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Monty Python's Silly Walk. Graffitti, Porto, Portugal (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Middle Managers’ Walking the Talk Needs Top Management Support

Idea posted: May 2018
  • Leadership & Change

For middle managers, behavioural integrity — the perception by subordinates that management behaviour matches their words — is a key factor for success. Unfortunately, organizations often undermine their middle managers’ behavioural integrity with contradictory policies and decisions — or policies, directives or decisions for which they never acquired middle management buy-in.

Idea #705
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Source: Pexels

Matching the Creativity Supply Side to Your Marketing Demand

Idea posted: April 2018
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

A team of researchers offers a framework to help organizations support creativity more effectively. Elements of this framework including balancing the usefulness and originality of creative ideas depending on the organization’s needs and choosing the best approach to creative ideas: 1) focusing on the sheer quantity of new ideas, 2) exploring the potential of a category, or 3) looking for creative ideas across categories.

Idea #700
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Rupert Murdoch at the World Economic Forum, 2009 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Extravert CEOs and Strategic M&A Decisions

Idea posted: January 2018
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change

New research based on 2800 corporate CEOs shows that extraverted CEOs are more likely to engage their firms in the uncertainty of M&A activities, proving that CEO personality can drive firm behaviour. However, under certain conditions, the situation dictates the options available to CEOs, regardless of their personalities. Thus, for example, even less extraverted CEOs make more acquisitions in highly competitive industries.

Idea #686
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Kalfafell Iceland. Photo by Gian Reto Tarntzer on Unsplash

How Linear Thinking in a Non-Linear World Leads to Wrong Decisions

Idea posted: December 2017
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Our brains prefer to think in straight lines: if one bag of oranges costs $5, then two bags cost $10 and three cost $15. However, this bias toward linear thinking often traps unwary business decision-makers who fail to recognize the non-linear relationships they are dealing with (e.g. increasing retention rates from 10% to 30% or from 60% to 80% does not have an equal 20% impact on customer lifetime value).

Idea #685
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How to Encourage Interprofessional Knowledge Transfer In Your Company

Idea posted: December 2017
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Organizations find that knowledge often gets ‘stuck’ within the different professional cliques. In a health care setting, for example, nurses talk to nurses and doctors talk to doctors, and knowledge has difficulty passing between these two professions. However, all organizations have individuals who can act information ‘brokers’, bridging the gap between the professions. 

Idea #684
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Photo by Kevin Curtis on Unsplash

Why You Need Diplomats In Your Organization

Idea posted: November 2017
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Friendships in the workplace lay the foundation for collaboration and learning. Friendship cliques, however, can also produce fissures that only people with personalities of the diplomats in the organization can span.

Idea #683
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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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Water polo at the 2012 Summer Olympics (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Innovation and the Pros and Cons of Close Personal Relationships

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Not all dimensions of social capital have a clear positive influence on organizational exploration activities. A new study shows that the acquisition of new knowledge, ideas and insight can be both helped and hindered when members of a team have close, trusting relationships.

Idea #621
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Tada' the Chinese poles, 2004 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Build Ambidextrous Teams to Combine Present and Future Objectives

Idea posted: July 2016
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many companies separate short-term activities focused on the present (e.g. customer service, marketing) from long-term activities focused on the future (e.g. new product development). A new study, however, reveals the power of ‘ambidextrous’ teams, where cohesion overcomes the challenge of pursuing both present and future objectives.

Idea #613
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The Symbolic Value of New Management Practices

Idea posted: April 2016
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

A new study shows that companies that are seen as continuously using new and improved management practices are valued more highly by analysts and other observers.

Idea #594
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An umpire: Australia v World XI, Sydney Cricket Ground, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How People React to the Fairness of Decisions: Trust Makes a Difference

Idea posted: February 2016
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Perceived fairness, whether of the outcome or procedural fairness, impacts on how people react to decisions. New research shows that the level of trust in decision makers sets expectations that significantly influence this interaction of outcome and procedural fairness.

Idea #583
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Jean Charles de Menezes, memorial plaque at Stockwell Station, London (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Bad Framing Leads to Bad Decisions and Bad (Even Fatal) Actions

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Decision makers must frame or ‘make sense’ of events and situations, and then make their decisions accordingly. A groundbreaking analysis of an innocent civilian’s tragic shooting by anti-terrorist police reveals how groups of individuals commit, through the interaction of communication, emotions and material cues, to a single, common frame — in this case an erroneous frame. It is a cautionary tale for leaders and other decision makers, exposing how errors or assumptions can cascade into a complete misunderstanding of situations.

Idea #563
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Queen Elizabeth I of England, by an unknown Dutch artist, c.1575

Why Women Who Blend Gender and Professional Identities Are Better Negotiators

Idea posted: July 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Women who believe that their gender and professional identities are compatible are more likely to be successful in negotiations and other professional pursuits than women who are unable to ‘integrate’ their multiple identities.

Idea #417
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How to Win a Price War

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Price wars are usually won by companies with the widest profit margins and the best cost structures — i.e. those that can afford to fight them. It is, however, possible for a business with a cost disadvantage to achieve victory. Much depends on the way a ‘campaign’ is carried out and planned. Sometimes strategic capabilities, not cost structure, decides the outcome.

Idea #403
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Decision Support Systems: Under-rated and Under-used?

Idea posted: June 2014
  • Strategy
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Technology now provides a range of decision support systems to interrogate, process and analyse data on markets and customers and help companies answer ‘what-if’ questions. The best ones, however, could be being neglected by organizations. Recent empirical research finds a clear discrepancy between users’ perceptions of decision support systems and how these systems actually perform. 

Idea #387
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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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Managing Cross-industry Innovation

Idea posted: April 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Cross-industry collaborations can combine and ‘re-configure’ existing technologies and lead to the development of new ‘applications’. Their success, however, depends on more than a culture of enterprise and a commitment to innovation at the ‘partnership’ companies. Procedural and organizational factors can make or break interindustry product development. 

Idea #357
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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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Brad Pitt, the first male to front a Chanel No. 5 perfume campaign, 2012 (source: The Sun)

Celebrities in Advertising: Neuroscience Insights

Idea posted: July 2013
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Companies pay celebrities large sums of money to endorse their products and ‘star’ in their advertising campaigns. Until recently, however, little was known about the processes that underlie the persuasiveness of fame. Now, research in neuroeconomics (a field that crosses the disciplines of psychology, economics, marketing and neuroscience) is providing insights into the neural effects of celebrity endorsement — and suggesting ways advertisers can best use celebrities to influence consumers and their decisions.

Idea #183
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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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GINKS Focus Group, Ghana (Source: Wikimedia)

Managing Workforce Ideas Effectively

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

The effective management of employees’ ideas encourages people to participate in the organization, beyond the scope of their job. For organizations to sustain success in their markets, and in order to survive, they need to utilize their workforce as effectively as possible particularly by stimulating and implementing employees’ ideas for improvement and innovation. The results not only benefit the organization, but also contribute to employee satisfaction.

Idea #131
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Business people in a series with a casual guy doing the headstand

How Team Reflexivity Fosters Innovation

Idea posted: April 2013
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

‘Team Reflexivity’ is the extent to which teams collectively reflect upon and adapt their operating methods and ways of working. This research explores the fundamental belief that highly reflexive teams will be more innovative than teams low in reflexivity, especially when faced with demanding work environments. It is an important predictor of team outcomes and innovation. The researchers explore why teamwork is better and more effective than individual acts and innovation.

Idea #125
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