Stacy Blackman’s B-School Buzz

This week, we take a look at what business school professors are blogging about outside the classroom.

The more things change, the more they stay the same — Technology management professor Andrew Hargadon of UC Davis Graduate School of Management wrote about lies and statistics last week, calling statistics the weapon of choice these days in everything from science to stimulus plans. On the bright side, the NYT sports section reported that the average free-throw percentage in college and professional basketball has remained essentially unchanged for the last 50 years.

What does workspace mean these days? — That is the question asked by management professor Terri Griffith of Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. We show off our offices to job candidates, Griffith says, but do we show off our technical space? After all, nice as the view might be outside your corner office window, the vast majority of your time is likely focused on the smallish patch of glass you’re currently staring at.

Businesses and the Icarus paradoxLondon Business School‘s associate professor of strategic and international management Freek Vermeulen draws a poetic parallel between overconfident businesses and the Greek figure Icarus, whose downfall came when he flew too close to the sun. As Vermeulen points out, highly successful companies often become blind to the dangers that other developments pose to them, which eventually leads to their downfall.

Small decisions can have major impactTom Davenport, who holds the President’s Chair in Information Technology and Management at Babson College, says that many companies don’t realize that microdecisions ”” small decisions made many times by many workers at the customer interface ”” can have a major impact on the business. How they are made can be the difference between sloppy and effective execution, and between profit and loss.

Overcoming the saving slumpAnnamaria Lusardi, professor of economics at Dartmouth College, offers some advice from her new book on how to increase the effectiveness of financial education and saving programs. Lusardi says, “My aim in editing this book is to illuminate the issues facing so many Americans in regards to saving and retirement planning and to evaluate the existing programs and products that have been designed to facilitate saving.”

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