Management

Uncertainties and risks of strategy implementation

In a previous post, we talked about how two major dimensions shape the type of strategy work we need to do: 1) the degree of people impact, i.e., how many people the task at hand affects and how much it affects them; and 2) the degree of uncertainty it faces and subsequently addresses.

With this post, we are going to […]

October 11th, 2018|Strategy series|0 Comments|

The importance of resilience for delivering strategies

You are responsible for the success of your strategic initiatives. Your results will be measured and you will be judged. As long as we have success, we consider this to be perfectly fair. But let’s be honest: your results will depend to a large extent not only on what you do (or not do), but also on events and […]

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    Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management

Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management

Human resource management (HRM), both in practice and as taught in business schools, appears to display a gap between its soft person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management. While ‘good’ people management is likely to contribute to organisational performance, HRM has also been called out on occasion for promoting untested assumptions and fads, lacking a solid evidence […]

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    The four types of strategy work you need for the digital revolution

The four types of strategy work you need for the digital revolution

Strategy work is always hard, but particularly so when senior executives know less about emerging trends than the 19-year-old intern that just brought them coffee. Blockchain-based bank accounts, Artificial Intelligence lawyers, smart cities, collaborative robots, autonomous cars and online dating – wherever you look, pervasive digitalisation is turning businesses upside down. “I have been doing this for 50 years” […]

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    What explains the evolution of management models over the past two centuries?

What explains the evolution of management models over the past two centuries?

Scientific Management, Human Relations, and Strategy-and-Structure are well-known management models in the history of business, but we still understand little about why a given model succeeds in competition with other models. This lack of understanding is troublesome. Practitioners would benefit if they could assess more reliably the potential value of the various competing models they read about. Our analysis […]

German firms: Open borders, closed boardrooms

With the impending exit of Great Britain from the European Union in 2019, German firms will likely assume an even greater position within the trading block. Given its reputation as the largest exporter in Europe, accounting for over a quarter of EU exports, Germany is a driving force for free trade and open borders. Firms such as Siemens and […]

September 17th, 2018|Management|0 Comments|

Business relationships boost firms’ performance

In the quest for identifying barriers to firm growth, much attention has been paid to barriers that act at the level of the individual firm. But firms do not operate in a vacuum: business relationships are potentially central. We conducted an intervention in China to measure their importance.

A field experiment with 2,820 firms

In 2013 we invited tens of thousands […]

September 6th, 2018|Management, Strategy|0 Comments|

Who stays longer, male or female CEOs?

Only 5 per cent of major North American firms had a female CEO as of January 2018. (Catalyst)

Clearly women are underrepresented at the top level of corporations, but the reasons for this are less clear. In a recent article, we investigate two different paths to the scarcity of female CEOs:

Women are appointed as CEO less often; and/or
Women are […]

Should companies reward CEOs for being lucky?

A puzzling feature of chief executive officer (CEO) compensation is “pay for luck”. Why are CEOs often rewarded when their firms perform well for reasons that are beyond their control? The dominant advice from academia is to do just the opposite: pay CEOs based on corporate outcomes they can substantially influence, which gives them incentives to make the good […]

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    The antitrust case against Android as viewed by a company insider

The antitrust case against Android as viewed by a company insider

In a recent Vox column, six antitrust consultants describe the European Commission’s case against Android, hailing it as a “milestone” of antitrust for the telecommunications industry (Caffarra et al., 2018).  In fact, it is more of a millstone than a milestone.

The colloquial definition of “millstone” is a “heavy burden”, and of course the case is a burden for Google. But it is […]

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    How platforms can help their contract workers make decisions in uncertain environments

How platforms can help their contract workers make decisions in uncertain environments

Managers at a firm have autonomy to make operational decisions based on their specific contextual knowledge. The firm’s knowledge may complement the manager’s, adding value through advanced tools based on global information. Recently, firms in the sharing economy have implemented systems to help their service providers: the ride-sharing platform Uber tells drivers where demand may be increasing while the […]

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    Board directors are supposed to have broad knowledge, but are they also narrow experts?

Board directors are supposed to have broad knowledge, but are they also narrow experts?

We all know about the experts who know so much about so little, and so little about so much. Scientists and artists are prime examples of specialised occupations whose members are suspected of being impractical in daily life.

Managers, on the other hand, are supposed to have broad and practical knowledge, and to be flexible in what they do. These […]

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    Two wrongs make a right: Why the trans-Atlantic antitrust rift is necessary in the global economy

Two wrongs make a right: Why the trans-Atlantic antitrust rift is necessary in the global economy

Less than week after the European Commission hit Google with a record £3.9 billion fine for abusing its dominant position in Android, Google’s quarterly earnings report came in: a noticeable dip in profits — down to $2.8 billion from the expected $7.8 billion—but a rise in share price—up almost 6 per cent.

Investors seemed to shrug off the giant fine […]

Gun control activism reaches the corporate boardroom

It was the first meeting of a publicly traded gun company following the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead and sparked a wave of anti-gun activism. And the shareholders of Sturm Ruger delivered a surprise.

A coalition of Catholic nuns backed by the giant asset management firm BlackRock pushed through a proposal – over management […]

The persistence of driver bias on ride-sharing platforms

Ride-sharing platforms, such as Didi Chuxing, Uber, Lyft, and Via, are a manifestation of the sharing economy that has been disrupting traditional taxi industries worldwide. These platforms employ a simple-to-use mobile app to enable customers to request a ride. On the other side of the platforms, the app connects the rider to available local drivers who will fulfil the […]

July 31st, 2018|Management|0 Comments|
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    Our inherent vulnerability and dependence on others in the workplace

Our inherent vulnerability and dependence on others in the workplace

“It is hard to see for an outsider that you become friends with these people—business friends. You trust them and their work. You have an interest in what they’re doing outside of business” (An interviewee quoted in Uzzi, 1997)

As members of organisations, human beings remain inherently vulnerable, facing threats and obstacles stemming from uncertainty, information asymmetries, and even potentially […]

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    Pay transparency: policymakers love it, but employees not so much

Pay transparency: policymakers love it, but employees not so much

On average, women still earn less money than men in most developed countries around the world according to the OECD. In the US and UK, for example, women are paid between 82 and 85 cents for every dollar a man earns. As a potential remedy to this issue, many legislators and organisations have begun to adopt pay transparency policies. […]

Why CEOs misbehave

Sometimes CEOs misbehave. This misbehaviour has terrible consequences for the CEO, the organisation and society, yet still – they do it. Recent estimates suggest that fraud, a specific type of wrongdoing, results in a loss of 5 per cent of sales for a typical company every year and a global loss of about $3.7 trillion. With such clear consequences, […]

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    Misfit: what do you do when you can’t be yourself at work?

Misfit: what do you do when you can’t be yourself at work?

The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.  —   Steve Jobs
Most of us, like Steve Jobs, have come […]

Single and no kids? Who is work-life balance for?

Work-life balance has been a hot topic for organisations and HR practitioners for many years – linked to range of individual and organisational benefits. The shift from the terms ‘family-friendly’ and ‘work-family balance’ to the more inclusive ‘work-life balance’ around 2000 indicated a shift in rhetoric that all employees, regardless of domestic situation, deserved a suitable balance between the […]