MIT Sloan Professor Peter Senge

January 2001, MIT Sloan research page

In addition to a crisp and colorful new design and the inclusion of “MIT” in its title, the relaunch issue of MIT Sloan Management Review features contributions from three of the School's leading minds.

A cover story by Peter Senge, an article by Michael Cusumano, and an opinion piece by Lester Thurow showcase the thought-leadership and management vision that are hallmarks of the MIT Sloan School of Management.

In “Innovating Our Way to the Next Industrial Revolution,” Sloan Senior Lecturer Peter Senge and coauthor Goran Carstedt hail the emergence of a new environmentalism, driven by innovation, not regulation, and describe how more companies are recognizing the business opportunities that a focus on sustainability creates.

They explain how companies such as Xerox and Interface Inc. are applying learning organization principles to create sustainable business models. As a result, the companies have become inspirational, energetic places to work, where even relationships with customers and suppliers have improved.

Such shifts in thinking alone will not lead to a truly postindustrial age, the authors write. Companies must adopt an integrated view of how the economic system affects the larger ecological and social systems; they must innovate for long-term profitability and sustainability.

In “Three Strategies for Managing Fast Growth,” Michael Cusumano, Distinguished Sloan Professor, executive editor in chief, and chairman of SMR's board, teams with Georg von Krogh to illustrate why managers can't leave growth to chance.

To grow steadily and avoid stagnation, they assert, a company must learn how to scale up and extend its business, lengthen its expansion phase, and accumulate and apply new knowledge to products and markets faster than competitors. The authors recount the experiences of Netscape, IKEA, and SAP, among others, to illustrate their points.

In “Does the ‘E’ in E-Business Stand for ‘Exit’?” Lester Thurow tackles an economic dilemma facing many retail suppliers: Whether to sell their products directly to consumers on-line and risk losing retail dealers or to persist in the belief that conventional retailing is going to survive.

Thurow, the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Professor of Management and Economics and dean emeritus at Sloan, says the answer is as simple and straightforward as it is brutal: Choose the old sales channel that leads to economic suicide. The right strategy, he says, is in fact an exit strategy.

The Winter 2001 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review also contains articles on eBusiness, marketing, information technology, leadership. To read on, please visit the MIT SMR home page at //smr. Reprints of SMR articles are available.

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MIT Sloan Professor Emeritus Jay Forrester invented the field of system dynamics and is still a major force in its development.