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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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Traders on the New York Stock Exchange, 1963 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Testosterone Leads to Overpricing on Wall Street

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

New research shows that testosterone increases the over-confident and over-optimistic impulses of male traders, resulting in higher prices and more frequent bubbles. It also reveals, in general, that we are not always as rational as we believe.

Idea #608
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The seven dwarfs, Snow White, 1937, produced by Walt Disney Productions (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Motivation Profiles: Pay and Reward Vs Fulfilling Work

Idea posted: June 2016
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Building on four types of motivation, a new survey helps identify different profiles of motivation for managers, offering a mix of extrinsic (e.g. salaries) or intrinsic (e.g. fulfilling work) rewards. The profiles reveal how the different motives of managers impact their job attitudes. 

Idea #609
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The Death of Caesar, Karl Theodor von Piloty, 1879 (Courtesy: Lower Saxony State Museum, Hannover, Germany)

Reducing CEO Power Can Undermine a Company’s Legitimacy

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

A separation of power between CEO and a board of directors is often viewed as a sign of good governance. A new study reveals that reducing the power of a CEO may actually diminish rather than reinforce the legitimacy of a company in its foreign markets.

Idea #610
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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 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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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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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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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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Saint Jerome in his Study, Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1480 (Courtesy: Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence)

Knowledge Leaders to Apply Academic Research to Solve Organizations' Real World Problems

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

Knowledge leaders leverage academic research into real-world performance advantages for their organizations in three different ways: direct transfer, selective adaptation, or challenging research conclusions. 

Idea #586
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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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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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411_World War 2 poster. Wireless operators (Courtesy: BT Archives)

CIOs: Coach and Communicate with C-suite for Digital Innovation

Idea posted: January 2016
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

European companies are losing innovation opportunities because C-suite executives fail to respond to information technology and digital-related proposals of the CIO and the information technology function of the company, according to a new survey of European companies in three countries. The problem: lack of communication between IT and non-IT leaders.

Idea #573
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How Creativity Starts With Respectful Engagement

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

There are a wide variety of methodologies and concepts for developing individual and team creativity in organizations. New research, however, reveals the unexpected foundation of organizational creativity: respectful relationships.

Idea #578
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Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, 1350 BC (Courtesy: Neues Museum Berlin)

How a CEO's Attractiveness Can Boost Shareholder Value

Idea posted: December 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Personal appearance, from height to attractive facial features, has been shown to positively influence the financial and career success of individuals. New research links CEO attractiveness to shareholder value, demonstrating that the first impression advantage of an attractive physical appearance can have group as well as individual benefits.

Idea #575
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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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A detail from 'Nighthawks', Edward Hopper, 1942, (Courtesy: The Art Institute of Chicago)

Sleep Deprivation Hurts Performance As Much As Too Much to Drink

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

How seriously does sleep deprivation impact the productivity and alertness of employees? A classic study compared the effects of sleep deprivation to the effects of alcohol consumption, and showed an identical pattern of impairment. 

Idea #569
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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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Illustration from Europa's fairy book, published by G. P. Putnam's & Sons, 1916 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Best-Self Activation Launches Sustained Performance Improvement

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

New research confirms that best-self activation — activating a mental representation of your best self — leads to short- and long-term improvement in performance. The research specifically highlights the positive emotional, physiological (e.g. resilience to stress), and cognitive impact of best-self activation.

Idea #565
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Millennials 6: Attitudes Differ Based on Age and Gender — Sometimes

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

A global survey of Millennials from around the world looks at the impact of age and gender on attitudes related to issues such as work-life balance, greatest fears, and retirement. (Editor’s Note: This article is based on Part 6 of the survey.)

Idea #560
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