Moneyball and StrategyPosted: October 16, 2011
Some time later I was the faculty advisor for a small MBA readings group and one of the books we decided to read was Moneyball. I quickly discovered that the book indeed is a good introduction and case study of some central issues in strategy: human capital, appropriation and competitive advantage. Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta’s strategy was brilliant. As the students read the book, they immediately understood the power of a more scientific approach to managing human capital (e.g., selection) and the power of differentiation. It seems, though I’m no baseball fan (it’s hockey or soccer for me, since I grew up in Finland), that the game of baseball has changed as a result. (Though, of course sabermetrics had been around for quite some time).
I have also now seen the movie. I quite liked it. And the movie stayed relatively true to the book. I may use the movie in future classes, as some sort of extra assignment.
There are certainly some more academic-y strategy issues to discuss related to Moneyball – but perhaps I’ll highlight those in a later post. As Google Scholar shows, Moneyball seems to have influenced research in various disciplines (psychology, decision-making, human resources, economics).
Here are some academic blogs that have recently reviewed Moneyball, the movie:
- Christine Hurt at the Conglomerate.
- Fabio Rojas at orgtheory.net.
- Greg Mankiw only makes a remark about the Harvard-Yale issue.