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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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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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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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Source: Pexels

Consumers Reject New Products To Stay In Control

Idea posted: April 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A recent study confirms that consumers’ desire for control over their lives can act as a psychological barrier to the acceptance of new or innovative products. However, framing a new product as increasing consumer control can eliminate this barrier.

Idea #701
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Louis Vuitton store, HK Landmark, Hong Kong (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Practical Features Sell Luxury Products

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

New research reveals that buyers of hedonistic, luxurious products often feel guilty about their indulgent purchase — but that bundling even a small utilitarian feature with the product can assuage this guilt and make consumers more likely to buy and increase willingness to pay.

Idea #687
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Pedro Lopez and the Trinity Orchestra, 2017 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Understanding Follower Attitudes Helps Decipher Leadership Success

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

Leadership success is built not only on the competencies of the leader but also the perceptions of followers. Conceptualizing perceptions as attitudes unveils a more nuanced and complete explanation of leadership success (and failure).

Idea #682
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Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

Digital Natives and Multi-tasking Proficiency Are Harmful Myths

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

Research shows that the existence of a generation of ‘digital natives’ and the ability of this generation to multi-task are in fact two harmful myths — myths that lead to erroneous assumptions about learning and work efficiency.

Idea #681
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Photo by Jenna Day (Source: Unsplash)

Brain Drain: How Cell Phones Distract Customer Attention

Idea posted: July 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Cell phones are distracting, pulling our attention away from our current tasks and activities. New research reveals that the mere presence of the phones, even when they are turned off and we are consciously focusing our attention on another task, is enough to reduce our thinking capacity.

Idea #665
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Minority superhero, State Dept./Doug Thompson (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How 'Power Recall' Is an Effective Technique When Easy

Idea posted: July 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour

Recalling a past experience of power does not always have the intended effect of making people feel more powerful. A new study indicates that the effort required to recall the power episode may be the reason this technique can fail. 

Idea #662
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Woman with Masks, Hermann Stenner, 1913 (Photo: Lempertz Auction House. Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Integrating Social Identities Spurs Creativity and Innovation

Idea posted: May 2017
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Psychological bricolage enables people to combine knowledge from their different social identities to enhance their creativity and find innovative solutions.

 

 

Idea #657
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"Then Out Spake Brave Horatius…" Horatius Cocles Leads the Romans in Battle against the Etruscans, Tommaso Minardi, early to mid 1800’s

Crisis Communication: Emphasize the Positive

Idea posted: March 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

People are more open to messages that fit their motivational impulses, such as the tendency to avoid risk or the desire to achieve stretch goals. New research reveals that this rule of thumb does not apply to times of crises, when, no matter your usual motivational tendencies, positive goal-oriented messages prevail.

Idea #649
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Festival goers, Burning Man, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Integrate Your Multiple Social Identities

Idea posted: November 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

To avoid stress and anxiety, people who have multiple social identities (e.g. lawyer, father, environmentalist, southerner, etc.) must manage conflicting behaviour, norms and values that arise from their disparate identities.

Idea #631
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One-man band, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Multi-tasking: Those Who Do It Poorly Do It More!

Idea posted: November 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

A new study reveals that the people who multi-task the most are the people who are less skilled at multi-tasking. The problem is that the reasons people multi-task (for example, they are easily bored and easily distracted) are the very reasons multi-tasking doesn’t work well (easily bored and distracted, they can’t stay focused on the two tasks they are trying to do simultaneously).

Idea #635
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Source: Unsplash

How The Right Mindset Turns Stress Into a Positive Force

Idea posted: October 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A stress-is-debilitating mindset is a self-fulfilling prophecy: stress reduces performance and adversely impacts health. However, individuals who have a different mindset and view stress as enhancing rather than debilitating find that stress increases their performance and even health.

Idea #627
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Traders on the New York Stock Exchange, 1963 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Testosterone Leads to Overpricing on Wall Street

Idea posted: June 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

New research shows that testosterone increases the over-confident and over-optimistic impulses of male traders, resulting in higher prices and more frequent bubbles. It also reveals, in general, that we are not always as rational as we believe.

Idea #608
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St Thomas Aquinas, Benozzo Gozzoli, 1468 -1484 (Courtesy: Musée du Louvre, Paris)

We Trust People Who Believe in Absolute Moral Rules

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

Most people live by a set of moral rules that guides their decision-making. For example: killing is never justified. What happens, however, if the death of one person could save the lives of many? Should the rule be ignored in this case? Many people would say yes — the consequences change the situation. A new study, however, shows that in the workplace, these ‘consequentialists’ will be less trusted than those who live by immutable moral rules.

