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Investors Complain Proxy Statements Unclear on Executive Pay

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

Proxy statements are often unclear on major issues, notably executive pay questions such as the appropriateness of compensation size and structure, according to a new survey of major asset managers and owners. They also lack clarity on pay ratios, corporate political contributions, corporate social responsibility and sustainability and CEO succession planning.

Idea #528
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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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Don't Jay Walk, 1937 PSA poster, USA (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Neurobiological Clues to Advertising Effectiveness

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Recent research identifies physiological reasons that public service announcements (PSAs) are effective. Specifically, the researchers show that increases in two neurochemicals — adrenocorticotropic hormone and oxytocin — result in greater attention and action from viewers. 

Idea #517
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Composition VI, Wassily Kandinsky, 1913 (Courtesy: The State Hemitage Museum, St Petersburg)

A Symphony of Agency and Stewardship Values Ensures Family Business Success

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change

Agency theory describes a contractual relationship between managers and shareholders who have divergent interests. Stewardship theory describes a collaborative relationship between managers and shareholders toward shared goals. Which works best for family businesses? New research reveals that a combination of the two, changing as the business moves through its lifecycle, offers the best recipe for success. 

Idea #518
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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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Innovation is Key to Exporting Success for SMEs

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Innovative companies can find success in export markets, but is there a correlation in the other direction: Can exporting lead to greater innovation? A researcher in Australia, dissecting data from thousands of Australian SMEs, discovered some correlation between exporting and innovation, but concluded that it is wiser to focus on innovation first, before attempting to conquer export markets.

Idea #520
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Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin(left), who is believed to have coined the phrase, "Speak truth to power." (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Candid Feedback Keeps Power-holders Accountable

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

Those in positions of power have control over an organization’s allocation of scarce resources. But are subordinates as powerless as they think? New research shows that candid feedback from subordinates can compel power-holders to be fairer and less self-serving in their allocation decisions.

Idea #521
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Alice and the Queen of Hearts

Bossy: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?

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

Bossy is not a synonym for assertiveness, or other positive executive leadership skills, and women are labelled bossy in the workplace more often than men are. But what lessons can be learned — for both genders — from  this blatant, and damaging, double-standard?

Idea #511
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SpaceJunk, Miguel Soares, 2001, 3D animation (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Companies Are Trading Innovation Quality for Quantity

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

When it comes to innovation, are companies mistaking quantity for quality? New research shows that companies who file for a greater number of patents are also filing for patents that are less valuable. This leads to overestimating one’s research productivity — and undermining future innovation.

Idea #512
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Peter Fonda rides a replica of the 'Captain America' Harley-Davidson used in Easy Rider (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Turn Your End-User Innovators Into R&D Partners

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

From self-customized motorcycles to modified software, end-users have the capabilities to develop and diffuse into their market their innovations. Producers have to choose whether to ignore these innovators or adapt their R&D processes to include them as partners.

Idea #513
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Playing cards from the French Republic (1793-94), revolutionary images replace Kings and Queens

The Role of Identity When an Organization's Purpose Changes

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

How do organizations respond to multiple business logics with conflicting sets of rules and norms? New research based on a study of four French business schools reveals that institutional and organizational identities will guide an organization’s response.

Idea #514
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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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Six Skills for the Social Media-Literate Leader

Idea posted: May 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

A scholar and an Executive Fellow from the Drucker School of Management present a six-dimensional framework of what they call ‘organizational social media literacy’. It outlines critical capabilities — from creating content and managing the flow of information to spreading social media competence throughout the organization and creating a social media infrastructure — that today’s leaders and their organizations must master to capitalize on the full potential of social media.

Idea #503
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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 Golden Goose, cover illustration by Mary Lott Seaman, published in 1928 by the MacMillan Company

Will Corporations Leaving Basic Scientific Research Kill the Golden Goose?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Who will invent the new Nylon? Unlike the DuPonts of the past, large corporations are focusing more on applied research, which can lead more quickly to products, than basic, longer-term scientific research that benefits society as a whole.

