Monthly Archives: October 2016

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    Lenient performance evaluations cause less damage than severe ones

Lenient performance evaluations cause less damage than severe ones

Photo by Tim Gouw, under a CC0 licence
As anyone who has been involved in any performance assessment knows well, judgement always depends on the supervisor’s subjective characteristics. Most of the times supervisors evaluate agents’ performances without directly observing their efforts. Therefore the supervisor’s beliefs, opinions, personal and cognitive traits, even mood, could interfere with such evaluation and make the assessment […]

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    Counting the self employed as entrepreneurs is a meme that refuses to die

Counting the self employed as entrepreneurs is a meme that refuses to die

Busker at Picadilly Circus tube station, by Editor5807, own work, under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence, via Wikimedia Commons
As the UK Government opens an inquiry into the realities of the ‘gig economy’, the fiction and spin around self-employment is starting to look like a profound distortion of workplace realities.

One of our workplace fairy stories involves the conflation of entrepreneurship and […]

Metric Power – Book Review

Metric Power. David Beer. Palgrave Macmillan. 2016.  

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My initial reaction to Metric Power was that, for an essay on the challenges of big data, there was remarkably little of it throughout the book. As David Beer shied away from drawn-out case studies, figures and concrete examples, I found myself getting more and more irritated. How could I […]

Four principles for the UK’s Brexit trade negotiations

Drill sergeant, by Defence Images, under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence
An independent trade policy presents both challenges and opportunities. The most important challenge would be to reach a new trade agreement with the European Union (EU). The UK has yet to decide what relationship with the EU it wants following Brexit. But whatever it chooses, the government’s ability to achieve its goals will […]

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    Working while depressed costs 5-10 times more than staying home to recover

Working while depressed costs 5-10 times more than staying home to recover

Photo by Daniel Guimberteau (Flickr, CC-NC-SA-2.0)
Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Previous research has shown that by far the greatest contributor to the overall economic impact of depression is loss in productivity; including both increased absenteeism and presenteeism-related costs in the workplace. However, there is very little research on the costs of depression outside of Western and high-income countries.

We used data […]

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    India’s reforms to attract investment present opportunities for European firms

India’s reforms to attract investment present opportunities for European firms

Mumbai, by Walkerssk, under a CC0 licence
Since independence in 1947 until 1991, India’s policy towards foreign direct investment (FDI) was ad hoc, and lacked consistent direction and proper institutions (Sahoo 2006; Sahoo et al. 2013). As a result, FDI inflows into India were negligible. However, following the balance-of-payments crisis in 1991, the comprehensive structural economic reforms included steps to […]

Negative emotions influence how we move the computer mouse

Photo under a CC0 licence, by startupstockphotos.com
Modern computing devices allow users to enter information using keyboards, mice, or touch screens. Mobile devices have additional sensors like gyrometers and accelerometers that orient the screen. All of these input devices collect data at millisecond precision.

Recent research has focused on a person’s emotional state and how those emotions affect their fine motor movements. […]

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    Why is there so little foreign direct investment in the Western Balkans?

Why is there so little foreign direct investment in the Western Balkans?

Western Balkans, by Olahus, own work, under a CC BY-SA 3.0 licence, via Wikimedia Commons
It is now more than quarter of a century since the demise of socialist economies in Europe was put in motion by the fall of the Berlin Wall. In many parts of Central and Eastern Europe, the transition from socialist planning to market capitalism is all but […]

Experts on corporate boards: more is not always better

RDECOM Board of Directors holds meeting, by U.S. Army RDECOM, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
Expectations on corporate boards are on the rise, and directors who are experts in the company’s home domain are, understandably, in high demand. Because those experts can more fully grasp all the ins and outs of difficult decisions, organisations with more experts in their boards should in […]

Why HR is set to fail the big data challenge

Image by Unsplash, under a CC0 licence
Analytics has become a key issue in the HR world because increasing amounts of data about the people organisations employ is being held on human resources information systems (HRIS). Potentially, this could be used to make better data-driven decisions about HR and staffing strategy. For example, Maersk Drilling were able to identify the […]

Internet platforms are transforming global trade

Cardboard box, by bykst, under a CC0 licence
Since 2011, the eBay Public Policy Lab and a team of economists at Sidley Austin LLP have together studied the exporting practices of firms using the online commerce platform. We have uncovered a fundamental transformation within global trade. Global trade has expanded beyond container shipments of one large company’s wares along predetermined […]

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    After the US elections, how do we return to a constructive debate about trade?

