Top of Mind

Winner Take All?

Nine retail brands have declared bankruptcy this year and 3,000 stores have closed. Meanwhile, Amazon is moving into bricks and mortar—opening bookstores, experimenting with convenience stores that don’t need cashiers, and most recently buying Whole Foods.

The New York Times points to an economy-wide fight for scale as markets increasingly favor a few big winners. Research finds these “superstar firms” pay more, explaining much of the increasing pay inequality.

That’s great for those on the winning teams, but Stanford’s Nicholas Bloom writes in the Harvard Business Review, “Workers outside this charmed circle experience something quite different.”

Yale SOM’s Lisa Kahn found another explanation of divergence between companies: as many tasks are computerized, the more successful companies are the ones that learn to complement technology with uniquely human capabilities.

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Contributors



Herminia Ibarra
Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, INSEAD

Lei Zhang
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hillhouse Capital Management

Euny Hong
Author, The Birth of Korean Cool: How One Nation is Conquering the World Through Pop Culture


Paul Bloom
Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University

John Rice
Founder and President, Management Leadership for Tomorrow

Professor Nathan Novemsky
Nathan Novemsky
Professor of Marketing

Jonathan Klein
Cofounder and CEO, Getty Images

Kelly Brownell
Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University; Co-Founder and Director, Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity