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How More Customer Contact Creates a More Energetic, Motivated and United Workforce

Idea posted: October 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Inspiring the human desire to help others, customer contact sparks the collective energy of employees, leading to better company performance. Transformational leadership is vital, however, to capture the benefits of customer contact.

Idea #751
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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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How to Encourage Interprofessional Knowledge Transfer In Your Company

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

Organizations find that knowledge often gets ‘stuck’ within the different professional cliques. In a health care setting, for example, nurses talk to nurses and doctors talk to doctors, and knowledge has difficulty passing between these two professions. However, all organizations have individuals who can act information ‘brokers’, bridging the gap between the professions. 

Idea #684
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Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash

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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Buddha changing colour (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mindful Meditation Helps Reduce Racial and Age Bias

Idea posted: January 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Most people’s biases are automatic; without thinking, we make biased negative associations about certain categories of people based on previously established associations. Focusing on race and age bias, a new research study shows that mindfulness meditation decreases this type of implicit bias by weakening our automatically activated associations.  

Idea #580
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Satan Leaving the Court of Chaos, Paradise Lost, Anon. British, c.1800 (Courtesy: Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina)

Expel Expensive Toxic Workers Before Hiring Superstars

Idea posted: December 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

While organizations are focused on acquiring star performers, new research shows that avoiding toxic workers is even more profitable. Watching in job interviews for the red flags of potentially toxic workers — self-regarding, overconfidence, stating that rules should always be followed — can prevent expensive hiring mistakes. 

Idea #576
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Marble relief of the Roman Praetorian Guard c50AD (Courtesy: Louvre-Lens Museum, Lens, France)

Transformational Leadership Extra Effective When Employees Have High Self-Esteem

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Transformational leadership is key to helping employees reach their full potential. This is especially true, according to new research, for high core self-evaluation (CSE) employees, whose job satisfaction and organizational commitment is significantly strengthened under the influence of transformational leaders. 

Idea #547
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The Unexpected Creative Effect of Sarcasm

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Sarcasm in the workplace may not be as destructive as once thought. New research shows that expressing or receiving sarcasm can spark creativity through abstract thinking — especially if the sarcasm is directed at or received from a trusted person

Idea #550
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3D visualization of ecological networks on the Internet, IS&T/SPIE Symposium, 2004 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Informal and Formal Networks Hurt and Help Performance

Idea posted: June 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Individuals in organizations draw on formal and informal interactions for resources, knowledge and advice. New research shows that inconsistency between the formal and informal interactions can be beneficial, to a certain extent, because of the diversity of information and resources such inconsistency provides.

Idea #526
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Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin(left), who is believed to have coined the phrase, "Speak truth to power." (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Candid Feedback Keeps Power-holders Accountable

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Those in positions of power have control over an organization’s allocation of scarce resources. But are subordinates as powerless as they think? New research shows that candid feedback from subordinates can compel power-holders to be fairer and less self-serving in their allocation decisions.

Idea #521
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How Political Correctness Increases Creativity in Mixed-Sex Teams

Idea posted: April 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Creativity can suffer in mixed-sex teams. Men and women both experience uncertainty when asked to generate ideas as members of a mixed-sex work group: men because they may fear offending the women and women because they fear having their ideas devalued or rejected. Being PC helps men and women become more creative. 

Idea #505
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Ways to Encourage Employees to Help Each Other

Idea posted: September 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A cooperative culture featuring generous employees helping each other is a key success factor for innovative and effective organizations. The two mechanisms for such generosity is the pay-it-forward approach, where someone who has been helped helps another person, and reputation rewarding, in which employees with a reputation for helping others are rewarded with help when they need it. New research from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business shows that both mechanisms are effective, but paying it forward will have a longer lasting impact on the organization

Idea #435
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Pierre and Marie Curie in their laboratory, 1906 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Build Long-Lasting Collaborations

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Effective collaboration is at the heart of the best organizations. It’s not enough, however, to launch new collaborative relationships. Ongoing, long-lasting collaborations have a greater return on an organization’s productivity and performance than new collaborations. Managers must understand how to help collaborations to last — and new research shows that the actions and activities that make collaborations last are not the same as those that enable new collaborations.

Idea #426
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The Procession of the Magi (detail), by Benozzo Gozzoli (c 1421–1497), Chapel of the Magi, Medici Palace Florence

When Suspending Group Debate Enables Innovation

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Traditionally, new product development teams generate ideas for innovations by ‘continuous’ group interaction. This method has its drawbacks, however. Many good ideas get lost in the ‘noise’ of the debate. Taking a short break from discussion to allow people to reflect and gather their thoughts could make a real difference to the number and diversity of ideas — and, importantly, the quality of the final concept.

Idea #388
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How Employees Win ‘Voice’ and Influence Decisions

Idea posted: June 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

High levels of engagement and commitment in the workplace could be both a cause and an effect of involving employees in decision-making processes. Research suggests that leaders ‘grant voice’ to followers who combine a need to influence the organization with a need to belong and take part — and that followers work better for leaders when they do.

