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Jackson Street Bridge, Atlanta. Photo by Joey Kyber on Unsplash

What If Amazon Had Chosen Atlanta? Implications on Community and Corporate Identity

Idea posted: May 2019
  • CSR & Governance

In considering Atlanta for its second headquarters, Amazon raised an issue that could impact other companies considering new locations: would socially liberal Amazon influence its community, or would the company itself be changed by its new conservative surroundings?

Idea #738
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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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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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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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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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St Thomas Aquinas, Benozzo Gozzoli, 1468 -1484 (Courtesy: Musée du Louvre, Paris)

We Trust People Who Believe in Absolute Moral Rules

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

Most people live by a set of moral rules that guides their decision-making. For example: killing is never justified. What happens, however, if the death of one person could save the lives of many? Should the rule be ignored in this case? Many people would say yes — the consequences change the situation. A new study, however, shows that in the workplace, these ‘consequentialists’ will be less trusted than those who live by immutable moral rules.

Idea #607
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Quotas to Gender-Balance the Board: Norway’s Drastic Action Worked

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

Although perhaps a drastic move from the perspective of many businesspeople, the Norwegian government’s bold adoption of a 40% quota for women on boards, and its short 2-year implementation phase, had no significant impact — either negative or positive — on short- or long-term corporate performance. 

Idea #602
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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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President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with daughters Malia and Sasha, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How a Daughter Might Shape the CEO

Idea posted: November 2015
  • CSR & Governance

Can having a daughter impact the decisions of a CEO? The answer is yes, according to new research that compared corporate social responsibility scores of companies whose CEOs had daughters to companies whose CEOs were childless — or only had sons. 

Idea #566
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Wayuu bags, hand made by women from the Wayuu tribe in Colombia (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Reusable Grocery Bags: How Green Customers Help the Environment — and Your Business

Idea posted: September 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Shoppers bringing their own bags help reduce the adverse environmental impact of plastic bags. New research shows, however, that the environment is not the only winner. Environmentally conscious shoppers are inspired to buy more expensive organic products, and reward themselves with unplanned indulgent purchases — a boon to grocery stores.

Idea #542
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Amsterdam Gay Pride 2013 Vodafone boat (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Corporate Political Advocacy: Support Non-business-related Causes

Idea posted: April 2015
  • CSR & Governance

Some companies are unequivocally supportive of controversial political causes that are not even related to their industries — gay marriage, for example. Is corporate political advocacy, which goes beyond the responsible practices and community involvement of corporate social responsibility (CSR), appropriate in a business setting?  

Idea #508
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The Money Changers, Marinus van Reymerswaele, 1548 (Courtesy: Bilbao Fine Arts Museum)

How a Numbers-Crunching Culture Can Increase Unethical Behaviour

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

Adopting a calculative mindset to every problem — approaching every issue, either qualitative or quantitative, in a numerical frame of mind — can lead to dishonest or immoral decisions, according to new research. 

Idea #504
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Using Values-Based Leadership to Drive Performance

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

Values-based leadership can drive the performance of organizations, and managing those values is the key to unlocking increased performance. Richard Barrett’s model maps values for individuals, groups, organizations and nations. It can identify the gaps between observed and desired values and the negative values that create dysfunction, and can be used to show where change needs to occur to create higher performance.

Idea #472
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A watercolour by Gustaf Tenggren, 1918-19. An alternative version was used to illustrate an edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales published 1922.

Ethics and the Slippery Slope: Why Good People Do Bad Things

Idea posted: November 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

An in-depth study of ordinary people over an extended period of time reveals how easy it is for ‘good’ people, starting with an initial small, self-justified deception, to quickly justify bigger and bigger indiscretions, thus falling down the ‘slippery slope’ to major unethical behaviour.

Idea #462
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Corporate Values: Translating Platitudes into Sustainable Practices

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

For organizational values to have an impact they must be turned into practices. Effective values practices are not stamped in place by top-down management pronouncements but rather emerge from precipitating events that draw concerned people together who seek preventive solutions. These solutions are eventually, after a period of contention and rework, manifested in concrete practices.

Idea #449
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How to Turn a Product-Focused Company into a Platform Business

Idea posted: August 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance

The transition from a product-based company to a platform-based company will have a major impact on your organizational identity: how organizational members conceive of who you are. Understand the fundamental shift and broaden that identity while staying true to your values.

