Sarah L. Abbott. "Delhaize Group: Developing Leaders." Harvard Business School Case 415-019, February 2015. (Revised February 2015.) View Details
  9. Hövding: The Airbag for Cyclists

    Joseph B. Fuller and Emilie Billaud

    In 2012, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, co­founders of the Hövding company, reflect on the evolution of their venture and the way forward. Since 2005, Haupt and Alstin had been working on a new type of bicycle helmet—an "airbag for cyclists". What had begun as a thesis had grown into a seven-year journey of research and development, including raising over $5 million of venture capital. The product had been granted Europe's CE certification in 2011 and had been launched simultaneously in Sweden and Norway. Yet, a year later, the company had still not reached the break­even point. To help them establish a commercialization strategy, the Hövding board had prevailed upon the founders to hire a professional CEO. But surrendering management control was an emotional process for Haupt and Alstin, while the CEO struggled to assert his leadership and build the company's commercial capabilities. Should Haupt and Alstin collaborate with their CEO despite their misgivings or should they step away from the company they had dedicated seven years to building?

    Keywords: Business Startups; Entrepreneurship; Transition; Leadership; Conflict Management; Bicycle Industry; Sweden; Europe;

    Citation:

    Fuller, Joseph B., and Emilie Billaud. "Hövding: The Airbag for Cyclists." Harvard Business School Case 315-056, February 2015. View Details
  10. Thin Political Markets: The Soft Underbelly of Capitalism

    Karthik Ramanna

    "Thin political markets" are the processes through which some of the most complex and critical institutions of our capitalist system are determined—e.g., our accounting-standards infrastructure. In thin political markets, corporate managers are largely unopposed—because of their own expertise and the general public's low awareness of the issues. This enables managers to structure the "rules of the game" in self-serving ways. The result is a structural flaw in the determination of critical institutions of our capitalist system, which, if ignored, can undermine the legitimacy of the system. I provide some ideas on how to fix the problem.

    Keywords: business and society; leadership; accounting; financial institutions; lobbying; sustainability; Leadership; Economic Systems; Accounting; Business and Community Relations; Financial Institutions; Business and Government Relations;

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