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. Kurt Summers: Investing in Our Chicago

    Joshua Margolis and Michael Norris

    In 2016, Kurt Summers, the Chicago City Treasurer, faced a decision with potential personal and political ramifications: whether or not to ask the city’s Mayor to join a class action anti-trust suit against the city’s creditors for actions they took during the Global Financial Crisis. Summers reflects on his time growing up in gang-controlled neighborhoods on the South Side of Chicago, and career experiences in both the public and private sector. These include stints at Harvard Business School, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, the Chicago Olympics bid, and in local government. He tries to assess what he should do in this situation and what the best next steps would be in terms of his career. The case also discusses his work and leaderships styles, his personal life, including his relationship with his wife, and how he has adjusted to the new role of being a politician.

    Keywords: personal development; career journey; leadership development; leadership; career; Leadership; Government and Politics; Personal Development and Career; Public Administration Industry; United States; Chicago;

    Citation:

    Margolis, Joshua, and Michael Norris. "Kurt Summers: Investing in Our Chicago." Harvard Business School Case 417-023, December 2016. View Details
  2. BrightStar Care: The Evolution of a Leadership Team

    Boris Groysberg, Colleen Ammerman and John D. Vaughan

    BrightStar Care was a rapidly growing franchise of home health care agencies. Founded by husband and wife team JD and Shelly Sun as a single agency near Chicago in 2002, by 2016 nearly 300 BrightStar franchises were open across the United States, generating over $300 million in revenue. BrightStar was now a very different company from the one Shelly and JD had started up during their first year of marriage. Shelly Sun, CEO, had decided to franchise the business in 2004, believing that the franchise model presented a relatively low-risk and high-return approach to growing BrightStar. As franchises began to sell, Sun quickly set about building scalable operations and infrastructure, including a centralized technology function and custom software for franchisees. As more and more locations opened around the United States, she focused on growing BrightStar’s national marketing profile and putting measures in place to distinguish BrightStar’s services as higher-quality than that of its competitors. A shifting regulatory landscape and labor shortages posed challenge, but BrightStar continued to grow swiftly. As the company evolved and Sun attempted to spend more time away from headquarters, surveying the field and building relationships, she knew she needed a strong senior management team. Some members of her senior team had been with BrightStar for years, expanding their responsibilities as the company expanded, while others she recruited from outside. In the early 2010s, Sun was close to filling all BrightStar’s crucial executive roles, but had to consider whether some longtime leaders were the right fit for the company’s current needs. As she thought through the composition of her senior team, she also revamped her board of advisors and pursued international franchising opportunities and a debt recapitalization. By early 2016, Shelly was looking to the company’s next phase of growth while handing management of her executive team to BrightStar’s President and COO.

    Keywords: health care services; entrepreneurs; board of directors; boards of directors; health care industry; growth strategy; Organizational change; brand positioning; entrepreneurial organizations; entrepreneurial management; Franchising; Family-owned business; home health care; managing growth; management styles; organizational development; talent management; women executives; women and leadership; Business Startups; Family Business; Small Business; Talent and Talent Management; Governing and Advisory Boards; Health Care and Treatment; Human Capital; Leadership Development; Leadership Style; Business or Company Management; Growth and Development Strategy; Management Analysis, Tools, and Techniques; Management Skills; Management Style; Management Succession; Management Systems; Management Teams; Brands and Branding; Marketing Strategy; Strategy;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, Colleen Ammerman, and John D. Vaughan. "BrightStar Care: The Evolution of a Leadership Team." Harvard Business School Case 417-020, November 2016. View Details
  3. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Motion

    Boris Groysberg and Sarah L. Abbott

    Evan Siddall, newly appointed CEO of Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation, a governmental organization focused on the residential housing market, is charged with leading change at the organization. The case follows this process of change step by step and looks at the challenges Siddall faces. After two years of leading change Siddall questions: should he continue to push forward with a change agenda? Or should the organization pause and catch its breath?

