HBR IdeaCast

Harvard Business Review

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management. read less

4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Emotional Intelligence
27-10-2022
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Emotional Intelligence
In the early 1990s, publishers told science journalist Daniel Goleman not to use the word “emotion” in a business book. The popular conception was that emotions had little role in the workplace. When HBR was founded in October 1922, the practice of management focused on workers’ physical productivity, not their feelings. And while over the decades psychologists studied “social intelligence” and “emotional strength,” businesses cultivated the so-called hard skills that drove the bottom line. Until 1990, when psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer published their landmark journal article. It proposed “emotional intelligence” as the ability to identify and manage one's own emotions as well as those of others. Daniel Goleman popularized the idea in his 1995 book, and companies came to hire for “EI” and teach it. It’s now widely seen as a key ingredient in engaged teams, empathetic leadership, and inclusive organizations. However, critics question whether emotional intelligence operates can be meaningfully measured and contend that it acts as a catchall term for personality traits and values. 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as disruptive innovation, shareholder value, and scientific management. Discussing emotional intelligence with HBR executive editor Alison Beard are: Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence Susan David, psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Emotional Agility Andy Parks, management professor at Central Washington University Further reading: HBR: Leading by Feel, with Daniel Goleman New Yorker: The Repressive Politics of Emotional Intelligence, by Merve Emre HBR: Emotional Agility, by Susan David and Christina Congleton Book: Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Shareholder Value
20-10-2022
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Shareholder Value
The idea that maximizing shareholder value takes legal and practical precedence above all else first came to prominence in the 1970s. The person who arguably did the most to advance the idea was the business school professor Michael Jensen, who wrote in Harvard Business Review and elsewhere that CEOs pursue their own interests at the expense of shareholders' interests. Among other things, he argued for stock-based incentives that would neatly align CEO and shareholder interests. Shareholder primacy rapidly became business orthodoxy. It dramatically changed how and how much executives are compensated. And it arguably distorted capitalism for a generation or more. Critics have long charged that maximizing shareholder value ultimately just encourages CEOs and shareholders to feather their own nests at the expense of everything else: jobs, wages and benefits, communities, and the environment. The past few years have seen a backlash against shareholder capitalism and the rise of so-called stakeholder capitalism. After reigning supreme for half a century, is shareholder value maximization on its way out? 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as disruptive innovation, scientific management, and emotional intelligence. Discussing shareholder value with HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius are: Lynn Paine, professor at Harvard Business School Mihir Desai, professor at Harvard Business School Carola Frydman, professor at Kellogg School of Management Further reading: HBR: CEO Incentives—It’s Not How Much You Pay, But How, by Michael C. Jensen and Kevin J. Murphy New York Times: A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, by Milton Friedman HBR: The Error at the Heart of Corporate Leadership, by Joseph L. Bower and Lynn S. Paine U.S. Business Roundtable: Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, 2019
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Disruptive Innovation
13-10-2022
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Disruptive Innovation
In the 1980s, Clayton Christensen cofounded a startup that took over a market niche from DuPont and Alcoa. That experience left Christensen puzzled. How could a small company with few resources beat rich incumbents? It led to his theory of disruptive innovation, introduced in the pages of Harvard Business Review in 1995 and popularized two years later in The Innovators Dilemma. The idea has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs. It has reshaped R&D strategies at countless established firms. And it has changed how investors place billions of dollars and how governments spend billions more, aiming to kickstart new industries and spark economic growth. But disruption has taken on a popular meaning well beyond what Christensen’s research describes. Some critics argue that the theory lacks evidence. Others say it glosses over the social costs of lost jobs of bankrupted companies. And debate continues over the best way to apply the idea in practice. 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as shareholder value, scientific management, and emotional intelligence. Discussing disruptive innovation with HBR editor Amy Bernstein are: Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School Felix Oberholzer-Gee, professor at Harvard Business School Derek van Bever, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School Further reading: HBR: What Is Disruptive Innovation?, by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor, and Rory McDonald New Yorker: The Disruption Machine: What the Gospel of Innovation Gets Wrong, by Jill Lepore Business History Review: How History Shaped the Innovator’s Dilemma, by Tom Nicholas HBR: Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, by Joseph L. Bower and Clayton M. Christensen
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Scientific Management
06-10-2022
4 Business Ideas That Changed the World: Scientific Management
In 1878, a machinist at a Pennsylvania steelworks noticed that his crew was producing much less than he thought they could. With stopwatches and time-motion studies, Frederick Winslow Taylor ran experiments to find the optimal way to make the most steel with lower labor costs. It was the birth of a management theory, called scientific management or Taylorism. Critics said Taylor’s drive for industrial efficiency depleted workers physically and emotionally. Resentful laborers walked off the job. The U.S. Congress held hearings on it. Still, scientific management was the dominant management theory 100 years ago in October of 1922, when Harvard Business Review was founded. It spread around the world, fueled the rise of big business, and helped decide World War II. And today it is baked into workplaces, from call centers to restaurant kitchens, gig worker algorithms, and offices. Although few modern workers would recognize Taylorism, and few employers would admit to it. 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as disruptive innovation, shareholder value, and emotional intelligence. Discussing scientific management with HBR senior editor Curt Nickisch are: Nancy Koehn, historian at Harvard Business School Michela Giorcelli, economic historian at UCLA Louis Hyman, work and labor historian at Cornell University Further reading: Book: The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency, by Robert Kanigel Case Study: Mass Production and the Beginnings of Scientific Management, by Thomas K. McCraw Oxford Review: The origin and development of firm management, by Michela Giorcelli