After the US elections, how do we return to a constructive debate about trade?

Container, by GREGOR, under a CC0 licence
Trade is hardly ever a prominent US election issue, and yet this year it has become the campaign’s defining economic theme. That’s because politicians on both sides of the political spectrum have decided to blame free trade agreements for what is really a much deeper post-crisis economic malaise, characterised by persistently weak job markets […]

Psychoanalysis can help us make sense of Brexit

Hungary-Serbia border barrier, by Bőr Benedek, under a CC BY 2.0 licence

“It is always possible to bind a number of people in love as long as there are others left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness – the outsider may be different in only minor ways, but this will suffice.”
— Freud, Civilisation and Its Discontents
The Brexit campaign was notable in […]

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    Five minutes with Laura Bates: ‘Women bear children’ is not an excuse

Five minutes with Laura Bates: ‘Women bear children’ is not an excuse

Pregnant, by Frank de Kleine, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence

Laura Bates rose to prominence in 2012 when she founded the Everyday Sexism Project, a website that collects women’s daily experiences of gender inequality. Since then she has published two books (Everyday Sexism, 2014; and Girl Up, 2016) and given a number of talks about the barriers to gender equality in everyday life, […]

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    Why Aren’t They Shouting? A Banker’s Tale of Change, Computers and Perpetual Crisis – Book Review

Why Aren’t They Shouting? A Banker’s Tale of Change, Computers and Perpetual Crisis – Book Review

Why Aren’t They Shouting? A Banker’s Tale of Change, Computers and Perpetual Crisis. Kevin Rodgers. Penguin Random House Business. 2016.

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“She has heard about trading floors. She had thought she knew what to expect. There would be excitement. There would be people on two phones simultaneously…”

‘Why aren’t they shouting?’, asks someone from the delegation to Deutsche Bank’s trading […]

Gastro-nationalism is rising across Europe

Photo by epSos.de, under a CC BY 2.0 licence, via Wikimedia Commons
Anyone who has gone shopping for groceries recently may have been struck by what seems to be a new trend: the increasing desire of food producers to indicate their country of origin when packaging their products. It is a phenomenon that is particularly prevalent in the dairy aisle, where […]

Bitcoin may have implications for monetary policy

Bitcoin, by Zach Copley, under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 licence
While excitement about Bitcoin appears to have subsided, the blockchain technology underlying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is attracting growing interest (e.g. Oliver Wyman 2016). Central banks have joined the FinTechs and bricks-and-mortar financial institutions in paying attention (Economist 2016). Not a week passes without a monetary authority declaring interest in the technology, and […]

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    Can North Africa’s energy challenges become opportunities?

Can North Africa’s energy challenges become opportunities?

Algerian desert, by Magharebia, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
It is in Europe’s interest to foster stability, security and prosperity in North Africa. But so far Europe’s attempts to promote economic and political reform in the region have failed. The aftermath of the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrated the limitations of the EU’s leverage over economic and political developments in North Africa. But […]

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    Serving on corporate boards plays a vital role in the career success of executives

Serving on corporate boards plays a vital role in the career success of executives

Image by Unsplash, under a CC0 licence
When Warren Buffett retired from Coca-Cola’s board in 2006, he said he no longer had the time for all of the retreats, travel, reading, meeting prep time, and committee meetings that were necessary for the role. In addition to the time requirements, board service also comes with reputational risks. For example, the current board […]

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    From apartheid to today’s divided politics: a CEO calls for responsive leadership

From apartheid to today’s divided politics: a CEO calls for responsive leadership

Syrian refugees, by Freedom House, Public Domain
In three months’ time, the world’s leaders will gather in Davos and the world’s citizens will ask of us: what have you been doing all these years to make the world a better place? The world is fraying as social and economic inequity increases. It’s no surprise that frustration is mounting. We see this reflected in […]