Idea #509
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Early morning water circuit training session at Pope Army Airfield, N.C., 2015 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Psychology-based Training Incentives Motivates Workers

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Learning & Behaviour

A one-time financial incentive based on proven psychological techniques can motivate employees to voluntarily make a commitment to long-term training, new research shows. 

Idea #510
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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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How Political Correctness Increases Creativity in Mixed-Sex Teams

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

Creativity can suffer in mixed-sex teams. Men and women both experience uncertainty when asked to generate ideas as members of a mixed-sex work group: men because they may fear offending the women and women because they fear having their ideas devalued or rejected. Being PC helps men and women become more creative. 

Idea #505
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A Meeting of the School Trustees, Robert Harris, 1885 (Courtesy: National Gallery of Canada) 

Corporate Governance: The Power of Outside Directors on CEO-Only Boards

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Once packed with company insiders, corporate boards are filling up with outside directors, theoretically resulting in greater independent oversight. New research shows, however, that paradoxically having the CEO as the only insider on the board actually enhances the CEO’s power and undermines outside oversight.

Idea #506
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When Does Downsizing Hurt Customer Satisfaction?

Idea posted: April 2015
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Past research based on B2B industries show an intuitive link between downsizing the workforce and lower customer satisfaction. A new study focused on B2C industries reveals that the link is more complex, depending on factors such as organizational slack, labour productivity, and the emphasis on innovation. The study does confirm that downsizing reduces customer satisfaction, which then reduces financial results.

Idea #507
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Tony Blair and George W. Bush at the White House, 2003 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Beware of Hubris Syndrome! A Leadership Personality Disorder

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: Duke University

Researching the medical history of UK prime ministers and US presidents, a member the UK House of Lords and a psychiatrist and researcher from Duke University in the US reveal the symptoms and traits of hubris — a syndrome that befalls many who have substantial power over a length of time.

Idea #499
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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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Five gantry cranes, built at ZPMC, destined for Hamburg, on the vessel Zhen Hua 20, 2007 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A Lesson from China: Growth Is Not Eternal So Be Prepared

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing

Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries (ZPMC) was a high-flying builder of large-scale container cranes whose decisions — such as lifetime guarantees on all parts and ambitious diversification — reflected a belief that growth would last forever. It didn’t.

Idea #495
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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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Alexander Graham Bell at the opening of the long-distance line from New York to Chicago, 1892 (Courtesy: Library of Congress)

Incentivizing Older Consumers to Adopt New Technologies

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Marketing

Companies traditionally ignore older consumers when marketing new technologies and innovations. While the non-monetary adoption costs to older consumers are high as previous research suggests, a new mathematical model — that looks at consumers over their entire lifecycle — reveals that monetary costs to older consumers actually decrease with age. 

Idea #502
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Work with Customers to Understand and Shape their Future Needs

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing

Understanding future customer needs is a key success factor for competitive advantage. However, an equally important success factor, and one that is often overlooked, is the ability of companies to influence customers on their future needs. Companies that can both understand and shape future customer needs have the greatest chances of future success.

Idea #494
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St Anne, 8th century, from Faras – a city in Lower Nubia, present day Egypt (Courtesy: National Museum of Warsaw)

Encouraging Employees Who Stay Silent to Give Feedback

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Employees with a low sense of power are more likely to stay quiet about problems or concerns and less likely to come forward with suggestions or disagreements. Managers who can convince employees that they are genuinely interested in hearing from their employees can overcome their sense of powerlessness.

Idea #496
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Public Sector Leadership: Managing 'Multirational' Organizations

Idea posted: March 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

Public sector organizations are hybrid organizations that bring together different rationalities (e.g. political, economic, legal) together under one roof. The role of the public-sector manager is to find a way to enable these different rationalities to collaborate effectively. The key, according to social systems theory, is communication: finding the common language.

Idea #497
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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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