Knowledge@Wharton

Marketing: Pay-for-Performance Trade Promotions Can Ease Friction Between Manufacturers and Retailers
Durk Jager, former head of Procter & Gamble’s U.S. operations, recently characterized the existing trade promotion system between manufacturers and retailers as “impossibly inefficient.” Wharton marketing professor David Bell and Xavier Dreze from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, couldn’t agree more. Their solution is a variation on a relatively new type of trade promotion known as “pay-for-performance.”

Leadership and Change: If Affluenza Strikes, Take Naps and Stop Consuming
Choose one: a slight pay raise or a shorter work week. If you chose the former, you may be suffering from what authors John de Graaf, David Wann and Thomas Naylor call “affluenza,” which is both the name of their new book and a reference to America’s worship of economic expansion. As in more shopping malls, bigger homes and more bankruptcies, both monetary and spiritual. Affluenza, our reviewer says, is a riveting, terrifying and inspiring analysis of what ails contemporary America.

Health Economics: When Taking Two Aspirin Won’t Do: A Primer on the Patients’ Bill of Rights
Anyone who has received a brochure describing medical coverage options knows just how baffling and legalistic the language can be. So, too, is the ongoing debate over the so-called “patients’ bill of rights” currently winding its way through the U.S. Congress. To help explain some of the key issues, Knowledge@Wharton asked Wharton faculty members for their views on what the final bill should include.

Operations Management: Poachers Are Out to Plunder Your Intellectual Property – Can You Do Anything?
Customer relationship management, or CRM, is the buzzword du jour in business circles. To hear some proponents talk about it, all a company needs to do is buy and install a sophisticated CRM software package to maximize its returns from customers. Wharton faculty members point out, however, that making CRM work involves doing a lot more.

Marketing: Making Customer Relationship Management Work
Investors often regard annuities as a poor substitute for mutual funds and other investments. A new study by Wharton’s Pension Research Council shows, however, that middle-income investors approaching retirement age may be missing a good bet if they overlook annuities. “Mutual funds don’t protect you against the risk of outliving your assets,” says Olivia S. Mitchell, the council’s executive director.

Finance and Investment: In a Slump, Charles Schwab and Merrill Lynch Seek Middle Ground
Consider it a tale of two companies, each wrestling with a difficult market and, to some extent, trying to move to the middle to escape the worst of the extremes. Merrill Lynch, the country’s biggest brokerage, and its chief rival, Charles Schwab, won’t become mirror images of one another, but both are struggling to deal with one of the industry’s biggest problems: How to assure steady revenue even when investors are too fearful to trade.

Managing Technology: Measuring Returns on IT Investments: Some Tools and Techniques
How can executives measure returns on investments they make in information technology? This complex issue touches everything from decisions about replacing desktop computers with laptop models to investments in complex software systems. Experts from Wharton and Intel, the giant chip maker, suggest some methods that may help executives approach these questions.

Managing Technology: How Linus Torvalds Found Fun, and a New Operating System
Linus Torvalds is the poster boy of the open source software movement, an arch enemy of Bill Gates and a guy who just wants to have fun. At least that’s the message of his recently-published Just For Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary, in which Torvalds explains to us the humble origins of his Linux operating system.

Strategic Management: CEOs Serve Themselves First in Mergers of Equals
In “mergers of equals,” target company CEOs frequently strike deals that benefit them personally but are not in the best interests of their shareholders, according to a new study by Wharton management professor Julie Wulf. Her analysis of 40 mergers of equals that took place during the 1990s includes explanations for the lower returns as well as a way to prevent their recurrence.

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