2022 Highlights: Faculty Opinion Pieces

Family ghosts in the executive suite. Winning the misinformation war. The importance of ESG and U.S. climate strategy. Confronting work conditions. Addressing cybersecurity issues. Professors authored pieces on a variety of topics in the media in 2022, expanding MIT Sloan’s thought leadership and lending their expertise to global business leaders and the general public.

Return to 2022 highlights


Family ghosts in the executive suite

Harvard Business Review | 01/01/2022

Prof. Deborah Ancona and co-author write: "Professional growth can get stymied for all sorts of reasons. But one of the most important is rarely discussed: You're contending with ghosts from your past. Fundamental attitudes and behaviors that evolved from the family dynamics of your childhood have traveled with you into the present—and into the office."


Companies need to confront how work conditions affect the well-being of their employees

Fast Company | 01/13/2022

Prof. Erin L. Kelly writes: "To truly build a healthier future of work, employers will need to address how their own management practices contribute to employee ill health—and focus on changing those. The good news is that such changes don't need to be costly, and often benefit the organization as well as workers."


Central banks must reduce their balance sheets more aggressively

Financial Times (Subscription Required) | 01/19/2022

Prof. Kristin Forbes writes: "Central banks do not hesitate to expand their balance sheets when a crisis hits. They should also not hesitate to reduce their balance sheets during recoveries — especially when inflation is high."


Can Web3 bring back competition to digital platforms?

Competition Policy International | 02/23/2022

Research Scientist Christian Catalini and co-author write: "Like the early Internet, blockchain and Web3 applications promise a new wave of decentralization and competition – yet at the same time, it is unclear which of the dynamics that drove concentration in online platforms and services will remain in force under the Web3 paradigm. In this piece, we highlight three fundamental costs that Web3 technology can potentially reduce."


Op-Ed: The West should stop financing Putin's war

Los Angeles Times | 02/28/2022

Prof. Simon Johnson writes: "On Thursday, the first day of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the West paid Russia about $500 million. That's the average daily value of purchases of Russian energy by the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States. As the conflict continues, the daily flow of cash has remained about the same. Europe, in particular, is effectively financing Russian aggression, the destruction of lives and livelihoods, and the creation of a massive refugee crisis. Why?"


Ukraine is winning the information war

The Washington Post | 03/01/2022

Prof. Sinan Aral writes: "The historical sophistication of Russian influence operations is well known. But today, in Ukraine, Russia is struggling to keep up with the modern information war raging over social and traditional media. Ukraine and its partisans are running circles around Putin and his propagandists in the battle for hearts and minds, both in Ukraine and abroad."


Why small cybersecurity decisions can expose companies to cyberattacks

The Wall Street Journal | The Experts | Leadership | 03/19/2022

Prof. Emeritus Stuart Madnick writes: "In the aftermath of a major cyberattack, we usually hear a lot about 'what' happened, some about 'how' it happened (say, hackers exploited a system vulnerability) but almost nothing about 'why' it happened (that is, what gave rise to the vulnerability in the first place). That reveals a huge and costly blind spot: Unless organizations study the 'why,' the circumstances that made the cyberattack possible won't be addressed."


Improve creative brainstorming with constructive criticism

MIT Sloan Management Review | 03/29/2022

Prof. Jared R. Curhan writes: "A growing number of studies show that criticism might actually heighten creativity and imagination. Forcing participants to suspend judgment about the quality of ideas during brainstorming could in fact stifle free thinking and expression."


Social contagion and the survival of diverse investment styles

The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance | 04/01/2022

Prof Andrew W. Lo and co-authors write: "There is evidence of social contagion of investment behavior in financial markets that does not derive from rational information processing. Given recent developments in information technology and the growth of social networks, it is important to incorporate the influence of contagion via social interactions when studying economic and financial behavior."


What's going on with the air travel mask mandate?

The Hill | 04/19/2022

Prof. Arnold Barnett writes: "It is puzzling why U.S. airlines are so adamant against further masking. Despite the mask mandate, passenger traffic is now growing so rapidly that the airlines are struggling to keep up. (Ironically, part of the problem has been COVID-19 infections among their employees.) Indeed, a Harris Poll in early April found that 60 percent of Americans support extending the mask mandate. The airlines appear to be acting more out of ideology than of economics."


