Cold Call distills Harvard Business School's legendary case studies into podcast form. Hosted by Brian Kenny, the podcast airs every two weeks and features Harvard Business School faculty discussing cases they've written and the lessons they impart.
Employee Performance vs. Company Values: A Manager’s Dilemma
As we celebrate the five-year anniversary of Cold Call, we welcome a special guest, Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria to discuss the classic case, “Rob Parson at Morgan Stanley.” The case poses a complex dilemma: should Morgan Stanley promote a high performer who lacks interpersonal skills and brushes off company values? More subtly, the case also encourages reflection about the accountability of managers in an employee’s performance.
Is Happiness at Work Really Attainable?
Simón Cohen, founder of Henco Logistics, transformed a small Mexican logistics company into a major player within the industry. Cohen credits the firm’s focus on employee happiness as the key ingredient to its success -- an approach he developed following a personal crisis. But can that approach endure through Henco’s rapid growth, leadership transition, and changing employee expectations?
How to Launch a New Biosciences Product: Start Small or Dive in?
C16 Biosciences wants to replace palm oil, a major contributor to deforestation and climate change, with a lab-grown substitute. Should the synthetic biology startup start small in the personal care market or dive into booming lab-grown food market?
Testing New Contact Tracing Approaches in a Pandemic
Singapore officials added a nationwide, Bluetooth-based contact tracing program called TraceTogether to their suite of Covid-19-fighting strategies, which already included human-led tracing. The new digital program’s success would rely on mitigating privacy issues. Would Singaporeans adopt TraceTogether? As Singapore’s government opened up the technology to the world, would you? Harvard Business School professor Mitch Weiss discusses his new case, “TraceTogether.”
Glossier Built a Cult Brand and a Digital Community, but What’s Next?
The digital-first, direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier considers marketing strategies that move away from organic community support and toward influencer marketing and paid media. Harvard Business School professor Jill Avery discusses the debate in her case, “Glossier: Co-Creating a Cult Brand with a Digital Community.”
Starbucks Commits to Raising Awareness of Racial Bias
After a highly publicized act of racial discrimination by a Starbucks employee against two African American men in one of its stores in 2018, the company closed its 8,000 U.S. coffee shops for a day of unconscious bias training. The company also revised store policies and employee training practices. Harvard Business School professors Francesca Gino and Katherine Coffman discuss what we can learn about unconscious bias in corporate culture from Starbucks’ reaction to that incident in their case, “Starbucks: Reaffirming Commitment to the Third Place Ideal.”