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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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Corporate Psychopaths: A Menace to Your Organization

Corporate Psychopaths: A Menace to Your Organization

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

Corporate psychopaths destroy morale, cause the best employees to flee and even commit whole-scale fraud, yet often use blatant lies and cheating to fool their bosses into believing they are valuable assets.

 

Idea #644
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The seven dwarfs, Snow White, 1937, produced by Walt Disney Productions (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Motivation Profiles: Pay and Reward Vs Fulfilling Work

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

Building on four types of motivation, a new survey helps identify different profiles of motivation for managers, offering a mix of extrinsic (e.g. salaries) or intrinsic (e.g. fulfilling work) rewards. The profiles reveal how the different motives of managers impact their job attitudes. 

Idea #609
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The Dutch East India Co. chartered in 1602, a steel engraving by Cool and Rennefeld, Leiden, c. 1880 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Equity-Based Incentives Work Below the C-Suite

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Many companies fear offering equity-based incentives for business unit managers. They believe that compensating business-unit managers based on corporate-wide results will hurt local business unit results. New research shows these fears to be unfounded, and that the right balance of equity-based and profit-based incentives increase results at both the corporate level and the business unit level and increase cross-business-unit collaboration.

Idea #562
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Starting blocks at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics (Source: Wikimedia Commons) 

Competition Among Peers Key to Managerial Promotions

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

Experience, expertise and network contacts will help secure promotions for those seeking middle management positions. Surprisingly, networks are no help for promotions to senior management positions. The most important criteria for either middle or senior managers seeking promotion is how well they fare compared to their colleagues.

Idea #535
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Promotion Vs Compensation: Managing Employee Careers to Benefit the Organization

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

The best companies recognize that personnel policies are interdependent. The decision to promote worthy individuals, for example, cannot be made in a vacuum. Is there room for more managers at the next level? A new mathematical model reveals how decisions on hiring, demoting, promoting, retaining and compensating employees must take into account factors such as the organizational chart and firm size.

Idea #501
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High CEO Pay Leads to Overconfidence and Poor Results

Idea posted: December 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

A new study shows a negative correlation between high executive incentive pay and company performance: the higher the pay, the worse the future results. This study also pinpoints the culprit behind the negative correlation: CEO overconfidence. The overconfidence of higher-paid CEOs leads to poor investment decisions and unsuccessful M&A initiatives. 

Idea #469
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Wrestler Frank Leavitt, Chicago, 1924 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How CEOs Strong-Arm Their Compensation Consultants to Get What They Want

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

While previous research has never shown a direct link between the hiring of compensation consultants and increased CEO pay, a new SEC requirement allows academics to test more rigorously for a link: and they find it. According to the research, compensation consultants are used by CEOs as the means to justify higher pay.

Idea #457
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Why High-Status Companies that Attract the Best Fail to Keep Them

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

In the labour market, ‘high-status’ companies (the marquee names for people who want to work in that industry, such as Apple for high technology or Goldman Sachs for investment banking) will attract the best and the brightest employees — at least in the beginning of their careers. Once the résumé is burnished with the high-status employer, these employees are even more marketable, and often seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Idea #440
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U.S. Army enlisted promotion - CONTIC Intelligence Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Employees Be Motivated by More than Money and Benefits?

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

Managers mistakenly believe that, although they have to provide both intrinsic (e.g. the love of a challenge) and extrinsic (compensation) motivations, employees are only extrinsically motivated. To best motivate their employees, managers need to look beyond the traditional external motivations such as bonuses and find ways to make the work challenging and interesting.

Idea #401
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Kenya's Faith Chemaoi crosses the finishing line of the 2014 Paris Marathon (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Reference Points Motivate Us

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

Reference-dependent theories state that individuals evaluate outcomes as gains or losses, depending on a neutral reference point. Making 19 sales in a month is a loss when the goal — the reference point — was 20 sales a month. Data from 10 million marathon finishes provides a field test that confirms the behavioural expectations and implications of these theories, shedding a light on how milestone goals can push individuals to higher performance.

Idea #394
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Investment Banking: Technology and the Decline of Trust

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Up or out’ promotion policies and reward systems that encourage ‘star’ bankers to ‘shine’ by taking unacceptable risks were significant factors in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. But they need to be viewed in a broader context. The seeds of trouble were sown decades previously, when a trend towards ‘transactional’ models, powered by technology, began to transform investment banks.

Idea #325
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Jimmy Edwards as the Headmaster in Whack-O!, BBC TV comedy sit-com which was originally broadcast from 1956 to 1960  (©BBC)

The Positive Effect of Negative Incentives

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

New research shows that negative incentives — incentives that require individuals to perform in order to avoid a loss — are more motivating than positive incentives, which motivate individuals through a gain (for example, a bonus).

