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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (detail), Francisco Goya (Courtesy: The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri)

How to Fight Off an Upstart with a New Business Model

Idea posted: October 2018
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship


Faced with a new competitor with a new business model, incumbents can respond with different strategies based on sharing (co-deployment) or moving (re-deployment) their resources.

Idea #716
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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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Wrong Incentives Push CEO to Focus on the Short-term

Idea posted: July 2018
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Researchers use unimpressed market reaction to new product and new client announcements to highlight the insidious damage of CEO incentives to focus on the short-term.

Idea #713
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In the Classroom, Jean-Paul Louis Martin des Amoignes, 1886 (Courtesy: Bonhams)

CEOs’ Gender-biased Formative Years Has a Negative Economic Impact

Idea posted: June 2018
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

New research using extensive hand-collected data confirms a gender gap in resource allocation (female division leaders receive less resources from their CEOs). This research also reveals the familial origins of gender bias in CEOs, and the negative economic impact of such bias.

Idea #711
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Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde on Unsplash

Why Self-Confident Women Have Less Influence than Self-Confident Men

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

A new study shows that the appearance of self-confidence resulting from high performance gives men greater influence in their organizations. The same is not true for women, who in addition to appearing self-confident must also demonstrate active concern and support for others. 

Idea #675
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Source: Pixabay

The Unintended Consequences of Risk Averse Managers

Idea posted: October 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

Risk aversion and career concerns are pushing managers to play it safe, reducing the shareholder value of their companies — and the incentive compensation structures meant to motivate managers often have the opposite effect. 

Idea #676
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Impression III, Wassily Kandinsky, 1911 (Courtesy: The Lenbachhaus, Munich)

Behavioural Economics: A Power that Goes Beyond Nudges

Idea posted: October 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Behavioural economics solutions to societal problems mostly take the form of economic ‘nudges’ — such as defaults to increase retirement plan enrolments. However, the potential for behavioural economics to help resolve societal problems is far greater than the common nudges. A new paper explains how policy makers have failed to take full advantage of behavioural economics solutions.

Idea #677
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A Political Meeting, Johann Velten, 1849 (Courtesy: The City Museum, Tier, Germany)

Why Boards of Directors Fail at Monitoring Their Companies

Idea posted: September 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

New research reveals the 10 structural barriers, from board size to the complexity of a firm, that explains why boards of directors can fail to effectively monitor their companies.

Idea #667
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Cincinnati, USA. Photo by Jordan Andrews on Unsplash

In Uncertain Times It's Best to Have Fewer Industry Experts on a Board

Idea posted: September 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

Having domain experts on boards is often touted as an advantage. New research shows, however, that too many experts from a company’s industry can actually hinder a board’s efforts in times of strategic uncertainty.

Idea #672
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Source: Pixabay

Typical Air Quality in Offices Hurts Cognitive Function

Idea posted: September 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Controlled laboratory experiments yield evidence that air quality in conventional offices will impact our cognitive abilities, compared to the quality in ‘green’ offices and buildings.

Idea #669
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Source: Pixabay

How to Create Shared Value for the Firm and Society

Idea posted: August 2017
  • CSR & Governance

The new Creating Shared Value (CSV) mandate that calls for business to focus on both making profits and helping society is criticized as naïve wishful thinking. The interface of business and society is not always win-win. An international team of academics answers the critics with a CSV+ framework that covers all situations — even the win-lose or lose-win ones.

Idea #663
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New York from Liberty State Park, NJ, by DNK Photography, 2016 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

CSR Benefits to Society from Private Companies Are Greater than from Public Companies

Idea posted: August 2017
  • CSR & Governance

Does Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) benefit society? A new study based on exhaustive data reveals that while private company CSR commitments do benefit society, public company do not perform as well. 

Idea #666
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Walter and Alice Greaves on the Embankment, Walter Greaves, c.1880-90 (Courtesy: Tate Britain)

High Social Class Helps Men Get Jobs, But Not Women

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

A new quantitative study proves the advantage that employers give to candidates from a higher social class. For high-class women, however, this advantage is negated by employers’ perception that they are less committed to a career. 

Idea #658
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Sustainability-driven Hybrid Companies Challenge Business Dogma

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance

The corporate world has embraced sustainability, but without challenging the basic rules of competition and economic success. Hybrid companies that blur the lines between business and societal/environmental missions prove that these rules can, and should, be challenged.

Idea #650
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 1: People, Technology and Collaboration

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

The first phase of a major project on sustainable manufacturing, a food-and-drink industry giant and a UK university sponsored a roundtable discussion on sustainable manufacturing by 24 manufacturing experts from industry, government and academia. The roundtable yielded six major themes — People, Big Data, Technology, Collaboration, Value and Resilience — that describe the key areas on which manufacturers must focus to build a sustainable future.

Idea #652
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Sustainable Manufacturing Part 2: Five Pathways

Idea posted: April 2017
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A collaborative research project on sustainable manufacturing between a food and drink giant and a university uncovers five pathways to sustainable manufacturing in 2050 that leverage technology and collaboration to build environmentally conscious supply chains that support — and involve — society.

