Mihnea C. Moldoveanu - Faculty & Research - Harvard Business School
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Mihnea C. Moldoveanu

Visiting Professor of Business Administration

General Management

Working Papers
  1. The Skills Gap and the Near-Far Problem in Executive Education and Leadership Development

    Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas

    Executive development programs have entered a period of rapid transformation, driven on one side by the proliferation of a new technological, cultural, and economic landscape commonly referred to as “digital disruption” and on the other by a widening gap between the skills and capabilities participants and their organizations demand and those provided by the executive program itself. We document—on the basis of transcripts of some 100 interviews with Fortune 500 executives—a current and growing awareness of a mismatch between executive development offerings and the skill sets executives need in a volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, and complex (VUCA), Web 2.5-enabled economy. We show that a trio of forces of digital disruption—specifically the disintermediation of the services of instructors and facilitators, the disaggregation of the previously bundled experiences that constitute an executive program, and the decoupling of the sources of value participants derive from any one experience—together open up the executive education industry to a radical restructuration. We argue that any consequential strategic action on the part of providers must address two major current gaps: the gap between the skills required by participants and those provided by suppliers (“the skills gap”) and the gap that separates skill acquisition from skill application (“the skills transfer gap”). We canvass the literature on skill measurement, acquisition, and transfer to establish the enduring power of these distinctions in explaining the success of various training and education programs. We use these distinctions to structure the landscape of strategic decisions that both organizations committed to organizational development and providers of executive development programs must in very short order make.

    Keywords: Technology; Executive Education; Disruption; Management Skills;


    Moldoveanu, Mihnea, and Das Narayandas. "The Skills Gap and the Near-Far Problem in Executive Education and Leadership Development." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-019, September 2016.  View Details
  2. Executive Development Programs Enter the Digital Vortex: I. Disrupting the Demand Landscape

    Das Narayandas and Mihnea C. Moldoveanu

    Executive development programs have entered a period of disruption catalyzed by the digitalization of content, connectivity, and communication and are driven by renewed demand for high-level executive and managerial skills. Unlike other segments of higher education, the executive education market is heavily subsidized by the organizations employing the executives that participate in them. To understand the ongoing transformation of the industry, we use a large database of interviews with participants in executive development programs at HBS—and executives in their sponsoring organizations—to map out the (multidimensional) objective functions of executive participants and their organizations and show how the trio of disruptive forces (disintermediation, disaggregation, and decoupling) that have figured prominently in other industries disrupted by digitalization (media, travel, publishing) are likely to reshape the structure of demand for executive development.

    Keywords: Technology; Executive Education; Disruption;


    Narayandas, Das, and Mihnea C. Moldoveanu. "Executive Development Programs Enter the Digital Vortex: I. Disrupting the Demand Landscape." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-020, September 2016. (Revised February 2017.)  View Details
  3. Algorithmic Foundations for Business Strategy

    Mihnea Moldoveanu

    I introduce algorithmic and meta-algorithmic models for the study of strategic problem solving, aimed at illuminating the processes and procedures by which strategic managers and firms deal with complex problems. These models allow us to explore the relationship between the complexity of an environment, the sophistication of the problem-solving processes and procedures used to optimally map problem statements into strategic actions, and the organizational structures that are best suited to implementing solutions. This approach allows us to distinguish among levels of sophistication in the strategic management of complex predicaments, specifically among rational, irrational, quasi-rational and super-rational problem-solving processes and responses of strategic managers and organizations. It highlights a set of dynamic search and adaptation capabilities that can be studied via the algorithmic and computational properties of the problems they are meant to solve and the efficiency and reliability by which they search a solution space. It points to several new components of competitive advantage that are linked to the complexity adaptation of a firm: “offline problem solving” and “simulation advantage” emerge as key strategic differentiators for firms facing complex problems.

    Keywords: Mathematical Methods; Business Strategy;


    Moldoveanu, Mihnea. "Algorithmic Foundations for Business Strategy." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 17-036, October 2016.  View Details