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David Garrick in the title role in Act V, Scene 3 of Shakespeare's Richard III, by William Hogarth, 1745 (Courtesy: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)

How Valuable is Integrity for Mid- and Top-Level Executives?

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Too many headlines in recent years have paid testament to the fact that leaders can be prone to ethical lapses. Perhaps this is why integrity is today, more than ever, considered to be a fundamental character strength for managers at all levels of an organization. In this Idea, however, integrity is shown to be relatively less important for middle-level executives compared to other character strengths, such as social intelligence.

Idea #352
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Securing Talent with a Superior Employee Value Proposition

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

A shift is taking place in the business world; power has moved from employers to employees. In this Idea, the reasons behind this shift are explored, and advice is provided to organizations on how to ensure they successfully attract, develop and retain employees, and remain an ‘employer of choice’.

Idea #348
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Cyberloafing: Lost Sleep and Lower Productivity

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

The nature and increased use of the Internet has led to a new workplace threat to productivity — ‘cyberloafing’. In this Idea, the impact of lost and low-quality sleep on employee cyberloafing, as well as conscientiousness is examined. 

Idea #343
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Multiculturalism by Monisha Pushparaj (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Multicultural Experience: Better Performance, Better Job Prospects

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

The ability to process complex information and synthesize opposing ideas is associated with creativity and, by extension, increased professional opportunities and better job prospects. A multicultural environment can help build it — but only if people engage psychologically with others. The capacity to ‘integrate’ differing perspectives comes from interaction not observation.

Idea #340
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The Voyage of St. Brendan the Navigator, according to legend this famed traveller reached North America between 512 and 530 AD

How Travelling Abroad Builds Trust and Tolerance

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

The idea that travel can be important for personal development and ‘growth’ is well established. Spending time overseas can ‘broaden the mind’ — not only by increasing knowledge but also by reducing xenophobia. The maximum benefits, however, might depend on breadth as well as depth of experience. Recent empirical research finds a causal link between the ability to trust and accept others and exposure to a diverse range of ‘out groups’.

Idea #335
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Hamlet, 1948 film, directed, produced and starring Laurence Olivier, Distributed by Rank Film Distributors (UK)

How Procrastination Undermines Pro-Active Leadership

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

When it matters most, are you able to make effective decisions or do you hesitate and find reasons to delay them? Many leaders are guilty of the latter, the underlying cause of which is procrastination — something that stands in the way of proactive leadership and should be dealt with to ensure you and your organization does not suffer from its rippling negative effects.

Idea #336
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How Price, Time and Functionality Affect Customers' Choices

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

New research shows that when purchases are time-sensitive — buying a camera the day before leaving for vacation, for example — consumers tend to look for convenient, easier-to-use products. But in the long term, consumers are more interested in desirable product features. According to the research, reminding consumers of a product’s price will help them focus, even in the short term, on what they truly value: functionality over convenience.

Idea #338
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HQ Controls and the Speed of Strategic Decision-Making

Idea posted: March 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

How do control mechanisms set by corporate headquarters in large organizations influence decision-making speed at lower levels? In this Idea, six types of corporate controls are identified, their effects on decision speed are discussed, and the key mechanisms accounting for these effects are outlined.

Idea #339
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Justice, Fairness and Employee Engagement

Idea posted: March 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employees’ perceptions of justice in their organization can impact important outcomes and should not be ignored. In this Idea, positive changes in distributive, procedural, and interactional justice are linked to job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Read on to find how these can be built upon in your workplace.

Idea #334
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Napoleon on his Imperial Throne, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1806, The Musee de l'Armee, Paris

The Speed of the Ascent: Which Leaders Get the Top Jobs?

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Although there are many paths to senior roles, and many types of leader that take those paths, the route to the highest level of management, CEO level, appears to be the most clearly defined. And it tends to be established early on in a career. This research gives fresh insights into how people get to the top of the 21st century corporation.

Idea #333
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The Three Wise Men at Nuevos Ministerios Metro and Cercanías station, Madrid (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Optimal Marketing Claims: The Power of Three

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

When putting together an advertisement campaign, how many positive aspects of the product should you include? The temptation is to put in as many as possible, but according to this Idea, three is the optimal amount. Add more and you risk raising suspicions in your customers about the authenticity of all of the claims. 

