What the Financial Crisis Taught us about Human Decision Making

David Brooks writes in the NY Times:
Once there was just Newtonian physics and the world seemed neat and mechanical. Then quantum physics came along and revealed that deep down things are much weirder than they seem. Something similar is now happening with public policy.Once, classical economics dominated policy thinking. The classical models presumed a certain sort of orderly human makeup. Inside each person, reason rides the passions the way a rider sits atop a horse. Sometimes people do stupid things, but generally the rider makes deliberative decisions, and the market rewards rational behavior. Markets tend toward efficiency. People respond in pretty straightforward ways to incentives. The invisible hand forms a spontaneous, dynamic order. Economic behavior can be accurately predicted through elegant models. This view explains a lot, but not the current financial crisis — how so many people could be so stupid, incompetent and self-destructive all at once. The crisis has delivered a blow to classical economics and taken a body of psychological work that was at the edge of public policy thought and brought it front and center. In this new body of thought, you get a very different picture of human nature. Reason is not like a rider atop a horse. Instead, each person’s mind contains a panoply of instincts, strategies, intuitions, emotions, memories and habits, which vie for supremacy. An irregular, idiosyncratic and largely unconscious process determines which of these internal players gets to control behavior at any instant.

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Dell Needs to Change its Business Model

In SMI we are doing a case study of how Dell developed a market positioning and orgnanizational strategy that allowed it to outcompete all other firms in the PC industry. Dell seemed unstoppable and.  The Economist reports on the current troubles of Dell and how the returned founder of the firm tries to turn the firm around and restore it to glory, i.e. growth and profitability.  Read Story
September 5, 2008 update: Dell plans to sell all its factories

Ford Turnaround

Ford has tried to regain a competitive position a number of times without success. Will the company succeed this time as its struggles for survial. Read article on WSJ.com.

April 24, 2008: In Surprise, Ford Swings to Profit in First Quarter

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Book Review Instructions

During the SMY, each student will present a review of a book or an article that has extended their thinking about Strategic Management. The article or book should not be a core management text that most students would be already familiar with. New insights often come from another domain. For this reason we encourage you to look far afield for texts that provide you with some insight into the problems of the general manager or entrepreneur. For example, “It’s Only a Game” by John O’Neill (former CEO of the Australian Rugby Union and Football Federation of Australia) is a good insight into managing a complex organisation. We have posted an example of such a book review on the eLearning website along with some background information on the value of this assignment.

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Strategic Management 4

Update on Case Studies

Course outline

Assessments

Topics