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 NEWS: KNOWLEDGE@WHARTON
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   NEWS: KNOWLEDGE@WHARTON
Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

It's Time to Talk Sense about Outsourcing
Gregory Mankiw head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors ignited a firestorm of debate this month when he said outsourcing of U.S. jobs is probably a good thing in the long run. As tends to happen with hot-button issues in presidential election years sensible discussion of this question was soon drowned in an uproar of political posturing. Experts at Wharton and the Boston Consulting Group point out that outsourcing is as old as the corporation. Increasingly sourcing work overseas is no longer a tactical option that can help firms save a few dollars here and there; it is a strategic necessity for any company that cares about its long-term competitiveness.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Emerging Face of Technology
A Special Report by CNET News.com and Knowledge at Wharton  With the economy rebounding and the technology sector once again focused on new partners products and opportunities the Wharton Technology Conference on Feb. 27 emphasized the future with the theme: "From Survival to Growth: The Emerging Face of Technology." Panelists and speakers from industry the government and academia discussed entrepreneurship and business innovation new technologies and hot-button issues such as outsourcing and open source software. Knowledge at Wharton and CNET News.com covered several of the panels and keynote speakers. 
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Input Bias: How Managers Misuse Information When Making Decisions
Fans of the hit TV comedy "The Jerry Seinfeld Show" may remember an episode in which Jerry's friend George leaves his car parked at work so that the boss will think George is putting in long hours even when he's not. The idea of course is that George's apparent productivity will net him a higher raise or bonus. Wharton professor Maurice Schweitzer would call George's behavior "an attempt to invoke the input bias - the use of input information (in this case the false impression of long hours) to judge outcomes." As extreme as this example might seem business decisions are frequently made based on input that is either biased or manipulated as Schweitzer and colleague Karen Chinander suggest in a new paper entitled "The Input Bias: The Misuse of Input Information in Judgments of Outcomes."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Wal-Mart Empire: A Simple Formula and Unstoppable Growth
For the second year in a row Wal-Mart topped Fortune magazine's list of largest companies and is also the magazine's most-admired firm the first time one company has shared both honors since the annual survey began in 1955. The giant retailer continues to expand worldwide planting giant supercenters as well as new neighborhood-scale markets in its attempt to offer more and more goods to a wider array of shoppers. But Wharton faculty and outside analysts note that Wal-Mart still faces a few challenges ranging from its own centralized operations to union opposition to problems with local zoning boards.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Two Major Errors That Companies Make In Outsourcing Services
When companies outsource back-office services overseas one of the biggest challenges they face is measuring the results. Failure to monitor whether work is being performed correctly after it moves outside a company can result in massive and costly errors. How can companies protect themselves against such risks? Ravi Aron co-director with Jitendra Singh of a recent Wharton executive education program on business-process outsourcing offers some crucial insights.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What Labor Shortage? Debunking a Popular Myth
In recent years Wharton management professor Peter Cappelli has heard companies warn about a coming labor shortage to the point where this prediction is now routinely factored into discussions about human-resource issues. The problem Cappelli found is that no such shortage will occur. In his latest research Cappelli explains how challenges in recruiting and hiring stem from changes in the nature of the employer-employee relationship not in a shortfall of workers caused by demographic shifts.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What Makes Southwest Airlines Fly
How does Southwest Airlines keep making money? After all the airline industry overall is in a shambles. US Airways and United Air Lines are reorganizing in bankruptcy while American Airlines flirts with the same fate. As a group the nation's biggest air carriers have lost billions of dollars over the past several years with no immediate recovery in sight. Yet the secret to its success said Southwest chairman Herb Kelleher during a talk at Wharton April 22 is available for anyone including its competitors to see.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What Women Buy -- and Why
Women make or influence the purchase of more than 80% of all products and services. So you might think there would be nothing about women's buying habits that American businesses don't know. You would be wrong according to two new books entitled "Just Ask a Woman: Cracking the Code of What Women Want and How They Buy" and "Marketing to Women: How to Understand Reach and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment." The authors offer their observations on what women want when they set out to shop. Hint: Think "warmer " not "winner."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What Works What Doesn't: Lessons from Two Companies that Outsource Back-Office Tasks
Many Western companies are considering moving back-office operations such as call centers to low-wage countries like India. While this approach can result in significant savings when the project is handled right potential pitfalls can undo the benefits. Knowledge at Wharton spoke with two executives who have undertaken such projects for their organizations to understand where the pitfalls lie and how to avoid them.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Which Customers Are Worth Keeping and Which Ones Aren't? Managerial Uses of CLV
Managers have long been interested in weeding out customers that they consider to be less profitable than others. The question is how do managers determine who belongs in that group? According to several Wharton marketing professors there is no easy answer despite new and increasingly sophisticated efforts to measure what is called "Customer Lifetime Value" (CLV) - the present value of the likely future income stream generated by an individual purchaser. CLV it turns out is hard to calculate and harder to use.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Why Everyone in an Enterprise Can -- and Should -- Be a Leader
Leadership doesn't just start at the top. Leaders can also be found at the bottom of an organization and at just about every place in between. In this special report by Knowledge at Wharton and The McKinsey Quarterly the management journal of consulting firm McKinsey & Co. experts from McKinsey and Wharton point out that regardless of whether people are on the top line or the front line they should explore ways to exercise their leadership potential to the fullest. That is the only way in which they can create meaningful working lives for themselves and the organization can get the most from their efforts.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Why Smart People Do Unethical Things: What's Behind Another Year of Corporate Scandals
You might think that with the passing of another year the corporate scandals that have rocked American business would be showing signs of petering out. They are not. In the past few months disclosures of allegedly unethical or illegal practices have rocked the mutual-fund industry and some of its blue-chip names even as the head of the New York Stock Exchange was forced to resign over the size of his compensation package. Knowledge at Wharton spoke to ethics experts a business historian and a Wall Street executive in an attempt to understand why the country has witnessed misbehavior of breathtaking scope in the first few years of a new century.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Why Some Companies Retrain Workers and Others Lay Them Off
In today's economy the odds that employees' skills will need to be updated have increased says management professor Peter Cappelli. The question then becomes is your employer going to reinvest in you through retraining or lay you off and hire someone new? As director of the school's Center for Human Resources Cappelli wanted to know why a few companies have remained committed to retraining even as the ethos of American business has changed. The answer as Cappelli explains in a new research paper has a lot to do with what is termed "social capital."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Why Some Companies Succeed at CRM (and Many Fail)
What makes some companies so much better at managing customer relationships than their competitors? Put a different way how are companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car Pioneer Hi-bred Seeds Fidelity Investments Lexus Intuit and Capital One able to stay more closely connected to customers than their rivals in ways that significantly influence the profitability of the firm? It's a question that Wharton marketing professor George Day answers in a new paper. His research notes among other things three distinct approaches to customer relationship management (CRM) each with dramatically different results.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Wal-Mart's Mega-Growth Continues But Is its Image Getting a Bit Tarnished?
