HBS: How Coronavirus Will Change Business
With b-schools closing campuses and moving online, the COVID-19 pandemic has already changed how students are learning.
But how exactly is the virus changing how business is practiced?
Dina Gerdeman, of Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, recently spoke to a few HBS experts on how the disease is rewriting the future of business.
Experts say that with the pandemic well underway, businesses are now challenged with how much they can really trust their employees.
“The coronavirus challenge demands an organization-wide, honest conversation that enables truth to speak to power about the corporate response to the challenge,” Michael Beer, a Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration at HBS, tells Working Knowledge. “Think of it as a new strategic initiative facing huge execution challenges. These require senior management to get the best information they can about barriers to execution, and it requires trust and commitment.”
Due to the pandemic, many companies have now switched to remote working—something Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, a Lumry Family Associate Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at HBS, says will become strategic.
“Remote companies have well-established processes where people are socializing and no one is feeling isolated and falling through the cracks,” Choudhury tells Working Knowledge. “That’s really important right now, especially with all the anxiety around us and schools getting closed and the fear and psychosis of the moment.”
A RE-EVALUATION OF OPERATIONS
Looking ahead, the worst is yet to come, believes Willy C. Shih, Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration in the Technology and Operations Management Unit. He sees airlines and hotels – and the travel industry at large – as vulnerable industries that will struggle to make up lost revenue.
At the same time, Shih believes the Coronavirus will also overhaul global manufacturing and logistics.
“Businesses have been surprised on how dependent they are on China, for everything from key raw materials or parts to finished products,” he writes. “Often they didn’t realize that it was a supplier to their supplier, or further down as a third or fourth tier. The magnitude of the shock means after they recover from the momentary chaos, many will start thinking about diversifying their risk and trying to develop alternatives in other countries.”
See what else experts have to say about Coronavirus changing business here.