Monthly Archives: August 2017

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    The gig economy reshapes how people work – and what they learn (or don’t)

The gig economy reshapes how people work – and what they learn (or don’t)

The trend has a catchy name, melding the vibe of edgy jazz clubs with the tech savvy of the smartphone era: the gig economy. And it’s catching on, especially among Millennials; a Brookings study found that the number of Americans, many of them young, employed as freelancers, contract workers and in other nontraditional work jumped 60 per cent between […]

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    How audiences come to embrace and support new products, ideas or politicians

How audiences come to embrace and support new products, ideas or politicians

During the U.S. presidential campaign of 2016, the media greatly downplayed the chances of Donald Trump’s electoral success, because many of this candidate’s proposals seemed unfeasible, or improbable. What political pundits had overlooked, however, was the power of emotions.

More recently, in the UK, Theresa May’s supposed “inability” to show emotion to the public proved fatal in the elections, and […]

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    Buffer: ‘Why we abolished the office and became a fully remote team’

Buffer: ‘Why we abolished the office and became a fully remote team’

Two years ago, our already fully remote team of then 50 people decided to close down our only remaining tie to the traditional workforce, a small office in San Francisco. Here’s why we decided to be a remote company in the first place, how it’s going for us, and what’s next for a company with no office.

First, let’s look […]

How to reduce burnout in the workplace

A striking work-related problem which continues to stimulate the interest of academics and practitioners alike is the rise in burnout among the working population. Burnout refers to a situation in which employees are emotionally exhausted (drained and lacking energy,) and depersonalised, that is, they have developed a cynical attitude towards their job and the people associated with it — […]

Why feeling ‘safe’ at work increases innovation

When we talk about feeling ‘safe’ at work, what first comes to mind is our physical or functional safety. However, how safe do you feel psychologically? Do you feel safe to speak up, voice your opinions and ideas? Do you feel safe to make mistakes without fear of being ridiculed or punished? Do you feel safe (and empowered) to […]

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    Great progress can be achieved when scientists are unaware of each other’s work

Great progress can be achieved when scientists are unaware of each other’s work

Scientific progress can accelerate when scientists are less than fully informed about the advances their peers are achieving. The successes of particle physicists in the Soviet Union during the cold war, who worked in isolation from their Western counterparts, furnish a prominent example.

My work shows that even though isolated scientists may have to work on projects whose productivity is […]

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    Purpose and trust are valuable antidotes to relationship conflict at work

Purpose and trust are valuable antidotes to relationship conflict at work

How do we improve performance? Do we cut costs and focus on efficiency? Invest in sales, technology or marketing? Should we develop our existing product suite or start from scratch on something new? Do we grow local market share or explore uncharted territories?

We need to prioritise our outcomes and allocate our resources as a leadership team. This is task […]

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    Low-carbon services can enhance the UK’s economic prospects

Low-carbon services can enhance the UK’s economic prospects

The government’s post-Brexit customs proposals, published on 15 August, recognised that one of the biggest opportunities for the UK is in trade in services. The second largest exporter of services worldwide, with services accounting for 45 per cent of the country’s exports in 2016, the UK already has a head start on its competitors. Last month Liam Fox, UK Minister for […]

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    Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime – Book Review

Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime – Book Review

Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime. Bruno Latour (trans. by Catherine Porter). Polity Press. 2017.

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Hesiod’s Theogony recounts the genesis of Gaia as the Earth, a feminised primordial deity who simultaneously emerges with Eros and Tartarus out of the antecedent void of Chaos to become ‘the ever-sure foundations of the deathless ones who hold the […]

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    With fewer immigrants, the UK economy will need a lot more state intervention

With fewer immigrants, the UK economy will need a lot more state intervention

The desire to lower immigration was one of the main drivers behind the Brexit vote. Now, Theresa May’s cabinet has signaled its resolve to cut numbers significantly, a longstanding pledge that the Conservatives had failed to make good on until now. With Brexit becoming a reality, however, the UK can expect lower inward migration, and numbers have been falling already.

Reduced […]

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    Companies should promote online knowledge exchange among employees

Companies should promote online knowledge exchange among employees

It’s 10a.m in London, and while sipping on your morning coffee, you’ve connected with the team in Hamburg, put queries to colleagues in the Middle East, and checked in with Hong Kong. In just a few hours, your inbox will be brimming with “howdy’s” from the other side of the Atlantic as the New York office wakes up.

Connecting with […]

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    How to build ‘ambidextrous’ teams that innovate for now and for the future

How to build ‘ambidextrous’ teams that innovate for now and for the future

Organisations are being implored to “innovate or perish” but that is easier said than done. One of the challenges of innovation in organisations is ensuring that the quest for innovation is balanced between improving existing offerings where the company has a strategic advantage (known as exploitation), whilst also striving for the big, new ideas that prove game-changers (exploration). The […]

A loophole in bankers’ bonus cap

Sometimes we ask ourselves: after the damages caused by the financial crisis, what has been done to limit the misbehaviour of those who run the banks? The answer is that a huge number of regulations has been introduced, but often they are bypassed. An example for all: the loophole in bankers’ bonus cap.

A loophole in the bonus cap

Let’s take […]

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    The UK should emulate a US programme that made women’s participation in sport explode

The UK should emulate a US programme that made women’s participation in sport explode

Few in the UK would know the term ‘Title IX’ and yet it is one of the most important pieces of anti-discrimination legislation in United States. Passed in 1972, it mandated that no person, regardless of sex, can be denied access to any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Specifically, it dictated that every dollar allocated for […]

High engagement at work leads to a better family life

For most people, work and family play an important role in adult life. Work provides us with material resources to ensure family life, and family provides us with love and responsibility to make our work more meaningful and valuable.

Although work gives us many resources, participating in the workforce can also deplete us. Especially in the absence of complementary resources […]

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    Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine – Book Review

Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine – Book Review

Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine. Kaushik Sunder Rajan. Duke University Press. 2017.  

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Big pharma abusing poor girls in the developing world? Governments beholden to the global pharmaceutical market? These sorts of conjectures are commonplace in contemporary discourse in global health and political economy, and this book illustrates and explores another example. In Pharmocracy: Value, […]

Is the IMF rethinking austerity?

In an apparent break with its past practices, the IMF’s policy advice shifted towards being more open to fiscal stimulus packages during the global financial crisis in 2008-2009, especially for large economies that are systemically important as growth engines for the world economy. There was evidence of an incremental change underway in the IMF’s policy paradigm and how staff […]

What are economists for?

When you meet someone at a cocktail party who learns you are an economist, the inevitable question follows, “What’s the stock market going to do?” That’s an excellent question. If, on the day I was born, my parents had invested $100 for me in Altria, the top-performing stock since then, I would be a millionaire.

Of course, most of us […]

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    Uber: How inappropriate comments can take on unforeseen significance

Uber: How inappropriate comments can take on unforeseen significance

The widely reported resignation of Uber board member, David Bonderman, following his words at an all-hands staff meeting in June 2017 offers an exemplary case of controversy in corporate ethics and culture.

I revisit the event to analyse how these remarks were treated as ethically accountable conduct, and how such conduct takes place and is seen to happen within workplace […]

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    In the absence of domestic resources, foreign cash is feeding UK startups

In the absence of domestic resources, foreign cash is feeding UK startups

For over two years we’ve been concerned about the fall in investment rounds to UK businesses. So we are pleased to see this decline abating in our analysis of equity investment activity in the first half of this year, as well as a record level of cash invested.

But, as usual, beneath the surface there are some interesting undercurrents. The fact that later-stage […]