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The MIT Process Handbook

The vision of the MIT Process Handbook Project is the creation of a systematic and powerful method of organizing and sharing business knowledge. Organizing Business Knowledge: The MIT Process Handbook presents the key findings of a multidisciplinary research group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management that has worked for over a decade to lay the foundation for just such a comprehensive system. It does so by focusing on the process itself. The book proposes a set of fundamental concepts to guide analysis and a classification framework for organizing knowledge, and describes the publicly available online knowledge base developed by the project, which includes a set of representative templates and specific case examples as well as a set of software tools for organizing and sharing knowledge.

Organizing Business Knowledge: The MIT Process Handbook includes twenty-one papers, some previously published and some appearing for the first time, that have come out of this decade-long project. Together, they form a comprehensive and coherent vision of the future of knowledge organization. The Handbook is organized into five parts: an introduction and overview; the presentation of a theory of process representation; "Contents of the Process Repository"; "Process Repository Uses," which gives examples from both research and practice; and a conclusion, which maps the progress so far and the challenges ahead.

How Innovators, Managers, and Investors Manage Risk in High-Tech Innovations

How do technology innovators, business executives, and venture capitalists manage the technical elements of business risk when developing and launching new products? Overcoming technical risks requires crossing the so-called valley of death—the gap between demonstrating the soundness of a technical concept in a controlled setting and readying the product technology for the market. Crossing the valley of death may mean bringing university-based research to the point where it appears viable to venture capitalists, or bridging the cultural gap between technical innovators and the managers who are being asked to risk their institutional resources. In every context, purely technical risks are coupled with the market risks inherent in innovation.

In this book Lewis Branscomb and Philip Auerswald address early-stage, high-tech innovation in the context of business decision making and innovation policy. The topics addressed include the extent to which purely technical risk is separable from market risk; how industrial managers make decisions on funding early-stage, high-risk technology projects; and under what circumstances government can and should act to reduce the technical risks of innovative projects so that firms will invest in them. The book includes contributions by Mary Good, George Hartmann, James McGroddy, Mike Myers, Michael Roberts, and F. M. Scherer.

Inventing and Delivering Its Future

The MIT Sloan School of Management, as conceived by the legendary General Motors chairman Alfred P. Sloan, was founded in 1952 to draw on the scientific and technical resources of MIT and approach the problems of management with the rigorous research practices for which MIT was famous. Fifty years later, the Sloan School gathered international leaders in business and management, MIT faculty, students, and alumni to address again the basic principles that should guide business and management. This book presents the papers prepared by student-faculty teams, speeches by business and world leaders, and summaries of the discussions from this special convocation; taken together, they offer a guide to the future of management based on the hallmarks of MIT and Sloan—creativity and innovation.

The topics considered coalesced around three main themes. First, and paramount, is the necessity of building and maintaining trust by means of openness, transparency, and accountability; this was addressed in speeches by Kofi Annan and Carly Fiorina and exemplified by the case study presented of Nike?s efforts to rebuild the trust of customers. The increasingly complex conditions of the modern global economy emerged as another recurring theme, as the participants considered the effect of the growing spectrum of stakeholders on issues of corporate governance. The third common theme was the inescapability of technological and scientific change, from the Internet as a marketing tool to the organizational impact of information technology.

France, Britain, United States, and Russia

In a modern industrial society, the managerial function may be viewed primarily as one of adapting the enterprise to changing conditions; whether a company does or does not grow depends on its managerial ability to adjust rapidly to change. Success in carrying out this function differs sharply between highly industrialized countries and can be explained partly on the basis of national differences in managerial backgrounds and selection and reward procetures and partly on the basis of national value systems. This is the important hypothesis that forms the basis of David Granick's study and which he tests by means of detailed case studies in large scale enterprises in three major industrial countries.

Chapters in Part I form the theoretical core of the study—they present a model of economic growth that uses managerial adaptability as a key variable, discuss the effect of value systems on managerial behavior, and explore the effect that national managerial career patterns has upon managerial structure and behavior. Part II comprises representative case studies of corporate structure and behavior in France and Britain, which are examined against the background of United States and Russian managerial behavior. Part III introduces a considerable amount of original data on the education of managers, the nature of their careers within their companies, the level of their earnings relative to that of blue-collar workers, and the nature of the bonus systems under which they work; it differentiates the four countries studied according to these variables. Two problem areas of managerial decision making—investment behavior and the methods of internal company pricing—are explored in Part IV, and reasons are presented for the major national differences in the solutions employed. Part V sums up the study and briefly treats developments in large-scale French and British industry since the original interviews were conducted.