We need new savings options to ward off retirement funding crisis

Financial Times | 04/27/2022

Prof. Robert Merton writes: "The financial independence and security of families lie at the heart of a functioning democracy. The US three-legged retirement system — social security, employer-provided pensions, and private savings and investments — is in the grip of a serious funding challenge, some would say crisis. The reality is that a dignified middle-class lifestyle continued into the retirement years is no longer secure."


'Cash for Clunkers' can cut gas prices, climate change – and Putin's income

The Hill | 05/05/2022

Prof. John Sterman and co-author write: "Our research shows that a 'Cash for Clunkers' (C4C) program in which new car buyers are paid to scrap their combustion vehicles would speed vehicle retirement, cut U.S. oil consumption, accelerate the transformation of the transportation sector, increase consumer choice, and help achieve our climate goals."


What to do when the devil wears (your brand)

Harvard Business Review | 05/25/2022

Prof. Catherine Tucker and co-author write: "Protecting a brand's equity and value should be one of an executive's key responsibilities. Companies buy protection software and use blacklists to stop questionable publishers and endorsers from negatively portraying their brand, for example. But what happens when the brand is displayed unfavorably in an environment that the marketer can't control?"


A durable U.S. climate strategy … or a house of cards?

Yale Climate Connections | 06/06/2022

Prof. Emeritus Henry Jacoby and co-authors write: "Just when it seemed that real progress might be made on climate change, war has pushed climate concerns to the back burner. Like war, human-caused warming also poses an escalating threat to human lives, livelihoods, well-being, and the stability of democratic systems of governance. Things left out of sight and untended on a hot stove can combust."


Economics needs more socioeconomic diversity

Harvard Business Review | 06/10/2022

Assistant Prof. Anna Stansbury writes: "It is well known that the field of economics has a race and gender problem, with treasury secretary (and former Fed chair) Janet Yellen, Fed chair Jerome Powell, and former Fed chair Ben Bernanke among the many senior figures advocating for change. But economics has another diversity problem that's been largely overlooked: socioeconomic background."


Strategically engaging with innovation ecosystems

MIT Sloan Management Review | 07/20/2022

Prof. Fiona Murray and Senior Lecturer Philip Budden write: "Sponsoring the occasional hackathon or having one-off, uncoordinated interactions with a startup accelerator won't contribute much to boosting an organization's innovation capabilities. Many companies are missing an opportunity that's close to home by overlooking or failing to effectively tap innovation ecosystems in their regions."


America's seeing a historic surge in worker organizing. Here's how to sustain it

WBUR | Cognoscenti | 09/05/2022

Prof. Post Tenure Tom Kochan and co-author write: "Decades of decline in union membership have contributed to increased income inequality and a decline in the share of national income going to workers. While many employers remain unconvinced that increasing worker power is good for them, new analysis suggests that businesses can reduce turnover and increase productivity by working with unions to build high-quality labor-management relationships."


6 tactics to make artificial intelligence work on the frontlines

STAT | 09/15/2022

Prof. Kate Kellogg and co-authors write: "For top managers, state-of-the art AI tools are a no-brainer: in theory, they increase revenues, decrease costs, and improve the quality of products and services. But in the wild, it's often just the opposite for frontline employees who actually need to integrate these tools into their daily work."


Getting the facts straight on online misinformation

Financial Times | 10/16/2022

Prof. David Rand writes: "The growth in misleading rhetoric from US congressional candidates on topics such as election integrity has put renewed pressure on social media platforms ahead of November's vote. And the perception that tech companies are doing little to fight misinformation raises questions about their democratic obligations and poses commercial risks. But, perhaps surprisingly, recent initiatives suggest that platforms may be able to channel partisan motivations to democratise moderation."


The paradox of AI and investing

International Banker (UK) | 11/30/2022

Prof. S.P. Kothari and Senior Lecturer Robert C. Pozen write: "In their quest for alpha, asset managers are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). While AI and ML may initially improve the results of active managers, the new strategies can be easily copied, so they may not create a permanent advantage."


Xi broke the social contract that helped China prosper

The New York Times | 12/01/2022

Prof. Yasheng Huang writes: "The Covid protests are occurring at the height of China's autocratic moment. While there are calls for free speech and elections, the rallying cry since Sunday has been against a jarring oppression: the incarceration of hundreds of millions of people in their homes and in field hospitals.