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Older Workers Are Only Asking for a Little Flexibility

Idea posted: May 2019
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Statistics consistently show older workers retiring rather than taking on part or full-time post-career jobs. A new study reveals that older workers want to continue working at least part-time and are willing to make wage concessions to do so; employers, however, are not offering acceptable work arrangements that make working after retirement desirable.

Idea #739
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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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A Rakes Progress, William Hogarth, 1732-33, in this second painting Tom is at his morning levee (Courtesy: Sir John Soane's Museum, London)

Social Skills Valued Most in Today’s Workplace

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

The most valued jobs and occupations in the labour market are those that require social skills — that is, the ability to work with others — or even better, a combination of social and cognitive (knowledge-based) skills.

Idea #600
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An Indian Maharaja in a religious procession, about 1825-1830, (Courtesy: V&A Museum, London)

How Corporate Governance Impacts Human Resources

Idea posted: April 2016
  • CSR & Governance

Through the use of four archetypes, a team of researchers describes the impact of different corporate governance systems on company decisions involving human resources. The team also argues that a corporate sustainability mental frame can overcome the inherent contradictions and challenges in each archetype.

Idea #595
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Male Middle Managers: Linchpins of Gender Parity at Work

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

Gender equality in the workplace can be undermined through everyday organizational practices, from sexually charged remarks to limiting female contributions to meeting discussions or refusing to give women credit for ideas or initiatives. Male middle managers are the key to halting such practices and fostering gender parity in their organizations.

Idea #572
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Satan Leaving the Court of Chaos, Paradise Lost, Anon. British, c.1800 (Courtesy: Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina)

Expel Expensive Toxic Workers Before Hiring Superstars

Idea posted: December 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

While organizations are focused on acquiring star performers, new research shows that avoiding toxic workers is even more profitable. Watching in job interviews for the red flags of potentially toxic workers — self-regarding, overconfidence, stating that rules should always be followed — can prevent expensive hiring mistakes. 

Idea #576
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Millennials 4: Value Work-Life Balance But Are Willing to Work Hard for Their Careers

Idea posted: July 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Stereotypes about Millennials can oversimplify nuances, especially if preferences among different regions of the world are not taken into account. A new global survey of Millennials shows that work-life balance is important, but Millennials are still willing to work hard to advance their careers or achieve leadership roles. (Editor’s Note: This article is based on Part 4 of the survey.)

Idea #533
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Millennials 3: Who and What Influences Career Choices?

Idea posted: June 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

According to the stereotype of Millennials, social media, friends, and family are the most important influences on career choices. A survey of 16,000 Millennials around the world discounts the stereotype. Millennials are finding opportunities and making choices on their own, without leaning on parents, friends or social media friends. (Editor’s note: This article is based on Part 3 of the survey.)

Idea #522
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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos at his desk, Francisco Goya, circa 1798

How to Use Compensation and Team Composition to Manage Procrastination

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Project managers must manage the tendency of project workers to procrastinate, which leads to delayed efforts and, subsequently, quality problems. Understanding the behavioural biases of project workers leads to solutions to procrastination — solutions related to compensation, team composition and the management of information. 

Idea #519
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Millennials 1: A Diverse Generation Often Misunderstood

Idea posted: May 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

A new study of Millennials across the globe confirms some common assumptions about this generation while proving other stereotypes wrong. The most important lesson, however, is the heterogeneity of this generation, which is overlooked by employers. (Editor's Note: this article is based on Part 2 of the survey.)

Idea #515
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Millennials 2: Concerned about Opportunities for Growth and Quality of Life

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

A new global survey shows Millennials from different regions of the world have different fears about their work lives. On average, the number one fear was getting stuck in a job with no development opportunities. In Latin America, however, the fear of not realizing their career goals dominated, while North Americans feared working too much most of all. (Editor's Note: This article is based on Part 2 of the survey)  

Idea #516
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The Tower of Babel, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1563 (Courtesy: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna)

The Language Challenge for Social Media in Multinationals

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The growth of social media in business enables and enhances a company’s communication among employees and with outside stakeholders, including customers and partners. The diversity of languages within a multinational, however, can hamper communication and collaboration both externally and internally. 

Idea #500
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Promotion Vs Compensation: Managing Employee Careers to Benefit the Organization

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

The best companies recognize that personnel policies are interdependent. The decision to promote worthy individuals, for example, cannot be made in a vacuum. Is there room for more managers at the next level? A new mathematical model reveals how decisions on hiring, demoting, promoting, retaining and compensating employees must take into account factors such as the organizational chart and firm size.

Idea #501
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Daniel's Answer to the King, Briton Rivière, Mezotint, 1892 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Overcoming Our Evolutionary Fears to Speak Up to Authority

Idea posted: March 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employees are often afraid to speak up even though they may have something to say. New research points to the evolutionary origins of fear-based silence and highlights the productive steps (e.g. developing emotional intelligence and better communication skills) employees can take to overcome these fears.

Idea #498
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Henri Matisse, working from his sick bed, 1952 (Courtesy: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

The Hidden Costs of Working While Sick

Idea posted: March 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

How does working while sick or in pain affect work performance? Through two studies, one focused on employees with chronic pain and another focused on those with momentary pain, a research team demonstrated that fluctuations in pain impacted employee allocations of energy toward their work. Specifically, when in pain, employees are more likely to withdraw from their work, while without pain, they are more likely to engage in ‘extra-role’ behaviours, going above and beyond their responsibilities. 

