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Business School Publishing Arm Restructures

Harvard Business School’s publishing arm has recently restructured itself to streamline the editorial process in response to the changing nature of the publishing industry.

HBS professors who wish to publish a scholarly work will first contact publishing staffers in their subject area, who will then ensure that the work is published through several different media outlets—such as books, the Web, and the Harvard Business Review.

To that end, publishing staffers have been newly organized into topic-specific teams, or “idea chains,” in order to streamline the editorial process, according to Director of HBS Publishing Activities Howard H. Stevenson.

In an e-mail to HBS staff and faculty in November, Business School Dean Jay O. Light wrote that “despite some positive indicators,” HBS Publishing “still faces significant industry-wide challenges.”

The scholarly publishing industry has faced significant financial setbacks over the past few years.

In light of the closing of Harvard University Press’ display room in the Holyoke Center, HUP sales director Susan Donnelly said to The Crimson last July that publishers have been dealt a “double-whammy” by the financial crisis and the transition to digital media.

But administrators—including Stevenson and Raymond Carvey, senior vice president and chief operating officer of HBS Publishing—said that the restructuring was motivated by the changing nature of the publishing industry rather than financial concerns.

Carvey said that the publishing house has brought all its products—including the Harvard Business Review and the case studies taught in HBS classes—under one umbrella.

HBS professors will no longer have to “hunt around”—instead, they will “have a home,” Carvey said.

HBS Assistant Professor Romana L. Autrey said that professors will now be able to coordinate their work with one team “instead of having to form new relationships every time we publish new material.”

Light has given guidance to HBS Publishing to help it evolve with the changing media landscape, according to Carvey.

Stevenson noted that any additional profits will be used to invest in the publishing house and faculty research.

“We want to have a greater income to better serve our customers,” Stevenson said. “Like the Business School as a whole, we are fundamentally an educational institution.”

Carvey said that these new innovations will help HBS Publishing be “the globally recognized publisher of great management ideas.”

—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at tmerrigan@college.harvard.edu.

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