Wal-Mart's appearance for the third time in a row at the top of the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies would seem to confirm what many have long suspected: This retailing behemoth is all-powerful and unstoppable. But industry experts and others are beginning to scrutinize some of Wal-Mart's latest initiatives and its critics point to recent complaints about the company's labor practices and hardball negotiating tactics. Others warn that Wal-Mart is not invulnerable to the same trends that have forced at least 25 major chain stores to close their doors since 1980.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What Do The Numbers Really Mean? Uncovering the Secrets of Economic Indicators
The stock market rises and falls based on investors' perceptions about how the economy is doing. CEOs make investment decisions -- opening a new plant hiring more workers -- based on their expectations about how markets will perform in the future. How can they keep tabs on whether their expectations are realistic? Bernard Baumohl author of The Secrets of Economic Indicators provides some insights into how investors and CEOs alike can pick up on statistical signals about the economy.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Will RFID Spark the Next Revolution in Retailing?
Wal-Mart Target and other companies see radio-frequency identification (RFID) as a technology that will usher in the next revolution in the world of retailing. How real is this revolution? And what does it mean for retailers and customers? Experts at Wharton and elsewhere say that RFID is a potentially powerful technology that is on the brink of having a big impact. Still several hurdles remain that make it hard to predict whether its benefits will be immediate or spread out years into the future.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What's Behind the 4-Minute Mile Starbucks and the Moon Landing? The Power of Impossible Thinking
Impossible thinking. It is what put men on the moon allowed Starbucks to turn a commodity product into a powerful global business and permitted Roger Bannister to run the four-minute mile. While not every "impossible thought" can become a reality very often the greatest obstacle to transforming our organizations society and personal lives is our own thinking. This may seem to be a simple idea in theory - that what we see and act upon is more a product of what is inside our heads than out in the world - but it has far-reaching implications for how we approach life and decision making. In their new book titled The Power of Impossible Thinking: Transform the Business of Your Life and the Life of Your Business Wharton marketing professor Jerry Wind and Colin Crook former chief technology officer at Citibank discuss the process - and promise - of "impossible thinking."  
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What's the Buzz About Buzz Marketing?
There's a new marketing catchphrase that's getting rave word-of-mouth reviews. From articles in the popular press to conversations in the classroom huge companies to boutique marketing firms suddenly it seems you can't talk about new products without addressing 'buzz marketing.' "People are buzzing about buzzing " says Wharton marketing professor Barbara Kahn who adds along with others that word-of-mouth marketing has long been recognized as a way to influence consumer behavior. What's new about buzz marketing is the structure and hype surrounding it and the attempts to measure its effectiveness on sales.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Short- and Long-Term Outlook for Stocks
Baby boomers are amassing trillions of dollars in stocks bonds and mutual funds for retirement. But when they quit work and start selling those assets will there be enough buyers? Or will supply outstrip demand driving down prices and leaving the retirees with far less than they had expected? Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel addressed these issues during a presentation at Wharton on May 15 in which he also talked about the current financial markets worker productivity and growth in developing countries.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Your Boss Won't Agree? Might Be "Identity-Induced Stickiness"
Why do so many smokers keep smoking despite decades of health warnings? Why do Harley Davidson motorcycles and Ralph Lauren clothing engender such loyalty among very specific types of people? Why do teens and parents always seem to fight and never seem to hear what the other is saying? Wharton marketing professors Lisa Bolton and Americus Reed have found through their research that judgments linked to a person's identity - from teenager to Republican environmentalist or businessman - are virtually immovable. That has crucial implications for brand identity.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The CEO's Path to the Top: How Times Have Changed
In a new study that compares Fortune 100 executives in 1980 with their counterparts in 2001 Peter Cappelli director of Wharton's Center for Human Resources and colleague Monika Hamori document what many CEOs and other senior managers have no doubt already witnessed: The road to the executive suite and the characteristics of the executives who get there have changed significantly over the last two decades. Among the researchers' findings: Today's executives are younger more likely to be female and less likely to have Ivy League educations. They get to the executive suite faster than ever hold fewer jobs along the way spend about five years less in their current organization before being promoted and are more likely to be hired from the outside.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Redefining Retirement in the 21st Century
The demographics of today's workforce employee expectations about retirement and the types of retirement options offered are all in a state of flux making retirement policy a moving target for those charged with researching and administering pension plans. That was the message at a recent Wharton conference titled "Reinventing the Retirement Paradigm" co-hosted by Wharton's The Pension Research Council. Experts from academia government and industry debated what's ahead for the baby boomers and those coming up behind them.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Got a Good Strategy? Now Try to Implement It
For nearly 30 years Wharton management professor Lawrence G. Hrebiniak has taken the art of business strategy and put it under a microscope. Over time he has brought one critical element into irrefutable focus: Creating strategy is easy but implementing it is very difficult. In his new book Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change (Wharton School Publishing) Hrebiniak presents a comprehensive model to help business leaders bridge the gap between strategy making and successful strategy execution. He challenges executives to recognize that making strategy work is more difficult than setting a strategic course - but also more important -- and he documents the obstacles that get in the way of successful performance.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Teaching Kids about Money: Why It's Not Just Fun and Games
Schools companies and nonprofit organizations around the country including educators at Wharton say helping children and teenagers learn the rudiments of free markets entrepreneurship credit spending saving and investing is one of the most important - and neglected - components of a young person's education. Yet for kids from both affluent and poor neighborhoods it's difficult to find financial literacy courses not just in their schools but outside the classroom as well. Several organizations are hoping to change that.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Teamwork in a Shock Trauma Unit: New Lessons in Leadership
Imagine that you have been assigned to a six-person team in your company and asked to complete a top-priority project on a very short deadline. Some of the people have never worked together before team members change every hour or so leadership constantly shifts between three different individuals and any mistake could have disastrous even fatal consequences for the project. Wharton management professor Katherine J. Klein spent 10 months studying such teams in action at the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore Md. Her research presented in a new co-authored paper suggests a novel view of leadership different from that offered in traditional leadership models.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Jeremy Siegel's Latest Book Lays out the Future for Investors
In his 1994 best seller Stocks for the Long Run Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel showed investors that stocks rather than bonds or cash are the most profitable long-term investments and he endorsed index-style investing. But investors wanted to know more. "I gave scores of talks across the country on Stocks for the Long Run " Siegel recalled recently. "The two questions I received most were: 'Which stocks for the long run?' and 'What about the age wave and the baby boom?'" Siegel's response was voluminous research for his new book The Future for Investors: Why the Tried and True Triumph Over the Bold and the New. Some of its conclusions surprised even him.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Leading from Within Means Learning to Manage Your Ego and Emotions
Hubris can help a CEO build a business empire and it can also cause its downfall. When business leaders don't know themselves as well as they should and they are unable to manage their ego and emotions they fail say experts from Wharton and elsewhere. A Wharton conference on self-awareness will explore these themes further next month.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Need a Job? How about a Date? Networking Services Want to Help
Networking services - Internet companies that let users share personal profiles as a way to make social and professional contacts - are the hot e-businesses of the moment. Close to two dozen of these online communities are furiously recruiting members who in turn recruit their friends relatives co-workers and just about anyone seeking an introduction to or reference from someone who might matter. But it's still too early to measure how successful these sites are at matchmaking - or making money.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

