Management

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    Rest and constructive thinking feed entrepreneurs’ creativity

Rest and constructive thinking feed entrepreneurs’ creativity

Creativity – the generation of new and useful ideas – is seen as essential for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to be creative day in and out to navigate the uncertainties, constraints and challenges that starting, growing and managing a business involves. Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop, once said: “Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it […]

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    A decision-maker’s dilemma: search for the best option or settle for ‘good enough’?

A decision-maker’s dilemma: search for the best option or settle for ‘good enough’?

In a rapidly evolving digital world the temptation to ‘keep searching for the best’ option juxtaposed to the pressure of business to ‘choose as fast as possible’ routinely presents us with the dilemma: Is searching for the best option – being a “maximiser” – actually leading us to better outcomes compared to settling on the first good enough option […]

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    A managerial orthodoxy dominates organisational life since the Thatcher/Reagan era

A managerial orthodoxy dominates organisational life since the Thatcher/Reagan era

As organisation consultants, we have met many people, in many different fields, who are bewildered and oppressed by the apparent insanity of much of what goes on in large organisations. There are seemingly endless reorganisations and restructurings. Leaders seem to feel bound to disturb people and organisations. People are sometimes not sure what unit they are part of, or […]

Why flying is safer than ever and what we can learn from it

When it was reported that there had been no deaths from commercial passenger jet accidents in 2017, President Trump was quick to claim credit on Twitter: “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

But the […]

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    Nilofer Merchant: Ideas can now spread and scale through networks, rather than hierarchies

Nilofer Merchant: Ideas can now spread and scale through networks, rather than hierarchies

As a former executive at Apple and Autodesk, and consultant for a number of other Silicon Valley companies, Nilofer Merchant has a pretty good idea of how to move things forward in the business world. One key ingredient, if you ask her, is collaboration. How to get people to collaborate, and companies to value collective work more than hierarchy, […]

Is race a taboo topic in the workplace?

Helen feels uncomfortable chatting to Sasha, her work colleague, beyond exchanging pleasantries.  She is concerned that she might say the wrong thing and cause offence to Sasha, who is black, and so she avoids spending time with her even though she likes her. Sasha is aware that Helen is awkward around her, but she’s unsure why, and she also […]

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    How psychological effects impact cognitive performance in competitive environments

How psychological effects impact cognitive performance in competitive environments

Understanding cognition is important. Several studies establish that cognitive ability is a strong predictor of occupational attainment, wages, and a range of social behaviours in adults. It is also important for predicting the schooling performance of children, adolescents and university students. Further, numerous settings represent competitive situations that involve cognitive performance, ranging from test taking and student competition in […]

Fast and fair: delivering customer service on social media

Last April, a bloodied passenger, Dr. David Dao, was dragged from his seat and off the plane of United Express Flight 3411 after refusing to relinquish his seat for United Airlines employees. The next day, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz tried to justify the removal of Dr. Dao in a public statement. He also sent an email to the […]

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    What do business executives think about distributive justice?

What do business executives think about distributive justice?

This is the story of two cups of coffee, or at least that is where the story begins. The first, between me, Sandy Pepper, a Professor of Practice in the Department of Management at LSE, and Dr Susanne Burri of the Department of Philosophy, Logic & Scientific Discovery, took place in March 2016 in the Lundenwic coffee shop on […]

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    When firms break promises, employees may ‘pay it forward’ to colleagues and clients

When firms break promises, employees may ‘pay it forward’ to colleagues and clients

When organisations break their promises to their employees, who suffers the consequences and why? Intuition, and indeed research, tells us that those who are harmed seek to redress the balance by harming their perpetrator, with this being either one’s organisation or one’s boss, for example. However, in a three-study design within the medical field, our research finds this to […]

Beyond the ‘Scrum’: the value of individual work

Imagine walking into an open plan office. In the middle of the room there is an animated meeting of six or seven people. They are clearly working on a project together. Ideas are being energetically shared, a steady stream of suggestions being offered, keyboards are enthusiastically tapped, notes made. There is a buzz of achievement, of a team at […]

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    Unpicking complex incentive mechanisms that reward top managers handsomely

Unpicking complex incentive mechanisms that reward top managers handsomely

One distinct feature of the rise in income inequality over recent decades is the surging incomes of the working rich, particularly the pay of a class of top managers. A popular view stresses the role of performance-related pay in generating this feature. According to this view, the pay of many top managers is high-powered (i.e., with incentives tied to firm […]

Discrimination at work: a self-fulfilling prophecy?

When we think of discrimination we often think of barriers that minorities face in the hiring process or impediments to receiving equal pay for equal work. We may typically think that this stems from antipathy towards minorities, or what we economists call “taste-based” discrimination. But it may also derive from priors that people have about the average productivity of […]

What Greek mythology teaches us about love in organisations

In a letter written in 1856, the Russian writer Lev Tolstoy wrote, “One can live magnificently in this world if one knows how to work and how to love.” Love is crucial in everyday people’s life, work and business experiences. However, our common understanding of organisational life tends to treat work and love largely as non-overlapping fields, fuelling the […]

Taking #MeToo into global supply chains

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new phenomenon. There have been some well publicised episodes before – Clarence Thomas, Justice in the American Supreme Court, and more recently, Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel retail stores come to mind. But they appeared to be just that: isolated episodes. The flood of allegations unleashed by the #MeToo movement […]

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    Financial crises, corporate scandals and blind spots: who is responsible?

Financial crises, corporate scandals and blind spots: who is responsible?

According to the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the main causes of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 were failures of corporate governance and policy, including widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision, lack of transparency, poor preparation by the government, and systemic breakdown in accountability. The Commission concluded that the crisis was avoidable.

In their book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of […]

Second-generation family CEOs: are they up to the task?

Family firms are the most prevalent type of firm in the world. This is especially true in emerging economies, where they account for over half of medium-sized firms in the manufacturing sector. In particular, dynastic family firms – that is, where the founding family owns a controlling share and have appointed a second-generation (or later) family member as the […]

AI and the democratisation of judgement and decision-making

Qualitative judgement – the ability to make considered business decisions based on a personal interpretation of the context and facts — has never been more important (or overlooked).

There are three main reasons why judgement will remain central to the practice of management and leadership in the years to come. First, qualitative judgement is the last preserve of humanity in […]

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    Mindfulness and the art of managing people as people, not ‘resources’

Mindfulness and the art of managing people as people, not ‘resources’

Mindfulness has become a buzzword in the corporate world. Google, Starbucks, and many other corporate behemoths wish to infuse it in their employees to reengage them. In many ways this approach to mindfulness may be mindless. It assumes that people are resources and that you need to get the MOST out of them. This viewpoint also often assumes that employees do […]

When the only way is up: the pitfalls of upward mobility

For over two years, I have been working as an assistant professor at Delft University of Technology, making my way up the hierarchical, academic career ladder. I started as a PhD student at another university and, with every step up, from assistant professor to associate professor to full professor, I will get more money, more authority, more responsibility, and […]