Knowledge at Wharton’s best of the year


Perk Place: The Benefits Offered by Google and Others May Be Grand, but They’re All

Free gourmet food, 24-hour gym, yoga classes, in-house doctor, on-site haircuts, dry
cleaner, nutritionist, swimming pool … .These are just some of the perks
Google — and many other organizations — offer employees. Companies have their
reasons, of course: They want to attract and retain the best knowledge-workers
they can, help them work long hours by feeding them gourmet meals on-site and
handling time-consuming personal chores, and show them that they are valued
members of the team. But, as Wharton faculty point out, there may be a potential
downside to all this largesse.

Managing Emotions in the Workplace: Do Positive and Negative
Attitudes Drive Performance?

You know the type: coworkers who never have anything positive to say, whether at the weekly staff meeting or in
the cafeteria line. They can suck the energy from a brainstorming session with a
few choice comments. Their negativity can contaminate even good news. “We engage
in emotional contagion,” says Wharton management professor Sigal Barsade.
“Emotions travel from person to person like a virus.” Barsade is the co-author
of a new paper that looks at the impact of employees’ moods, emotions, and
overall dispositions on job performance.

Short-Circuited: Cutting Jobs as Corporate

Circuit City announced that it was laying off 3,400 workers so it could rehire
new ones at lower salaries, it raised the question of just what strategic
benefits the company — or any company — expects to achieve through employee
downsizing. Clearly these benefits depend on the underlying strength of the
organization and the specific reasons behind the cost-cutting, but most experts
agree that unless layoffs are part of a well-planned strategy, the move could
cause as many problems as it was intended to cure.


GE India’s T.P. Chopra: ‘We Have Ridden the Wave of India’s

General Electric (GE) India
recently saw a change at the top. After 14 years as CEO of GE India, Scott
Bayman — one of the longest-serving international CEOs in the country —
retired this summer. On June 1, Tejpreet Singh Chopra, an 11-year GE veteran,
took charge as GE India’s new CEO. Most recently, Chopra was the president and
CEO of GE Commercial Finance in India, before which he headed GE India’s
commercial aircraft leasing and financing unit. Chopra recently met with India
Knowledge@Wharton in the company’s office in New Delhi. In his first interview
after becoming GE India’s CEO, he discussed various issues, including the
company’s growth strategy in the country and the changing role that GE India now
plays in the company’s global operations.

V. Raghunathan: ‘Indians Are Privately Smart and Publicly

Why do
Indians drive through red lights? Or dump garbage in the streets while keeping
their own homes clean? In his book, Games Indians Play: Why We Are the Way We
, V. Raghunathan uses game theory — a branch of mathematics — and
related concepts such as the prisoner’s dilemma to explore why Indians so often
tend to focus on winning immediate gains at the cost of long-term benefits. A
former professor at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad, Raghunathan
was named president of ING Vysya Bank in 2001. He now works for the GMR Group as
managing director of GMR Industries, the group’s agri-business division, and CEO
of the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation.

Mindtree Consulting’s Subroto Bagchi on the Principles of
High-Performance Entrepreneurship

When Subroto Bagchi and nine other
colleagues launched Mindtree Consulting in 1999, he believed he had two
responsibilities. The first was to build the company as a global IT and R&D
services firm. The second was to document his entrepreneurial experience, not
with 20-20 hindsight — as many businesspeople do — but as it unfolded. Bagchi,
who is the chief operating officer of Mindtree Consulting, has turned that
journal into a book titled, The High-Performance Entrepreneur: Golden Rules
for Success in Today’s World
. In the first of a two-part podcast interview,
Bagchi spoke with India Knowledge@Wharton about the principles that define
high-performance entrepreneurship.


Dueling Age Groups in Today’s Workforce: From Baby Boomers to
Generations X and Y

If it is hard to get people from
various generations to reach any agreement, it is even harder to do so within a
corporation. Cristina SimΓ³n, professor at the Instituto de Empresa (IE) in
Madrid, has identified and analyzed the four generations that currently make up
the corporate work force. Her study is called, “Generation Y and the Labor
Market: Models for HR Management.” Gayle Allard, another member of the IE staff,
collaborated on the project along with Adecco, a company that supplies temporary
workforce services.

