Research to Help You Meet Your Challenges

2015-2016's highlights from IESE Insight

24/08/2016 Barcelona

IESE Business School

IESE Insight: Research you can use / Photo: IESE

As the business environment becomes more complex, dynamic and competitive, leaders need new tools to face different challenges successfully.

To support executives in this, IESE faculty has carried out extensive research over the course of the 2015-2016 academic year, resulting in:

  • 47 articles published in top academic journals

  • 16 new books on research and management

  • over 20 studies

  • over 80 business cases 

Global Leadership

One of the challenges facing today's executives is adapting to different cultural contexts. To do so, they must develop cultural intelligence (CQ), which Yuan Liao and co-authors research in their article “Cultural intelligence: A Theory-based Short Form Measure”, published in the prestigious Journal of International Business Studies.

Professor Pascual Berrone and co-authors analyze why family firms succeed in some countries but not in others in "The Family-Legitimizing Environment and the Prevalence, Strategy, and Performance of Family Firms." This research won the Organization and Management Theory Division of the Academy of Management's Best Paper Award for 2016.

IESE will continue to examine the challenges facing global leaders with the Puig Chair for Global Leadership Development held by Professor Marta Elvira, which was founded this school year. The similarly newly created Antonio Valero Leadership Chair, which will be held by the Dean of IESE starting September 1, will also conduct research in this area.

Personal and Professional Development

Companies, especially those operating in dynamic environments, could be doing more to help their employees feel younger. In the paper of the paper “It Matters How Old You Feel: Antecedents and Performance Consequences of Average Relative Subjective Age in Organizations,” published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Professor Anneloes Raes and co-authors argue that this helps employees reach their goals, and increases company productivity.

Increasingly, executives understand that they must also work on their personal development. It's not surprising, then, that coaching has become a common practice among leaders, who also need advice and guidance. This was stressed at the sixth installment of the Institute of Coaching Leadership Forum organized by Professor Alberto Ribera. The forum was one of the over 20 academic and almost 60 executive events that were organized by or held at IESE over the past school year.

There has been a slight improvement the professional advancement of female executives recently. Women now make up nearly 20 percent of the executive boards of Ibex 35 companies, a percentage that grows closer to the European average of just over 21 percent. These were the findings of the 4th annual report on women on IBEX 35 boards of directors, produced by IESE's International Center for Work and Family (ICWF).

Different Growth Strategies

Some companies are betting on open innovation. They are manufacturing and selling new products at a higher rate, but the profitability of this model still remains to be seen. This is the cautionary note sounded by Bruno Cassiman and Giovanni Valentini in their paper “Open Innovation: Are Inbound and Outbound Knowledge Flows Really Complementary?” published in the Strategic Management Journal. However, the authors don't rule out that open innovation may have a positive effect on balance sheets in the future, once the learning curve has been successfully navigated.

In the Recruit Group and the Ribbon Model case, Paddy Miller and his coauthor analyze how betting on young talent can help a company grow. This case study about Recruit, a Japanese company, is part of the 8 percent of IESE case studies this year that examined Asian companies.

One of the most well worn ideas of the past few years is that of startups' contribution to economic growth. However, in their paper "The Rise and Fall of Startups: Creation and Destruction of Revenue and Jobs by Young Companies,"  Professor Antonio Dávila and coauthors advise caution. This research won them the 2015 E. Yetton prize awarded by the Australian Journal of Management.

To help startups succeed, IESE's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center has launched WeGrow, a mentoring program that matches young entrepreneurs with successful business leaders such as Enric Crous, leader of the Damm group, or Nuria Cabutí, CEO of the Penguin Random House Spanish-language subsidiary.

Also working to foster innovation is the IESE Business Angels Network, headed by Professor Juan Roure, which this year founded. This is one of 11 IESE projects that European institutions have awarded 750,000 euros in funds

Adapting operations to changing sectors

In the nineties, Netfix created a successful online DVD-rental model that allowed them to vault their competitors in the traditional market. In 2010, the company changed course again to focus on streaming. Professor Marc Sachon analyzes the keys to this transformation in Netflix: The Streaming Challenge. This case study inaugurates a new multi-device platform for online cases that combines PDFs with other multimedia formats, which forms part of IESE's plan to incorporate new learning tools.

The technological solutions sector is also continuously evolving. Philip Moscoso, along with Juan Enrique Flores and Francisco Vázquez, explores the advantages (greater flexibility or lower costs) and challenges (lack of control, information security or provider dependence) of migrating IT systems to the cloud in "The HP Helion Proposal: To Migrate or Not to Migrate to the Cloud, That Is the Question." This publication earned them the 2015 EFMD Case Writing Award in the category of Supply Chain Management.

IESE research doesn't leave any business activity uncovered. This school year, Professors Eduard Calvo and Víctor Martínez de Albéniz published "Sourcing Strategies and Supplier Incentives for Short-Life-Cycle Goods" in the prestigious Management Science. In this paper they warn that, contrary to appearances, distributing orders of the same product between multiple providers doesn't lower prices: in fact, it increases them, especially when future interest is taken into account. 

Towards More Sustainable Cities and Companies

Conscious capitalism and b corporations strive to be to the benefit of all stakeholders. Concepts like these took center stage at the 19th International Symposium on Ethics, Business and Society, which was led by Professor Joan Fontrodona

Roberto García-Castro and Claude Francoeur also recommend distributing a company's resources evenly among stakeholders. In “When More is Not Better: Complementarities, Costs and Contingencies in Stakeholder Management,” published in the Strategic Management Journal, they emphasize the importance of not investing disproportionately in a single stakeholder. 

The Fuel Freedom Chair for Energy and Social Development, held by Professor Ahmad Rahnema, aims to promote public policy and business initiatives that combat energy poverty in developing countries.

IESE also endeavors to contribute to the intelligent management of cities: one geared towards ensuring their competitiveness and sustainability. To this end, this year the Specialist Center for Public-Private Partnerships in Smart and Sustainable Cities (PPP for Cities), part of the Public-Private Sector Research Center, organized its first international conference: “Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Cities Through Public-Private Partnerships”.

This school year IESE also published the third installment of the IESE Cities in Motion Index (CIMI), which evaluates the development of 181 cities. The IESE Center for Globalization and Strategy, led by Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart, produces this ranking. Professor Ricart himself received the Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management’s 2016 Outstanding Reviewer prize. The same publication awarded Mireia Las Heras and co-authors of “How national context moderates the impact of family-supportive supervisory behavior on job performance and turnover intentions” the distinction of Outstanding Paper for 2016. 

These are just a few of the most relevant studies of the 2015-2016 school year. On the IESE Insight Knowledge Portal you will find many more topics and projects undertaken by IESE professors to contribute to a better understanding of management, and to identifying the trends shaping global business.