Course Schedule

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Session 1 (Aug. 26th)

Module 1: Managing Innovation and Entrepreneurial Processes

Session 2 (Sep. 2nd)

Session 3 (Sep. 9th)

Session 4 (Sep. 16th)

Module 2: Managing Collaboration Processes within Companies

Session 5 (Sep. 23rd)

Session 6 (Sep. 30th)

Session 7 (Oct. 7th)

Session 8 (Oct. 14th)

Module 3: Managing Team Decision Making Processes

Session 9 (Oct. 21st)

No formal session on Oct. 28th

Session 10 (Nov. 4th)

Note: No class on Nov. 11th, UCB day off.

Session 11 (Nov. 18th)

Note: No class on Nov. 25th, Thanksgiving.

Session 12 (Dec. 2nd)

Session 13 (Dec. 9th)


Session 1, Aug. 26: Overview 

We will discuss one case in order to (a) introduce the main topics for the course and (b) discuss how we discuss cases in class. We will then go through the main syllabus and talk about the project required for the course.

Please note: You must read the Intuit case ahead of the class and come prepared to discuss the assignment questions! 

Case : Intuit: Transforming an entrepreneurial company into a collaborative organization (A). HBS case no. 9-403-064.

Case Questions:

    • Did Intuit need to change in 2000? If so, why?
    • What’s your evaluation of the changes Steve Bennett has made at Intuit? Has he been a good change agent so far?
    • Do you think Intuit would become better at (a) innovating, (b) collaborating across units, (c) and making decisions as a result of Bennett’s changes?
    • The case ends with a decision that the CIO needs to make—either to centralize or decentralize rules for what IT equipment to buy (see pages 10 to 13). Which option do you recommend that the CIO pursue?

Module 1: Innovation & Entrepreneurial Processes

The topic of innovation can be analyzed from a number of different viewpoints. A strategy viewpoint would analyze whether an innovation can be successful in the marketplace. A technology viewpoint would consider the technical feasibility and likely adoption of an innovation. An ecology view would look at how firms interact with others to source and diffuse ideas. An internal management viewpoint—the one deployed in this course—addresses how managers can best organize to foster innovation. There is overwhelming evidence that managers in established companies struggle to innovate. Adopting a process lens, we will examine a few important topics on how to manage innovation processes in large established firms. First, we will look at the concept of the innovation value chain—the sequence of steps required to succeed with innovations. Second, we will focus on the tension between exploration and exploitation—the risk that conservative, daily operations crowd out creative activities—and what managers can do combat this tendency. Third, we will examine how managers can both protect and garner support to successfully implement an innovation.

Session 2, Sep. 2: The Innovation Value Chain

Innovation in companies can be thought of as a sequence of activities, from idea generation, selection, development, to diffusion of innovations. Each activity represents a challenge. Good management consists of managing this overarching process and to make sure each activity works well.

Case: R.R. Donnelley & Sons

The digital division. HBS case 9-396-154. This is a classic case. It takes place at the largest printing company in the U.S. In the 1990s, a team is trying to develop a new digital printing business that is quite different from the traditional printing business.

    • R.R. Donnelley & Sons: The Digital Division
    • The Innovation Value Chain
    • Note on Organization Structure

Case Questions:

    • How do the critical success factors for Donnelley’s traditional printing business compare with those for on-demand digital printing? How did these differences shape the agenda and tasks of Rory Cowan?
    • As the Digital Division evolved, what were the critical challenges:
      • prior to April 1994?
      • between April 1994 and January 1995?
      • between January 1995 and June 1995?
    • What role did Barb Schetter play in each period? What’s your evaluation of her performance in each of the phases?
    • What is your evaluation of the reengineered Technology Development Process?

Required Reading(s): “The Innovation Value Chain.” By Morten T. Hansen and Julian Birkinshaw. Harvard Business Review, June 2007.

Be prepared to discuss the following question based on this article: what is the worst thing a manager can do to undermine each of the steps in the value chain (idea generation, selection, conversion, diffusion)?

Optional Reading(s): “Note on organization structure,” by Nitin Nohria (HBS note 9-491-083).

This note outlines different ways of organizing an institution (functional, divisional, matrix, network). It is a good background note if you’re not too familiar with these terms.

1st Assignment is due next week (9am on September 9).

Session 3,  Sep. 9: Exploration vs. Exploitation

One reason innovation is hard in companies is that established businesses—routine work— “crowd out” attempts to explore something new. The challenge for managers is to develop robust processes that foster innovation in the context of routine work.

Case: Emerging Business Opportunities at IBM (A), HBS case 9-304-075.

IBM developed an emerging business opportunity process by which new ideas would be funded and developed.

Case Questions:

    • Why do large companies like IBM find it so difficult to create new businesses? What are the primary barriers to success?
    • How did the EBO system evolve over time? What was accomplished during the Thompson era? The Corporate Strategy era?
    • What are the key elements of the EBO management system? What is your evaluation of the system?
    • Should Harreld continue with the plan to scale up the EBO system? Why or why not?
    • Did IBM reach a good balance between exploration and exploitation? Did they implement ambidexterity into the organization?

