CAMBRIDGE, MA: The Harvard Business Review, known for authoritative articles on cutting-edge management practices, recently began to mull an innovation of its own.According to its PR team, the magazine has been thinking of repackaging the HBR Interview, a source of controversy since the affair between editor Suzy Wetlaufer and former GE CEO Jack Welch spilled into the business pages early last month.
"The editors are looking at how they explain the interview process," revealed Sarah McConville, corporate communications director for the Harvard Business School Press. "They might call it something else, or perhaps include something akin to the clarifying notes that run with our case studies."
In the story that broke the imbroglio, The Wall Street Journal reported that Welch agreed to sit down with Wetlaufer only after "learning that Review policy allowed interview subjects to read and make changes to interviews before they are published."
For media pundits like the LA Times' Tim Rutten, that revelation provided reason to doubt HBR's integrity. "In other words,
he wrote, "CEO interviews in America's leading academic business publication are carefully manicured public relations exercises."
But Plesser Associates president Andy Plesser opined, "The controversy could necessitate additional disclosure, but HBR is extremely valued. It would be ill-advised to change its positioning or policy because of this."
- See Media Watch, p.10.