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The Cost Advantage of Reshoring

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Operations

Reshoring is the decision to return business activities to a firm’s domestic market. Analysing the impact of reshoring announcements on stock prices indicates that the benefits of reshoring outweigh the costs.

Idea #709
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Source: Pexels

Re-Entering a Foreign Market: Part 2 - Speed

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Prior experience impacts the speed with which multi-national enterprises re-enter foreign markets they previously exited — although as time passes, the environmental context of the market becomes more important.

Idea #707
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Source: Pexels

Re-Entering a Foreign Market: Part 1 - Operation Mode

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

When multinational companies re-enter a foreign market, the key strategic decision is choosing whether to change the operation mode (e.g. distribution partnership, joint ventures, fully owned operations) from their previous experience in the market. A new study finds that the motives of their original decision to exit the market has a great impact on whether they choose the same operation mode or escalate (e.g. from distribution to manufacturing) or de-escalate (e.g. from fully owned operations to joint ventures) their commitment.

Idea #706
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Interior, Wolf Kibel, 1930-35 (Courtesy: Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town)

Business Templates that Succeed in 'Bottom of the Pyramid' Environments

Idea posted: June 2017
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

A new company first succeeds by creating a template for doing business — a working system of organizational routines and practices. It then scales its business by replicating that template. In bottom of the pyramid environments, however, the development and replication of templates can be hindered by the extreme conditions in which organizations must operate.

Idea #659
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Enterprise Risk Management: Lessons from Canada’s Banks and Burning Platforms

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Finance
  • Operations

Once lagging behind banks in other countries, Canadian banks are now a case study in ERM best practices — thanks to factors such as strong regulations, substantial loss events that galvanized ERM efforts, and ERM best practices capabilities of people, processes, systems and data in the individual banks.

Idea #579
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Playing cards from the French Republic (1793-94), revolutionary images replace Kings and Queens

The Role of Identity When an Organization's Purpose Changes

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

How do organizations respond to multiple business logics with conflicting sets of rules and norms? New research based on a study of four French business schools reveals that institutional and organizational identities will guide an organization’s response.

Idea #514
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The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563 (Courtesy: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

The Language Challenge for Social Media in Multinationals

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The growth of social media in business enables and enhances a company’s communication among employees and with outside stakeholders, including customers and partners. The diversity of languages within a multinational, however, can hamper communication and collaboration both externally and internally. 

Idea #500
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'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler, 1877. Portraying William Brydon, the only survivor the evacuation from Kabul in January 1842. Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Learning from Expatriate Experience After the Return Home

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IESE Business School

Expatriates who return home bring with them the knowledge benefits of the relationships that they made during their international assignments. New research shows that these knowledge benefits continue even after the assignment because the expatriate still has the connections with his or her former colleagues in the international host office. 

Idea #493
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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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Bucket wheel excavator at the Tagebau Garzweiler mine, Germany (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The World Needs Mining, but Mining Must Change

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Demand is increasing for the mining industry, but so are costs and challenges — including increasing intolerance for the negative impact of mining activities on the environment and on local communities and indigenous people. The result: currently $24 billion in industry losses due to delays and resistance. A new initiative, involving all stakeholders impacted by mining operations and led by one of the giants of the industry, offers a roadmap for a collaborative, long-term sustainable approach to mining.

Idea #476
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Dante Shows an Artist Some Unusual Clouds, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1883

Six Imperatives for Companies to Embrace Cloud Computing

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Cloud computing can offer companies more cost-effective and agile IT capabilities than many traditional in-house IT services and functions. Based on an extensive study of a company successfully expanding its cloud computing capabilities, as well as on interviews with 45 other companies, a research team from the MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research lays out the imperatives that help companies prepare for and manage the shift to cloud computing.

Idea #465
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The commercial centre Xujiahui (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Buyers Beware: Costs for China Rising

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: NUS Business School

An extensive survey reveals new cost challenges for China-based suppliers, although the country maintains the strengths that it made it the go-to supply source in the first place.