Required Reading(s):

    1. Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning” by James March, Organization Science, 1991. (This is the classic reading that sets up the tradeoff between exploring and exploiting. You do not read the details about the simulations but pay attention to the key tradeoff arguments).
    2. Building Ambidexterity into an Organization” by Julian Birkinshaw and Cristina Gibson. Sloan Management Review, 2004.
    3. What Every CEO Should Know About Creating New Businesses” by David Garvin. Harvard Business Review, 2004.

Session 4, Sep. 16: Garnering Support For An Innovation

In large companies, managers don’t automatically provide or secure support for an innovation. They have to work the informal organization and engage in politics and assert influence to get the support they need.

Case: Internal Entrepreneurship at the Dow Chemical Company (handed out in class, also available in front of Prof. Hansen’s office)

This is about a manager who is trying to launch an e-services division and how he manages his relationships to sponsors and stakeholders to move the project forward.

Case Questions:

    • What were the most critical actions Ian Telford took to build What obstacles did they allow him to overcome?
    • What was de Fitte’s role in How effective was he in this role?
    • In your opinion, was Telford an effective internal entrepreneur?
    • Was the success of due to Telford or De Fitte? Why?

Required Reading(s):

    1. Power Play” by Jeffrey Pfeffer. Harvard Business Review, 2010.
    2. Harnessing the Science of Persuasion” by Robert B. Cialdini. Harvard Business Review, 2001.

Module 2: Managing Collaboration Processes

Sharing intellectual capital and collaborating across organization units is a hallmark of knowledge-intensive companies. For example, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, has argued that collaboration is the next frontier of productivity. Yet this is exceedingly difficult to do. Often collaboration leads to worse results, as when cross-unit teams start to fight or lose focus on results. Managers need to install not just more collaboration but the right kind of collaboration in companies. This module will to a large extent be based on material in my recently published book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results (Harvard Business School Press, May 2009). A copy will be handed out in class.

Session 5, Sep. 23: Disciplined Collaboration

This session introduces a three-part framework—disciplined collaboration—for implementing collaboration in companies to get results.

Case: Transforming DNV: From Silos to Disciplined Collaboration across Business Units – the Food Business (A). INSEAD Case No. 08/2007-5458.

DNV is a global technical professional services firm, specializing in risk management.

Case Questions:

    • Why do you think the food initiative ran into trouble?
    • What decision would you make about the food business? See the options outlined at end of the case.
    • What advice would you give to the CEO to change DNV’s organization and management system to foster effective collaboration?

Required Reading(s): (The book will be handed out in class on Sept 16)

    1. “Getting collaboration wrong …or getting it right,” chapter 1 in Collaboration.
    2. “Spot the four barriers to collaboration,” chapter 3 in Collaboration.

Session 6, Sep. 30: Building Effective Cross-Unit Networks in Organizations

Find the assignment for this session here.

Collaboration to a large extent takes place through informal networks across units in a company. Managers and units must therefore build effective people networks. In this session we will apply network principles and tools to understanding how to build nimble yet effective cross-unit networks.

There is no standard case for this session. Instead there is a social network assignment that you will need to complete before class (specific assignment sheets will be handed out).

Required Readings:


Session 7, Oct. 7: T-Shaped Management

Effective cross-unit collaboration requires that people are appropriately motivated to collaborate. But, some employees may pursue selfish behaviors instead. Yet others may be over-motivated and over-collaborate as a result. Human resource systems (recruiting, promotion, rewards, firing) need to be tailored to cultivate people who can both deliver individual performance and collaborate—so-called T-shaped people.

Case: Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley (A). HBS case 498054. , Harvard Business Review, July 1998.

Case Questions:

    • In your opinion, should Rob Parson be promoted at this time—yes or no?
    • If you voted no for a promotion, what would you recommend his boss should do? Fire him, pay him extra, coach him, or promote him next year?
    • If you were Paul Nasr (his boss), how would you tell him what you have decided to do?

Required Reading(s):

    • Introducing T-Shaped Management“, By Morten T. Hansen and Bolko von Oetinger. Harvard Business Review, April 2001.
    • Also read this interview – “IDEO CEO Tim Brown: T-Shaped Stars” by Morten T. Hansen about T-Shaped Management, ChiefExecute.Net, January 2010.

Group Assignment: You have a group assignment due on October 14th. Check the assignment page for more info.

Session 8, Oct. 14: Knowledge Management Systems and Enterprise 2.0

Knowledge management–databases comprising a firm’s knowledge—has been seen as a very promising way to foster effective knowledge sharing and collaboration. Yet knowledge management has not lived up to its potential (yet). In this session we will look at different ways of using knowledge management. We will also look at newer tools under the rubric of “enterprise 2.0.”

Case: Global knowledge management at Danone, HBS case 9-608-107.

