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Harvard Business Review Announces 59th Annual HBR McKinsey Award Winners

Organizations need competent management just as much as they need analytical brilliance, argue the winners of this year’s HBR McKinsey Award, which honors the best Harvard Business Review article of the year.

In "Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?,” Raffaella Sadun, Nicholas Bloom, and John Van Reenen challenge the conventional thinking that operational effectiveness is not a source of competitive differentiation. Through in-depth research involving over 12,000 firms in 34 countries, they found that companies with strong managerial processes do significantly better on metrics such as profitability, growth, longevity, and productivity. What’s more, the differences in process quality persist over time, suggesting that competent management is not easy to imitate.

“‘Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?’ is a rigorously researched article that reveals an important insight: core management practices that are often underrated and viewed as ‘non-strategic’ are in fact a powerful way to become more competitive,” said Adi Ignatius, Editor in Chief of Harvard Business Review.

Raffaella Sadun is the Thomas S. Murphy Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Nicholas Bloom is the William Eberle Professor of economics at Stanford University and a codirector of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. John Van Reenen is the Gordon Y. Billard Professor in MIT’s department of economics and its Sloan School of Management.

The annual HBR McKinsey Awards, judged by an independent panel of business and academic leaders with input from members of HBR’s Advisory Board, commend outstanding articles published each year in Harvard Business Review. This year’s announcement appears in the May-June issue of the magazine, which is available online today and on newsstands April 24.

This year’s HBR McKinsey Awards also recognizes two finalists:

The 2017 HBR McKinsey judges were: Peter Cappelli, Professor, The Wharton School; Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, Senior Advisor, Egon Zehnder; Erin Meyer, Professor, INSEAD; and Martha Samuelson, CEO, Analysis Group.

About the HBR McKinsey Awards

Since 1959, the HBR McKinsey Awards have recognized practical and groundbreaking management thinking by determining the best articles published each year in Harvard Business Review. Past winners include Peter Drucker, Clayton M. Christensen, Daniel Goleman, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, George Stalk, Michael E. Porter, Mark R. Kramer, and John Kotter.

About Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review is the leading destination for smart management thinking. Through its flagship magazine, 12 international licensed editions, books from Harvard Business Review Press, and digital content and tools published on HBR.org, Harvard Business Review provides professionals around the world with rigorous insights and best practices to lead themselves and their organizations more effectively and to make a positive impact.

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