HP After Carly: What Went Wrong?
When Carleton (Carly) S. Fiorina joined Hewlett-Packard as its chairman and CEO in 1999 she was widely regarded as a charismatic leader who would help HP get out of its high-tech rut. Six years later however Fiorina has been forced out of her position at HP's helm and the company is still languishing. What happened? According to Wharton professors while Fiorina has several strengths the merger she engineered with Compaq not only failed to deliver on its promises it actually made matters worse.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Hurricane Katrina: Important Policy Questions Amid the Devastation and Recovery
As the Gulf Coast attempts to recover from the emotional and physical scars of Hurricane Katrina the nation's most expensive natural disaster Wharton and University of Pennsylvania faculty are raising questions about how society should assess and perceive risk and how it should compensate victims when disaster strikes. A new book entitled On Risk and Disaster: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina by University of Pennsylvania provost Ronald J. Daniels political science professor Donald F. Kettl and Howard C. Kunreuther Wharton professor of operations and information management argues that the U.S. government has become an insurer of last resort and questions whether that unofficial policy is contributing to larger and costlier disasters.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Offshoring Services: Which Are the World's Top Locations -- and Why?
Those who have been following the controversy over "offshoring" U.S. service jobs to low-cost markets like India now have new developments to consider: The takeover this month by U.S. business giants -- IBM and Citigroup -- of two major providers of business process outsourcing (BPO) services in India. These developments seem to validate a new study by consulting firm A.T. Kearney which ranks India as the world's top location for BPO services followed by China Malaysia and the Czech Republic. Experts from Wharton and A.T. Kearney have lots to say about the latest trends in offshore outsourcing.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Older Workers: Untapped Assets for Creating Value
The days when an executive could look forward to a leisurely retirement out on the golf course are over thanks to a possible looming job shortage a graying population low savings rates and an insecure Social Security system. The impact of these factors on both workers and companies was the subject of the Symposium on Older Workers co-sponsored recently by the AARP Global Aging Program along with Wharton's Center for Human Resources and Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research. Speakers included AARP CEO William D. Novelli Olivia Mitchell executive director of Wharton's Pension Research Council and Thomas Dowd a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Labor.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

'Tastes Great Less Filling and Perfect with Cheese': Beer Tries to Brew Up a New Image
Can an industry that has spent a fortune on TV ads featuring mud wrestlers and talking frogs suddenly change its stripes to appeal to the wine-and-cheese single-malt Scotch crowd? The makers of Budweiser and other brands of beer hope so. Anheuser-Busch and its competitors are developing an industry-wide marketing campaign aimed at overhauling the image of the humble beer and staunching its declining share of the alcoholic beverage market. But Wharton faculty members say that such a radical makeover might be too tall an order even though the effort could enhance the appeal of microbreweries and perhaps some mass-market beers like Michelob that have already carved out a higher-end image.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Auto Industry Consolidation: Is There a New Model on the Horizon?
The turmoil and uncertainty among auto manufacturers and their suppliers have left people wondering when a shakeout can be expected. According to Wharton management professor John Paul MacDuffie and Christopher Benko director of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Automotive Institute in Detroit consolidation will take place among suppliers to a much greater extent than among carmakers which may not experience mergers and acquisitions at all in the near term but will be engaged in ever-shifting strategic alliances and joint ventures. Additionally these experts say many Western parts suppliers are under immense pressure from lower-cost Chinese parts producers and need to consolidate to strengthen their chances of survival.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Call Centers: How to Reduce Burnout Increase Efficiency
It's no surprise that the front lines of a corporate call center are unusually stressful but companies don't always account for that when hiring and training workers for this critical customer contact role according to speakers at a recent Call Center Industry Forum sponsored by Wharton's Financial Institutions Center. Given that an estimated 3% of the U.S. workforce is employed in call centers and that such centers typically experience a 30% annual turnover it's clear that new approaches to call center management are needed.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Combat in High C: Microsoft vs. Apple
Last week Microsoft unveiled the new version of its Windows Media Player firing the opening shots in a long-anticipated battle against Apple Computer for supremacy in the online music business. Both companies are targeting the fast-growing market whose sales are expected to be $270 million this year but could grow to $1.7 billion by 2009. Experts at Wharton and elsewhere say that for now Apple whose iTunes music service commands a 70% market share has an impressive lead. Over time however two strategic issues make Apple vulnerable to being dislodged by Microsoft or other rivals.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Companies Must Learn to Achieve the Price Advantage (or Pay the Price)
Pricing the intersection at which untold numbers of buyers and sellers meet every day lies at the core of any business. Yet it remains misunderstood and poorly managed according to The Price Advantage a new book by three consultants at McKinsey & Co. Even executives at successful companies may not fully appreciate how small changes in price can lead to large changes in profitability. Wharton marketing professor David J. Reibstein spoke recently with the authors about the themes in their book.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Connecting Marketing Metrics to Financial Consequences
Marketers are happy speaking their own language replete with jargon like "awareness " "share of requirements" and "customer satisfaction." Such terminology works fine in the marketing department and with the advertising professionals who execute marketing plans. But there's a translation problem between that language and the language of profitability and stock price which is the mother tongue of corporate CEOs. "CEOs want to know what a 5% increase in customer satisfaction will do for the bottom line " says Wharton marketing professor David Reibstein who talked about "Linking Marketing Metrics to Financial Consequences" at the Wharton Marketing Conference on October 15.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Death of a Drug: The Aftermath of Merck's Recall
Wharton management professor Michael Useem director of the school's Center for Leadership and Change Management notes that one of the key mantras in corporate crisis management is: "Hide nothing tell all." Less than a week after Merck & Co.'s voluntary withdrawal of its blockbuster arthritis pain medication Vioxx following an extended clinical trial that linked the drug to heart attacks and strokes the jury is still out on whether the pharmaceutical giant followed this cardinal rule. Wharton professors debate Merck's response to the crisis and the impact of the recall.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Getting Close to the Customer: Quantitative vs. Qualitative Approaches
After adapting information technology to develop ever more sophisticated research methods marketers are taking a second look at more human qualitative approaches to tapping into the hearts and minds of consumers. As one Wharton marketing professor says: "We can put each customer's order on a microchip but as far as having a sense of what's inside making him tick " the answers remain elusive. He and others suggest that companies use both quantitative methods - such as data mining - and qualitative methods ranging from "concept banks" to "brand communities" to customer advisory boards always keeping in mind the cost-effectiveness of these varied approaches.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Giving Employees What They Want: The Returns Are Huge
David Sirota co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want (Wharton School Publishing) believes far too many managers stifle employee enthusiasm across the board by using bureaucratic or punitive techniques that should be reserved for a troublesome few. Yet his book written with Louis A. Mischkind and Michael Irwin Meltzer finds that firms where employee morale is high -- such as Intuit and Barron's -- tend to outperform competitors. In an interview with Knowledge at Wharton Sirota talks about employees' three basic goals how to deal with employees who are "allergic" to work and how managers can inspire greater loyalty and productivity from their workforce.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Goal setting and Cheating: Why They Often Go Together in the Workplace
From childhood on individuals are told that setting goals for themselves will make them more successful in whatever they set out to do - whether it's win tennis games ace their exams or become CEO of their company. But goal-setting also has a dark side to it according to a recent research paper by a Wharton faculty member and two colleagues. In addition to motivating constructive behavior goal setting - especially when it involves rewards such as bonuses or perks - can also motivate unethical behavior when people fall short of the goals they set or that are set for them.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Going Once ... Going Twice ... The Bidding Behavior of Buyers in Internet Auctions
Would you like to go on an Internet auction site and know how much to bid for a certain item -- and also know that you didn't overpay for that item? How about when you sell an item in an online auction: Would you like to know what price to set that ensures you don't leave money on the online table? Wharton marketing and statistics professor Eric T. Bradlow can't provide specific answers. But he does offer guidance on the behavior of potential buyers in a new study entitled "An Integrated Model for Bidding Behavior in Internet Auctions: Whether Who When and How Much " recently published in the Journal of Marketing Research. Bradlow co-authored the study with Cornell marketing professor Young-Hoon Park. "To the best of our knowledge this is the first attempt to model formally the behavioral aspects of bidding behavior for the entire sequence of bids in Internet auctions " the authors write.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Entertainment Tonight and Tomorrow: The Media Industry's New Channels New Content New CEOs
Numerous American industries are being battered by lower-cost competition from abroad. But the U.S. entertainment sector is poised to profit amid the onslaught say Hollywood executive Jeff Berg and Wall Street investor Suhail Rizvi. Berg chairman of International Creative Management talent agency has made his career in Hollywood; Rizvi head of a private equity firm recently invested (along with Merrill Lynch) about $100 million in ICM. But Berg and Rizvi's partnership rests on clear-eyed strategic reasoning not a shared fascination with the glitter. "The production of media may go to other places but the content will still be owned by U.S. companies and that's where the value lies " Rizvi says. He and Berg spoke last month at the inaugural meeting of the Wharton undergraduate media and entertainment club.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Experimental Entrepreneurship: Removing the 'Tin Cup Dependencies'
Although it has one of the most dynamic economies in Africa Botswana also has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV-AIDS infection. In response the Botswana government along with the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania and Wharton's Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center is helping develop a more efficient system to manage and monitor HIV/AIDS therapy. According to Ian C. MacMillan director of the Snider Center and James D. Thompson associate director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs the Botswana project illustrates a new concept called "Societal Wealth Creation via Experimental Entrepreneurship." By working to develop societal wealth enterprises in places like Africa MacMillan and Thompson hope to sidestep two obstacles that often plague business development around social problems -- low profitability and lack of seed funding.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

