Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Shareholder wealth, value creation – these and related terms appear frequently in three of the articles in this issue of Journal of Business Strategy. Brian McCarthy of Accenture maintains that shareholder value should be either the only or primary objective of companies. While this approach is straightforward and Mr. McCarthy offers some very specific ways to measure and achieve long-term value, some may find it a bit narrow. But Peter Kontes, one of the co-founders of Marakon Associates and recently retired co-founder of the consulting firm, agrees that maximizing value is critically important. He believes that one of the first places to start is in how the traditional corporate center is defined and organized. JBS was so intrigued by Peter's ideas that we interviewed him about their origins and implications. The interview appears as a sidebar with his article on a better way to structure the organization. Rob Docters and his co-authors, in their fourth article in a series, also talk about value creation, but from a pricing perspective.
Two articles focus on small to medium-sized enterprises, but from very different vantage points. New product development in high tech companies is a dicey proposition, as the three authors of a long-term study confirm, but when done well it can lead to great success, financial and otherwise. Some of the study findings are common sense, but they are backed up by data and interviews. New products are only a part of the equation for performance, however, and, despite good new products, some companies may still encounter problems so pervasive they threaten their very existence. Adam Michelin and Bruce Conklin Jr. of Kibel-Green share their experience in rescuing small and mid-sized companies that find themselves in dire straits, using as an example a high-tech firm.
Our last major article crosses all boundaries and uses numerous examples to demonstrate that behavior is too often undervalued as a differentiator. Rather than being relegated only to the customer service arena, behavior should be viewed as a key strategic element. Terry Bacon, the author, has two books coming out in 2004 that investigate the ways behavior can affect all aspects of corporate performance.
The editorial advisory board of JBS continues to attract experts from around the world. Our newest members come from Singapore, the UK, and Switzerland. Michael Mainelli and Ian Harris joined the board several months ago. We introduced them as the authors of our serialized book, Clean Business Cuisine, and as two of the principals in Z/Yen Consulting in London.
Ian Angell is a professor of information systems at the London School of Economics who is best known for his (by self-admission) "very radical and constructive views on the pseudo-science of academic information systems". Samples of his views may be found on the Web site of the LSE's Computer Security Research Center (www.csrc.lse.ac.uk). He is working on two provocatively-titled books, The Black Art of Management and No More Leaning on Lampposts following his 2000 book, The New Barbarian Manifesto, already translated into Chinese and Korean.
Jean-Daniel Clavel is a founding partner of Strategic Consulting Partners & Associates, a consulting firm with offices in Europe and the USA. He is Minister and Deputy Head of the Center for Analysis and Prospective Studies, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Bern, and has served as Minister and Deputy Representative of Switzerland to the OECD in Paris from 1990 to 1996. He has been involved in international negotiations in the fields of economics, industrial cooperation, energy and ecology.
JBS first encountered Bob Garratt through his book, Developing Strategic Thought: A Collection of the Best Thinking on Business Strategy, where experts from around the world have contributed chapters on the latest ideas about strategy. Bob is the chairman of Board Performance Limited in London and also chairs Organization Development Limited in Hong Kong and Singapore. His areas of interest center on corporate board governance and his latest book conveys his philosophy in its title: Thin on Top: Why Corporate Governance Matters.
Ram Ramakrishnan has contributed chapters to both of the books edited by Bob Garratt. He is a managing director in Singapore of Organization Development, a consulting firm serving clients in Asia, the UK and Europe. Ram, whose expertise is in IT, has developed a comprehensive management tool that integrates six sigma into the balanced scorecard concept and has copyrighted a governance dashboard to measure board and director performance.
Arif Zaman is currently on a research sabbatical from British Airways at Henley Management College. He is advising the CEO of the Commonwealth Business Council on establishing a South Asia Trade and Investment Network. A fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society, his research focus is on governance and corporate social responsibility, and South Asia. He is the author of Made in Japan: Converging Trends in Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Governance and Reputational Risk: How to Manage for Value Creation.
JBS is eager to receive your comments and criticisms, as always.