Idea #492
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'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler, 1877. Portraying William Brydon, the only survivor the evacuation from Kabul in January 1842. Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Learning from Expatriate Experience After the Return Home

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IESE Business School

Expatriates who return home bring with them the knowledge benefits of the relationships that they made during their international assignments. New research shows that these knowledge benefits continue even after the assignment because the expatriate still has the connections with his or her former colleagues in the international host office. 

Idea #493
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Firms Are Not Adapting to the Millennial Workforce

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Millennials bring technological savvy to the workplace, but also require focused managerial attention. According to the latest CFO Survey from Duke Fuqua and CFO Magazine, many companies — especially American companies — are not adapting to attract or retain millennials.

Idea #481
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Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013 (Courtesy: Associated Press)

A Lower Voice Can Take You Higher Up the Leadership Ladder

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

When it comes to success in business, a man’s voice can make a difference — especially if he hopes to become CEO. New research reveals that men with deeper voices manage larger companies, make more money and stay in their positions longer. (Women were not included in this research though Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power was supposedly helped by coaching that lowered the pitch of her voice.)

Idea #483
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Two short but sharp leaders: Bernie Ecclestone (1.59m) and Vladimir Putin (1.70m) (Courtesy: www.premier.gov.ru, Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Potential Leaders: Height Helps But So Does Being Smart

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Studies show that leaders are more likely to be taller than average. Previous research revealed the perceptions of leadership qualities, such as persuasiveness, that are more easily assigned to taller men, which may explain their success. New research from the Stockholm School of Economics points to new reasons for the correlation. One revealing result: half of the tall leaders owe their managerial positions to their cognitive (intelligence) and non-cognitive (e.g. motivation or persistence) ability, indicating that a correlation between height and ability may explain the preponderance of

Idea #484
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Thumbs Up Ballet in a field choreography of Stars in my Eyes, Quebec, 1944 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Does Employee Satisfaction Improve Company Value? It Depends...

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Recent studies of U.S. companies have shown that increased employee satisfaction is linked to higher value for the firm. But what about companies in other countries? A new study shows that the U.S. results are replicated only in countries that have levels of labour flexibility (ease of hiring and firing) similar to the U.S. Companies in countries with low labour flexibility show a more limited benefit from employee satisfaction.

Idea #478
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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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Ways to Encourage Employees to Help Each Other

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

A cooperative culture featuring generous employees helping each other is a key success factor for innovative and effective organizations. The two mechanisms for such generosity is the pay-it-forward approach, where someone who has been helped helps another person, and reputation rewarding, in which employees with a reputation for helping others are rewarded with help when they need it. New research from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business shows that both mechanisms are effective, but paying it forward will have a longer lasting impact on the organization

Idea #435
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Isaac Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi 2003, based on a painting by William Blake. Newton showed sign of autism (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Competitive Advantage through Individuals Outside the Norm

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

While employees who think ‘differently’ may be hired as part of the social responsibility activities of a corporation, corporate pioneers demonstrate that such individuals, such as those, for example, who are diagnosed with certain forms of autism, can perform certain tasks more effectively than (in this case) employees without autism. Hiring such employees thus becomes a bid for competitive advantage rather than an exercise in social responsibility. 

Idea #425
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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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U.S. Army enlisted promotion - CONTIC Intelligence Center, Ft. Bragg, N.C. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Employees Be Motivated by More than Money and Benefits?

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

Managers mistakenly believe that, although they have to provide both intrinsic (e.g. the love of a challenge) and extrinsic (compensation) motivations, employees are only extrinsically motivated. To best motivate their employees, managers need to look beyond the traditional external motivations such as bonuses and find ways to make the work challenging and interesting.

Idea #401
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The White Rabbit, by Sir John Tenniel (1820 –1914), an illustration from the original edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

How to Ensure Knowledge Sharing under Pressure

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

Knowledge sharing among employees is vital to an organization’s success. But increasing time pressure makes employees less willing to break away from their tasks and deadline work to help others. In a busy and competitive environment it is up to organizations to help relieve this pressure.

Idea #392
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Kenya's Faith Chemaoi crosses the finishing line of the 2014 Paris Marathon (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Reference Points Motivate Us

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

Reference-dependent theories state that individuals evaluate outcomes as gains or losses, depending on a neutral reference point. Making 19 sales in a month is a loss when the goal — the reference point — was 20 sales a month. Data from 10 million marathon finishes provides a field test that confirms the behavioural expectations and implications of these theories, shedding a light on how milestone goals can push individuals to higher performance.

Idea #394
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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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Detail from a poster by Eric Frazer, for the Post Office Savings Bank, 1942 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How a Culture of Integrity Boosts the Bottom Line

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

A culture of integrity adds value to the firm. Research shows that the more employees perceive top managers as trustworthy and ethical, the better the financial performance of the firm and the more attractive the firm to potential employees. 

Idea #379
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Managing the Multigenerational Workplace

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

There is an increasing demand in the workforce today to add multigenerational diversity to the mix. What exactly comprises a multigenerational team, and what are the unique characteristics and expectations each generation brings the fore? Read this Idea to learn more about how to ensure your organization makes the most of its multigenerational workforce.

Idea #381
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