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Cyber-Attack Catastrophe: Lessons from a Plausible Risk Scenario

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Strategy
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change
  • Operations

The Centre for Risk Studies at Cambridge University has developed a detailed risk scenario describing a slow-burning cyber attack on a fictional software developer that has global consequences. The improbable but plausible scenario, based on a variety of real (but smaller) cases, is intended as a ‘stress test’ for organizations and public policy bodies and offers lessons in how to mitigate the impact of such attacks.

Idea #491
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Shakespeare's Prince Hal (Henry iv part 2). The Gower Memorial, Stratford (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Why First-Time Managers Need More Development Support

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

First-time managers, according to a recent survey, face a variety of leadership challenges, the most difficult being leading teams effectively, learning to be a better leader, and (mentioned by nearly 60% of respondents) being able to assert your authority over former peers while maintaining positive relationships. Organizations, focused on executive development, need to put more money into leadership development for first-time managers, especially in these three areas.

Idea #487
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Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, an illustration for the 1898 Swedish edition by James Mahoney

Bullying Bosses: Don’t Just Take It, Fight Back

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

Employees victimized by a bullying boss should not accept to be victims. While they may think that fighting back will make matters worse, a new study shows that employees who refuse to accept the abuse feel better about themselves, their jobs, and their career prospects than those who accept their ‘victim identity’.

Idea #488
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How Early Work Experience Shapes Later Leadership Outlook

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

The context of an employee’s first job — specifically, whether occurring in good or bad economic times for their companies — can have a surprising impact on subsequent performance. Employees who learn the skills and habits required to succeed during economic downturns are more likely succeed when the future matches their early work experiences. The reverse is also true: workers whose first jobs occurred during times of abundance encounter greater success in the future during economic upturns.

Idea #480
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Firms Are Not Adapting to the Millennial Workforce

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

Millennials bring technological savvy to the workplace, but also require focused managerial attention. According to the latest CFO Survey from Duke Fuqua and CFO Magazine, many companies — especially American companies — are not adapting to attract or retain millennials.

Idea #481
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Why Leaders Sabotage Their Own Teams

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change

Some leaders, afraid of losing their grip on power, will use whatever means they have to stay in their position. Their favourite strategy is to divide and conquer: they systematically prevent skilled subordinates — the greatest threats to their power — from forming alliances with other subordinates that would help push them to the top. Divide-and-conquer strategies undermine the positive, collaborative relationships that are key success factors for effective groups…but these leaders couldn't care less. 

Idea #482
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Margaret Thatcher, 1925-2013 (Courtesy: Associated Press)

A Lower Voice Can Take You Higher Up the Leadership Ladder

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

When it comes to success in business, a man’s voice can make a difference — especially if he hopes to become CEO. New research reveals that men with deeper voices manage larger companies, make more money and stay in their positions longer. (Women were not included in this research though Margaret Thatcher’s rise to power was supposedly helped by coaching that lowered the pitch of her voice.)

Idea #483
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Two short but sharp leaders: Bernie Ecclestone (1.59m) and Vladimir Putin (1.70m) (Courtesy: www.premier.gov.ru, Source:Wikimedia Commons)

Potential Leaders: Height Helps But So Does Being Smart

Idea posted: February 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Studies show that leaders are more likely to be taller than average. Previous research revealed the perceptions of leadership qualities, such as persuasiveness, that are more easily assigned to taller men, which may explain their success. New research from the Stockholm School of Economics points to new reasons for the correlation. One revealing result: half of the tall leaders owe their managerial positions to their cognitive (intelligence) and non-cognitive (e.g. motivation or persistence) ability, indicating that a correlation between height and ability may explain the preponderance of

Idea #484
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Edward Lloyd's Coffee House, where Lloyd's List was originally published in the 17th century (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Constructive Networking: The Strategies of Players and Purists

Idea posted: February 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: INSEAD, ESCP

Research and experience tells us that networking improves individual and organizational performance. But how does it work and what dynamics are at play? This research helps us understand the strategies individuals use to build networks and uses specifics about individual’s attitudes, behaviours, and position to identify three networking archetypes - Devoted Players, Purists, and Selective Players. Understanding these archetypes can help organizations encourage constructive networking.

