Julian Birkinshaw

The M-word

When you ask children what they want to be when they are older, how many of them say they want to be a manager? I've certainly never met one who had such aspirations. In part this is because management is a pretty amorphous concept to a ten-year-old. But it's also because we adults aren't exactly singing the praises of the management profession either.  For example, in a 2008 Gallup poll on honesty and ethics among workers in 21 different professions, a mere 12 percent of respondents felt business executives had high/very high integrity--an all-time low. With a 37 percent low/very low rating, the executives came in behind lawyers, union leaders, real estate agents, building contractors, and bankers. » Read more

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What is your management model?

One enduring change in the management lexicon brought about by the dotcom revolution was the term business model—how a firm makes money. The concept had been in existence for decades, but the competition between "old" and "new" economy firms, with very different business models, helped to demonstrate its importance as a way of thinking about the basic choices firms make when it comes to their sources of revenue, their cost structure, and their make-or-buy options.

In the post-dotcom era, firms have continued to experiment with new business models, with some success. But genuinely new business models are hard to come by, and they aren’t as easily defended as they once were. Firms are therefore on the lookout for new forms of competitive advantage—they are looking for sources of distinctiveness that are enduring and hard to copy.

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