Top of Mind

Where should a company’s responsibilities end? Are platform companies like Uber and Airbnb spurring innovation or profiting by offloading accountability? Stanford’s Jeffrey Pfeffer raises challenging questions in a scathing op-ed in Fortune.  
Yale Insights talked with Pfeffer about power and the shifting relationship between employers and employees.
In another conversation with Yale Insights, Lynn Stout highlighted corporations’ responsibilities to a range of stakeholders.

1:59 PM - 25 Nov 14
Retailers are increasingly offering products at rental rates that are comparable to traditional purchase prices. The question is whether consumers make decisions differently when they’re looking to rent rather than buy. Read More
Justin Murfin — Large, investment-grade companies such as Walmart and Home Depot that can easily borrow money in the capital markets often receive financing from their much smaller, credit-constrained suppliers. A new study examines the effects of this pattern of financing and finds that it squeezes small suppliers, creating a cash shortfall and causing them to cut back on capital investments. Read More
Sascha Steffen — Europe is still struggling to emerge from the financial crisis. Though recent stress tests by the European Central Bank gave passing grades to 90% of the region’s banks, critics question the transparency and rigor of the tests. Professor Sascha Steffen of ESMT European School of Management and Technology, a member of the Global Network for Advanced Management, talked with Yale Insights about the state of the banking system and the challenges of designing and implementing a single system to oversee banks across the Eurozone. Read More
Michael Sherling — Electronic medical records and big data have huge promise for improving medicine, but creating a system that works for physicians is a daunting task. By starting with a single specialty—dermatology—Modernizing Medicine has created an electronic application that allows doctors to rapidly enter clinical information, and to draw on the data gathered from thousands of others doing the same. Co-founder Dr. Michael Sherling ’02 discussed the endeavor and how it fits into broader efforts to mesh incentives, incorporate technology, and execute effective change. Read More
Christopher Cabot — Every global company wants to be in China. But for any company, accessing the Chinese market comes with unique questions and challenges. Chris Cabot ’97, the president of Value Retail China, talked with Yale Insights about how he expanded his company’s luxury outlet shopping villages into China. The first step to doing business in China, he says, is to assume you know nothing. Read More
Lei Zhang & Stephen Roach — Lei Zhang ’02 has been one of the most successful investors in China during a time of unprecedented change. In a conversation with Yale’s Stephen Roach, he talked about rapid shifts in China’s business and culture, the birth of a consumer class, the Chinese innovation model, and the outmoded views of the country that remain prevalent in the West. Read More
Rodrigo Canales & Charlie Cannon — If there’s one way to score a best-selling book, it’s to write about the next big thing in business. For many, design thinking has become that thing. But is it a fad or a reliable tool for building better products, services, and business processes? View Video
Robert Litterman — Computer-based trading dominates markets, with a majority of trading activity in major markets happening without any human intervention. Robert Litterman, a pioneer of the quantitative investing approach, spoke with Yale Insights about how ruthless competition keeps the field changing and why he believes human judgment remains an essential component of any strategy. View Video
Kevin D. Gray & Ellen Shuman & Tom Zacharias & Robert Gifford — A real estate boom can drive the construction of new homes, commercial centers, and skyscrapers, reshaping cities. The following bust can leave neighborhoods vacant. Have factors like the increasing availability of public information about real estate and the shift toward a global marketplace tamed a cycle that has played out repeatedly over the centuries? View Video
Robert J. Shiller — In a New York Times op-ed, Professor Robert J. Shiller explains that stock market movements are driven by popular narratives that spread like “thought viruses.” Secular stagnation—the idea that the global economy may languish for years to come—is the current story driving down the stock market. Whether true or false, the idea alone has the potential to erase five years of gains and create a bear market. Read More
José Manuel Durão Barroso — Continuing weakness in the European economy, plus squabbling between Germany and France over the direction of Europe, has sparked new concerns about the future of the Eurozone. But José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, argues that reforms made since the last financial crisis should help keep Europe afloat. View Video
Marissa D. King — Children are 30% more likely to take a stimulant medication during the school year than they are to take one during the summer, according to a new study published in the American Sociological Review. The authors found that school-year increases in stimulant use are largest for children from socioeconomically advantaged families. Because many children use stimulants only during the school year and take a “drug holiday” in the summer, the authors conclude that these children are using stimulants to manage their schools’ academic demands. Read More
Fernando Y. Roxas — Millions of people around the world want to swim in tropical waters and take in unsullied wilderness. Can the Philippines build a productive ecotourism industry around its natural environment? The Asian Institute of Management’s Fernando Y. Roxas talks about the country’s chances of claiming a link in the “tourism supply chain.” Read More
Jeremy Eden & Terri Long — Jeremy Eden ’86 and Terri Long, co-CEOs of consulting firm Harvest Earnings, argue that organizations ignore ways to significantly grow earnings because of “behaviors that limit what we know and how we think.” Their solution starts with asking lots of questions. Read More