Has the Twitter Age Left the Case Method Behind?

Is the business case study method outmoded? James Heskett’s readers are divided on whether the case is ripe for replacement.

James Heskett

A CEO… should be tracking and managing by the numbers—the nonfinancial numbers. By the time financial results turn downward, it is far too late to act. Financial numbers measure the past and lead to “rearview mirror management.”

The numbers that predict the future are the Four Rs-employee retention and referrals, returns to labor (productivity), and relationships with customers (exhibited by loyalty and ownership behaviors such as … [ Read more ]

10 Reasons to Design a Better Corporate Culture

Why is it that many of the same companies appear repeatedly on lists of the best places to work, the best providers of customer service, and the most profitable in their industries? In their new book, The Ownership Quotient, HBS professors Jim Heskett and Earl Sasser and coauthor Joe Wheeler assert the answer lies in recognizing that strong, adaptive cultures can foster innovation, productivity, and … [ Read more ]

Corporate Culture and Performance

An attention-grabbing audit by two Harvard Business School professors of the role that culture (broadly defined as the shared attitudes, behavioral patterns, and values that cohesive human groups pass on from one generation to the next) can play in the capacity of major corporations to succeed or fail in the marketplace. The accessible study compiled by Kotter and Heskett is noteworthy on several counts. For … [ Read more ]

Readers Respond: Should More Transparency Extend to Education for Management?

The pros and cons of grade disclosure is a hot topic at business schools these days, including Harvard Business School. Should students have to disclose their grades to recruiters? And how does this issue connect to the need for greater transparency in business generally? Here’s what some Working Knowledge readers think.

The Value Profit Chain: Treat Employees Like Customers and Customers Like Employees

Serving employees well and knowing when to “fire” a customer will boost a firm’s bottom line, according to this team of Harvard Business School professors. The authors of The Service Profit Chain here stress the creation of lifetime customers and detail the complex relationship between employee satisfaction, customer retention and profitability. They use examples from firms including Federal Express, Southwest Airlines and Wal-Mart. The highly … [ Read more ]

The Service Profit Chain: How Leading Companies Link Profit and Growth to Loyalty, Satisfaction, and Value

Why are a select few service firms better at what they do — year in and year out — than their competitors? For most senior managers, the profusion of anecdotal “service excellence” books fails to address this key question. In this pathbreaking book, world-renowned Harvard Business School service firm experts James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, Jr. and Leonard A. Schlesinger reveal that leading companies … [ Read more ]

Do MBAs Need More Street Smarts?

“In our work with outstanding service organizations, we have found that they invariably hire for attitude and train for skills. Are street smarts attitudes or skills? If street smarts are attitudes, should MBA program admissions offices look for them in applicants? If so, how? Is it more than a matter of just age and experience? If they are skills, should the curriculum be designed to … [ Read more ]