Idea #422
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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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St. Francis Preaching to the Birds, Giotto, 1299, San Francesco Upper Church, Assisi, Italy (Source: Wikipaintings)

Building Trust: The Role of Stakeholders' Personal Values

Idea posted: November 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

For stakeholders, such as employees and customers, the trustworthiness of a company is based on competence and character attributes. New research shows that whether competence or character is more important to establishing trust depends on the personal conservative or liberal values of the stakeholders. This research helps companies develop targeted trust-building strategies.

Idea #262
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CSR Tree

What Is the Real Value in CSR?

Idea posted: June 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance

Proponents of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) insist that companies will “do well by doing good.” Researchers from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, however, argue that the truth is more complicated. Their research confirms a positive association between current CSR expenditures and the future financial performance of the company. However, it is the signal that CSR spending sends to the market that explains this positive correlation — not the return on investment in CSR.

Idea #158
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Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of a fresco by Raphael (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Character - The Unspoken Essence of Leadership

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

In assessing leaders at any level in an organization, three questions are asked:

  1. Do they have the competencies to be a leader?
  2. Do they have the commitment to be a leader?
  3. Do they have the character to be a good leader?

This Idea focuses on leadership character because it is the most difficult to define, measure, assess and develop. Its aim is to define those dimensions of leadership character that are most important in today’s business environment and suggest how character can be developed.

Idea #157
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Quattro Santi Coronati, marble sculpture by Nanni di Banco (1375 -1420), Florence

The Four Orientations of Responsible Leaders

Idea posted: June 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: ESADE

This Idea will help you understand how responsible leadership (RL) can enhance your personal reputation, your company’s reputation, and help strengthen those bonds with the society you serve. Furthermore, we will explore how to regard RL as a central feature of how you do business.

Idea #145
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Culture Club: Coaching by Values for Corporate Success

Idea posted: March 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: ESADE

How can leaders create the right corporate culture to confront the myriad levels of complexity in today’s turbulent business environment?

The emerging concept of ‘coaching by values’ (CBV) provides a flexible framework to help them reengineer their organization’s corporate culture and create positive outcomes for all stakeholders.

Idea #106
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Leadership to Reconcile Team Diversity or Conflict

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

A diverse team can achieve great things. But diversity can sometimes lead to conflict too. The effects of team diversity on team outcomes vary considerably from study to study. This Idea digs deeper, investigating the effects of ‘values diversity’ on team effectiveness – and how leaders can play a significant controlling role in the relationship between values diversity and conflict within a team. 

Idea #042
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Shopping cart with green arrow

Embedding CSR and Sustainability: Marks & Spencer

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Using Marks & Spencer as an example, there are certain practices other organizations can similarly apply to improve focus on corporate responsibility and sustainability. The UK retailer has made a number of successful moves towards embedding social and environmental awareness and practices into its everyday strategic vision. In this Idea, these are analyzed and discussed, offering companies tips they can similarly apply.

Idea #039
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Dark forest behind windows

When Growth Fails: Managing the Dark Side

Idea posted: January 2013
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: IESE Business School

Fast growing businesses are susceptible to failures. To sustain the enterprise executives must know how to manage the aftermath of an organizational failure. Specifically, the authors point to mindset shifts that can improve leadership in volatile environments. These include: collaborating with critics, making sure everyone is on the same page, and above all remaining grounded in a strong set of personal values.

Idea #030
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Signing the contract

Narcissistic CEOs – A Signature for Poor Performance

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

Have you ever worked for a bit of a self-obsessed boss? You weren’t imagining it; corporate narcissism is an actual and not unusual phenomenon. It can even eventually diminish firm performance and is therefore something to look out for. Now, research suggests that the size of a CEO’s signature may give a clue as to how big their ego is. 

Idea #080
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Graphic of staff superimposed on a background of skyscrapers

Creating a High Integrity Corporate Culture

Idea posted: January 2013
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

At what point do employees realize, if at all, that they are making an inappropriate decision? And what interventions are available to help ensure they make the right ones? When employees fail to act with a strong sense of integrity, there are conscious and unconscious factors at play. Leaders should be aware of these in order to create and sustain a corporate culture where doing the right thing becomes second nature.

Idea #058
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