Idea #653
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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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Corporate Culture: A Key Drivers of a Firm’s Value

Idea posted: January 2017
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A survey of more than 1300 executives confirms that for most leaders, corporate culture is one of the top five contributors to a firm’s value — and that current CEOs are most responsible for establishing an effective culture.

Idea #641
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The Well-Stocked Kitchen of Martha and Mary, Joachim Bueckelaer, 1566 (Courtesy: The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Why Buying Green Is Not Considered Ethical if You Are Poor

Idea posted: December 2016
  • CSR & Governance

Ethical purchases (buying organic food, for example) are not always seen as moral purchases, especially if the buyers are on government assistance. How dare they pay for expensive organic food, for example, instead of the better-priced non-organic food? After all, it’s not their money. New research reveals that society views being frugal as more moral than trying to save the world.

Idea #637
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Mary Barra, CEO and Chairperson of General Motors. The first female CEO of a global automaker

New Female CEOs: Quiet Media Coverage Avoids Negative Market Reaction

Idea posted: November 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Research proves the many benefits and advantages of female CEOs, yet markets continue to punish companies for choosing a woman as CEO. A new study shows that individual investor bias is not the problem; instead, the fear of bias in other investors causes markets to react unfavourably. 

Idea #630
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The Money Changer and His Wife, Marinus Claesz van Reymerswaele, 1539 (Courtesy: Prado Museum, Madrid)

Women Do Ask For Raises — But Don’t Get Them

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

A new study debunks two claims — that women are afraid to ask for raises and that this reticence is based on a fear of disrupting workplace relationships — which have been used to blame women, in part, for the gender disparity in pay. Women do ask for raises, but are more likely to be refused than men. 

Idea #628
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Bill Gates, Micosoft CEO, at IT Forum 2004 in Copenhagen (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How CEO Personality Impacts on Firm Performance

Idea posted: October 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Different personality traits, such as openness to change, conscientiousness and extraversion, are associated with different approaches to investment decisions and differences in firm performance, according to a new study using linguistic metrics for personality.

Idea #632
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Painting at protest against the passing of Proposition 8, West Hollywood, 2008 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Diversity and Inclusion: Key Success Factors for Today’s Companies

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

Recognizing the competitive advantage of a diverse workforce in an increasingly diverse marketplace, companies are making an effort to include diversity and inclusion elements in their leadership development programs. 

Idea #625
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Hands with flowers

Collaborate with Suppliers to Ensure Green Practices in the Supply Chain

Idea posted: August 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

A new study shows that collaborating with suppliers, rather than just monitoring them, is more effective in ensuring that they are engaging in green and sustainable practices. Internal non-coercive drivers (for example, pressure from top management rather than government regulators) encourage buyer/supplier collaboration. 

Idea #617
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Toyota factory in Ohira, near Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

Lean Manufacturing More Effective in Collectivist Cultures

Idea posted: August 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Lean manufacturing practices are more effective in countries and companies that have more collectivist or group cultures than individualist cultures. In addition, nation trumps organization: a plant’s collectivist organizational culture will not overcome the individualistic culture of the country in which it is located.

Idea #616
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Sugar Factory with clean vapor emission, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Meeting Sustainability Priorities in Competitive Operational Strategies

Idea posted: August 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Environmental and social sustainability priorities can be integrated with traditional priorities to varying degrees. Companies competing on innovation, for example, are more open to environmental and social sustainability than companies competing on price. Yet for all companies, environmental and social sustainability priorities play an increasingly greater role in their success.

Idea #618
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Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz talks to the media (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

CEOs Can Galvanize Public Opinion – and Help Business

Idea posted: July 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

More CEOs are speaking out on social issues unrelated to their business. A new study shows that this activism can galvanize public opinion – and doesn’t hurt sales. 

Idea #611
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The Death of Caesar, Karl Theodor von Piloty, 1879 (Courtesy: Lower Saxony State Museum, Hannover, Germany)

Reducing CEO Power Can Undermine a Company’s Legitimacy

Idea posted: June 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

A separation of power between CEO and a board of directors is often viewed as a sign of good governance. A new study reveals that reducing the power of a CEO may actually diminish rather than reinforce the legitimacy of a company in its foreign markets.

Idea #610
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High-wire performer, South Korea, 2006 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Effective Risk Management to Secure Change and Growth

Idea posted: May 2016
  • CSR & Governance
  • Operations

Opponents of quantitative risk management models believe these models are counterproductive: they inhibit companies from taking calculated chances without preventing major mistakes (see the 2008 economic crisis). A new study of seven successful companies shows that when complemented by rigorous qualitative risk management practices and expanded roles for risk managers, quantitative models enhance rather than inhibit a company’s innovation and initiative.

Idea #604
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The Cheats, Valentin de Boulogne, c.1619 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

Last Chance Cheating: A Gig Economy Challenge

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

Because short-term or contract employees are hired for a specific period of time, they know when the end of their time with the employer is near. A new study shows that as they approach this final period, departing short-termers will often cheat the employer in some way. The reason: it’s their last chance to make a little gain at the employer’s expense. 

Idea #605
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