Idea #461
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Electronics factory in Shenzhen, China, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Outsourcing Vs Reshoring: The Case for Local Manufacture

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Operations

Companies offshore their manufacturing to take advantage of lower wages and other cost savings in overseas countries. However, costs incurred from having an extended supply chain may in fact be wiping out the savings from offshoring advantages. MIT Sloan visiting professor Suzanne de Treville believes that one can make a financial case for reshoring manufacturing.

Idea #429
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St Nicholas saves a storm-tossed ship, Gentile da Fabriano (c. 1425)

Is Your Supply Chain Prepared for the Unexpected?

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Supply chain management is a delicate balancing act in these unpredictable times – on the one hand, there is pressure to keep the supply chain as cost efficient as possible, while on the other, it needs to be flexible and resilient in the face of unforeseen events. How do leaders proactively manage the risk of disruption?

Idea #414
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Foreign Acquisitions: The Path to Better Productivity at Home?

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Cross-border acquisitions can be risky and complex but they can also create value and improve productivity in the long term. Much depends on the professional ‘ecosystem’ offered by the host country — and on the acquirer’s willingness to make complementary capital investments at home.

Idea #409
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Emerging Market Strategy: Creating Order out of Chaos

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

New and emerging markets present a wealth of opportunities but they also comprise highly complex business environments that can change rapidly. The key to success is understanding – understanding competitors and what they are up to; understanding consumers and what they want, now and into the future; and understanding the host governments of the countries you are targeting. It’s a complex process but recent research proposes a two-step approach to strategic thinking that can help make sense of these emerging economies.  

Idea #373
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Luggage tag for Japan Air Transport, 1937 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Relocating Leaders Abroad: Pros and Cons

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

The internationalization of markets and industries means executive offices and core functions are being moved abroad. Relocating top managers, however, can be risky. Organizations should explore the alternatives before making a decision. There are arguments for and against leaders crossing borders.

Idea #368
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Navigating the Global Online Contract Labour Market

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Online labour markets match employers, mostly from richer economies, with skilled contractors in large part from developing economies for the performance of a variety of projects large and small. With a growing pool of experienced contractors and platform design features that alert employers about potential hidden quality problems, this market is soaring. The economic impact is generally positive, with wages often higher than the average in the contractors’ country of origin, while still providing cost savings to employers, and a larger pool of potential contractors increasing the

Idea #354
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Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1994, when finance minister. He subsequently became Prime Minister of India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Modernizing without Westernizing: Social Ties and Indian Business

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The modernization of India’s economy, begun in the early 1990s when Manmohan Singh, then finance minister, introduced a series of reforms, has not reversed centuries-old traditions. Personal affiliations and kinship ties, long the bedrock of Indian society, continue to exert a powerful influence in the financial sector. India’s economy has been liberalized — but not, necessarily, Westernized.

Idea #341
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Multiculturalism by Monisha Pushparaj (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Multicultural Experience: Better Performance, Better Job Prospects

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

The ability to process complex information and synthesize opposing ideas is associated with creativity and, by extension, increased professional opportunities and better job prospects. A multicultural environment can help build it — but only if people engage psychologically with others. The capacity to ‘integrate’ differing perspectives comes from interaction not observation.

Idea #340
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The Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator, according to legend this famed traveller reached North America between 512 and 530 AD

How Travelling Abroad Builds Trust and Tolerance

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

The idea that travel can be important for personal development and ‘growth’ is well established. Spending time overseas can ‘broaden the mind’ — not only by increasing knowledge but also by reducing xenophobia. The maximum benefits, however, might depend on breadth as well as depth of experience. Recent empirical research finds a causal link between the ability to trust and accept others and exposure to a diverse range of ‘out groups’.