Idea #308
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The Laughing Cavalier (detail), Frans Hals, 1624. (Source: The Wallace Collection, London)

Reasons to Be Cheerful: Positivity Linked to Profitability

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

Over-optimism in business is often seen as a bad thing, associated with recklessness and corporate ‘buccaneering’. New research, however, challenges this view. ‘Against-the-odds’ positivity can, it seems, motivate managers to work harder and propel them towards high performance targets.

Idea #246
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The Money Lender and his Wife, Quentin Metsys, founder of the Antwerp school, 1514, The Louvre, Paris

When Financial Incentives Backfire

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: HEC Paris

Companies often rely on performance-based systems to reward their ‘smartest’ or most productive employees. But financial incentives can have unintended consequences. New research suggests that the smartest workers also tend to be the most skilled at playing performance-based systems for personal gain. Leaders need to look closely at the way they structure and design incentives — and reduce the risks of employees concentrating their efforts on activities that trigger rewards.

Idea #180
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Smoke But No Fire: How Employees View CEO Pay

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

In recent years, calls to address CEO compensation packages have been rife. The press has ‘named and shamed’ many organizations for their excessive pay schemes, but despite all the noise, there has been little worker revolt. So what exactly is the effect of CEO pay, if any, on employee attitudes? This Idea examines the relationship between the two, and offers guidance for individuals involved in setting CEO compensation.

Idea #173
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The Tax Collector, Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1542, Alte Pinakothek Museum,  Munich

Rewards that Motivate More than Money

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

Non-financial rewards such as career-development opportunities and challenges and responsibilities have a much greater impact on staff motivation than salary and benefits. Cash and bonuses and a fair and transparent policy on pay are important to employees – so, too, are flexible benefits. But organizations need to take a ‘holistic’ view of compensation and think in terms of the ‘total rewards package’. Very few people are motivated solely by money.

Idea #146
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Costume Partee

Unseen Dangers of Positive Stereotyping

Idea posted: April 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Executives and human resource managers are always on the lookout for demeaning language and negative stereotyping, realizing that any pejorative phrase tinged with racist or other discriminatory connotation is offensive, creates a hostile work environment, undermines the culture of the company, and can eventually lead to expensive litigation.

But what of supposedly ‘inoffensive’ positive stereotypes — joking, for instance, that blacks are more athletic (an all-too common example)? Research by professor Aaron Kay of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business reveals that positive

Idea #116
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Women in an Interior, Fernand Léger, 1881 - 1955

Why Good Bosses Tune Into Their People

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

A Swedish study tracking just over 3,000 men for ten years found that those with bad bosses suffered 20–40% more heart attacks than those with good bosses? So having a bad boss can literally kill you! Research shows that good bosses get more from their people, demonstrate better employee retention and much more. This Idea offers some advice on how you can be one too.

Idea #093
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Keeping Employee Engagement High in Tough Times

Idea posted: February 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

During a downturn, employee engagement increases rather than decreases. However, employers should implement strategies to keep engagement high so the reverse does not occur when economic conditions eventually improve.

Idea #013
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Helping Employees Realize Their Dreams: The Search for Meaning

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Do you want a more engaged and productive workforce?  You’re not alone—all managers do! To achieve this, managers can help employees realize and reclaim their lost dreams through tailored career development programs. This Idea offers four practical strategies to help you do this.

Idea #015
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Mad Men, 2007 premiered on AMC, created and produced by Matthew Weiner, Lionsgate Television

Managers Who Undermine the Meaningfulness of Work

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A sense of working toward something meaningful is absolutely central to our happiness and well-being. Sadly, many senior executives undermine their employees’ creativity and productivity by inadvertently denying them this meaning. There exist common traps which even the best-intentioned managers will fall foul of in this regard. A loss of meaningfulness in the work lives of employees has obvious long-term implications for the overall health of an organization. This Idea identifies those traps and shows how we can avoid them.

Idea #052
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Driving Risk Appetite Higher or Lower: Penalties Vs Rewards

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Innovate or die’ we are told. What if an organization’s ability to innovate could be enhanced by managing risk-taking behaviour through monetary incentive schemes and through a culture that tolerates failure? In this Idea we identify the precise levers that shift risk appetite, and show how they can be tweaked to foster innovation.

Idea #059
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Last Call for Social Media Sceptics

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

Social media sceptics have all but scurried back into the woodwork. The game is up and the die cast: social media is here to stay. Each week the ‘fad’ seems to blow open a new way of doing things in a different industry; democratizing our flow of ideas even further. The scope of opportunity for science, art, and business here – seems infinite. But what role can leadership play to facilitate those opportunities and create value for their organizations?

Idea #062
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The Leopard, 1963, directed by Luchino Visconti, starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alan Delon, 20th Century Fox Pictures

Charisma or Miasma: Seduced by the Charismatic

  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: University of Florida

Charismatic CEOs come across as higher achievers, and charisma has often been thought of as a must when hiring CEOs, but a large number turn out to be overpaid and underperforming. Boards should measure performance over personality when hiring and compensating CEOs.

Idea #026
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