Professor Granick's study adds a valuable and solid piece of research evaluation to the still very limited literature on international business and comparative management. It provides considerable insight into the backgrounds, value systems, and behavior of managers in the countries studied and reveals how the manner in which management interacts with different social and cultural environments affects the progress of major corporations. The book is an unusual mixture of sophisticated economic and behavioral analysis and should appeal to a heterogeneous group of readers, ranging from those concerned with economic growth and international business to microeconomics and industrial sociologists.

A collection of lectures from a special summer program at MIT's Operations Research Center treats topics in operations research for industry, military services, and governmental departments, beginning with the principles and application of probability theory.

From the Introduction:
"An operation is a pattern of activity of men and machines, engaged in carrying out a cooperative and usually repetitive task, with pre-set goals and according to specified rules of operation. The scientific study of operarations is called operations research. . . . A considerable amount of variability occurs between samples of similar operations; but because of their repetitive nature these variations can be systematized by the use of probability theory. By studying similarities of pattern, predictions about one operation can be made from studies of other operations, isomorphic with the first; and thus the concept of "repetitive nature" can be generalized."

This book offers a novel approach for analyzing and developing business strategies for the Internet and electronic commerce. The topics addressed include how to predict which firms will be successful, how a manager should respond to competitors who adopt the Internet and electronic commerce, and how a company can obtain a competitive advantage in times of intense competition and proliferating information technology. The book uses case studies (including Dell Computer, Cisco Systems, Charles Schwab, and Merrill Lynch) and develops a dynamic resource-based model of strategy.

Classic and Contemporary Works

This book provides an introduction to the field of knowledge management. Taking a learning-centric rather than information-centric approach, it emphasizes the continuous acquisition and application of knowledge. The book is organized into three sections, each opening with a classic work from a leader in the field. The first section, Strategy, discusses the motivation for knowledge management and how to structure a knowledge management program. The second section, Process, discusses the use of knowledge management to make existing practices more effective, the speeding up of organizational learning, and effective methods for implementing knowledge management. The third section, Metrics, discusses how to measure the impact of knowledge management on an organization. In addition to the classic essays, each section contains unpublished works that further develop the foundational concepts and strategies.

The Organization of an Industrial Crisis

In the Guadalupe Dunes, 170 miles north of Los Angeles and 250 miles south of San Francisco, an oil spill persisted unattended for 38 years. Over the period 1990-1996, the national press devoted 504 stories to the Exxon Valdez accident and a mere nine to the Guadalupe spill—even though the latter is most likely the nation's largest recorded oil spill. Although it was known to oil workers in the field where it originated, to visiting regulators, and to locals who frequented the beach, the Guadalupe spill became troubling only when those involved could no longer view the sight and smell of petroleum as normal. This book recounts how this change in perception finally took place after nearly four decades and what form the response took.

Taking a sociological perspective, Thomas Beamish examines the organizational culture of the Unocal Corporation (whose oil fields produced the leakage), the interorganizational response of regulatory agencies, and local interpretations of the event. He applies notions of social organization, social stability, and social inertia to the kind of environmental degradation represented by the Guadalupe spill. More important, he uses the Guadalupe Dunes case as the basis for a broader study of environmental "blind spots." He argues that many of our most pressing pollution problems go unacknowledged because they do not cause large-scale social disruption or dramatic visible destruction of the sort that triggers responses. Finally, he develops a model of social accommodation that helps explain why human systems seem inclined to do nothing as trouble mounts.

Gender, Power, and Relational Practice at Work

This study of female design engineers has profound implications for attempts to change organizational culture. Joyce Fletcher's research shows that emotional intelligence and relational behavior are often viewed as inappropriate because they collide with powerful, gender-linked images. Fletcher describes how organizations say they need such behavior and yet ignore it, thus undermining the possibility of radical change. She shows why the "female advantage" does not seem to be benefit women employees or organizations. She offers ways that individuals and organizations can make visible the invisible work.

Shaping Institutions, Risks, and Governance

As the number, complexity, and scope of large engineering projects (LEPs) increase worldwide, the huge stakes may endanger the survival of corporations and threaten the stability of countries that approach these projects unprepared. According to the authors, the "front-end" engineering of institutional arrangements and strategic systems is a far greater determinant of an LEP's success than are the more tangible aspects of project engineering and management.The book is based on an international research project that analyzed sixty LEPs, among them the Boston Harbor cleanup; the first phase of subway construction in Ankara, Turkey; a hydro dam on the Caroni River in Venezuela; and the construction of offshore oil platforms west of Flor, Norway. The authors use the research results to develop an experience-based theoretical framework that will allow managers to understand and respond to the complexity and uncertainty inherent in all LEPs. In addition to managers and scholars of large-scale projects, the book will be of interest to those studying the relationship between institutions and strategy, risk management, and corporate governance in general.Contributors Bjorn Andersen, Richard Brealey, Ian Cooper, Serghei Floricel, Michel Habib, Brian Hobbs, Donald R. Lessard, Pascale Michaud, Roger Miller, Xavier Olleros.

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