Idea #485
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A lecture in rhetoric at a knight academy, Pieter Isaacsz or Reinhold Timm, 1620 (Courtesy: Rosenborg Castle, Denmark)

Develop Next Generation Leaders: Start Early and Focus on Adaptability

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

Current leaders rate self-motivation and communication skills as the most important leadership competencies, but say adaptability and multi-cultural awareness will gain in importance for the future, according to a recent survey. 

Idea #486
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Character Head N°9, by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, after 1770. Wien Museum Karlsplaz (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Facial Cues: Can We Judge Who Looks Like a Leader?

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

Previous studies have shown that facial characteristics can help elevate a person into leadership roles. New research shows that different facial characteristics fit different domains — for example, businesspeople are expected to look ‘competent,’ while sports leaders look more ‘masculine.’ The research also shows that most people don’t have much confidence in their leadership inferences based on facial cues. But those who are confident, including corporate board members, may unconsciously be placing too much weight on facial cues in selecting leaders.

Idea #479
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Joan of Arc depicted on horseback in an illustration from a 1505 manuscript

Younger Generations Determined but Concerned about Leadership

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

The rising generation of young leaders have evolving expectations about leadership. Young leaders are ambitious and willing to work hard, but they also believe that great leadership does not necessarily require compromising work-life balance or authenticity. Organizations must adapt to these expectations if they want to attract the best and the brightest. 

Idea #477
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Thumbs Up Ballet in a field choreography of Stars in my Eyes, Quebec, 1944 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Does Employee Satisfaction Improve Company Value? It Depends...

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Operations

Recent studies of U.S. companies have shown that increased employee satisfaction is linked to higher value for the firm. But what about companies in other countries? A new study shows that the U.S. results are replicated only in countries that have levels of labour flexibility (ease of hiring and firing) similar to the U.S. Companies in countries with low labour flexibility show a more limited benefit from employee satisfaction.

Idea #478
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Harness Big Data Using Visualisation Software Tools

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
Institutions: NUS Business School

The phrase “big data” puts the emphasis on quantity — and it’s true that the data available in the world continues to grow exponentially every year. But for businesses wanting to make the most of big data, it’s not quantity that counts, but what you do with the data. Companies are losing millions of dollars because they are not fully exploiting the data they are already gathering. Given the complexity of big data, visualisation software tools are required to help companies avoid this mistake.

Idea #474
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The Harvesters, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1565. Courtesy the Metrolopitan Museum, New York

Does Work/Life Balance Help or Hurt Productivity?

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

Does paying attention to the work-life balance issues of employees increase productivity and the competitiveness of a business? Or, as pessimists might argue, is productivity and work-life balance (WLB) in direct conflict? New research shows that in fact WLB is more neutral than either proponents or pessimists believe — neither hurting nor particularly helping productivity. The decision on whether to implement WLB practices may rest on a completely different factor: the social norms of the countries in which the business activity takes place.

Idea #475
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Bucket wheel excavator at the Tagebau Garzweiler mine, Germany (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The World Needs Mining, but Mining Must Change

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

Demand is increasing for the mining industry, but so are costs and challenges — including increasing intolerance for the negative impact of mining activities on the environment and on local communities and indigenous people. The result: currently $24 billion in industry losses due to delays and resistance. A new initiative, involving all stakeholders impacted by mining operations and led by one of the giants of the industry, offers a roadmap for a collaborative, long-term sustainable approach to mining.

Idea #476
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Remote Working Vs Office Working: Why Office is Best

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Leadership & Change
  • Learning & Behaviour
Institutions: NUS Business School

While technology makes remote work more and more feasible, companies are finding that keeping employees on site is more effective. There are significant disadvantages to remote work and equally significant advantages to working in the office.

Idea #471
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Using Values-Based Leadership to Drive Performance

Idea posted: January 2015
  • CSR & Governance
  • Leadership & Change

Values-based leadership can drive the performance of organizations, and managing those values is the key to unlocking increased performance. Richard Barrett’s model maps values for individuals, groups, organizations and nations. It can identify the gaps between observed and desired values and the negative values that create dysfunction, and can be used to show where change needs to occur to create higher performance.

Idea #472
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How Neuroscience Can Aid Collaborative Leadership

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

Insights from neuroscience can improve the way we understand our own and other people’s behaviour. The SCARF® model provides a framework for this understanding and for how the brain processes our interactions and collaborations with others. This Idea focuses on findings from recent social neuroscience research supporting SCARF®.