For The Pew's Rebecca Rimel the Bottom Line Is Impact Not Profits
When Rebecca Rimel president and CEO of the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts describes the challenges she faces running a $4.6 billion organization she uses the same words one hears from leaders in the for-profit world: "highly strategic " "politically aware " "leveraged" and "accountable." But her bottom line is impact not profits. "We are highly driven to make a difference in the key issues that matter to the health and happiness of our stakeholders -- the public " she said during a recent leadership talk at Wharton. Running an effective organization Rimel told her audience requires hard-nosed decisions about which projects to fund which people to hire and what battles to walk away from.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Gandhi Mandela Mother Teresa a Tree a Pillow ... Images of Leadership from Future Leaders
What do images of a crew team geese flying in formation trees silly putty and a steering wheel have in common? They all are part of how undergraduate business students at Wharton depict and describe the essence of leadership. Since 2000 Wharton freshmen have been required to participate in Images of Leadership a project sponsored by Wharton's undergraduate leadership program led by director Anne M. Greenhalgh and associate director Christopher I. Maxwell. In a recent report called Images of Leadership: The Story Emerging Leaders Tell Greenhalgh and Maxwell discuss the students' responses -- and biases -- as expressed in both pictures and words.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Germany's Angela Merkel: A 'Continental European Politician in the Making'
During her first few months in office German Chancellor Angela Merkel has attained the kind of approval rating that politicians the world over dream about largely due to the way she has handled herself on international matters in visits to Washington Moscow and Brussels. But her main challenge is Germany's economy Europe's largest and the world's third biggest. It is a challenge that has been staring German leaders in the face for a long time for a number of reasons: lackluster GDP growth over the last five years; a vast overburdened welfare state; an anemic service sector; stubborn protectionist sentiment and an aging population that will place greater strain on the nation's budget in years to come. In whatever policies she proposes Merkel will have to tread softly to avoid alarming citizens and trade unions wary of change say scholars at Wharton and business schools in Europe.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Delhi in Davos: How India Built its Brand at the World Economic Forum
The emergence of China and India figured prominently at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos last month. In India's case however another factor also was at work. Determined not to be overshadowed Indian business and government leaders spent some two years and $4 million planning an elaborate branding campaign to ensure that the "India story" got prominent play and did not get lost amid the chatter at Davos. How does a country go about building its brand though such PR campaigns? And how can outcomes be measured to see if the campaign worked? Wharton professors who were at Davos and Indian business and government leaders say that while India's campaign at the summit was impressive the country will now have to walk the talk on infrastructure investments and policy reforms if it wants to retain its credibility.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Digital Rights Management (DRM): Media Companies' Next Flop?
Big media players are accustomed to watching the ratings for the most popular music video and book content but perhaps they should pay more attention to how consumers feel about three letters at the bottom of most charts -- DRM which stands for digital rights management. Broadly defined DRM encompasses multiple technologies that control the use of software music movies or any other piece of digital content. But media companies are risking a consumer backlash by deploying overzealous systems with draconian restrictions say experts at Wharton who also question whether DRM is worth the effort whether it will survive and what the best approach is for balancing the rights of consumers with the rights of content creators.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Can Wikipedia Survive Its Own Success?
It's not easy being Wikipedia a free web encyclopedia created and edited by anonymous contributors. Just ask founder Jimmy Wales who has seen his creation come under fire in just a few short months as the site fends off vandalism and charges of inaccurate entries. But Wikipedia founded in 2001 as a non-profit organization has become a big enough presence that it raises a number of interesting questions including: Just how accurate is free content given recent events at Wikipedia? Does the aggregate 'wisdom of the crowd' trump the expertise of knowledgeable individuals? Does Wikipedia's policing mechanism work? And does the controversy over Wikipedia merely reflect further tension between old and new media? Wharton experts along with Wales offer some answers.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

