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Category Archives: Sustainability and Business

The role of employee satisfaction in successful airline mergers

In early November, the Justice Department settled its suit blocking the merger of American Airlines and US Airways and, this month, the merger was completed. The original suit claimed “airline consolidation had gone too far and the proposed merger would lead to higher fares for consumers.” In the end, having the two airlines concede to surrendering some take off and landing spots at certain airports would “foster competition and lead to low prices.” So the merger continues.

Airline mergers are nothing new in the industry; as noted in an MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) interview with Tom Kochan, Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems at MIT Sloan, “Airline companies may be the business everyone fantasizes the most about trying to fix.” As experts quoted in the recent article in The New York Times, Concession in Airline Merger is Criticized,” airline mergers create “unprecedented pricing power” and are designed to cut operational costs. But, as the story notes, “merged airlines have had varied levels of success in meshing their operations and achieving the ‘synergies’ they sought.”

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Mapping collective intelligence to design winning organizations

It’s likely you’ve heard of collective intelligence, the term used broadly to refer to groups of individuals doing things collectively that seem intelligent. The most well-known examples of collective intelligence in action are Google and Wikipedia—large, loosely organized groups of people working together in a rapid transfer information stream.

What many organizations don’t know—but could benefit from—is the use of mapping collective intelligence to dissect and better understand their people, processes, and sources of inefficiency and, in some cases, to create a structure to improve business innovation.

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Are consumers or lawmakers better at regulating energy efficiency standards?

A recent energy goal set by President Obama has MIT Sloan Professor Christopher Knittel and some colleagues questioning how best to track and control the public’s use of energy efficiency programs to make that goal a reality. The President’s goal aims to cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.

However, Knittel, who is the William Barton Rogers Professor of Energy Economics at MIT Sloan and Co-Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR) at MIT, says before we buy into more stringent energy efficiency goals, we need to analyze the current situation more rigorously.

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