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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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Ten Steps for New Executives: Understand the Culture before Implementing Change

Idea posted: May 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: IESE Business School

New executives must immediately understand and evaluate a company’s culture before launching any significant change initiatives. They must ask themselves: Is this the right culture for the future? And given the current values, norms and beliefs of the company, how can I best implement change and build the foundation for sustainable success?

Idea #606
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Beware of Over-Optimistic Investors Skewing High-Risk Stock Prices

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance

Investor sentiment has a, sometimes erroneous, effect on stock market valuations. There is evidence that higher risk stocks become overpriced in periods of optimistic sentiment and undervalued when sentiment is pessimistic. Optimism attracts equity investment by unsophisticated, overconfident, retail investors in risky opportunities while such traders are less active in pessimistic periods. Thus sentiment can wrongly influence company share prices, and both investors and CFOs planning financial strategy should be wary.  

Idea #549
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When Does Downsizing Hurt Customer Satisfaction?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Past research based on B2B industries show an intuitive link between downsizing the workforce and lower customer satisfaction. A new study focused on B2C industries reveals that the link is more complex, depending on factors such as organizational slack, labour productivity, and the emphasis on innovation. The study does confirm that downsizing reduces customer satisfaction, which then reduces financial results.

Idea #507
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Five gantry cranes, built at ZPMC, destined for Hamburg, on the vessel Zhen Hua 20, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A Lesson from China: Growth Is Not Eternal So Be Prepared

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) was a high-flying builder of large-scale container cranes whose decisions — such as lifetime guarantees on all parts and ambitious diversification — reflected a belief that growth would last forever. It didn’t.

Idea #495
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National Data Centre Capacity Building training course, 2012 at the CTBTO, Vienna, Austria (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Training Knowledge Workers Pays Off for SMEs

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

While previous studies have researched the return of investment in training for corporations, much of this research focused on manufacturing employees. New research based in India focuses specifically on knowledge companies in the SME sector, and shows that the return on training is not only significant, but also increases with the size of the firm.

Idea #464
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Shanghai Xin Tian Di, photo by Motohiko Tokuriki, 2010 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Increasing Demand Is Not Always the Answer to New Competition

Idea posted: October 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing

Faced with a new competitor in the market, an incumbent company is usually expected to respond by investing more into its products to offer products that will please more customers. However, new research shows that a higher product investment in response to competition is not necessarily the best answer. The reason: new entrants may change the incumbent’s return on investment trade-off.

Idea #450
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Electronics factory in Shenzhen, China, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Outsourcing Vs Reshoring: The Case for Local Manufacture

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Operations

Companies offshore their manufacturing to take advantage of lower wages and other cost savings in overseas countries. However, costs incurred from having an extended supply chain may in fact be wiping out the savings from offshoring advantages. MIT Sloan visiting professor Suzanne de Treville believes that one can make a financial case for reshoring manufacturing.

Idea #429
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Naremon Thepchai Theatre production of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman', 1971(Source: Wikimedia Commons)|

Do Your Managers’ Responses to Market Results Damage Profits?

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Self-serving biases can lead managers to make less than optimal decisions when faced with poor results. This can hurt profits as their biases lead to the wrong quality and price responses to market results. However, forward looking executives can take steps to pre-emptively counter those biases when they make their initial price and quality improvement decisions.

Idea #423
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Projected thickness of Arctic Ice over 100 year timespan (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Strategies Companies Are Using to Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Climate change is real and major companies are already developing and implementing detailed strategies to reduce their impact on the environment, reduce their vulnerability to the extreme weather caused by climate change, and anticipate or even lead climate change-related market developments, including significant public policy changes now on the horizon.

Idea #406
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Navigating the Global Online Contract Labour Market

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Online labour markets match employers, mostly from richer economies, with skilled contractors in large part from developing economies for the performance of a variety of projects large and small. With a growing pool of experienced contractors and platform design features that alert employers about potential hidden quality problems, this market is soaring. The economic impact is generally positive, with wages often higher than the average in the contractors’ country of origin, while still providing cost savings to employers, and a larger pool of potential contractors increasing the

Idea #354
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Tai Chi Chuan on the Bund in Shanghai, China. Photography by J. Gremillot, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Organizational Energy: May the Force Be With You

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: Henley Business School

Organizational energy, or the force with which a company works, is inextricably linked to personal and collective effectiveness and performance in a business. How can leaders assess that energy, and if necessary, recharge it, to make the most of their people, so that they are all positively energized around the business goals? 

Idea #317
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Chery A1 - service/repair shop in Ukraine (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Reasons for Product Recalls: Safety on the Line

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Product recall is an increasingly common problem for manufacturing industries. But its causes are rarely researched. Most studies concentrate on its effects. The  financial impact of withdrawing a product from sale has been examined in detail; the PR ‘fall-out’ much discussed. This Idea shifts the emphasis to the ‘plant-level drivers’ of recalls — and reveals the ‘systematic’ and operational reasons for quality-control failure and serious product flaws.

Idea #285
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I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott', William Waterhouse, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Homeworking Beats Outsourcing: a 6 Step Model

Idea posted: May 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: Henley Business School

The use of homeworkers as call centre operatives can benefit both businesses and homeworkers. For companies, common advantages include cost savings, increased flexibility, reduced absenteeism and improved customer satisfaction. But there are also potential problems to overcome. By adopting a six-step model, business leaders can plan homeworking projects effectively, identifying the key areas they need to address.

Idea #142
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Business woman draws modern business concept

New Priorities for Marketing Leaders

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The priorities of marketing leaders are rapidly changing. According to a report from Cranfield School of Management, improving marketing’s ability to work cross-functionally and building influence at Board level are currently two of the lowest priorities for marketing leaders. Could this pose a problem when it comes to long-term strategies?

Idea #130
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Donkey and overloaded cart, India 2008 (Source: flickr.com)

Why Scaling Up Is No Longer the Only Strategy

Idea posted: March 2013
  • Strategy
  • Operations

Traditionally, industrial production has moved in only one direction: from small to large. ‘Scaling up’ was the best way to maximize productivity and lower per-unit costs. A fleet of 100 ten-ton dump trucks requires more drivers than a fleet of 10 hundred-ton dump trucks. But automation and communication technology has evolved to the point where a large number of small units may be cheaper, better and more efficient than a small number of large units.

Idea #107
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Man with special talents

Lean Thinking – Increased Innovation

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Being Lean should not impact an organization’s innovative environment. In fact, freeing up resources can actually increase innovation. Lean thinking should be instilled in a company through leaders; however, middle-managers can also apply simple strategies to simulate creativity at all levels of the organization.

Idea #019
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