Idea #607
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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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fMRI brain scan, 2010 (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Why the Best Strategic Thinkers Are Both Rational and Emotional

Idea posted: December 2015
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour

The brain, through the magic of fMRIs (neuroimaging procedures), tells the true story of how the best strategic thinkers think: they deactivate their rational, linear prefrontal cortex, and activate the older, intuitive-sensing parts of the brain that triggers emotions and social awareness — the same parts of the brain on which creative artists draw their inspiration. Move over, Porter. Make room for Picasso. 

Idea #574
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Illustration from Europa's fairy book, published by G. P. Putnam's & Sons, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Best-Self Activation Launches Sustained Performance Improvement

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

New research confirms that best-self activation — activating a mental representation of your best self — leads to short- and long-term improvement in performance. The research specifically highlights the positive emotional, physiological (e.g. resilience to stress), and cognitive impact of best-self activation.

Idea #565
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When Non-Average Performers Are Targeted by Bullies

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

As workplace incivility, aggression and harassment continues to worry business leaders and managers, new research explores some of the ways both high performers and poor performers may be inadvertently inspiring their victimization. 

Idea #553
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Jimmy Wales in Duisburg, Germany. Champagne reception (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Designing Experiential Services So Customers Remember the Best Parts

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Customers tend to remember the end of an experience (for example, the last days of a vacation) and also tend to become used to a level of experience (for example, the view from their hotel room). Keeping these two psychological tendencies in mind, companies can structure a customer service encounter that leaves satisfied customers with memories of a great experience — and have them coming back for more.

Idea #551
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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How Supervisors and Co-Workers Stop Anxiety from Hurting Performance

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour

Workplace anxiety leads to emotional exhaustion, which in turn reduces job performance. The quality of relationships between employees and their supervisors and their fellow employees goes a long way toward mitigating this emotional exhaustion and thus improving performance. 

Idea #544
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Painting depicting Parson Weems and his famous story of George Washington and the Cherry Tree. Grant Wood (Courtesy: Amon Carter Museum of American Art)

Does Character Add to the Success of Transformational Leadership?

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

Character and transformational leadership do not necessarily overlap. New research shows that positive character traits will increase the level of success obtained by transformational leadership. Negative character traits can reveal the dark side of transformational leadership — a dark side that leads to poor results.

Idea #539
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Don't Jay Walk, 1937 PSA poster, USA (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Neurobiological Clues to Advertising Effectiveness

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Recent research identifies physiological reasons that public service announcements (PSAs) are effective. Specifically, the researchers show that increases in two neurochemicals — adrenocorticotropic hormone and oxytocin — result in greater attention and action from viewers. 

Idea #517
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Early morning water circuit training session at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., 2015 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Psychology-based Training Incentives Motivates Workers

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour

A one-time financial incentive based on proven psychological techniques can motivate employees to voluntarily make a commitment to long-term training, new research shows. 

Idea #510
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The Money Changers, Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1548 (Courtesy: Bilbao Fine Arts Museum)

How a Numbers-Crunching Culture Can Increase Unethical Behaviour

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

Adopting a calculative mindset to every problem — approaching every issue, either qualitative or quantitative, in a numerical frame of mind — can lead to dishonest or immoral decisions, according to new research. 

Idea #504
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Tony Blair and George W. Bush at the White House, 2003 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Beware of Hubris Syndrome! A Leadership Personality Disorder

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: Duke University

Researching the medical history of UK prime ministers and US presidents, a member the UK House of Lords and a psychiatrist and researcher from Duke University in the US reveal the symptoms and traits of hubris — a syndrome that befalls many who have substantial power over a length of time.

Idea #499
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Henri Matisse, working from his sick bed, 1952 (Courtesy: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

The Hidden Costs of Working While Sick

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

How does working while sick or in pain affect work performance? Through two studies, one focused on employees with chronic pain and another focused on those with momentary pain, a research team demonstrated that fluctuations in pain impacted employee allocations of energy toward their work. Specifically, when in pain, employees are more likely to withdraw from their work, while without pain, they are more likely to engage in ‘extra-role’ behaviours, going above and beyond their responsibilities. 

Idea #492
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Character Head N°9, by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, after 1770. Wien Museum Karlsplaz (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Facial Cues: Can We Judge Who Looks Like a Leader?

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

Previous studies have shown that facial characteristics can help elevate a person into leadership roles. New research shows that different facial characteristics fit different domains — for example, businesspeople are expected to look ‘competent,’ while sports leaders look more ‘masculine.’ The research also shows that most people don’t have much confidence in their leadership inferences based on facial cues. But those who are confident, including corporate board members, may unconsciously be placing too much weight on facial cues in selecting leaders.

Idea #479
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