All the News That's Fit to ... Aggregate Download Blog: Are Newspapers Yesterday's News?
The recent sale of Knight Ridder the country's second-largest newspaper chain to McClatchy follows one of the most difficult years the industry has had -- declining circulation job losses and falling stock prices. Newspapers it would seem have two big strikes against them: They are in a mature industry and they are a textbook example (stockbrokers are another) of an intermediary between sources of information and customers -- a role that is being increasingly challenged by the Internet. To remain competitive in the coming years say Wharton faculty and others daily newspapers will have to strengthen their efforts to attract younger readers make more imaginative use of the Internet and develop stories mostly local in nature that better meet the needs of time-pressed subscribers.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Are Commodities Futures Too Risky for Your Portfolio? Hogwash!
Everyone uses commodities such as wheat cocoa crude oil butter coal and electricity. But most investors know that speculating on commodities in the futures markets is only for the pros and no sensible amateur would bet his retirement or college funds on sugar silver orange juice or feeder cattle. But are commodities really that risky? Using the most comprehensive data on commodities futures returns ever assembled Wharton finance professor Gary Gorton and K. Geert Rouwenhorst finance professor at the Yale School of Management have reached a surprising conclusion -- that commodities offer the same returns as investors are accustomed to receiving with stocks. Gorton and Rouwenhorst present their findings in a paper titled "Facts and Fantasies about Commodity Futures."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Avian Flu: What to Expect and How Companies Can Prepare for It
The avian flu that is steadily making its way around the globe represents a huge challenge for governments corporations and citizens worldwide. No one knows what will happen to the avian influenza virus in the coming months and years. Will it mutate into a strain that will allow people to readily infect others? Or will it fizzle out? Despite the uncertainty many people are taking into account scenarios ranging from mild to severe in order to plan for what could turn out to be a calamity. Faculty members at Wharton health care professionals and risk consultants say it is important that companies assess how their organizations could be harmed by a pandemic and take preventive measures to mitigate the damage and keep their enterprises operating.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Battle over Blackberry: Is the U.S. Patent System Out of Whack?
On Friday February 24 the long-running patent dispute between Research In Motion which makes the popular BlackBerry wireless email and communications device and NTP a holding company that claims RIM technology infringes on its patents will finally have its day in court. That's when a federal judge will consider a possible injunction that would effectively shut down BlackBerry service in the U.S. But perhaps just as important as the specific facts of this case are the broader questions it raises: For example could RIM be shut down even as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is re-evaluating several of the disputed patents? Is the patent office bogged down with so many patent applications that it can no longer function effectively? Are companies abusing the original intent of patent law? And can a system that in 1977 permitted a patent for a "comb over" -- technically a "method of styling hair to cover partial baldness using only the hair on a person's head" -- keep up with technological innovation?
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Beware of Dissatisfied Consumers: They Like to Blab
When consumers have a bad shopping experience they are likely to spread the word not to the store manager or salesperson but to friends family and colleagues. Overall if 100 people have a bad experience a retailer stands to lose between 32 and 36 current or potential customers. These are some of the conclusions of The Retail Customer Dissatisfaction Study 2006 conducted by The Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative at Wharton and The Verde Group a Toronto consulting firm in the weeks before and after Christmas 2005. The biggest source of consumer dissatisfaction? Parking lots.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

A Million Little Embellishments: Truth and Trust in Advertising and Publishing
The disclosure that author James Frey lied in his best-selling book A Million Little Pieces and the furor that followed raise numerous questions about truth in advertising trust between sellers and buyers brand image and reputation as well as two themes that Frey himself focused on in his now-discredited memoir of recovery from substance abuse -- suffering and redemption. How widespread is deception when is stretching the truth acceptable how jaded are consumers towards the claims made by advertisers and how credible was Oprah's response to the Frey incident? Wharton experts offer their views on truth and fiction.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

'If He Ruled the World': Carl Icahn's Take on Time Warner and Corporate America
Carl Icahn's battle for Time Warner has just intensified. Icahn the corporate takeover specialist attempting to win control of the media giant held a press conference yesterday to announce a plan to break Time Warner into four separate companies and buy back $20 billion in stock -- all part of his crusade to oust management for the benefit of shareholders. His press conference followed a speech last week at the 2006 Wharton Economic Summit in which he denied that he is an "imperial shareholder" out to rip companies apart for quick gains. Icahn was responding to remarks made earlier at the Summit by corporate lawyer Martin Lipton who argued that a new breed of aggressive shareholder is pressuring companies to produce short-term gains at the expense of long-term growth.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

'Jumping on the Asia Train': How Sustainable Is China's Rapid Growth?
China's securities industry is just one of the sectors moving ahead at a dizzying pace as the country readies itself for full entry into the World Trade Organization this year according to participants in the recent Wharton Global Business Forum's Asia Conference. Not surprisingly China dominated discussion at the conference with many speakers noting the speed with which the country is advancing. But growth is not just confined to China. The 21st century said one panelist will be the "Asian century " powered by among other things a highly educated and motivated population and increased travel and tourism.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Advice for Enron Litigants: Keep It Simple
It took prosecutors just over four years to work their way up the Enron food chain but now the failed energy company's top former executives Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling are facing a jury in a federal criminal fraud trial expected to last at least four months. How can each side best present a complex story that involves exotic derivatives products off-books accounting and strange subsidiaries with names like Raptor? Experts say they should apply lessons learned in the other high-profile corporate fraud cases of the Enron era: Keep it simple.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