Idea #328
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Tragedy and Comedy, a mosaic from the Baths of Decius on the Aventine Hill, Rome, now in the Capitoline Museum, Rome (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

How Showing Emotions Builds Individual and Team Resilience

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Individuals who have a close relationship and teams that are built on trust are more likely to have the resilience to bounce back from setbacks. New research shows that ‘emotional carrying capacity’ — that is, the freedom to constructively express more emotions, both positive and negative — is the mechanism through which closeness and trust builds this resilience.

Idea #327
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The Boyhood of Raleigh 1870, Sir John Everett Millais, The Tate Gallery , London

Storytelling for Entrepreneurial Endeavour

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Finance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Good stories can increase legitimacy and persuade investors and valued employees to commit to your organization. At the same time, an inauthentic story could be worse than none at all. In this Idea, six strategies that executives can employ to create, refine and deliver their stories are outlined. Read on to learn more.

Idea #324
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Changing Attitudes to Business Ethics: Insights from South Africa

Idea posted: February 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

The past 20 years or so have seen a marked change in attitudes towards ethics among South African business-school students. Recent MBA graduates have stronger opinions on what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’ business behaviour and are more likely to think in terms of moral absolutes. This has significant implications for business schools and educators — and for companies and employers.

Idea #319
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Tai Chi Chuan on the Bund in Shanghai, China. Photography by J. Gremillot, 2005 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Organizational Energy: May the Force Be With You

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: Henley Business School

Organizational energy, or the force with which a company works, is inextricably linked to personal and collective effectiveness and performance in a business. How can leaders assess that energy, and if necessary, recharge it, to make the most of their people, so that they are all positively energized around the business goals? 

Idea #317
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Seminal Californian rock group The Mothers of Invention, Netherlands, 1968 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Mothers of Invention: Companies that ‘Spawn’ New Enterprises

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Many companies don’t try very hard to retain innovative employees who want to set up their own enterprises to develop ‘spin-off’ products. At first sight, this might seem like an unwise decision: when the employee leaves, commercial opportunities leave with them, and a new competitor ‘arrives’. There are circumstances, however, when ‘entrepreneurial spawning’ is preferable to exploiting ideas internally. Much depends on the fit between the ‘mother’ organization and the products under development.

Idea #318
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Othello and Iago, illustration from Charles and Mary Lamb, Tales from Shakespeare (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus Company, 1901) (Souce: Wikimedia Commons)

Is Othello Boss Syndrome Affecting Your Organization?

Idea posted: February 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IESE Business School

What can be learnt about leadership from Shakespeare’s Othello? According to this Idea, the characteristics and personality changes experienced by Othello may not be so different from what many executives experience in the business world. Jealousy, in particular, can be extremely damaging not just for the executives themselves, but for their organization as a whole. Read on to find out how to spot, correct and avoid the ‘Othello Syndrome’.

Idea #315
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Ideas, Implementation and the Learning Organization

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour

Employee deviation from official strategy can result in discoveries and innovations that increase profits. It’s not always to be actively encouraged, though. Employees who try to implement the ideas of management — and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t — can better serve the interests of the organization in the long term.

Idea #314
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Andrus Ansip, Prime Minister of Estonia, witnesses a nitrocellulose explosion 2012 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Can Stress Improve Experiential Learning for Leaders?

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

In this Idea, the behavioural neuroscience (or ‘psychobiology’) of learning is explored, suggesting that the key to better learning may be to ensure raised heart-rates — something that take place when participants feel challenged and taken out of their comfort zones. 

Idea #297
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Back to the Future: Managing Change with Retrospection

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Change initiatives have almost become a permanent feature of organizational life, the norm rather than the exception. But one of their critical stages is often missed. The period between projects, when people make sense of what’s happened, needs to be ‘built into’ the programme. It’s the moment of retrospection that defines the relevance and continued impact of decisions — and the corridor of the future. 

Idea #310
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Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin in the 1960s US TV series, based the DC Comic characters, broadcast by ABC Netwrk (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Coaching Chemistry: Building a Collaborative Relationship

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: Henley Business School

The best circumstances for successful coaching include a number of factors, from the skill, style, and experience of the coach, to the desire of the coachee to develop, to the actual process of coaching sessions. But none of these will work effectively if the relationship between the two is lacking. What can leaders do to get the best out of their teams, and the best out of themselves as coaches?

