Monthly Archives: July 2017

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    When expectations of technological change in the economy are noisy signals

When expectations of technological change in the economy are noisy signals

There has recently been a renewed interest in the old idea that business cycles could be driven by changes in the expectations about future economic conditions, the so-called “animal spirits” (early references are Pigou, 1927, and Keynes, 1936). “Animal spirits” in technology are an important source of business cycles. They explain about 30 per cent of the volatility of […]

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    Conflict mediators who use a dose of hostility can be surprisingly effective

Conflict mediators who use a dose of hostility can be surprisingly effective

When might adding negativity to an already hostile situation lead to reconciliation — not escalation — of conflict? Imagine two siblings locked in a heated argument. Parents of quarrelling siblings often find themselves shouting a curious phrase to quash these conflicts: “I don’t care who started it — both of you go to your rooms!” At first blush, this […]

Hackerspaces: Making the Maker Movement – Book Review

Hackerspaces: Making the Maker Movement. Sarah R. Davies. Wiley. 2017.

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In Hackerspaces: Making the Maker Movement, Sarah R. Davies looks beyond the hype about ‘the New Industrial Revolution’ to address what happens in real-life hackerspaces and why hacking and making – terms Davies and many of her respondents use interchangeably – are having such a high profile moment. […]

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    Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don’t like it

Tech firms want to detect your emotions and expressions, but people don’t like it

As revealed in a patent filing, Facebook is interested in using webcams and smartphone cameras to read our emotions, and track expressions and reactions. The idea is that by understanding emotional behaviour, Facebook can show us more of what we react positively to in our Facebook news feeds and less of what we do not – whether that’s friends’ […]

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    Glass walls: Australia’s highly gender-segregated workforce

Glass walls: Australia’s highly gender-segregated workforce

The Australian Parliament has recently published a report exploring the reasons for workplace gender inequality in the country, and making nine recommendations for a national strategy to close the gap. The study describes not only the existence of a glass ceiling, but also glass walls. In the words of the chair of the Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee, Senator Jenny […]

How we interact with robots reveals parts of who we are

Engineers are studying human behaviour in great detail in order to make robots that not only look like us, but can also understand us and interact with us in socially acceptable ways. These studies are teaching us many things about our own human nature, as my recent paper explains.

Building robots

The robots in films like Blade Runner are very humanlike, […]

Boomerang employees: should you welcome them back?

It’s 4:45 PM on a Friday, you’re about to head home, and then your phone buzzes. You look down to see a text from a previous employee that hasn’t been in contact since departing several months ago (sans a LinkedIn request). He says he just wants to “catch up”, but you suspect another angle. Ten minutes into a coffee […]

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    Investors’ striking migration from growth to value investing over their life cycle

Investors’ striking migration from growth to value investing over their life cycle

The value premium

When a firm is listed on the stock market, the value of shareholders’ equity can be measured using both accounting and market-based methods. Accountants compute the book value of equity from the firm’s balance sheet. Since the stock is also continuously traded on the exchange, the market value of equity can be obtained by multiplying the stock […]

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    Why were Western retailers blamed for the building collapse in Bangladesh?

Why were Western retailers blamed for the building collapse in Bangladesh?

Rana Plaza, an eight-story building in Bangladesh that housed garment factories employing approximately 5000 workers, collapsed on April 24, 2013. The resulting fatalities (over 1100) and injuries (over 2400) made it one of the worst industrial accidents in history. The scale of this tragedy and subsequent widespread press coverage put a spotlight on the risks and costs of sourcing […]

When companies stop offshoring, they may end up dying

“In the long run we are all dead,” and firms and industries are no exception. America, Europe, and Japan once dominated the manufacturing of computers and electronics, but these activities had all gone to low-cost countries by the end of the 20th century. Should we ban offshoring and stop “shipping jobs overseas”? Many voters and politicians seem to think […]

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    Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming – Book Review

Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming – Book Review

Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming. Andreas Malm. Verso. 2016.

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In this bold, original and provocative book, Andreas Malm offers a radical reinterpretation of the origins of the steam age as means to challenge conventional analyses of global warming. He aims to develop a Marxist account of climate change that emphasises […]

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    The European Commission’s Google decision will affect competition law

The European Commission’s Google decision will affect competition law

After years of investigation, the first of the European Commission’s decisions against Google is here. Obviously, most of the coverage in the mass media and online will focus on the high sum of the fine (a staggering 2.42 billion euros). However, the wider implications of the case reach well beyond the monetary fine. It affects what technology giants are allowed to do and what EU […]

The exploding popularity of RegTech

Following on from our piece on WealthTech – we look at the rise and rise of RegTech (previously known as regulatory technology.) RegTech is a subclass of FinTech, and concerns the use of technology to create efficiencies in financial services for issues regarding regulatory reporting and compliance.

The graph below shows that, if nothing else, the term has exploded in […]

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    If work stresses you out, give yourself permission to take control

If work stresses you out, give yourself permission to take control

One of the greatest expenses for organisations is, of course, people. And one of the greatest people expenses is absenteeism. And, in my 30 years of consulting, I’ve found that one of the greatest causes of absenteeism is stress. And one of the greatest causes of stress is the incorrect belief that we don’t know what’s going to happen […]

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    Strong patent rights accelerate the diffusion of new medicines across countries

Strong patent rights accelerate the diffusion of new medicines across countries

In 1999 lovastatin, a blockbuster cholesterol drug with annual peak sales of more than $1 billion in the U.S., became commercially available in Egypt — twelve years after it was first approved for sale by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Our research shows that this is not exceptional — long launch lags are common and 45 per cent […]

The growing inequality between firms

Some firms pay well while others don’t; and some are highly productive while many aren’t. Our latest research report analyses firm-level data on the increasing dispersion of wages and productivity in both the manufacturing and services sectors in 16 OECD countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand and […]

Seven signs of over-hyped Fintech

In 2015 Dan Davies wrote an excellent guide to Fintech business models (the “Fin”) that provided a very effective tool for looking beyond the hype. The other side of Fintech that the non-technologist (and even many experienced IT professionals) have trouble with is the actual “Tech”.  A great many people in finance have now reached the point where they […]

Re-inventing management research with learning expeditions

Between 11 and 15 June, a group of French academics participated in a learning expedition in Tokyo called #visualizinghacking2017. The event was organised by the Research Group on Collaborative Spaces (RGCS), an academic network that focuses both on the study of third places and collaborative spaces (e.g. coworking spaces, makerspaces, fab labs and hackerspaces) and their use as possible boundary spanners and levers of […]

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    How to turn a brand’s friends (and detractors) into evangelists: The case of Canadian wine

How to turn a brand’s friends (and detractors) into evangelists: The case of Canadian wine

Organisations ranging from giants such as Apple and Amazon to small wineries and fashion boutiques regularly commit resources to persuading others to tout their innovative products. The results of these efforts are often mixed – some can build a passionate following that spreads news of how groundbreaking or remarkable a product might be, and some waste resources on customers […]

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    U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life) – Book Review

U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life) – Book Review

U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life). Daniel Lerner and Alan Schlechter. Little, Brown. 2017.

Should universities promote flourishing?

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Earlier this year, Anthony Seldon, the new vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, announced he was making Buckingham into the UK’s first ‘positive university’. All students will take a course in Positive Psychology and all tutors will […]