Joseph Bower

Joseph Bower
Harvard University | Harvard

About

44
Publications
10,544
Reads
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9,967
Citations

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
The problem of resource allocation is central to economics. It is also central to the strategic management of companies. Despite considerable research by management scholars describing the process in firms first carried out in the 1960s and continuing since then, management theory of the process remains wedded to a financial model of capital budget...
Chapter
This article considers the process of resource allocation, whereby an organization determines how best to apportion its factors of production between the various productive activities in which it wishes to engage. It is suggested that none of the academic approaches to date has provided an entirely coherent picture of the process, in part because o...
Chapter
Although often described as an event, if succession is managed properly it is the culmination of a development process that takes place over a number of years, led by the CEO working with the board of directors. In the ideal situation several candidates will have been developed, each of whom would be more or less capable of taking on the job, depen...
Chapter
The case method was developed concurrently with the emergence of business schools as a way of teaching future executives evidence-based problem solving in the classroom. Harvard Business School faculty led in developing the method. A particular challenge in the writing of cases is finding the balance between enough complexity so that the problem po...
Article
The head of Denmark's largest energy group, pondered how to use their limited resources to advance the delivery of clean and reliable energy. The Danish State owned DONG Energy had started life as a state owned importer and trader of gas and oil. Under the leadership of the current CEO, Anders Eldrup, the company had grown in an energy group, prese...
Article
Fu Chengyu is the fifth CEO to lead China National Offshore Oil Company - an SOE founded in 1982 to exploit Chinese offshore deposits. In 2010 he is trying to decide how to drive further growth in a company that has grown 556 times in less than 30 years, with profits grown 2600 times. He believes that the way CNOOC has been managed, a blend of mark...
Article
The past 50 years have seen unprecedented economic growth, attributable largely to the spread of market capitalism across the globe. Business leaders asked to identify the issues of deepest concern to them pointed to forces that could disrupt the global market system in the coming decades: inequality in income within countries and across regions, m...
Article
Unlike most historical accounts of strategic change inside large firms, empirical research on strategic management rarely uses the day-to-day behaviors of top executives as the unit of analysis. By examining the resource allocation process closely, we introduce the concept of a deep dive, an intervention when top management seizes hold of the subst...
Article
Courses in strategy are an outgrowth of the business policy course first taught at Harvard Business School in 1912. This article examines how the teaching of a course concerned with the development and implementation of the goals and policies of a firm changed during three periods in the postwar period: first, with the introduction of the concept o...
Article
In his analysis of 1800 successions, Harvard Business School professor Bower found that companies performed significantly better when they appointed insiders to the job of CEO. Other researchers, including Jim Collins in Good to Great, have come to similar conclusions working from different data sets. Yet Bower finds far too many companies have no...
Article
Capitalizing on the Bower-Burgelman process model of strategy making in a large, complex organization, we investigate the multilevel managerial activities that lead firms facing similar new business opportunities to respond with different strategic commitments. Our field-based data provide evidence on (I) the role of ‘corporate contexts’ that refle...
Article
Senior executives have long been frustrated by the disconnection between the plans and strategies they devise and the actual behavior of the managers throughout the company. This article approaches the problem from the ground up, recognizing that every time a manager allocates resources, that decision moves the company either into or out of alignme...
Article
When a company faces a major disruption in its markets, managers' perceptions of the disruption influence how they respond to it. If, for instance, they view the disruption as a threat to their core business, managers tend to overreact, committing too many resources too quickly. But if they see it as an opportunity, they're likely to commit insuffi...
Article
Conventional wisdom holds that a company's divisions should be given almost total autonomy--especially under conditions of uncertainty--because they are closer to emerging technologies, customers, and competitors than corporate headquarters could ever be. But research from Michael Raynor and Joseph Bower suggests that the corporate office should be...
Article
Despite all that's been written about mergers and acquisitions, even the experts know surprisingly little about them. The author recently headed up a year-long study sponsored by Harvard Business School on the subject of M&A activity. In-depth findings will emerge over the next few years, but the research has already revealed some interesting resul...
Article
Many researchers believe that bounded rationality prevents CEOs in large, complex, multidivisional ("M-form") corporations from personally formulating division-level strategies. Instead, CEOs are seen as guiding a "bottom-up" process whereby division managers propose strategies for review and approval by the corporate office. Contrary to this view,...
Article
This paper argues that by necessity, persistent competition among players in markets is organized. Once the organized character of markets is recognized, the cooperative elements of markets lose their inevitable harmful characterization in much economic and policy analysis. Further, it is easy and sensible to draw on organization theory to sort out...
Chapter
Process research on strategic decisions is the body of reports, studies, and investigations focused on that task. This chapter reports on the progress of that work from the perspective of one researcher involved continuously from relatively early on in the process. While the aim is to provide a complete and objective survey, the personal point of v...
Article
Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in techno...
Article
Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in techno...
Article
Why might firms be regarded as astutely managed at one point, yet subsequently lose their positions of industry leadership when faced with technological change? We present a model, grounded in a study of the world disk drive industry, that charts the process through which the demands of a firm's customers shape the allocation of resources in techno...
Article
"Statecraft"—the use of persuasion and informal authority to mobilize coalitions to accomplish goals—is a little-recognized but critical element of strategic leadership. In exercising statecraft, top managers continually move back and forth across the "boundary" between the firm and a wide variety of constituencies, paying close attention to the po...
Article
It is a truism that not all managers do the same things in the same ways. Less often recognized, however, is the fact that the essential tasks and goals of management are not everywhere the same. Indeed, so unlike each other are the two primary systems of management--the "technocratic" and the "political"--that they consistently vary in the implici...
Article
The subject of business policy in the 1980s is a challenge for discussion. There are differences on what the subject is. Is it a course? Or a field of research? What is its literature? What is its future? Some want to make it a science. What does that mean? This paper addresses these questions, moving forward in phases. The perspective is that of a...
Article
Argues that public management differs from private management not just in degree but in quality, so that American business is an inappropriate analogy for evaluating public management. In particular, "purpose,""organization," and "people" have different meaning and significance in public agencies and private businesses. (JG)
Chapter
The 1970’s in the United States appear to have opened with an extraordinarily critical attack on the large business corporations as an instrument of achieving societal progress. Dissatisfaction with the quality of life in America today, both the quality of existence it permits and the distribution of the costs and benefits of that existence, are un...
Article
This paper examines the nature and promise of the revolutionary approach to social problems that is represented by systems analysis. It first describes social decisions and how they are usually made. Then it examines systems analysis, considers its worth for social decisions, and describes some prerequisites required for it to be useful. Finally, t...
Article
When a group of people must decide on some one action, such as where shall we go out to dinner, or in an investment club which stock shall we buy, how do the individual members come to a decision that affords the best resolution of the question at hand for the group as a whole? What about differences of opinion among members that lead to conflict i...

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