MIT Sloan Prof. Duncan Simester
Online companies are already struggling to deal with “cyber-shilling,” where people or companies are paid to post negative or positive reviews about products or services. But new research suggests that the problem could be much larger than we might expect. We find evidence that some of the people writing reviews on the website of a prominent private label apparel company have never purchased the products they are reviewing.
That firm’s web site generates hundreds of thousands of product reviews. We found that about 5 percent of those reviews were by customers for whom there was no record of actually purchasing the item. Notably, these reviews were significantly more negative than the remaining 95 percent of the reviews, which were posted by customers who were known to have purchased the item. We are also able to replicate the effect using book reviews at Amazon.com.
MIT Sloan Distinguished Professor JoAnne Yates
No matter what business we’re in, most of us are swamped by emails, not to mention texts and instant messages. We’re always fighting to stay afloat against the rising flood waters. Yet it often seems that the more messages we answer, or the faster we reply,– the worse it gets.
I’ve been analyzing email use since the 1980s. Our increased accessibility from technology was first seen as a tremendous advantage, but it’s now a daily deluge. Through my research and the research of others, I’ve found that there are some things we all can do to handle all those messages more efficiently.
There might be more than a billion people using social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but most businesses are just beginning to figure out how social technologies can benefit their organizations.
A new research report Social Business: Shifting Out of First Gear from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte demonstrates the growing importance of social media to business and the difficulties organizations have with using social tools to create business value. Read More
MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Virginia Healy-Tangney
While “teamwork” may sound like the newest business buzz word, it’s actually been around for quite a while. What started as a way to increase productivity in a company has evolved to an actual science today with measurable results.
There are many reasons for this, but the clearest involves the need for collaboration. As was noted in a recent Fortune article, even geniuses like Thomas Edison were never “lone inventors.”
Business operates in ever evolving collaborative environments due to integrated factors, such as technology, globalization of markets and flatter organizational structures. Companies that effectively implement teams have found tremendous rewards in the form of innovative ideas, higher productivity, increased efficiency, and communicative cultures. As MIT Professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland says in his recent HBR article, The New Science of Building Great Teams, this enables “energy, creativity, and shared commitment.” Read More
MIT Sloan Associate Prof. Juanjuan Zhang
Transparency and full disclosure are popular notions, especially when applied to consumer product safety. If people have full access to knowledge about product content, then they can decide for themselves whether the product is safe, according to the prevailing view.
But when mandated by public policy, transparency and disclosure can have harmful unintended consequences, I have found in my research. For some consumers, the very fact that government requires disclosure about a product raises a red flag. Individuals will conclude that the government knows something they don’t about the product. Many people will believe the product content that requires disclosure is unsafe and then not consume the product—even if it does not contain any harmful ingredients.