After Acquiring Macromedia What's Next for Adobe? Ask Bruce Chizen
With its acquisition of Macromedia on December 3 2005 Adobe Systems has become the fifth largest software company in the world. It currently controls two of the dominant formats for electronic content -- the Adobe Acrobat PDF format for electronic documents and the Flash SWF format for interactive web content. Looking ahead CEO Bruce Chizen's goal is to have Adobe provide the interface for any device with a screen -- "from a refrigerator to an automobile to a video game to a computer to a mobile phone." Such ambitions put Adobe squarely in the sites of Microsoft which currently dominates desktop software development. In a recent interview with Knowledge at Wharton Chizen spoke about the Macromedia acquisition his plans for developing the next-generation application platform and his views on the challenges presented by Microsoft.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Oracle's Acquisition Binge: Trying to Cover All Its (Data) Bases
For Oracle the past few months have been one big shopping spree. On January 31 the enterprise software giant purchased longtime rival Siebel Systems the leading provider of customer relationship management software. On February 14 it acquired Sleepycat an "open source" database maker; two days later it bought HotSip AB a Swedish telecommunications software provider. For many companies Oracle's month would have been a year's worth of merger and acquisition activity but for the Redwood Shores Calif.-based firm it's the norm. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison made a big splash in 2004 by announcing he would consolidate the software industry starting with archrival PeopleSoft and he has been true to his word. The real test however lies ahead: Can Oracle attract new customers?
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Podcast: Helen Greiner -- The Vision Behind iRobot
Much to the surprise of several venture capitalists who turned her down Helen Greiner co-founder of iRobot has built a thriving business making domestic robots like Roomba which sweeps floors and industrial robots that defuse bombs in Iraq. She was on campus this week at the invitation of the Wharton technology and entrepreneurship clubs and spoke with Knowledge at Wharton about the impact that robots have and will have on everyday life.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Podcast: The Instant Millionaire - What Should an NFL Player Do?
Professional athletes face unusual challenges related to financial management especially since their peak earning period lasts a relatively short time often just a few years. Knowledge at Wharton asked Ken Shropshire professor of legal studies and business ethics and director of the Wharton sports business initiative to discuss this topic with Kailee Wong linebacker for the Houston Texans. Wong attended an executive education program at Wharton co-sponsored by the NFL and NFLPA.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Podcast: Wharton's Kevin Werbach Speaks with IBM's David Yaun about the Global Innovation Outlook
Kevin Werbach a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton spoke recently with David Yaun an IBM executive about the company's Global Innovation Outlook project. According to Yaun "traditionally companies have identified innovation with gadgets and gizmos but that thinking is being transformed." The definition of innovation is being broadened -- it is becoming more open collaborative global and inter-disciplinary. "The barriers to innovation and collaboration have come down dramatically " Yaun says. This was the second in a series of interviews about themes to be featured at Supernova a conference Werbach organizes in collaboration with Wharton in San Francisco.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Podcast: What Makes an Online Community Tick? Ask Craigslist Yahoo and Pheedo
Online communities have become not just a major social force but a significant driver of business activity both online and offline. Facilitating nurturing and benefiting from those communities however is not a simple task. To explore what makes these communities tick Kevin Werbach a professor of legal studies and business ethics at Wharton spoke with Craig Newmark founder of Craigslist.com Julie Herendeen vice president of Network Products at Yahoo and William Flitter CMO of Pheedo.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Podcast: What Three Wharton Students Learned about Leadership at the U.S. Naval Academy
At a time when global business rivalries are intensifying competition often resembles combat. Keeping this connection between business and the armed forces in mind three Wharton undergraduate students -- Rana Yared Naomi Adaniya and Mark Green -- recently participated in officer leadership training at the U.S. Naval Academy. Among the lessons they learned: Leadership isn't always glamorous; it often starts with the mundane.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Prime Time No More: The Television Industry Struggles Against Digital Distribution Upstarts
It's open season on the television industry's business model. In recent years the three pillars of the industry's profits -- advertising regional programming and syndication deals -- have come under fire from a band of technology companies including Sling Media TiVo Orb Networks and Apple Computer that are rewriting the content distribution rules. As one Wharton professor notes TV won't necessarily be viewed via TV anymore. What are the dangers and opportunities of digital distribution? How easily can the big media companies adapt to new technologies and can they continue to attract viewers who spend more time these days on the web than with their remote controls?
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Raising Money to Treat the World's Sickest People Isn't the Problem: Spending It Is
In the debate over how to build better models to help the world's neediest citizens supporters of for-profit social-impact organizations argue that their model is more sustainable than non-profit schemes. Non-profit and foundation executives agree that new paradigms are necessary but caution that for-profit models could ultimately put profit ahead of serving the poor. The issues surrounding this debate were further explored at the recent Wharton Social Impact Management (SIM) Conference whose theme -- "Solutions to Social Problems Incident to our Civilization" -- borrowed a phrase used 125 years ago by school founder Joseph Wharton in his directive for business education.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

In Africa Opportunity Takes Many Shapes from Diamonds to IT to Political Reform
The chairman of the largest software house in Ghana spoke approvingly of the "Wild West" aspects of doing business there. One of that country's cabinet ministers saw signs that "constitutional democracies are gaining roots" on the African continent. A prominent Nigerian lawyer spoke of profit margins all but impossible in the United States or Europe. These three panelists appeared recently at the 2005 Wharton Global Business Forum Africa Conference entitled "Unveiling the Value; Demystifying the Risk." Speakers described the continent as bursting with opportunities challenges and pitfalls for local and foreign companies but the emphasis was decidedly on the word "opportunity."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Industry Leaders Debate Big Pharma R&D (Too Little Hope?) and Stem Cell Research (Too Much hype?)
Different points on the research spectrum were under the microscope at the Wharton Health Care Business Conference last month as two panels of biotech pharmaceutical and investment leaders discussed the state of R&D among big pharmaceuticals and the progress of stem cell research. While disappointing results in both sectors have dominated the news lately panelists at each session also noted some promising developments -- and causes for optimism -- in their respective fields.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Inventory Management: A Way to Give It a Grade
Cell phones that do email take photos and surf the web. Cars with options ranging from built-in satellite radio to rain-sensing wiper blades. While a seemingly endless variety of new products may delight consumers it makes inventory management as dicey as predicting what a teenager will want for her birthday next year. The problem say Wharton professor Serguei Netessine and Wharton doctoral student Serguei Roumiantsev is that no one knows how to measure the quality of supply chain management using companies' publicly available financial data. In a recent paper entitled "Should Inventory Policy Be Lean or Responsive? Evidence for U.S. Public Companies " the two researchers provide "a statistical methodology that links managerial decisions related to inventory with accounting returns."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Is the Disney-Pixar Deal Overhyped?
Walt Disney announced yesterday that it is acquiring Pixar the animated film studio that has made such hits as The Incredibles Finding Nemo and Toy Story. As part of the $7.4 billion deal Pixar's founder Steve Jobs will become a Disney board member and also its biggest shareholder. In an audio-only interview Wharton marketing professor Peter Fader speaks with Mukul Pandya editor-in-chief of Knowledge at Wharton and Robbie Shell editorial director about the implications of this deal not just for the two companies involved but for the whole media and entertainment industry.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Is There a Robot in Your Future? Helen Greiner Thinks So
Helen Greiner shares a key trait with many successful business leaders -- a passion for something. In her case it happens to be robots. That passion led Greiner -- along with Colin Angle and Rodney Brooks -- to found what would become iRobot in 1990. Over the past four years iRobot has sold more than 1.5 million robots for cleaning floors and has deployed more than 300 tactical military robots in Iraq. Greiner recently gave a presentation at Wharton sponsored by the School's entrepreneurship and technology clubs after which she talked with Knowledge at Wharton about her company and the impact that robots have and will have on our everyday lives.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Nowhere to Run Nowhere to Hide: The Online Privacy Issue
When Google announced its Gmail email service two years ago a lot of people figured the company was joking. After all Google had been known to offer up the occasional gag like saying it was starting a research center on the moon. More importantly nobody believed that consumers would tolerate Google's plan of scanning people's emails and then delivering advertisements to them based on the emails' contents. Two years later Gmail has tens of millions of users. But consumers' initial disbelief underscores the web's knotty privacy problem according to participants at the recent 2006 Wharton Technology Conference. Consumers say they want privacy online although they often behave in ways that contradict that statement; companies insist they will protect privacy although they sometimes fail to do so. And everybody is wary of increased government regulation.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The 2006 Gadget Parade: A New Era of Convergence and Convenience
Apple's iPod again ruled beneath the Christmas tree in 2005 after the latest model of the iconic music player was outfitted with a video screen. And as the new year begins a long-anticipated era of convergence in consumer technology products draws closer according to Wharton faculty and technology analysts. Meanwhile cell phones that play video e-mail delivered to handheld computers telephone conversations over the PC -- and hundreds of other glimpses into Christmas future -- were on display at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week where the stepped-up presence of digital giants including Microsoft Google Yahoo and Intel signaled their ever-increasing interest in expanding from the office into consumers' living rooms.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Hands-off: Holders of 401(k) Retirement Accounts Are Not Your Typical Investors
With $2.5 trillion invested in 401(k) retirement accounts 60 million Americans control a powerful chunk of cash. So how much attention do investors pay to this vast pool of savings? Not much. According to a new Wharton analysis of retirement accounts managed by The Vanguard Group in 2003 and 2004 participants in 401(k) plans made little effort to tend their defined-contribution plans once they were set up. Even among those who did trade regularly turnover rates were one-third those of professional money managers. Olivia S. Mitchell executive director of Wharton's Pension Research Council Stephen P. Utkus principal Vanguard Center for Retirement Research and researchers Gary Mottola and Takeshi Yamaguchi present their findings in a paper entitled "The Inattentive Participant: Portfolio Trading Behavior in 401(k) Plans."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

