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Media Multitasking: Unproductive but Gratifying

Media Multitasking: Unproductive but Gratifying

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

Media multitasking hurts productivity, but it is also a self-reinforcing habit that makes people feel better: students find studying with the TV on more fun and emotionally satisfying, for example. These habitual and emotional gratifications explain why media multitasking is an ongoing problem making its way into the workplace.

Idea #638
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Bill Gates, Micosoft CEO, at IT Forum 2004 in Copenhagen (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How CEO Personality Impacts on Firm Performance

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

Different personality traits, such as openness to change, conscientiousness and extraversion, are associated with different approaches to investment decisions and differences in firm performance, according to a new study using linguistic metrics for personality.

Idea #632
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Vertical Leadership Development Explained

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

Most leadership development is focused on adding new tools and competencies, what might be called ‘horizontal development.’ However, ‘vertical development’ — developing, updating or changing a leader’s mindset and mental models — is equally important. Vertical leadership development is contingent on three conditions: ‘heat experiences’, ‘colliding perspectives’, ‘elevated sensemaking’.

Idea #623
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A king (Louis XVI), a clerk and a blade (a guillotine): Nostradamus predicts the French revolution. Illustration in Vaticinia Nostradami,1629.

4 Nextsensing Skills to See What the Future Holds

Idea posted: September 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
Institutions: IE Business School

Asking, “What’s Next?” has always led humans throughout history to create a better future. But answering, “What’s Next?” is not an easy task in today’s ambiguous and complex world. Four ‘nextsensing’ leadership skills are required to lead in the 21st century. 

Idea #624
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Grand Parade (mosaic) Fernand Léger, 1958, National Gallery of Victoria

Meritocracy at Work: Well-Intention Systems Can Cause the Reverse

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

If managers believe, because of formal performance evaluation and compensation systems, that their organization is meritocratic, they are ironically more likely to engage in less meritocratic behaviour. Researcher Emilio J. Castilla of MIT’s Sloan School of management calls this “the paradox of meritocracy.”

Idea #620
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Beware of Egocentricity Causing Team Members to Overestimate their Value

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

A new study confirms that individuals typically (but not intentionally) overestimate their contributions to team projects, especially if the teams are large. Managers trying to gauge the contribution of different team members — for reward or other purposes — should recognize when over-claiming is more likely, and use different strategies to remind individuals of the contributions of others.

Idea #615
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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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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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The Cheats, Valentin de Boulogne, c.1619 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Art, Washington DC)

Last Chance Cheating: A Gig Economy Challenge

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

Because short-term or contract employees are hired for a specific period of time, they know when the end of their time with the employer is near. A new study shows that as they approach this final period, departing short-termers will often cheat the employer in some way. The reason: it’s their last chance to make a little gain at the employer’s expense. 

Idea #605
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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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A foot-race at the Panathenaea, Greece, 800-480 BC (Source:  Encyclopædia Britannica)

How to Inspire Resistant Employees to Embrace Health and Wellness

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

Employee health and wellness programs often suffer from low participation. Credible and consistent support and involvement from top management can make the difference. Two researchers identify the five behaviours of transformational leaders who inspire and motivate full employee participation.

Idea #596
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I am Superman, by Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Forget the Hero: Leadership as Day-to-Day Processes, Practices and Interactions

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

Leadership is often defined in terms of individuals with personality traits and attributes that allow them to inspire their followers. A team of researchers offer an alternative perspective on leadership: leadership as ongoing processes and practices, organized by people through their interactions in the mundane day-to-day operations of an organization.

Idea #590
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Innovation Leaders Turn Creative Ideas Into Action

Idea posted: March 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Many companies recognize the importance of innovation yet continue to be ineffective innovators. The reason: their leaders lack the right skills to encourage, manage and implement innovation. Recognizing that innovation requires a structured process, multiple perspectives, silo-busting boundary-free and polarity thinking are important first steps.  

Idea #588
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Three Building Blocks of Innovation Leadership

Idea posted: March 2016
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Fostering innovation in an organization requires the tools and techniques to help generate and implement ideas, the knowledge and abilities to manage innovation processes, and the attitudes that encourage rather than undermine new thinking. The right toolset, skillset and mindset are the three building blocks of innovation.

Idea #589
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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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Buddha changing colour (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mindful Meditation Helps Reduce Racial and Age Bias

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

Most people’s biases are automatic; without thinking, we make biased negative associations about certain categories of people based on previously established associations. Focusing on race and age bias, a new research study shows that mindfulness meditation decreases this type of implicit bias by weakening our automatically activated associations.  