    Keywords: change management; leadership; Leadership, Personal strategy & style; leading change; government organizations; Canada; performance management; organizational change and transformation; culture; risk management; restructuring; Leading Change; Change; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Organizational Culture; Performance Evaluation; Government Administration; Risk Management; Restructuring; Leadership; Performance; Financial Services Industry; Canada;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and Sarah L. Abbott. "Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Motion." Harvard Business School Case 417-049, November 2016. View Details
  4. Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear: Bringing the Executive Team Together

    Boris Groysberg and Katherine Connolly Baden

    Cameron (Cam) Barker, founder and CEO of Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear, manufacturers and distributers of sports apparel and accessories, was facing a challenge with his executive team. Their inability to work together on seemingly simple issues was a chronic problem. Although they were a competent group of executives, most of whom had been with Barker for a number of years and had played an integral role in the growth of his company, the team’s dynamics were dysfunctional. Lack of communication, mistrust, and refusal to collaborate were some of their biggest challenges. Barker had had enough and was ready to take action, but what action should he take? How could he teach the executive team to work together? Did he have the right people in the right roles? Was the team appropriately structured and managed? How could Barker bring his executive team together in order to maximize performance and face the challenges and opportunities that would be presenting themselves to his young company in the months and years ahead?

    Keywords: Team Dynamics; team management; Team Effectiveness; Team Performance; executive leadership; Groups and Teams; Leadership; Apparel and Accessories Industry; United Kingdom;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and Katherine Connolly Baden. "Blake Sports Apparel and Switch Activewear: Bringing the Executive Team Together." Harvard Business School Case 417-048, November 2016. View Details
  5. Moshe Kahlon: Telecommunications Reform and Competition in Israel's Cellular Market (A)

    Joshua Margolis, Amram Migdal and Kerry Herman

    The case addresses reforms to regulations in Israel’s telecommunications industry initiated and implemented under the leadership of Minister of Communications Moshe Kahlon in 2009-2010. The case highlights the challenges faced by a politician attempting to institute regulatory and legislative reforms in the face of uncertainty and resistance from an incumbent oligopoly. When Kahlon entered office, three cellular companies, Pelephone, Cellcom, and Partner (the Big Three), dominated the market. Against Big Three opposition, Kahlon must decide whether to continue pushing changes to introduce new competitors in the industry, remove contract termination fees, and reduce the payment of inter-connection fees between cellular providers, which advantaged incumbent companies and drove up consumer prices. Kahlon applied a distinct political style that won him support from career civil servants within the ministry of communications and ministry of finance, from the press, and from the public.

    Keywords: market reform; political leadership; industry regulation; Regulatory Reforms; Economic Sectors; Private Sector; Public Sector; Ethics; Values and Beliefs; Geopolitical Units; Country; Geography; Government Administration; Government Legislation; Business History; Leadership Style; Leading Change; Market Design; Market Participation; Supply and Industry; Duopoly and Oligopoly; Industry Structures; Telecommunications Industry; Communications Industry; Public Administration Industry; Israel;

    Citation:

    Margolis, Joshua, Amram Migdal, and Kerry Herman. "Moshe Kahlon: Telecommunications Reform and Competition in Israel's Cellular Market (A)." Harvard Business School Case 417-017, October 2016. View Details
  6. Why Leadership Training Fails—and What to Do about It

    Michael Beer, Magnus Finnström and Derek Schrader

    U.S. corporations spend enormous amounts of money—some $456 billion globally in 2015 alone—on employee training and education, but they aren't getting a good return on their investment. People soon revert to old ways of doing things, and company performance doesn't improve. To fix these problems, senior executives and their HR departments should change the way they think about learning and development, and because context is crucial, needed fixes in organizational design and managerial processes must come first. The authors have identified six common barriers to change: (1) unclear direction on strategy and values, which often leads to conflicting priorities; (2) senior executives who don't work as a team and haven't committed to a new direction or acknowledged necessary changes in their own behavior; (3) a top-down or laissez-faire style by the leader, which prevents honest conversation about problems; (4) a lack of coordination across businesses, functions, or regions due to poor organizational design; (5) inadequate leadership time and attention given to talent issues; and (6) employees' fears of telling the senior team about obstacles to the organization's effectiveness. They advocate six basic steps to overcoming these barriers and achieving greater success in talent development.

