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Why Are Disagreeable Men Being Rewarded for Being Disagreeable?

Idea posted: March 2019
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Nice guys do finish last, according to a series of studies that show agreeable men earn significantly less and have less opportunity for advancement than disagreeable men. Agreeable women aren’t faced with the same backlash, supporting the assumption that agreeable men are being punished for not living up to their stereotypical gender roles. 

Idea #733
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Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh,1889 (Courtesy: Museum of Modern Art, New York)

To Become a Creative Star, Collaborate with Stars

Idea posted: February 2019
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

A new study shows that while innovators benefit from all collaborations, collaborations with creative stars are more likely to lead to breakthrough innovations — and enable the innovator to emerge as a creative star in his or her own right.

Idea #732
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Illustration from the 1855 edition of La Fontaine's Fables

Fast-Slow Strategy-Making in Adaptive Organizations

Idea posted: February 2019
  • Strategy

An adaptive company uses a dynamic collaborative learning system to merge the ‘fast’ experience and insights from front-line operational managers with the ‘slow’ analytical reasoning of corporate strategists to chart the company’s best path to future success.

Idea #731
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The Giacometti room (Courtesy: The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark)

Shades of Grey: The Nuances of Team Disengagement

Idea posted: February 2019
  • Leadership & Change

As leaders and organizations strive to increase engagement, new research shows different nuances to disengagement that undermine the engagement effort. Some teams are pseudo-engaged, with individuals behaving as if they’re engaged but only interested in their own welfare. Others are contented rather than being disgruntled, deciding they want to do the minimum and no more.

Idea #730
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The Emotional Challenge of Customer Service

Idea posted: January 2019
  • Learning & Behaviour

While high emotional intelligence helps people succeed in emotional labour jobs (where managing one’s emotions and the emotions of others is key), a variety of EI competencies are particularly important for customer service personnel.

Idea #726
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Immanuel Kant by unknown artist (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Leadership Humility Is Contagious — Resulting in High Performance

Idea posted: January 2019
  • Leadership & Change

Leadership humility is contagious, resulting in a collective humility that focuses the leader’s group or organization around achieving high team performance.

Idea #728
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Photo by David Hurley on Unsplash

Gender Bias Against Women Leaders Is Higher Than We Think

Idea posted: January 2019
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

While men are more prejudiced than women against women leaders, a new study demonstrates that when surveyed, women are less likely than men to admit their prejudice.

Idea #727
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Photo by Claudia Ramírez on Unsplash

Avoiding Toxic Workers Is More Profitable Than Hiring Superstars

Idea posted: January 2019
  • Leadership & Change

Avoiding a toxic worker enhances performance and costs less than replacing an average worker with a superstar — even if the superstar performs in the top 1% of employees.

Idea #729
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(Source: Pexels)

Spread Innovation Through Shared Leadership

Idea posted: January 2019
  • Creativity & Innovation
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

A new real-world study traces how shared leadership among managers and professionals can ensure that innovation diffuses more widely.

Idea #725
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(Source: Pexels)

Why Emotional Intelligence in Business Is Difficult

Idea posted: January 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A five-year in-depth evaluation of a new measuring tool for emotional intelligence (EI) called the Emotional Capital Report (ECR) proves the validity of the tool for measuring the emotional and social components of EI, while revealing some interesting nuances.

Idea #724
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David and Goliath, Guillaume Courtois, c.1650 (Courtesy: Capitoline Museums, Rome)

Why Goliaths and Davids Are Poor Network Partners

Idea posted: December 2018
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Can a Goliath company or business entity collaborate on equal terms with a network of Davids? A new case study shows that enforcing network rules might make such a collaboration an insurmountable management challenge. 

Idea #721
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Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu, Philippe de Champaigne, 1642 (Courtesy: National Gallery, London)

How Bringing Self to Work Inspires Ethical Behaviour

Idea posted: December 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour

People have different ‘selves’: the same person might be a politician, a grandparent, an avid golfer, and an aspiring novelist, for example. New research shows that if you believe that how you act in one self reflects who you are in all your selves — for example, being a ruthless politician makes you a ruthless person as a whole — you are less likely to commit immoral acts. This research offers new evidence that encouraging employees to bring their personal selves to work encourages moral behaviours and ethical decisions in the workplace.

Idea #722
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Less Competitive Pressure Leads to Less Innovation

Idea posted: December 2018
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Taking advantage of the suddenly reduced threat of hostile takeovers of Delaware-incorporated companies, two researchers demonstrate the significant reduction of innovation efforts when competitive pressure is eased. In short, less competition leads to less innovation.

Idea #723
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Photo by Negative Space on Pexels

The Benefit of Blockchain Loyalty Programs

Idea posted: November 2018
  • Marketing

A review of the different types of traditional loyalty programs, the challenges associated with those programs, and the potential benefits of blockchain-driven programs reveals the benefit of adapting blockchain technology to loyalty programs. 

Idea #719
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Hyundai's Sriperumbudur plant near Chennai (Courtesy: Hyundai Motors India)

Using Frugal Innovation to Serve Emerging Market Customers

Idea posted: November 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Using a case study of Hyundai in India in support, two professors show how multi-national corporations from developed countries can access a growing middle class in major emerging companies. The two key success factors: engaging in frugal innovation, based on frugal engineering, bricolage and modularity, and developing collaborative ecosystems

Idea #718
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Portrait of artists Jean Baptiste de Champaigne and Nicolas de Plattemontagn (Courtesy: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam)

Why Workplace Conversations Are More Successful than You Believe

Idea posted: November 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

In conversations with new people, most people underestimate how positive of an impression they are making A new study reveals the prevalence of this ‘liking gap’: the fact that most conversation partners like you more than you believe. This liking gap can have implications in the workplace, including the discouragement of collaborative ventures and an additional challenge for new employees.