SEC's Spotlight on Executive Pay: Will It Make a Difference?
Compensation for American CEOs has soared over the past decade far exceeding inflation and wage gains of ordinary workers -- and leading critics to charge that self-serving insiders have tilted the playing field at shareholders' expense. In response the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 17 took the first step toward adopting rules to better show shareholders how much their top executives and directors are paid. Will that drive executive pay down? Probably not say several Wharton professors arguing that executive pay is not necessarily as excessive as the most extreme cases suggest. Still they agree that more complete disclosure would improve the system. As one expert puts it: "When people are forced to undress in public they pay attention to their figures."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Sirius Satellite Radio and Howard Stern Go Ear to Ear with XM
Since announcing on October 6 2004 that it had signed Howard Stern to a five-year deal Sirius Satellite Radio has added approximately 2.7 million subscribers and become a household name in the satellite radio world. The tab: Close to $700 million. Is Stern worth it? Can the popular and raunchy talk show host catapult Sirius ahead of rival XM Satellite Radio or are there other issues to consider such as the threat of new technologies the need to provide good content and the continuing popularity of conventional radio? Wharton faculty and others debate the different strategies of Sirius and XM and the challenges that both face.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Talking Chimps Subservient Chickens And Others Blend Entertainment and Advertising
A talking chimp arriving in e-mail inboxes speaks in its sender's voice through a telephone connection or recites a pre-recorded joke for the boss. Burger King's ad campaign offers a "subservient chicken" site where viewers can type in commands to a person in a chicken suit with red garters. JibJab is developing a new site called JokeBox where consumers and corporations can post and share funny videos or jokes online. These are among the latest viral marketing campaigns that blend advertisement and interactive entertainment across informal consumer networks. The convergence may be inevitable say Wharton faculty and others but it remains unclear whether such an approach is sustainable and measurable and whether it will actually generate new business.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Tax Shelters: Exotic or Just Plain Illegal?
They were unusual tax shelters that went by incomprehensible names like BLIPS OPIS BOSS and FLIP -- and they boomeranged on the companies that sold them. In February German bank HVB Group agreed to pay $29.6 million in fines to avoid indictment for defrauding the Internal Revenue Service with abusive tax shelters that gave rich clients phony losses to reduce taxes. The settlement was part of a broadening investigation into shelters that wealthy individuals used to escape about $2.5 billion in taxes from the mid-1990s through 2003 according to the government. What is a tax shelter and more importantly what is an illegal one?
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Continuing Turmoil in the Power Industry: What It Means for the Major Players
Five years ago this winter California's wholesale power market imploded. Power prices soared. California residents endured weeks of rolling blackouts. Two California utilities were forced into bankruptcy even as their suppliers -- independent power companies -- reaped huge windfalls. Five years later the tables have turned. Formerly bankrupt California utilities are profitable while formerly robust power generators scramble to survive. What happened? Wharton faculty and others look at the industry's unique challenges and suggest structural and management strategies that could improve its chances for sustainable growth.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Home-video Market: Who Rents Who Buys and Why
When the door to a TLA Entertainment video store swings open the primary question facing most consumers shuffling inside is relatively simple: "What movie will I take home tonight?" But to Wharton marketing professor Jehoshua Eliashberg and Wharton doctoral candidate George Knox the key question surrounding the burgeoning $12 billion home-video market goes at least one step further: Which consumers will rent their movie of choice tonight and which consumers will buy? In a study entitled "The Consumer's Rent vs. Buy Decision: The Case of Home-Video " Eliashberg and Knox present a new model that they say accurately predicts the consumer's decision to rent or buy a particular movie at a video store.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Merrill Lynch-BlackRock Deal Signals Major Shift in Financial Services
When Merrill Lynch decided this month to sell its asset-management operation to BlackRock -- a money manager serving wealthy investors and institutions and best known for its conservative focus on bonds and risk-management products -- analysts and investors cheered bidding up the shares of both companies. By acquiring Merrill's $539 billion mutual fund family BlackRock will quickly broaden its stock-fund offerings and its appeal to retail customers. Merrill by acquiring just under 50% of BlackRock will do well if BlackRock can strengthen the performance and appeal of Merrill's disappointing fund operation. But the cheering involves some wishful thinking as well. Merrill hopes to finesse its way out of its disappointing decision to embrace one of the late-1990s hottest fads: the financial supermarket. And BlackRock has to hope that investors don't come to see it as a de-facto Merrill subsidiary inheriting Merrill's problems without adding value of its own to the asset-management business.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Race to Improve Search Engines -- and Their Business Models
Consumers these days swim in an alphabet soup of digital devices -- PCs and PDAs DVRs and iPods MP3 and DVD players. And each device delivers a host of programming that is not easily enjoyed on the others. This diversity means that market power will continue to reside with firms that can help consumers find and organize content for their preferred device -- in other words search engines according to panelists at the 2006 Wharton Technology Conference. Discussion centered on increasing advertising opportunities that will accompany improved search engines the development of local and enterprise search and the need for standard data-storage and transfer formats.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

The Rise of Spanish Multinationals: On the Move in a Global Economy
Last fall Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano announced that it would pay $2.4 billion for a 20% stake in Philadelphia-based Sovereign Bank. It was a deal that didn't surprise Wharton management professor Mauro Guillén who has been watching the strategic moves of the bank since the late 1980s. But Guillen's interest goes beyond Banco Santander. In a recently published book titled The Rise of Spanish Multinationals: European Business in the Global Economy Guillén explores why and how Spanish companies in a variety of industries have acquired a prominent presence in the global economy and what this expansion means -- economically financially politically and socially -- for Spain and the rest of Europe.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Unlike Death and Taxes Pensions Are No Longer Guaranteed
IBM. Verizon. Sears. Hewlett-Packard. Motorola. The list of corporations that have put a halt to guaranteed pension plans comes as a jolt to Baby Boom employees entering what they thought would be their peak pension-building years. At the same time new accounting rules and Congressional legislation are being drafted to close the U.S. pension-funding gap now estimated at $450 billion. While some proposals under discussion could make it easier for companies to discontinue defined-benefit plans others would create incentives to support defined-contribution programs such as 401(k) plans according to Wharton faculty and pension experts. Amid all this flux they add one thing seems certain: Pension plans have become risky business.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Up and Down Hot and Cold: Experts Dissect the Real Estate and Energy Industries
Business leaders from two hot investment sectors -- real estate and energy -- discussed possible consolidation in their industries and other trends during two panels at the February 1 Wharton Economic Summit in New York City. The first panel entitled "Real Estate: Where It's at and Where It's Headed. A Discussion with Three Legends " included William Mack Sam Zell and Mortimer Zuckerman. The second panel "The State of Energy Investing: What's Fueling Consolidation? " included a range of experts who debated the role of private equity and hedge funds in consolidation the rise of both global demand and global players the role of renewable energy and the possibility of a windfall profits tax on energy producers.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