Idea #473
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CAVE installation, Internet and Virtual Reality, Maurice Benayoun (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

How Leaders Emerge in Online Communities

Idea posted: January 2015
  • Strategy
  • Leadership & Change
  • Marketing
  • Operations

Without a formal hierarchy, members of online communities are often able to work together effectively and efficiently collaborating to create vast founts of knowledge such as Wikipedia. This research looks at how leaders emerge in online communities, and what companies can learn from this. 

Idea #470
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Supply Chain Risk: Diversification Vs Under-diversification

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Operations

When catastrophe strikes a link in the supply chain, companies respond by dramatically diversifying their suppliers — only to eventually consolidate their suppliers as the memory of the disruption fades. This inconsistency is costly and ineffective.

Idea #468
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High CEO Pay Leads to Overconfidence and Poor Results

Idea posted: December 2014
  • CSR & Governance
  • Finance
  • Leadership & Change

A new study shows a negative correlation between high executive incentive pay and company performance: the higher the pay, the worse the future results. This study also pinpoints the culprit behind the negative correlation: CEO overconfidence. The overconfidence of higher-paid CEOs leads to poor investment decisions and unsuccessful M&A initiatives. 

Idea #469
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National Data Centre Capacity Building training course, 2012 at the CTBTO, Vienna, Austria (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Training Knowledge Workers Pays Off for SMEs

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

While previous studies have researched the return of investment in training for corporations, much of this research focused on manufacturing employees. New research based in India focuses specifically on knowledge companies in the SME sector, and shows that the return on training is not only significant, but also increases with the size of the firm.

Idea #464
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Dante Shows an Artist Some Unusual Clouds, by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1883

Six Imperatives for Companies to Embrace Cloud Computing

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Strategy
  • CSR & Governance
  • Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • Operations

Cloud computing can offer companies more cost-effective and agile IT capabilities than many traditional in-house IT services and functions. Based on an extensive study of a company successfully expanding its cloud computing capabilities, as well as on interviews with 45 other companies, a research team from the MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research lays out the imperatives that help companies prepare for and manage the shift to cloud computing.

Idea #465
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How to Build Brand Equity Through Employee Engagement

Idea posted: December 2014
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour
  • Marketing

From the friendly retail clerk helping a customer to the highly paid consultant who delivers groundbreaking solutions to the business unit, employees can directly impact a company’s brand equity. Therefore, any employee-related policy or resource decision — from training to lay-offs — is in effect a branding issue. 

Idea #466
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The Syndics of the Amsterdam Drapers' Guild, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1662, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Board Diversity Improves Corporate Results: Lessons from Singapore

Idea posted: December 2014
  • CSR & Governance
Institutions: NUS Business School

Singapore lags behind other nations in diversity on its corporate boards — while evidence mounts that diversity leads to better results, according to a 2014 National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School report on diversity. 

Idea #467
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The commercial centre Xujiahui (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Buyers Beware: Costs for China Rising

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Marketing
  • Operations
Institutions: NUS Business School

An extensive survey reveals new cost challenges for China-based suppliers, although the country maintains the strengths that it made it the go-to supply source in the first place.

Idea #461
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A watercolour by Gustaf Tenggren, 1918-19. An alternative version was used to illustrate an edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales published 1922.

Ethics and the Slippery Slope: Why Good People Do Bad Things

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

An in-depth study of ordinary people over an extended period of time reveals how easy it is for ‘good’ people, starting with an initial small, self-justified deception, to quickly justify bigger and bigger indiscretions, thus falling down the ‘slippery slope’ to major unethical behaviour.

Idea #462
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William Glackens, The Shoppers, 1907-1908, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia

How Price Expectations Drive Customer Purchasing Decisions

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Marketing

Customers have price expectations in their minds before entering a store, as well as expectations of prices in other stores. How customers update their expectations once they see the actual prices can help businesses better manage their promotions and sales for maximum effect. 

Idea #463
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Good News and Bad News,  John Bagnold Burgess, 1876, courtesy Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

Overreacting to Bad Financial News Can Lead to Poor Investment Decisions

Idea posted: November 2014
  • Finance
  • Learning & Behaviour

A University of North Carolina experiment involving investment choices confirms the neuroscience research that reveals how people learn differently from good vs. bad outcomes and when being exposed to positive vs. negative news. The result, the experiment shows, is a bias to too much pessimism when investors experience negative outcomes.

Idea #459
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