Case Questions:

    • What barriers does the Networking Attitude approach reduce?
    • What is your assessment of the Networking Attitude approach?
    • Can IT tools serve some of the purposes of the Networking Attitude program in Danone? Do you recommend that Danone roll out some IT tools to help share good practices across country subsidiaries?

Required Reading(s):

    1. Hansen, Morten T., Nitin Nohria and Thomas Tierney. “What’s Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge?Harvard Business Review, 1999.
    2. Social Technologies at Work? What Social Technology?
    3. Web 2.0 Finds Its Payday

Reminder: You have an in-class group-presentation on an “Enterprise 2.0” tool. Check the assignment page for more info (Assignment #3).

Module 3: Team Decision Making Process

This module focuses on how managers can best organize teams and make sound decisions. Decision making can be studied from a number of angles, focusing on the decision itself (e.g., using decision tree analysis) or how repetitive and structured decisions can be automated in intelligent ways. In this module we will complement such an approach by focusing on unstructured and one-off decision making in ambiguous situations with insufficient and conflicting information. In particular, we will explore how teams end up making wrong decisions and how managers can organize the decision making process so that teams will make better decisions. We will explore concepts of team composition, groupthink, consensus styles, as well as techniques for soliciting debate and dissent.

Session 9, Oct. 21: Decision Making in Complex Organizations

Individuals working in different parts of large organizations often possess a piece of information required to make an effective decisions, yet no one possesses all the required information. Thus a challenge is to engage multiple actors to forge effective decisions, a daunting task.

Multimedia Case: The Columbia Shuttle disaster.

On February 1, 2003, the Columbia Shuttle began its homeward descent. Unbeknownst to its crew, a large piece of insulating foam had damaged its left wing, causing the shuttle to break upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all on board. In this class, we will use a new multimedia case to explore the decisions made prior to the shuttle’s reentry, and students will take on different NASA roles and “participate” in a NASA decision meeting on day eight of the mission. The case will reveal challenges in making decisions in complex organizations where no one individual possesses all the information required.

Case Questions: find them in the Case Instructions.

Oct. 28. Project Discussion by Project Teams in Class.

No formal class. Project Information Sheet due by October 30 (email to ude.yelekreb.loohcsinull@nesnah and ude.yelekrebnull@rahgas). See the project page for more info.

Session 10, Nov. 4: Group Decision Making Exercise

This will not be a formal class. Rather, you will be divided into teams and asked to carry out a decision making exercise, using different approaches to structuring a team’s decision making process.

Session 11, Nov. 18: Structuring Group Decision Making

This session continues the theme from session 10. We will analyze two famous cases and also discuss the insights derived from the decision making exercise in session 10. During the Kennedy presidency, the president’s team made a decision to support the Bay of Pigs “invasion” of Cuba. About a year and half later, the same team had to respond the Cuban missile threat. We will contrast and analyze these two decision making processes, with particular focus on how the teams were organized.


    1. Thirteen Days, case 3-11, in General Management: Processes and Action by David A. Garvin, pages 372-379
    2. A Thousand Days, case 3-10, in General Management: Processes and Action by David A. Garvin, pages 364-372

Case Questions:

    • How did the problem-solving process compare in the two Kennedy administration groups (Bay of Pigs vs. Cuban Missile crisis groups)?
    • What roles did the participants play in the two processes?
    • How did the two groups generate, handle, and resolve diverging ideas? Why were they so different?
    • How did John F Kennedy’s role compare in the two groups?
    • The Bay of Pigs decision is widely perceived as a very poor one, while the Kennedy administration’s handling of the Cuban Missile crisis is seen as an excellent approach. In your opinion, why may this be the case?

Session 12, Dec. 2: High-Performing Teams in Uncertain Worlds

How do leaders ensure high team performance and robust decision making in highly uncertain and unforgiving worlds—when sudden, unexpected shocks hit? We will examine this question by examining three Mount Everest expeditions.

Case: Tragedy on Everest 

Case Questions:

The case details the journey and fate of two Mount Everest expeditions, led by Rob Hall and Scott Fischer. During a storm high on the mountain, both teams ran into trouble, and several climbers died.

    • Why did the teams run into trouble–is it inevitable on such an unforgiving place as Mount Everest?
    • Hall had set a specific turnaround time, a time when climbers should turn around even if they had not reached the summit. Why did the climbers not stick to this rule?

David Breashears recounts how his team, an IMAX filming crew, ascended the mountain at the same time as Hall and Fischer and how their team approached the challenge differently. After you have read the accounts of the three teams (Halls’, Fischer’s, and Breashears’), please compare and contrast the actions taken by the Hall/Fischer group and that of David Breashears:

    • Why did two of the teams have such terrible outcomes while Breashears’ team succeeded in their mission?
    • As a leader, did Breashears do anything differently than Hall and Fischer, or was he just lucky?
    • In general, what does this contrast tell us about the requirements for highly effective teams?

Session 13, Dec. 9: Course Summary and Project Presentations.

You will present your project in a 10-minute presentation (+ Q & A).