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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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How Employees Win ‘Voice’ and Influence Decisions

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

High levels of engagement and commitment in the workplace could be both a cause and an effect of involving employees in decision-making processes. Research suggests that leaders ‘grant voice’ to followers who combine a need to influence the organization with a need to belong and take part — and that followers work better for leaders when they do.

Idea #391
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The Misers, by a follower of Marinus van Reymerswaele, c.1490-1567, The Royal Collection Trust

Profits Vs Principles: Market Competition and Moral Transgression

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

Competition sometimes has undesirable consequences. These could include ‘tolerance’ of moral transgressions that further the economic interests of the organization. New research suggests that in highly competitive markets, where the pressure to outperform is intense, leaders might be less likely to discipline ‘bad’ employees who are ‘good’ for the bottom line.

Idea #380
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Can a Leader Be Too Ethical?

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

Ethical leadership reduces the risks of antisocial and selfish employee behaviour and encourages the kind of ‘pro-social’ behaviours that create value and promote the collective interest. There could, however, be a point at which it is counterproductive. Recent research suggests that leaders demonstrating particularly high ethical standards can weaken the psychological contract with employees through perceived ‘moral reproach’.

Idea #377
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The Creation of Adam, Sistine Chapel, fresco detail, 1509, by Michelangelo

Digit Ratio Predicts Men's Product Choices

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Marketers have long known that product choice cannot be predicted reliably by knowing someone’s sex. Multiple factors — ranging from age and income to lifestyle and family preferences — influence purchasing decisions. Now, there’s another variable to add to the list. Recent empirical research suggests that digit ratio — the relative lengths of the fore and third fingers — is linked to the product choices of men.

Idea #366
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Luggage tag for Japan Air Transport, 1937 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Relocating Leaders Abroad: Pros and Cons

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

The internationalization of markets and industries means executive offices and core functions are being moved abroad. Relocating top managers, however, can be risky. Organizations should explore the alternatives before making a decision. There are arguments for and against leaders crossing borders.

Idea #368
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1956 Ballantine Ale original vintage advertisement (Source: Brookston Beer Bulletin)

Ambiguous Ads: Hidden Messages, Hidden Risks?

Idea posted: April 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing

Companies sometimes use covert ‘cues’ and ambiguous images to advertise their products. This ‘purposeful polysemy’ enables them to target minority groups without alienating ‘mainstream’ consumers. It is not, however, a foolproof strategy. Research suggests that heterosexual men respond less positively to ‘gay window’ advertising.

Idea #360
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Arshile Gorky Fiorello La Guardia at the opening of the Federal Art Gallery (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Conducting Appraisals Well Builds Ethical Behaviour

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

The annual appraisal interview has a lasting impact on the perceptions and attitudes of employees. Treat people with respect and you encourage the kinds of behaviours that create value for shareholders and stakeholders. Get the interview wrong, on the other hand, and you put the organization at increased risk.

Idea #350
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Officer cadets from Serbia's Military Academy, Belgrade, Serbia, 2010 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Social Influences on Decision-Making: Neuroscience Insights

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Decision-making is often strongly influenced by social factors, and research in the nascent field of neuroeconomics (which crosses the disciplines of psychology, marketing, economics and neuroscience) is helping to explain why. ‘In-group conformity’ is mediated by signals in the brain associated with emotion and reward and can be stimulated by the so-called ‘love hormone’, oxytocin. Neurobiological insights like these raise important questions for strategy design — in both the private and public sectors. 

Idea #184
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Exercises in Tábor, 1924, photographed by Šechtl and Voseček (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Co-operative Behaviour: Neuroscience Insights

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

Co-operation is essential for the functioning of human societies — and several current public policy initiatives, including health and lifestyle and environmental campaigns, depend upon it. Many attempts to persuade people to co-operate and collaborate, however, fail — or succeed for only a limited time. Understanding the neural mechanisms for co-operation can help in developing more effective ways of promoting collective behaviour and in designing policies to achieve societal aims.

Idea #185
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Good and Evil (Courtesy Suzanne van Gils)

Instilling Morality In Organizations

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

The ethical climate of an organization is not solely a reflection of the personality and morality of the leader. It is also a product of relationships. The interplay between leaders and followers and co-workers can cause the aggregate level of morality in an organization to rise and fall. People are motivated — and demotivated — to do the right thing partly by their environment and those around them. To reduce moral failures in organizations, you have to understand the bigger picture of human interaction.

Idea #164
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Female Leader

Fostering Diversity and Inclusion with Respectful Leadership

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

Both anecdotal evidence and empirical research suggest that demographic differences can make it harder for leaders and followers to collaborate and cause levels of employee engagement to fall. The problems are greatest where male employees report to a female boss. Overcoming them depends on moral leadership. People who demonstrate respect for others can transcend demographic differences and combat prejudices. As the workforce becomes more diverse, moral and respectful leadership becomes an even bigger imperative for organizations. 

Idea #165
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