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Why You Need Diplomats In Your Organization

Idea posted: November 2017
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Friendships in the workplace lay the foundation for collaboration and learning. Friendship cliques, however, can also produce fissures that only people with personalities of the diplomats in the organization can span.

Idea #683
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Cincinnati, USA. Photo by Jordan Andrews on Unsplash

In Uncertain Times It's Best to Have Fewer Industry Experts on a Board

Idea posted: September 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

Having domain experts on boards is often touted as an advantage. New research shows, however, that too many experts from a company’s industry can actually hinder a board’s efforts in times of strategic uncertainty.

Idea #672
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The Death of Caesar, Karl Theodor von Piloty, 1879 (Courtesy: Lower Saxony State Museum, Hannover, Germany)

Reducing CEO Power Can Undermine a Company’s Legitimacy

Idea posted: June 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A separation of power between CEO and a board of directors is often viewed as a sign of good governance. A new study reveals that reducing the power of a CEO may actually diminish rather than reinforce the legitimacy of a company in its foreign markets.

Idea #610
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A Meeting of the School Trustees, Robert Harris, 1885 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Canada) 

Corporate Governance: The Power of Outside Directors on CEO-Only Boards

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Once packed with company insiders, corporate boards are filling up with outside directors, theoretically resulting in greater independent oversight. New research shows, however, that paradoxically having the CEO as the only insider on the board actually enhances the CEO’s power and undermines outside oversight.

Idea #506
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Corporate Values: Translating Platitudes into Sustainable Practices

Idea posted: October 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

For organizational values to have an impact they must be turned into practices. Effective values practices are not stamped in place by top-down management pronouncements but rather emerge from precipitating events that draw concerned people together who seek preventive solutions. These solutions are eventually, after a period of contention and rework, manifested in concrete practices.

Idea #449
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Dr. Manmohan Singh in 1994, when finance minister. He subsequently became Prime Minister of India (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Modernizing without Westernizing: Social Ties and Indian Business

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The modernization of India’s economy, begun in the early 1990s when Manmohan Singh, then finance minister, introduced a series of reforms, has not reversed centuries-old traditions. Personal affiliations and kinship ties, long the bedrock of Indian society, continue to exert a powerful influence in the financial sector. India’s economy has been liberalized — but not, necessarily, Westernized.

Idea #341
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HQ Controls and the Speed of Strategic Decision-Making

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

How do control mechanisms set by corporate headquarters in large organizations influence decision-making speed at lower levels? In this Idea, six types of corporate controls are identified, their effects on decision speed are discussed, and the key mechanisms accounting for these effects are outlined.

Idea #339
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Self-Reflective Job Titles Reduce Emotional Exhaustion

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Allowing employees to give themselves self-reflective job titles — the title of Berkshire Hathaway’s event organizer is Director of Chaos, for example — helps them affirm their identity and, even in the most stressful of jobs, reduce emotional exhaustion. The result is less staff turnover, better teamwork, and higher performance.

Idea #305
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Positive and Negative Drivers of Creativity

Idea posted: November 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

There is no doubt that creativity is essential for organizations to thrive. But how can you inspire creativity in your organization? This Idea suggests that in addition to the popular perception that positivity inspires high creativity, negative affects also have an important role to play. In fact, when a combination of both negative and positive effects occur together, the highest levels of creativity take place.

Idea #266
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Aircraft Workers on Lunch Break, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia)

Reenergizing Lunch Breaks and the Role of Autonomy

Idea posted: September 2013
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour

Intuitively, a lunch break will give employees a chance to stop working and restore some energy for the rest of the day. New research, however, shows that not all lunch breaks are restorative. Indeed, it is not only what employees do during lunch but whether they had a choice in what they did that makes a difference. The researchers demonstrate that the less choice or ‘autonomy’ given to employees over their lunch breaks, the less rested or reenergized they will feel by the end of the workday.

Idea #208
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Phil Silvers (Sgt. Bilko) and Maurice Gosfield (Pvt. Doberman), 1956. Photo from Camel advert in Life magazine (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Status in the Team: Extraverts Vs Neurotics

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

How can personality affect your status within a team? Previously, it has often been thought that extraverts are at an advantage through their confident mannerisms, giving the impression that they can get a lot done. But this Idea finds that over time, extraverts tend to disappoint and their more neurotic counterparts end up surpassing expectations and, ultimately, raising their status.

Idea #149
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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, 2004, directed by Adam McKay, starring Will Ferrell. Also also written by Ferrell and McKay. Distributed by  DreamWorks Pictures

Balancing Extravert Leaders and Pro-active Employees

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Despite both being characteristics which are promoted in many organizations, leadership extraversion and employee proactivity are uneasy bedfellows. This research suggests that extraverted leaders are less receptive to proactivity, and that they may only enhance group performance when employees are passive. 

Idea #006
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