Global Warming and its Impact on Brazilian

recent forecasts for extraordinary temperature increases around the globe prove
to be accurate, the Brazilian economy runs the risk of collapsing, according to
some experts. The most widely discussed symptom of this potential crisis in
agriculture is that grain production could drop in half during the next century
as the climate becomes warmer. That would be accompanied by a reduction in the
area that can be used for cultivating the country’s most important agricultural

Why Brazil Has Become One of the Top Four Investment Destinations
in the World

Along with China, India and
Russia, Brazil is a country overflowing with opportunities to attract foreign
capital. Brazil is leading the way in Latin America’s economic development. In
2006, it was the third largest economy in the western hemisphere and the 11th
largest in the world. The economy has stabilized, the legislative reforms of the
Lula Da Silva government are boosting cooperation between the public and private
sectors, trade imbalances are improving and the high valuation of markets is
attracting the attention of foreign investors. “It is a country where you have
to be,” notes one expert. Nevertheless, Brazil must continue with the reforms
underway in order to maintain its upward momentum.


China’s Large Aircraft Program Gains Momentum: When Will It Take

With its
decision earlier this year to relaunch its large aircraft program, China has
signaled its intent to challenge Boeing and Airbus SA’s dominant positions in
the global market. On February 26, the Chinese government announced its approval
of the program and a future company to operate it. The news is a strong signal
that, despite unsuccessful efforts in the 1980s, China sees the benefits of
developing large aircraft, including the impact this will have on other
industries, such as machinery, electronics, metallurgy, chemicals, energy and
IT. What are the driving forces for this program and what will the new venture
look like? China Knowledge@Wharton interviewed experts for their opinions on the
challenges that lie ahead.

Online Campaigns: The New Way Marketers Can Reach Out to Chinese

the number of netizens in China continues to increase at a torrid pace —
reaching more than 140 million users by early 2007 — companies keep searching
for ways to incorporate the Internet into their marketing campaigns. Through
interactive digital marketing, companies hope they can tap into the growing
trend of online participation by Chinese consumers and thus influence public
perception of their brands. China Knowledge@Wharton interviewed experts in the
field and looked at consumer brands, like Pepsi and Samsung, that are at the
forefront of efforts to engage consumers in the creative process.

China’s Economy Hotel Business: Is It Too Hot?

The year 2006 witnessed the
booming of China’s economy hotel chains, including decisions by Home Inns and
Jin Jiang Inns to go public. Riding on the momentum and boosted by eager
investors, the network of China’s economy hotel chains is expanding at an ever
faster rate in 2007. However, because of the increase in property costs and the
drop in occupancy rates, the investment return on economy hotels is showing
signs of a slowdown. Is China’s economy hotel business too hot? What challenges
are there running a successful economy hotel in China? China Knowledge@Wharton
interviewed the experts.


Sports: The Players, the Platforms and the Profits

According to some industry
estimates, fantasy sports is now a $4 billion industry and growing quickly. What
is fantasy sports, who provides fantasy sports platforms, what are the most
popular fantasy sports, and can we assume there will be a Super Bowl for fantasy
football, or for baseball, basketball or hockey? Knowledge@Wharton asked Kent
Smetters, professor of insurance and risk management, to bring us up to speed on
the future of this industry.

That ‘Sweet Spot’: A New Way to Drive Innovation

Larry Huston was vice president of
knowledge and innovation for many years at Procter & Gamble. During that
time, he was the architect of its Connect + Develop program, the creator of
P&G’s Brand Bootcamp operation, and innovation leader for the company’s
global fabric and homecare business, among other initiatives. He is now managing
partner of 4INNO, and recently joined Wharton’s Mack Center for Technological
Innovation as a senior fellow. Knowledge@Wharton asked Huston to talk about
innovation and its role in the global economy.

George’s ‘Authentic Leadership’: Passion Comes from People’s Life

George, probably best known in the business community for his former position as
chairman and CEO of Medtronic, is also an author. In 2003 he published a book
called, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting
. Recently, he published his second book titled, True North:
Discover Your Authentic Leadership
, described by George and his co-author
Peter Sims as a way to “locate the internal compass that guides you successfully
through life.” George is also a professor of management practice at Harvard
Business School. He and Michael Useem, director of Wharton’s Center for
Leadership and Change Management, recently talked with Knowledge@Wharton about
authentic leadership, both the book and the concept.

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About Gautam

Gautam is a HR professional interested in how emerging technologies are impacting work, careers and organizations.

Posted on December 29, 2007, in work and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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