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The Cost of Decision Fatigue

Idea posted: September 2021
  • Learning & Behaviour

Decision fatigue, a mental state that occurs after extended periods of making streams of decisions, influences decision makers to favour less-taxing “default” decisions. A new study, based on data from the banking sector, reveals the cost of such decisions, highlighting the importance of addressing decision fatigue. 

Idea #799
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Photo by Alycia Fung from Pexels

The Unique Psychology of Being a Middle Manager

Idea posted: June 2021
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Caught between low-power employees and high-power executives, the ‘middle power’ of middle managers keeps them hopping between the roles of subordinate and superior. A new Theory of Power framework helps middle managers, their bosses and their organizations identify the challenges and psychological consequences of their caught-in-the-middle position. 

Idea #795
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Image by Maksim Romashkin on Pexels

Why Company Health and Wellness Plans Fall Short

Idea posted: February 2021
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Self-imposed constraints undermine employers’ resolve to promote employee health and wellness. When employers fully accept the link between healthy employees and long-term profitability, the once insurmountable constraints can be quickly resolved.  

Idea #786
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The Dream of Constantine. Piero della Francesca, c. 1452-66 (Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy)

The Personal and Productivity Benefits of Sleep

Idea posted: January 2021
  • Learning & Behaviour

Get a good night’s sleep before the big meeting, but better yet, get enough sleep every night, follow a routine, and don’t stay out late even if you can sleep in, according to an MIT study that furthers our understanding of the productivity benefits of sleep.

Idea #783
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Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash

Make Me Feel Safe! Working with Robots

Idea posted: June 2019
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Addressing perceived workplace danger from robots through immersive virtual environments helps employees overcome their fears and collaborate effectively with robots in the workplace.

Idea #743
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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 Freezeanalysts, Aris Kalaizis, 1995 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Too Much of a Good Thing: Collaborative Overload

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

While the power of collaboration and teamwork is well-documented, the potential dark side of collaboration — for example, the same people in an organization being over-burdened by requests from others because they’ve acquired a reputation as collaborators — is ignored. A team of researchers warn of the dangers of ‘collaborative overload.’

Idea #703
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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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The National Economic Impact of Lack of Sleep

The National Economic Impact of Lack of Sleep

Idea posted: February 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: RAND Europe

The current epidemic of lack of sleep in today’s society is not only unhealthy and unproductive for the individual, but has a real economic impact at national levels.

 

Idea #643
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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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Receptionists at DICE in Stockholm, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Mindfulness Helps Service Employees Regulate Their Emotions

Idea posted: January 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour

In order to maintain their poise, interactive service employees often have to squelch their impulses when dealing with emotionally filled interactions. The stress created by the need to ‘surface act’ can be significantly mitigated through the practice of mindfulness.

Idea #642
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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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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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The Sleeping Shepherd, Aubry-Lecomte (1787-1858) after a painting by Raymond Monvoisin (Courtesy: Bibliothèque nationale de France)

Why Sleep Matters

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

Sleep deprivation is impacting the professional performance, health, and social and emotional well-being of workers of all ages. Companies must take the issue of poor sleep seriously, rejecting cultures that encourage late night working hours and conveying to their employees the personal and organizational benefits of quality sleep.

Idea #622
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A foot-race at the Panathenaea, Greece, 800-480 BC (Source:  Encyclopædia Britannica)

How to Inspire Resistant Employees to Embrace Health and Wellness

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

Employee health and wellness programs often suffer from low participation. Credible and consistent support and involvement from top management can make the difference. Two researchers identify the five behaviours of transformational leaders who inspire and motivate full employee participation.

Idea #596
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Group spinning Portland Spin Studio, 2013 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Incentivizing Managers to Promote Employee Health: The 10% Solution

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Learning & Behaviour

In a recent study, a majority of managers agreed that companies should incentivize managers to promote employee wellness by linking their compensation — specifically 10% of bonuses and promotions — to the employee wellness activities and initiatives they have implemented.

