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Rotman professors share insights and perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic

April 1, 2020

As we navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic, most of us are undoubtedly wrestling with questions about our health, our work, the healthcare system, the economy, and the future in general. During this difficult time, experts at the Rotman School are providing much-needed insights and answers. Across the School, professors are leveraging their knowledge in strategic management, operations and leadership, and drawing on the latest research to provide timely advice on what countries, companies, policy makers and individuals should be thinking about and what they can do.

Many, like Will Mitchell, who is a professor in the Strategic Management area and the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialization at Rotman, quickly identified a few of the knowledge gaps that arose during the pandemic and acted quickly. Recently, Mitchell and his fellow editors at Health Management, Policy and Innovation worked quickly to publish a special online issue focused on addressing the best practices and the immediate challenges concerning the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This resource, which will be updated frequently, includes a piece authored by Dmitry Krass, a professor in the Operations Management and Statistics area and the Sydney C. Cooper Chair in Business and Technology, on the most effective policies to pursue during this time. Also in this issue, Mitchell co-wrote a piece on how hospitals can divide tasks across four different types of teams in managing the pandemic.

Sarah Kaplan, a professor in the Strategic Management area and a Distinguished Professor of Gender and the Economy, examined what companies can do during these trying times. In a recent piece for Corporate Knights, Kaplan examined how this pandemic will force companies to think beyond the bottom line. She and her co-author discussed potential strategies for firms, including how they can create social responsibility committees and use this time to generate ideas that serve many more stakeholders.

As consumers scrambled to stock up on groceries and toiletries, Joshua Gans, a professor in the Strategic Management area and the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship, focused on the bigger picture. In a piece for The Toronto Star, Gans made the case for why Canada must adopt a wartime mentality during this pandemic, stressing the importance of assessing and allocating resources quickly and strategically, especially in healthcare settings.

Similarly, Roger Martin, a professor emeritus in the Strategic Management area and former Dean of the Rotman School, examined how improvements in efficiency have come at the expense of resilience. In his perspective piece for The Washington Post, he outlined why industries need to refocus and shift their priorities to ensuring supplies for buffer stocks and vaccine development, among other considerations.

Meanwhile, Richard Florida, a University Professor at the Rotman School, focused on the way forward. His recent article for CityLab examined what it will take to reopen cities. Florida described how cities will need to adapt transportation systems, rethink how large gathering spaces are used, and implement protections for the core economy when lockdowns are lifted.

Various other professors have shared insights and comments with media on a range of other issues. For instance, Lisa Kramer, who is a professor with the University of Toronto Mississauga (with a cross-appointment to the Finance area at the Rotman School), cautioned consumers against panic-buying. In a National Post op-ed, Richard Powers, an associate professor in the teaching stream, explained how Canada gave the International Olympic Committee an excuse to postpone the upcoming Games.

As this pandemic persists, new questions and concerns will emerge. Professors at the Rotman School will undoubtedly continue to share their time and expertise to help us all make sense of this uncertain and ever-changing situation.

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Meet the researchers

Will Mitchell

Professor of Strategic Management

Read his full biography →

Dmitry Krass

Professor of Operations Management and Statistics

Read his full biography →

Sarah Kaplan

Professor of Strategic Management

Read her full biography →

Joshua Gans

Professor of Strategic Management

Read his full biography →

Roger Martin

Professor Emeritus of Strategic Management

Read his full biography →

Richard Florida

University Professor, Rotman School of Management and the School of Cities, University of Toronto

Read his full biography →

Lisa Kramer

Professor of Finance, Department of Management, University of Toronto Mississauga

Read her full biography →

Richard Powers

Associate Professor, Teaching Stream

Read his full biography →