Idea #335
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Changing Attitudes to Business Ethics: Insights from South Africa

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The past 20 years or so have seen a marked change in attitudes towards ethics among South African business-school students. Recent MBA graduates have stronger opinions on what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’ business behaviour and are more likely to think in terms of moral absolutes. This has significant implications for business schools and educators — and for companies and employers.

Idea #319
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Oilholics Anonymous Club. Allegory of the oil corruption

Reflective Leadership to Counter Corruption in Emerging Markets

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Corruption remains a major obstacle to doing business in rapidly developing countries such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia. It destroys value, distorts markets and encourages executives to work in their own rather than shareholders’ and stakeholders’ interests. Solving the problem depends on a new approach from companies: ‘reflective leadership’.

Idea #307
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Map of the World and Constellations, Petrus Plancius (1552 – 1622) Dutch astronomer, cartographer and clergyman

The Role of Cultural Self-awareness in Global Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IE Business School

We are shaped by our backgrounds, by the values and beliefs that have been instilled in us since birth.  By understanding how one’s own cultural hinterland can affect behaviour in a global workplace, leaders can learn to adapt that behaviour and do better business with those around them, whatever their nationality or background.

Idea #306
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Brazillian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma, 2013. Courtesy of Brazilian Foreign Ministry

The 'Brazilian Way': The Future for Africa?

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Recent years have seen increased investment and activity in Africa from newly industrialised countries. While China leads the emerging-power pack in terms of trade and investment, Brazil could be the one to watch. A policy of development co-operation, begun in the early 2000s, means that the future of the South American country and the future of countries in Africa are closely linked.

Idea #300
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Overload' by George Pemba, 1989, courtesy Ann Bryant Art Gallery, RSA, www.annbryant.co.za (Source: Wikipaintings)

Collectivism and Consumers at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ in South Africa

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Despite their poverty and limited purchasing power, people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ in South Africa increasingly attract the attention of marketers. At more than one third of South Africa’s population, they represent a significant, or potentially significant, market for companies. But they will not be ‘reached’ by conventional approaches — or by applying the individualistic perspective of the developed world. At the bottom of the pyramid in South Africa, communities are different — and collectivism still counts. 

Idea #290
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Knowledge Sharing Networks Between Developing and Developed Countries

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Managers in emerging markets can benefit from interpersonal ties to more developed countries. Personal contacts abroad can provide useful ‘inside information’ and transfer critical knowledge — for free. They should not, however, be pursued exclusively. The best personal networks include contacts at home as well as overseas. Recent research points to the relative merits and usefulness of local and distant knowledge.

Idea #292
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Blue Ballet, by South African artist Glen Josselsohn, 2011 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation and External ‘Clusters’ in Emerging Markets

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Regional clusters, combining companies and research institutes and government agencies, have long been considered important for the development of new businesses and new ideas, particularly in highly competitive and turbulent environments such as emerging economies. But they need to be complemented by external networks. A recent study underlines the link between successful innovation and partnerships outside ‘home territories’.

Idea #263
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Global Leadership: One Size Does Not Fit All

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Successful leaders, it’s commonly acknowledged, share certain core characteristics and competences. You don’t get very far in business without, for example, the ability to ‘envision’ the future, set and design strategy, and motivate others to achieve shared goals. But not all successful leaders are the same. A recent global study finds significant regional variations in the behaviours of successful leaders — and in the expectations and preferences of their followers.

Idea #250
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Taxcaltecans meets Hernan Cortez. Mural created by Desiderio Hernandez Xochitiotzin 1956-2000. Palacio de Gobierno, Tlaxcala City (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Avoiding Managerial Derailment in Latin America

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Why do some managers ‘derail’ and how do these factors differ in various regions of the world? In the research behind this Idea, managers in Latin America and the U.S were compared to analyse managerial derailment. The Idea offers suggestions as to what Latin American organizations can do to avoid this and effectively develop their leaders to an international level.

Idea #245
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