Idea #391
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Walkie talkie. Image from World War II US Signals Corps' manual (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How to Lead Virtual Teams

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Virtual teams, groups of diverse and geographically dispersed people communicating mainly by technology, pose challenges for companies. They can deliver superior performance and become an important source of value creation, but they demand a new management and leadership approach. Organizations that apply the ‘rules’ for classic or traditional teams will be disappointed.

Idea #384
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The Misers, by a follower of Marinus van Reymerswaele, c.1490-1567, The Royal Collection Trust

Profits Vs Principles: Market Competition and Moral Transgression

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Competition sometimes has undesirable consequences. These could include ‘tolerance’ of moral transgressions that further the economic interests of the organization. New research suggests that in highly competitive markets, where the pressure to outperform is intense, leaders might be less likely to discipline ‘bad’ employees who are ‘good’ for the bottom line.

Idea #380
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Can a Leader Be Too Ethical?

Idea posted: May 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Ethical leadership reduces the risks of antisocial and selfish employee behaviour and encourages the kind of ‘pro-social’ behaviours that create value and promote the collective interest. There could, however, be a point at which it is counterproductive. Recent research suggests that leaders demonstrating particularly high ethical standards can weaken the psychological contract with employees through perceived ‘moral reproach’.

Idea #377
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The Feast of Attila the Hun by Mór Than, 1870, the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Ways to Cope with Abusive Superiors

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Abusive supervision can have negative effects on employee performance. However, according to this Idea, how an employee copes with such abuse and their level of conscientiousness can be determining factors as to just how deep these negative effects are. Read on to find out how to minimize the effects of abusive supervision in your organization.

Idea #367
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Mortality: The Ultimate Motivator

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Existing management theories fail to provide the complete picture on employee motivation. To understand what drives us as human beings you have to understand a range of complex psychological factors — including fear of death and denial of our own mortality. Death is a powerful ‘stealth motivator’ that leads to defensive and avoidance strategies in the workplace. 

Idea #365
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Managing Cross-industry Innovation

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Cross-industry collaborations can combine and ‘re-configure’ existing technologies and lead to the development of new ‘applications’. Their success, however, depends on more than a culture of enterprise and a commitment to innovation at the ‘partnership’ companies. Procedural and organizational factors can make or break interindustry product development. 

Idea #357
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Arshile Gorky Fiorello La Guardia at the opening of the Federal Art Gallery (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Conducting Appraisals Well Builds Ethical Behaviour

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The annual appraisal interview has a lasting impact on the perceptions and attitudes of employees. Treat people with respect and you encourage the kinds of behaviours that create value for shareholders and stakeholders. Get the interview wrong, on the other hand, and you put the organization at increased risk.

Idea #350
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Cyberloafing: Lost Sleep and Lower Productivity

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

The nature and increased use of the Internet has led to a new workplace threat to productivity — ‘cyberloafing’. In this Idea, the impact of lost and low-quality sleep on employee cyberloafing, as well as conscientiousness is examined. 

Idea #343
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Justice, Fairness and Employee Engagement

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

Employees’ perceptions of justice in their organization can impact important outcomes and should not be ignored. In this Idea, positive changes in distributive, procedural, and interactional justice are linked to job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Read on to find how these can be built upon in your workplace.

Idea #334
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Ideas, Implementation and the Learning Organization

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee deviation from official strategy can result in discoveries and innovations that increase profits. It’s not always to be actively encouraged, though. Employees who try to implement the ideas of management — and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t — can better serve the interests of the organization in the long term.

Idea #314
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Back to the Future: Managing Change with Retrospection

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Change initiatives have almost become a permanent feature of organizational life, the norm rather than the exception. But one of their critical stages is often missed. The period between projects, when people make sense of what’s happened, needs to be ‘built into’ the programme. It’s the moment of retrospection that defines the relevance and continued impact of decisions — and the corridor of the future. 

Idea #310
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Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech during his MSU visit, 1965 (Source: Michigan State University archives)

Leaders' Charisma, Team Performance and Organizational Change

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

If a leader has charisma, he/she is said to be more likely to achieve better team performance. But what exactly is it that makes a leader seem charismatic, and why does this have an effect on performance outcomes? In this Idea, these questions are explored, and the behaviours that enhance the perception of charisma are outlined.

Idea #303
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Changing Corporate Learning: 5 Ways to Make it Work

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

Are you satisfied with the work of your organization’s learning functions? Surveys have shown that a majority of managers believe corporate learning initiatives result in little change in employee performance. This Idea proposes five important changes to the way corporate learning is approached; changes that organizations need to make to ensure their corporate learning functions work effectively.

Idea #294
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Scrooge played by Reginal Owen and Marley's Ghost by Leo Caroll. Dicken's The Christmas Carol, © 1938 Warner Bros, distributed by MGM

Resistance to Change: Overcoming Multilevel Cynicism

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Resistance to change is not just an individual attitude; it is also reflected at the organizational level through a cynicism to change (CTC) climate. Preventing or addressing resistance to change begins with understanding the multilevel nature of that resistance. Leaders need to address both individuals (e.g., be active in interacting with employees one on one and treating them as unique contributors) as well as organizational climates (e.g., by setting and reinforcing workplace norms, and making communications to the organization as a whole).

Idea #295
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