Idea #585
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Detail from Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, July, c. 1412-1416 (Courtesy: the Musée Condé, Chantilly)

Companies Must Be Sincere About their Flexible Work Arrangements

Idea posted: November 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour

The accepted wisdom is that by helping employees to achieve an optimal work-life balance, flexible work arrangements (FWAs) — theoretically at least — help to increase employee work engagement and commitment to the organization. A new study, showing an inverse relationship between FWAs and work engagement over time, reveals that offering FWAs without a supportive employee culture in place becomes an empty gesture.

Idea #567
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A detail from 'Nighthawks', Edward Hopper, 1942, (Courtesy: The Art Institute of Chicago)

Sleep Deprivation Hurts Performance As Much As Too Much to Drink

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

How seriously does sleep deprivation impact the productivity and alertness of employees? A classic study compared the effects of sleep deprivation to the effects of alcohol consumption, and showed an identical pattern of impairment. 

Idea #569
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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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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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Daniel's Answer to the King, Briton Rivière, Mezotint, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Overcoming Our Evolutionary Fears to Speak Up to Authority

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

Employees are often afraid to speak up even though they may have something to say. New research points to the evolutionary origins of fear-based silence and highlights the productive steps (e.g. developing emotional intelligence and better communication skills) employees can take to overcome these fears.

Idea #498
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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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Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, an illustration for the 1898 Swedish edition by James Mahoney

Bullying Bosses: Don’t Just Take It, Fight Back

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

Employees victimized by a bullying boss should not accept to be victims. While they may think that fighting back will make matters worse, a new study shows that employees who refuse to accept the abuse feel better about themselves, their jobs, and their career prospects than those who accept their ‘victim identity’.

Idea #488
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'The Times They Are a-Changin', Bob Dylan's third studio album, 1964 (Courtesy: Columbia Records)

What is the Psychology Behind Resistance to Change?

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

Successful change does not only depend on how change agents manage the change, but also on employee attitudes toward change, which are shaped by psychological antecedents. Specifically, well-informed employees who have high social support will have a more positive attitude about organizational change efforts.

Idea #419
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1950s office workers, in cats eye glasses (Source: Wikifashion.com)

Happiness at Work: How Daily Reminders Improve Employee Morale

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee happiness improves when employees focus on maximizing their happiness. Deliberately taking steps to maximize happiness at work can lead to positive behavioural changes. Companies can help employees through daily technology-driven individual interventions that are more effective than the occasional company picnic or visit to the stadium.

Idea #410
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The White Rabbit, by Sir John Tenniel (1820 –1914), an illustration from the original edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

How to Ensure Knowledge Sharing under Pressure

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

Knowledge sharing among employees is vital to an organization’s success. But increasing time pressure makes employees less willing to break away from their tasks and deadline work to help others. In a busy and competitive environment it is up to organizations to help relieve this pressure.

Idea #392
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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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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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National Youth Orchestra performing Beethoven’s ninth symphony at the Royal Albert Hall, London, during 2013 BBC Proms (Source: Royal Philharmonic Society)

Music in the Meeting Room: Beethoven's 9th?

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

The power of music in leadership and the development of trust is widely recognised. So, too, is the value of face-to-face meetings, which, despite a battery of technological alternatives, are still commonplace in organizations. The possible synergies between music and meetings, however, have been overlooked. Managers are missing an opportunity to improve productivity, efficiency and teamwork. Is it time for music, long a feature of corporate events, to make it to the company meeting room?

Idea #264
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Harold Lloyd in 'Safety Last!', 1923, directed by Fed C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor, produced by Hal Roach Studios

Managing Stress by Building Resilience

Idea posted: October 2013
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many people in the business world today are experiencing high levels of stress, and corporate burnout is becoming a worryingly common phenomenon. According to this Idea, there is a way out that involves four simple steps. By making these steps a habit and therefore a natural part of your being, you can lead yourself to a better and more productive lifestyle.

Idea #242
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