MIT Sloan School of Management News Briefs

News Briefs offers you timely leads about research and other work by MIT Sloan faculty that can help you with stories you are developing now — or might be developing in the future. Please contact us if you'd like further information about either a topic or its author.

November 2007

S.P. Kothari on cricket and the Indian economy
Privatizing cricket would be good business and good signal

Cricket is wildly popular in India, but it pales in comparison to the business and popular success of professional sports leagues in other nations. Creating a privately owned and financed cricket league in India would not only be a good investment, says Kothari, but it would also signal to the world that India, for all its success in software and other areas, is making progress in other ways toward becoming a fully developed economy. More >>

Yasheng Huang on boosting small entrepreneurs in China
Develops program for MIT Sloan MBAs to directly work with small firms

Multinational giants, such as General Motors, may draw the headlines, but “the real economic agent of change” in China is the nation's growing cadre of small entrepreneurial firms, says Huang. Based on research he's done for his new book, Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics (Cambridge 2008), Huang is helping develop a new program, which, among other things, will have 24 MIT Sloan MBA traveling in March to China, where they will be matched with small firms and with counterparts from Chinese universities, offering hands-on assistance and advice to local entrepreneurs. More >>

Jason Davis on new business systems
“Rotating leadership,” not just technology, boosts innovation

Breakthroughs in technology aren't the only key to developing innovative products such as the iPod and Xbox. So are whole new ways of doing business, including one where firms temporarily yield total control of product development to another company, says Davis. Rather than keeping most aspects of product development under tight internal control, even major firms are practicing “rotating leadership,” where one business partner leaves the other completely alone for a period of time before taking over the reins itself. Many “technology blockbusters” are the result of firms locking themselves into such intense collaborative processes, he finds. More >>

Jérémie Gallien on ‘fast-fashion’ retailing
Firms and customers both gain as ‘rocket science’ reaches fashion retailing

The use of mathematical modeling and other sophisticated techniques is reaping financial gains for companies and a better shopping experience for customers in the once-staid fashion retail industry, says Gallien, whose analytic approach has been adopted by Zara, a leading Spanish clothing chain. The use of such “rocket science” methods helps firms make more intelligent decisions in such important areas as distribution and pricing, while leading to “a much more interesting and rewarding shopping experience for the customer.” More >>

Joseph Doyle Jr. on child placement policy care outcomes
Children remaining with families fare better than those in foster care

Doyle's research empirically demonstrates that children who are allowed to stay at home rather than be placed in foster homes have generally better life outcomes when they remain with their families. In the first study of its kind, Doyle analyzed a unique dataset that links children investigated by Illinois's child protection agency with a range of government program. His research, which drew on a representative population of children, generally supports the current policy direction toward family preservation, rather than foster home placement, said Doyle. More >>

Shane Frederick on better way to market lower-cost items
Key is to show consumers specific ways to use price savings

“Despite conventional wisdom that lower prices alone will sway shoppers toward the cheaper of two similar items, Frederick finds that customers are more swayed by clear reminders of how much they are saving — and ways that money might be alternatively used. Without such explicit prompts, consumers don't necessarily consider “opportunity costs,” or what they might sacrifice, by selecting the higher priced item. More >>

Op-ed: Sarah Slaughter argues for more sustainable infrastructure
Building it Better: Making Our Infrastructure Sustainable and Disaster Resilient

From bridge collapses to severe droughts in the Southeast, politicians and citizens alike are suddenly focused on the precarious condition of the nation's infrastructure after decades of neglect. We often don't realize our dependence upon these “invisible systems” until our water, sanitary, solid waste, transportation, telecommunications or power systems don't work — and then we scramble to patch them up as quickly as possible to get back to normal. More >>