Idea #311
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Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech during his MSU visit, 1965 (Source: Michigan State University archives)

Leaders' Charisma, Team Performance and Organizational Change

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

If a leader has charisma, he/she is said to be more likely to achieve better team performance. But what exactly is it that makes a leader seem charismatic, and why does this have an effect on performance outcomes? In this Idea, these questions are explored, and the behaviours that enhance the perception of charisma are outlined.

Idea #303
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Self-Reflective Job Titles Reduce Emotional Exhaustion

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Allowing employees to give themselves self-reflective job titles — the title of Berkshire Hathaway’s event organizer is Director of Chaos, for example — helps them affirm their identity and, even in the most stressful of jobs, reduce emotional exhaustion. The result is less staff turnover, better teamwork, and higher performance.

Idea #305
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Map of the World and Constellations, Petrus Plancius (1552 – 1622) Dutch astronomer, cartographer and clergyman

The Role of Cultural Self-awareness in Global Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations
Institutions: IE Business School

We are shaped by our backgrounds, by the values and beliefs that have been instilled in us since birth.  By understanding how one’s own cultural hinterland can affect behaviour in a global workplace, leaders can learn to adapt that behaviour and do better business with those around them, whatever their nationality or background.

Idea #306
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King John signs the Magna Carta, engraving by James William Edmund Doyle, 1864 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Corporate Governance from the Bottom Up

Idea posted: January 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

Non-executive directors are often seen as a way to avoid corporate ‘buccaneering’ and tame reckless CEOs. Their exact contribution to companies, however, remains unclear. Independent executives, on the other hand, have been shown to be accurate ‘predictors’ of profitability, performance and value creation.

Internal monitoring by the CEO's immediate subordinates should be the new area of focus in the corporate governance debate.

Idea #299
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Changing Corporate Learning: 5 Ways to Make it Work

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: IMD

Are you satisfied with the work of your organization’s learning functions? Surveys have shown that a majority of managers believe corporate learning initiatives result in little change in employee performance. This Idea proposes five important changes to the way corporate learning is approached; changes that organizations need to make to ensure their corporate learning functions work effectively.

Idea #294
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Scrooge played by Reginal Owen and Marley's Ghost by Leo Caroll. Dicken's The Christmas Carol, © 1938 Warner Bros, distributed by MGM

Resistance to Change: Overcoming Multilevel Cynicism

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Resistance to change is not just an individual attitude; it is also reflected at the organizational level through a cynicism to change (CTC) climate. Preventing or addressing resistance to change begins with understanding the multilevel nature of that resistance. Leaders need to address both individuals (e.g., be active in interacting with employees one on one and treating them as unique contributors) as well as organizational climates (e.g., by setting and reinforcing workplace norms, and making communications to the organization as a whole).

Idea #295
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The Blue Bottle coffee house founded in 1686 in Vienna. Painting c.1900 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Developing Network Perspective: Social Networks and Leadership

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

Are you aware of the different roles individuals play in your organization, and how they connect to each other to form an informal structure that supports the organization as a whole? If so, you are well on your way to developing network perspective — something that is, according to this Idea, imperative for 21st century executives. 

Idea #291
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Knowledge Sharing Networks Between Developing and Developed Countries

Idea posted: January 2014
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Managers in emerging markets can benefit from interpersonal ties to more developed countries. Personal contacts abroad can provide useful ‘inside information’ and transfer critical knowledge — for free. They should not, however, be pursued exclusively. The best personal networks include contacts at home as well as overseas. Recent research points to the relative merits and usefulness of local and distant knowledge.

Idea #292
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The Mad Hatter's Teaparty, illustration by John Teniel for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland 1895

Deferring to Others: When Able People Prefer Lower Status

Idea posted: December 2013
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour

Why do some able people opt for positions of lower status, though they may actually desire the respect associated with higher status? According to this Idea, others’ expectations are a key driver of the status individuals opt for in group settings. If they believe that they lack the characteristics to help a group succeed, they will opt for lower status in that group.  

Idea #287
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