    Keywords: Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leadership Development; Organizational Design; Employees; Business Processes; United States;

    Citation:

    Beer, Michael, Magnus Finnström, and Derek Schrader. "Why Leadership Training Fails—and What to Do about It." Harvard Business Review 94, no. 10 (October 2016): 50–57. View Details
  7. LabCDMX: Experiment 50

    Mitchell Weiss and Maria Fernanda Miguel

    There were probably 30,000 public buses, minibuses, and vans in Mexico City. Though, in 2015, no one knew for certain since no comprehensive schedule existed. This was why el Laboratorio para la Ciudad (or LabCDMX) had spawned an effort to generate a map of the labyrinth system that provided an estimated 14 million rides a day. Gabriella Gómez-Mont, the Lab’s founder and director, had led her team in a project to crowd-source the routes from volunteer riders in what came to be known as Mapatón CDMX. After four pilots and a two-week “mapping marathon” later, she wondered exactly what to make of the lab’s fiftieth experiment? Was Mapatón successful?

    Keywords: public entrepreneurship; experimentation; lean startup; government; innovation; crowdsourcing; Open Data; transportation; Mexico; Mexico City; Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; Innovation and Invention; Innovation Leadership; Government Administration; Transportation; Transportation Industry; Mexico City; Mexico;

    Citation:

    Weiss, Mitchell, and Maria Fernanda Miguel. "LabCDMX: Experiment 50." Harvard Business School Case 817-031, September 2016. (Revised December 2016.) View Details
  8. Zurich Insurance: Diversity and Inclusion

    Boris Groysberg and Katherine Connolly

    Zurich Insurance was undergoing organizational change after implementing five new people practices focused on manager development, diversity and inclusion, job model and data analytics, recruitment, and talent pipeline. The case “Zurich Insurance: Fostering Key People Management Practices” (HBS No. 417-035) provides background for the company and an outline of each people practice. This case takes a closer look at the company’s efforts around diversity and inclusion.

    Keywords: managing change; human capital; human resources; leadership; Insurance; Organizational Change and Adaptation; organizational culture; organizational behavior; diversity; Diversity Management; Organizational Culture; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leading Change; Leadership; Human Capital; Human Resources; Insurance; Diversity; Insurance Industry;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and Katherine Connolly. "Zurich Insurance: Diversity and Inclusion." Harvard Business School Case 417-037, September 2016. View Details
  9. Zurich Insurance: Fostering Key People Management Practices

    Boris Groysberg and Katherine Connolly

    Zurich Insurance was undergoing organizational change after implementing five new people practices focused on manager development, diversity and inclusion, job model and data analytics, recruitment, and talent pipeline. The case provides background for the company, as well as a description of how its culture was changing and how its allocation of resources was being examined as it tried to improve its position in the marketplace. Students are asked to prioritize which people practices are most important for Zurich as it tries to shift its culture and more effectively leverage its human capital in order to reach its organizational goals.

    Keywords: managing change; human capital; management; human resources; leadership; Insurance; Organizational Change and Adaptation; organizational culture; organizational behavior; Diversity Management; organizational architecture; recruiting; succession planning; Management; Organizational Culture; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leading Change; Human Capital; Human Resources; Insurance; Leadership; Diversity; Organizational Structure; Recruitment; Management Succession; Insurance Industry;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and Katherine Connolly. "Zurich Insurance: Fostering Key People Management Practices." Harvard Business School Case 417-035, September 2016. View Details
  10. Zurich Insurance: Global Job Structure and Data Analysis

    Boris Groysberg and Katherine Connolly

    Zurich Insurance was undergoing organizational change after implementing five new people practices focused on manager development, diversity and inclusion, job model and data analytics, recruitment, and talent pipeline. The case “Zurich Insurance: Fostering Key People Management Practices” (HBS No. 417-035) provides background for the company and an outline of each people practice. This case takes a closer look at the implementation of a global job model and how it has enabled the use of data analytics in the human resources function.

    Keywords: managing change; human capital; human resources; leadership; Insurance; Organizational Change and Adaptation; organizational culture; organizational behavior; organizational architecture; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Leadership; Human Capital; Change Management; Organizational Structure; Insurance; Organizational Culture; Globalization; Human Resources; Insurance Industry;

    Citation:

    Groysberg, Boris, and Katherine Connolly. "Zurich Insurance: Global Job Structure and Data Analysis." Harvard Business School Case 417-038, September 2016. View Details
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