Idea #720
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Global CFOs: Facing Growing Data Security Threats

Idea posted: October 2018
  • Operations

Companies are increasing their efforts to combat data security breaches, a growing problem around the world according to a recent global survey of CFOs. 

Idea #717
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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (detail), Francisco Goya (Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri)

How to Fight Off an Upstart with a New Business Model

Idea posted: October 2018
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Faced with a new competitor with a new business model, incumbents can respond with different strategies based on sharing (co-deployment) or moving (re-deployment) their resources.

Idea #716
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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (detail), Francisco Goya (Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri)

Why Managers Forgive Ethical Lapses of Tired Employees

Idea posted: September 2018
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Managers tend to excuse and forgive ethical lapses by employees who are fatigued or depleted, a new study shows — although if the employees brought the fatigue on themselves (such as from watching a late night sporting event rather than working late), managers are less forgiving.

Idea #715
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The Reception of the Ambassador at the Court of Pekin, James Gilray, 1792 (Courtesy: National Portrait Gallery, London)

Investing Abroad? Use Your Country’s Diplomats

Idea posted: July 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

When looking to invest abroad, companies can leverage the diplomatic relationships between their country’s government and governments of potential host countries to connect with potential foreign partners. An international study based on foreign investment decisions by more than 500 Chinese companies examines the factors involved in leveraging such relationships.

Idea #714
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Wrong Incentives Push CEO to Focus on the Short-term

Idea posted: July 2018
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Researchers use unimpressed market reaction to new product and new client announcements to highlight the insidious damage of CEO incentives to focus on the short-term.

Idea #713
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In the Classroom, Jean-Paul Louis Martin des Amoignes, 1886 (Courtesy: Bonhams)

CEOs’ Gender-biased Formative Years Has a Negative Economic Impact

Idea posted: June 2018
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

New research using extensive hand-collected data confirms a gender gap in resource allocation (female division leaders receive less resources from their CEOs). This research also reveals the familial origins of gender bias in CEOs, and the negative economic impact of such bias.

Idea #711
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Oliver Asking for More (Charles Dickens ‘Oliver Twist’), George Cruikshank, 1837 (Courtesy: . British Library)

Speaking Truth to Power Is More Complex Than You Think

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A two-year research study reveals — for both those in power and their subordinates — the personal, political and social complexities involved in speaking truth to power.

Idea #712
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Surrounded by Artists and Professors: A Rake's Progress, William Hogarth 1732-5 (Courtesy: Sir John Soane's Museum)

Why Competent Jerks Get Hired

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Despite overwhelming evidence that ‘jerks’ in the workplace undermine the success of a team or organization, they continue to be hired. New research explains why: when one’s money is at stake, decision makers value competence over sociability — which is a long-term mistake.

Idea #710
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Photo by Quince Media on Pixabay

The Cost Advantage of Reshoring

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Operations

Reshoring is the decision to return business activities to a firm’s domestic market. Analysing the impact of reshoring announcements on stock prices indicates that the benefits of reshoring outweigh the costs.

Idea #709
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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Transgenerational Entrepreneurship in Family Businesses

Idea posted: June 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

The author of this research, Maria Jose Parada, teaches on the CEMS Masters in Management program at ESADE - and this Idea is part of our CEMS series.

Managing the family as well as the family business, maintaining dynamic portfolios of businesses, and ensuring continued family control of the organization are some of the factors for keeping family businesses entrepreneurial across generations.

Idea #708
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Monty Python's Silly Walk. Graffitti, Porto, Portugal (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Middle Managers’ Walking the Talk Needs Top Management Support

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Leadership & Change

For middle managers, behavioural integrity — the perception by subordinates that management behaviour matches their words — is a key factor for success. Unfortunately, organizations often undermine their middle managers’ behavioural integrity with contradictory policies and decisions — or policies, directives or decisions for which they never acquired middle management buy-in.

Idea #705
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Source: Pexels

Re-Entering a Foreign Market: Part 2 - Speed

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Prior experience impacts the speed with which multi-national enterprises re-enter foreign markets they previously exited — although as time passes, the environmental context of the market becomes more important.

Idea #707
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Source: Pexels

Re-Entering a Foreign Market: Part 1 - Operation Mode

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Strategy
  • Operations

When multinational companies re-enter a foreign market, the key strategic decision is choosing whether to change the operation mode (e.g. distribution partnership, joint ventures, fully owned operations) from their previous experience in the market. A new study finds that the motives of their original decision to exit the market has a great impact on whether they choose the same operation mode or escalate (e.g. from distribution to manufacturing) or de-escalate (e.g. from fully owned operations to joint ventures) their commitment.

Idea #706
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Image by Mohamed Hassan on Pixabay

The Relationship of Brand Equity to Behavioural Loyalty

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Marketing

While higher brand equity products will attract greater loyalty from their customers, new research reveals different ways to strengthen the relationship between equity and loyalty. Such efforts to strengthen the link are worthwhile since the relationship does not always hold true. One customer segment, the study shows, perceives a brand’s equity as high but is not loyal — and surprisingly another segment perceives a brand’s equity as low but still remains loyal.

Idea #704
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