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Doing Good' Does Not Always Improve the Bottom Line

Idea posted: May 2019
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

The inspiring phrase of “doing well by doing good” oversimplifies the connection between corporate social responsibility and corporate financial performance, according to new research that uncover the conditions that can weaken and even destroy the path from CSR to CFP.

Idea #740
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Why the Chief Marketing Officer Matters

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

The position of Chief Marketing Officer has come under fire recently, with some arguing that a CMO does not really add value to a company. A new research study counters this view; showing that companies with CMOs perform up to 15% better than companies who leave the CMO seat empty. 

Idea #581
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Family Portrait, Cornelis de Vos, 1631 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Surviving a Recession: Seven Lessons from Family Businesses

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Family businesses tend to outperform companies with more dispersed ownership structures during economic downturns. Their ‘star’ quality is resilience — and it results from a set of strategic choices that put the long-term interests of the business first.

Idea #400
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The Sower by Jean-François Millet, circa 1865, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

How Well Is CSR Embedded in Business Strategy?

Idea posted: May 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

CSR and sustainable development are now widely seen as core parts of business. This does not, however, mean they’re always treated as core parts of business strategy. The management control systems big companies use to design, implement and monitor CSR sometimes suggest a ‘reactive’ rather than a ‘proactive’ approach from leaders.

Idea #374
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King John signs the Magna Carta, engraving by James William Edmund Doyle, 1864 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Corporate Governance from the Bottom Up

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Non-executive directors are often seen as a way to avoid corporate ‘buccaneering’ and tame reckless CEOs. Their exact contribution to companies, however, remains unclear. Independent executives, on the other hand, have been shown to be accurate ‘predictors’ of profitability, performance and value creation.

Internal monitoring by the CEO's immediate subordinates should be the new area of focus in the corporate governance debate.

Idea #299
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The Green Investment Gap — And How to Close It

Idea posted: October 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Private investment in renewable energy technologies is increasing but remains below the level required to meet greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Solving the problem could depend on a new approach from policy makers. Recently published research on the European market sheds new light on the ‘drivers’ of investment decisions — and suggests that financial factors and government subsidies are not the only drivers.

Idea #243
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Trust, Fraud and the Financial Markets

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

Markets cannot function without relationships, and relationships cannot function without trust. But the mechanisms for building trust can be ‘faulty’. Bernard Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme, which ruined thousands of investors, depended on a series of ‘trust-producing’ factors that combined to conceal it from victims and the authorities. Understanding these mechanisms can help prevent similar frauds and abuses of trust.

Idea #195
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An Offshore Original? Pirate Radio Caroline North broadcast off the coast of the Isle of Man, July 1964 to March 1968 (Source: BBC News)

Reducing the Risks of ‘Offshore’ IT

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

The digital revolution and the rapid economic development of countries in Asia and elsewhere have encouraged companies in the west to outsource IT services overseas. But large numbers of offshore projects for information systems fail. A study focusing on contract specification and different modes of contract implementation has highlighted ways companies can better control the quality and costs of long-distance outsourcing.

Idea #186
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The Money Lender and his Wife, Quentin Metsys, founder of the Antwerp school, 1514, The Louvre, Paris

When Financial Incentives Backfire

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

Companies often rely on performance-based systems to reward their ‘smartest’ or most productive employees. But financial incentives can have unintended consequences. New research suggests that the smartest workers also tend to be the most skilled at playing performance-based systems for personal gain. Leaders need to look closely at the way they structure and design incentives — and reduce the risks of employees concentrating their efforts on activities that trigger rewards.

Idea #180
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Man standing with his back to a crowd

Conquering Racism by Taking Personal Responsibility

Idea posted: July 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: HEC Paris

Increased sensitivity to the problem of racism is not, it seems, being matched by a willingness to take personal responsibility for it. We tend to excuse our own prejudices by blaming them on cultural and social conditioning. If more progress is to be made in the fight against racism, we need to take a more rational approach — and acknowledge that the extent to which we endorse prejudices is within our control.

Idea #168
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Warren Buffett the ultimate private equity investor

How Private Equity Can Boost Company Performance

Idea posted: February 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
Institutions: HEC Paris

Companies with private equity investors have several advantages over those with only hands-off family or corporate shareholders. Private equity investors become more involved in company strategy and governance than some family or large corporate shareholders, and by keeping a tight control on management and setting clear objectives, these investors can help companies achieve higher market valuations. 

Idea #100
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Global Sales Teams and the Impact of National Culture

Idea posted: February 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
Institutions: HEC Paris

As international sales forces become more prevalent companies need to standardize their sales force management controls across national borders. This research looks at how the effectiveness of sales force control models is influenced by national culture, and how sales team managers need to understand and balance cultural influences that promote behaviour controls over outcome controls.

Idea #101
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