View from Davos: Leadership Today Requires More Caution Less Exuberance
At the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos last month the extraordinary optimism of Asian -- especially Chinese and Indian -- leaders held center stage. For Michael Useem director of Wharton's Center for Leadership and Change it all felt very déjà vu: In the late 1990s a similarly exuberant spirit surrounded American business leaders. But the hubris of unbounded optimism can be dangerous warns Useem who spoke in three Forum sessions.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Wipro's Azim Premji: "I Don't See Growing to 200 000 People as an Insurmountable Challenge"
Azim Premji 60 owns more than 80% of Bangalore-based Wipro India's third largest software exporter which had annual revenues of $1.8 billion in 2005. Forbes magazine reckons that his net worth exceeds $13 billion and it places him at No. 25 in its most recent ranking of the world's richest people. In the first of a two-part interview with Knowledge at Wharton Premji speaks with Ravi Aron a professor of operations and information management at Wharton about Wipro's reorganization last year following the departure of its former CEO; why the company chose to move to a new structure based on so-called verticals; how Wipro's business operations are changing; and the challenges the company faces in building management talent.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

What Happens When the Press Blasts Your CEO for Excess Compensation? Apparently Not Much
Springtime in addition to bringing back flowers and birds also brings forth many companies' proxy statements including information on CEO compensation. It's a signal for the business press to get to work reporting the details of what appear to be the highest executive pay packages. Wharton accounting professors Wayne Guay and John Core and Stanford accounting professor David Larcker also study executive compensation. What they conclude from their most recent research is that the most relevant information doesn't necessarily make headlines. They also find that in general the media's focus on excessive compensation does not substantively change corporate behavior with regards to pay packages.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Will Microsoft's New 'Ultra-Mobile' Computer Fly or Flop? Past Experience Offers Some Clues
Although Microsoft recently unveiled an 'ultra-mobile personal computer ' or UMPC in a move to fill a market niche between laptops and handheld computers it remains to be seen whether this latest innovation from the software giant will be a hit or flop. While Microsoft is following a "build-it-and-it-will-sell" strategy with the UMPC technology history is littered with innovative products that never found a market say experts at Wharton. As Wharton professor of operations and information management Eric K. Clemons puts it: "Build-it-and-it-will-sell strategies are a mixed bag."
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Aligning the Organization with the Market: Focusing on 'The Customer's Total Experience'
When Lou Gerstner became chief executive of IBM in the early 1990s Big Blue was on a course to be broken up into smaller companies each responsible for separate IBM business units such as PCs software and the like. But Gerstner concluded the strategy was "wrong-headed" because it was contrary to the wishes of customers according to Wharton marketing professor George Day. Rather than assemble their computer systems from a variety of vendors customers wanted help putting everything together. So IBM embarked on a multi-year journey to align its organization with the marketplace. For IBM the experiment was successful. But in a forthcoming paper titled "Aligning the Organization with the Market " Day reports on a survey that found only mixed results among 347 medium- to large-size firms that attempted customer-focused reorganizations.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

After a Few Unprofitable Binges NutriSystem Is Refocused and Ready to Expand
NutriSystem -- the Horsham Pa.-based online weight-loss company -- has bulked up. Its first-quarter 2006 revenues grew 292% to $146.8 million and net income rose 592% with analysts predicting continued sharp increases in 2006. Memories of its bankruptcy filing and litigation woes under previous owners have all but been erased even as the company plans to target new customer segments and expand internationally. And yet according to CEO Michael Hagan and president George Jankovic both of whom spoke at Wharton last month there has been as much luck and grit as glamour and glitz in the company's rise from the ashes. "Sometimes you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes " says Jankovic.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

A New Tool for Resurrecting an Old Theory of the Firm
It's one of the oldest most fundamental ideas in management theory: that executives should understand how the many distinct functional components of a firm -- production distribution product mix human resources -- interrelate to achieve the proper fit. In recent years however this notion of comprehending the "part-whole" relationship of the firm fell out of favor as thinkers turned to other concepts -- such as relying on core competencies to attain competitive advantage. Now two professors in Wharton's management department Daniel A. Levinthal and Nicolaj Siggelkow say it is time to once again address the part-whole concept. Without this systemic way of looking at companies the researchers note firms run the risk of engaging in compartmentalized thinking that can work to their disadvantage. The two scholars have addressed issues related to firm positioning and the part-whole relationship of the firm in a number of papers and articles.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

CEO Pay: A Window into Corporate Governance
Once again proxy season has revealed some eye-popping numbers in executive compensation packages generating heat from shareholders labor organizations and some analysts who contend that the links between CEO pay and performance are frayed. Other experts however suggest that most executives do earn their pay without indulging in mega-option packages or in salaries that keep increasing even as share value declines. At the same time these experts also suggest ways to improve compensation packages to more closely align them with shareholder interests.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Employee Incentive Systems: Why and When They Are So Hard to Change
In the late 1980s as part of an effort to beef up its core IT business Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) began to hire specialist strategy consultants from outside the company. These consultants were more experienced than the usual Andersen employees and they were accustomed to "much more aggressive individual performance incentives" than was the norm among Andersen's existing IT staff according to Wharton management professor Sarah Kaplan author of a recent paper titled "Inertia and Incentives: Bridging Organizational Economics and Organizational Theory." In the paper co-authored with Rebecca Henderson from MIT's Sloan School of Management the two researchers use Andersen Consulting Kodak and other organizations to study conflict especially with regard to incentive systems that results when companies undergo major change such as adopting new technologies or shifting into new markets.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Connecting the Corporate Dots: Social Networks Reveal How Employees and Companies Operate
With the recent disclosure of wiretapping by the National Security Agency and the booming success of sites like MySpace and Friendster social networking is much in the news today. But serious interest in social networks can also be found among academics consultants and corporations seeking to deepen their knowledge of how companies operate. While organizations have been aware of the power of social networks for some time now researchers at Wharton note that mapping these connections can yield some potent insights about identifying key employees how board members interact within and among companies and how employee relationships can be better understood to improve productivity and the dissemination of ideas.
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Knowledge@Wharton
Jan 30, 2023

Companies That Use Combative Advertising May End Up with a Black Eye
John Zhang has a message for Cingular Wireless and Verizon Wireless or for that matter any company that uses its ads to attack a competitor. Instead of luring away your competitor's customers you may just be hurting yourself. Zhang a Wharton marketing professor has found that combative ads -- the sort of comparative spots that beer makers particularly Anheuser-Busch and Miller are famed for -- may backfire. Instead of pulling consumers to an advertiser they may just make people indifferent to all offerings in a product category. "Combative advertising a characteristic of mature markets is defined as advertising that shifts consumer preferences toward the advertising firm but does not expand the category demand " Zhang says in his research paper titled "A Theory of Combative Advertising."
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