Idea #580
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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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Pepin being crowned King of the Franks by St. Boniface in 751, engraving by Robert Gaguin, Paris, 1514

Why Previous Experience of New CEOs Makes Matters Worse!

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

Newly hired CEOs who have held previous CEOs positions are more likely to fail than new CEOs who have never held the top position in a company, according to new research. The reason: they did what they did in the past, without paying attention to the new context.

Idea #570
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Management Practices that Lead to Corporate Social Responsibility

Idea posted: October 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Superior management quality practices, in areas such as monitoring employee performance, updating operations, setting targets and establishing incentives, will impact the extent of a company’s corporate social responsible practices — notably in issues related to stakeholder concerns, such as diversity, environmental performance and employee relations. 

Idea #554
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Millennials 5: Attitudes and Aspirations in Different Regions of the World

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD

Millennials, poised to become the biggest generation in the workforce and the leaders of tomorrow, are less homogenous in attitudes and aspirations than commonly believed. A global survey of Millennials highlights the differences among this generation in the different regions of the world, and even with different countries in those regions. (Editor's Note: this article is based on Part 5 of the survey.)

Idea #559
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Stoughton Wisconsin Tornado of 18 August 2005 (Source: NWS/NOAA, Wikimedia Commons)

The Connection Between Disasters and Less Risk-Averse CEOs

Idea posted: October 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

CEOs who have lived through disasters resulting in significant loss of life are likely to be risk-averse executives. Those, on the contrary, who live through disaster that did not result in significant loss of life tend to be less sensitive to the consequences of risk — and thus more risk-tolerant than the norm.

Idea #561
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The Dutch East India Co. chartered in 1602, a steel engraving by Cool and Rennefeld, Leiden, c. 1880 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why Equity-Based Incentives Work Below the C-Suite

Idea posted: October 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Many companies fear offering equity-based incentives for business unit managers. They believe that compensating business-unit managers based on corporate-wide results will hurt local business unit results. New research shows these fears to be unfounded, and that the right balance of equity-based and profit-based incentives increase results at both the corporate level and the business unit level and increase cross-business-unit collaboration.

Idea #562
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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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When Non-Average Performers Are Targeted by Bullies

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

As workplace incivility, aggression and harassment continues to worry business leaders and managers, new research explores some of the ways both high performers and poor performers may be inadvertently inspiring their victimization. 

Idea #553
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Marble relief of the Roman Praetorian Guard c50AD (Courtesy: Louvre-Lens Museum, Lens, France)

Transformational Leadership Extra Effective When Employees Have High Self-Esteem

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Transformational leadership is key to helping employees reach their full potential. This is especially true, according to new research, for high core self-evaluation (CSE) employees, whose job satisfaction and organizational commitment is significantly strengthened under the influence of transformational leaders. 

Idea #547
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The Unexpected Creative Effect of Sarcasm

Idea posted: September 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Sarcasm in the workplace may not be as destructive as once thought. New research shows that expressing or receiving sarcasm can spark creativity through abstract thinking — especially if the sarcasm is directed at or received from a trusted person

Idea #550
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Painting depicting Parson Weems and his famous story of George Washington and the Cherry Tree. Grant Wood (Courtesy: Amon Carter Museum of American Art)

Does Character Add to the Success of Transformational Leadership?

Idea posted: August 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Character and transformational leadership do not necessarily overlap. New research shows that positive character traits will increase the level of success obtained by transformational leadership. Negative character traits can reveal the dark side of transformational leadership — a dark side that leads to poor results.

Idea #539
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Henry the Navigator leading Vasco da Gama, Magellan and others. Monument of the Discoveries, Lisbon, Portugal (Source: Wkimedia Commons)

What Does It Take to Develop Globally Competent Leaders?

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

Most companies recognize the importance of training top leaders in global competence skills, according to a new survey of more than 300 HR professionals. Many companies, however, are unsatisfied with their leaders’ and potential leaders’ skills in this area. A variety of methods can help build multicultural sensitivity and other global capabilities. 

Idea #541
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Who We Call and Why in Uncertain Situations

Idea posted: July 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

When facing uncertain situations of threat or opportunity, people will call on their contacts to help them meet the threat or take advantage of the opportunity. New research shows that how many contacts they call can be influenced by such factors as their rank in the organization, whether they have an internal or external locus of control, and the type of threat or opportunity that the uncertainty represents.

Idea #529
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