Management

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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 […]

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    Emotionally intelligent employees are a competitive advantage

Emotionally intelligent employees are a competitive advantage

In today’s hypercompetitive world, it is more important than ever to have highly engaged, committed workers. Employees with high job satisfaction and organisational commitment have higher job performance. Satisfied people are more productive. Moreover, employees with high job satisfaction and organisational commitment have lower turnover intentions. This can keep costly turnover down and help organisations retain knowledgeable, well-trained, and […]

The case for ending shareholder monopoly

The UK is about to stop shareholders monopolising votes for company boards, with worker voice. Currently, asset managers control most shareholder votes in public companies. They have systemic conflicts of interest, because shareholder votes can influence companies to buy asset managers’ financial products (e.g. defined contribution pensions). But now this is changing. One small step, following government consultation, is that the Financial […]

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    Design brands adjust their retail strategy to consumers’ personalities

Design brands adjust their retail strategy to consumers’ personalities

The luxury market is one of the most rapidly expanding industries around the world. Despite the financial crisis in 2008, the market for personal luxury goods has grown three times in size over the last 20 years. The industry has undergone, over the last decade, two major changes that have reshuffled the luxury landscape.

First, there has been an evolution […]

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    Naming a firm after its owner is risky, but can pay off handsomely

Naming a firm after its owner is risky, but can pay off handsomely

There’s one choice every business, large and small, must make: what to name itself. It appears that more talented and confident entrepreneurs are more likely to name their firms after themselves, self-selecting into a group taking a risky approach, but one that can pay off handsomely.

We found entrepreneurs who name their firms after themselves are sending a powerful signal […]

I vote left, you vote right: How can we work together?

Political divisiveness continues to make news and influence our lives. In Spain, the drive for Catalonia’s independence has sparked demonstrations from both sides, including police action to close polling places. In Britain, Brexit aroused a debate marked by strong emotion over the future direction of the country. In the U.S., movements such as Black Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter, standing […]

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    How to counter the exhaustion of always having to be positive with customers

How to counter the exhaustion of always having to be positive with customers

When was the last time you voluntarily lent a hand to a co-worker? If it is not something you do very often, it is time to start. In addition to generating goodwill between you and your colleague, there are a whole range of other advantages. The most important ones are the ability to protect yourself against emotional demands at […]

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    Developing a tool to understand corporate culture from the outside

Developing a tool to understand corporate culture from the outside

Since May 2016, we have led an academic research project to develop a new approach to measuring corporate culture. This research has produced the Unobtrusive Corporate Culture Analysis Tool (UCCAT).

UCCAT is a theoretically based and scientifically tested methodology for analysing and benchmarking corporate culture. Uniquely, rather than gathering employee interviews and questionnaires to assess culture, UCCAT analyses publicly available […]

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    Naps in the office – perhaps the secret of China’s digital success?

Naps in the office – perhaps the secret of China’s digital success?

We have just spent a week visiting Shenzhen, China, to see the headquarters of one of the world’s most innovative and fastest-growing companies – Huawei. Since its founding in 1987, Huawei has grown to become one of the world’s largest telecoms companies, with revenue of $75 billion. Globally it employs 180,000 with nearly 60,000 of these based at the […]

How the UK came to adore branded wine Le Piat d’Or

It was 1974. The UK market for wine was beginning to move. Branded contenders were making swift headway amongst unsophisticated UK wine drinkers. Key contenders were German, Blue Nun and Black Tower. And Mateus Rose from Portugal was also courting UK consumers. Despite these incursions, the market was still predominantly French with wines from across the channel in widest […]

Ethnic discrimination during resume screening: Mind the job

In many European countries, the employment rate of ethnic minorities is low, which is worrisome given the risks of social exclusion and poverty. The overall weaker labour market position of ethnic minorities compared to ethnic majorities is attributed to a lack of human capital (job competencies) as well as to labour market discrimination (unfair treatment).

This blog post focuses on […]

The value of good management

Ask any sports fan about their favourite team and they will usually spend half the time either cursing or extolling the manager. The manager is apparently responsible for every loss, and perhaps even the occasional victory. On the other hand, many people also have an ingrained cynicism about the fads and fashions of management thinking. For example, there’s an […]