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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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WAAF plotters at work in the Operations Room at No. 11 Group HQ at Uxbridge in Middlesex, 1942 (Courtesy: Imperial War Museum, London) Copyright?

Reallocating Resources to Realize Strategic Goals

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Does your organization keep allocating the same resources to the same business units year after year? Such inertia makes it difficult to realize strategic goals and ultimately undermines performance and profitability. The answer is to regularly adjust resource allocation, but, according to this Idea, failure to pursue active reallocation policies is due to multiple causes.

Idea #342
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Strike, Stanisław Lentz, 1910, Warsaw Museum (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Three Strategies for Resolving Workplace Conflict

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Almost all organizations experience conflict at some point or another, and by acknowledging its inevitability, managers can focus on constructive strategies to deal with it. In this Idea, three ‘systems’ are presented that can be used alone or in combination for effective conflict management.

Idea #284
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Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, Adolph Northen (1828–1876)

Power Reduces Awareness of Constraints

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Leadership & Change

Whether imagining the future or reviewing the past, powerful people are consistently less aware of constraints and obstacles than the less powerful. This lack of constraint awareness explains their inhibition in attacking daunting goals and projects, but can also make them somewhat reckless and risk-taking.

Idea #279
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Beating Bias through Mindfulness Meditation

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

Mindfulness meditation, the practice of clearing one’s mind of all other thoughts but the ‘present moment’, partly by focusing on the physical sensation of breathing, has long been associated with personal feelings of ‘wellbeing’ and positivity. But it has wider, more practical, benefits. New research suggests that leaders who use the technique are more likely to be resistant to the decision-making curse of ‘sunk cost bias’ — and, consequently, more likely to create value.

Idea #225
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Crossing a crevasse in the Himalayas during the assault on Mt Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Photographer Alfred Gregory. (Source: Alfred Gregory: Photographs from Everest to Africa. Penguin Books, 2008, ISBN 978-1-920-98961-3)

Managing Risks: Culture Matters More Than Rules

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

Micro-regulation is not the most effective way to manage risks and improve services. The best guarantee of high standards is ethics-based risk control, underpinned by rules-based codes.

Formal risk management systems can encourage a box-ticking mentality, threaten internal and external relationships, and — in the literal sense of the word — demoralize people. The dangers are likely to be greatest where stakeholders have a strong emotional investment in self-regulation and ethics-based risk management.

Idea #160
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DIANA, the first computer built by Norwegian pioneer  Jens Glad Balchen at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU in mid 1950s (Source: NTNU)

Human Judgement Vs Computer Aided Forecasting

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

Is your company about to launch a new product or service into the market? If so, you know how crucial it is to predict as accurately as possible how it will be received; otherwise, you are putting at risk precious time and resources engaged. According to this Idea, there is a way to make an intelligent forecast that involves a combination of human and computer judgement. Faculty from Judge Business School and IE Business School explain how.

Idea #139
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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1939, Dir. Alfred L. Werker

Evidence, Facts and Intuition in Decision Making

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

One of the ways we strive to make a good decision is through evidence-based decision-making. Just as often though, and sometimes without realizing it, managers are fitting the evidence to the decision they’ve already made in fact ‘decision-based evidence making’. A clear understanding of the roles evidence can play in making a decision can help avoid this. Although, as explained in this Idea, there are certain times when this is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes evidence-based decision-making is less appropriate than decision-based evidence making.

Idea #021
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Samurai at a Waterfall, 19th Century Japanese Woodblock Print, Fuji Arts

Grapes of Wrath: How Self Control Leads to Anger

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

Does making a healthy food choice make us angry? In an important piece of consumer research, a relationship is found to exist between exerting self-control, and a preference toward ‘themes of anger’ in e.g. entertainment. This mismatch - getting irritated by our own self-control - has far-reaching implications for marketers and policy-makers as we try to further understand consumer behaviour.

Idea #034
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Man jumping cliff

Avoiding Flawed Decisions: A Finance Manager's Role

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

Finance executives are particularly well-positioned to help organizations improve their decision-making and introduce more rational decisions-making processes. In particular they are in a position to help management teams learn to identify ‘red flags’ and adopt extra safeguards against them. 

Idea #037
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‘Red Dwarf - Series II’, starring Chris Barrie (Rimmer), Craig Charles (Lister), Danny John-Jules (Cat). First broadcast in 1988, Red Dwarf was created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor and ran on BBC2 for eight series. In 2009, the show was brought back for a three-part special by UK digital broadcaster Dave © 2013 Grant Naylor Productions (Source: www.reddwarf.co.uk)

Better and Fairer Management Control Systems

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

Management control systems can be formal and/ or informal, fair or unfair. In order to achieve an organizations overall goals, the best systems are fair and formal, with the users of the system also fair. The opposite, an unfair system with unfair users (i.e. two unstable states) leads to total goal incongruence – a not unusual state which can be very damaging to any organization.

Idea #061
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