Monthly Archives: July 2020

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    Transforming traditional businesses doesn’t have to be an elusive goal

Transforming traditional businesses doesn’t have to be an elusive goal

Even though the literature on business transformation is enormous, managerial and organisational appetite for change tends to be limited. Leaders of organisations that are remotely successful are not inclined to change things. Transforming the business is not the same as implementing incremental change or improvements in processes, operations and products. We argue that transformation refers to an organisation achieving […]

July 31st, 2020|Management|0 Comments|
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    Breadwinner vs caretaker: the pandemic’s potential gender implications for families

Breadwinner vs caretaker: the pandemic’s potential gender implications for families

COVID-19 and the compulsory regime of domestic confinement in many countries worldwide have led millions of families to deal with unprecedented and challenging circumstances. To assess the coping strategies of family members, we designed two studies to explore whether gender plays a role in crisis management responses that individuals use under mandatory domesticity. We investigated emerging and evolving household […]

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    Why trade facilitation reform requires mainstreaming digital technologies

Why trade facilitation reform requires mainstreaming digital technologies

A country’s international logistics performance depends on the extent and modernity of its trade facilitation reform (World Bank, 2018). National trade facilitation committees (NTFCs) are an institutional obligation for members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) because they serve as multi-agency platforms for stakeholder engagement. These partnerships generate consensus via ‘national roadmaps’ to customise a country’s approach to update […]

Do skyscrapers make economic sense?

A hundred years ago, policymakers in New York were convinced that, “few skyscrapers pay large net returns…” and that, “the very tall buildings demand many things out of proportion to their increased bulk” (Heights of Buildings Commission, 1913).  Despite their sentiments, their belief in the death of the skyscraper was premature. The Empire State Building, which was viewed as […]

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    Connecting social science and startups to tackle important problems

Connecting social science and startups to tackle important problems

Last year, more than 45,000 tech startups were launched across the UK. The world of startups has, over the last decade, attracted an extraordinary amount of talent and resources. Today’s startups are increasingly focused on tackling major social and environmental challenges — from food waste, to mental ill health, to unemployment. Many aspiring entrepreneurs are seeing ventures as a […]

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    Cross-cultural virtual teams are on the rise, but can they communicate effectively?

Cross-cultural virtual teams are on the rise, but can they communicate effectively?

There are many benefits resulting from cross-cultural virtual teams. For instance, companies take advantage of the incorporation of talented individuals from around the globe. Communicating virtually represents a more cost-effective way to exchange information, since it reduces the time and costs associated with traveling and arranging face-to-face meetings. Most important of all, the cultural diversity and widespread distribution of […]

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    When men and women working long hours is the norm, women’s careers stall

When men and women working long hours is the norm, women’s careers stall

Women remain remarkably underrepresented in the partner ranks in professional service firms—as lawyers, accountants, and consultants—despite having gained parity with men at the associate level long ago.

This stalled advancement is surprising in light of companies’ efforts to improve the situation, often by means of well-intentioned work-life accommodation policies. Time and again, however, researchers document how taking accommodations has the […]

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    How mortgage market credit conditions affect US presidential election results

How mortgage market credit conditions affect US presidential election results

America is in the middle of an election year. Analysts regularly speculate on how the state of the economy will affect voters. When they do so, they usually refer to unemployment or changes in income (see Fair 1978, 1996, 1998, 2002; Lewis-Beck and Stegmaier 2000). But there is evidence that, under some circumstances, changes in the supply of credit […]

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    As COVID-19 accelerates automation, how do we stop the drift into long-term unemployment?

As COVID-19 accelerates automation, how do we stop the drift into long-term unemployment?

The Covid-19 pandemic has already proven to be a worse negative shock to the economy than most of us anticipated when lockdown commenced.

The chancellor’s furlough scheme and summer package of support for jobs were well-timed and have saved many jobs. But these packages do not amount to a macroeconomic response and have not stopped unemployment rising rapidly. A sharp […]

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    Firms closer to universities tend to have better management practices

Firms closer to universities tend to have better management practices

Management matters for explaining differentials in productivity between and within countries and sectors. Across countries, management practices – as measured in the World Management Survey (WMS) – explain on average around 30% of the gap in total factor productivity with the United States (Bloom et al, 2016); and experimental evidence from Indian textile plants supports a causal interpretation (Bloom […]

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    COVID-19 is highlighting BAME inequality, and now is the time to act

COVID-19 is highlighting BAME inequality, and now is the time to act

Imagine the scene. It is 1976, and the UK is facing a glorious summer of drought. In Delhi, a young man has just been refused a study visa to America. So his father, and he, waits outside the US Embassy to ambush and confront the visa officer who had the temerity to turn his son down, not once, but […]

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    Habit and hassle: psychological barriers to sustainable behaviour

Habit and hassle: psychological barriers to sustainable behaviour

Last year, Delft University of Technology  – the university where I work – launched a mobility programme. The goal was threefold: (1) fewer cars on campus, (2) a CO2 neutral campus by 2030, and (3) dealing more smartly with space scarcity. The relevance of such a programme is clear: around 27,000 people travel to our campus every day and […]

July 16th, 2020|Environment|1 Comment|

How to address sustainability risk in a dangerous universe

While our galaxy is full of planets that could harbour life, there is no evidence that any of them besides our own actually do. This observation suggests that the universe is a dangerous place and that we may be facing civilisational risks that could, in a worst case outcome, result in extinction. Sustainability policy (broadly conceived) deals with these […]

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    Using apps for contact tracing in response to COVID-19: the controversies

Using apps for contact tracing in response to COVID-19: the controversies

With the government repeatedly claiming that it is being guided by science, questions about the range of academic disciplines represented on the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have begun to emerge alongside reports that the government is seeking to broaden the range of academic fields represented. A shadow version of SAGE has also been created with different experts and a different approach to the […]

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    Will purpose ever replace shareholder value maximisation as the corporate governance lodestar?

Will purpose ever replace shareholder value maximisation as the corporate governance lodestar?

As governments wrestle with the economic and public health challenge of COVID, attention is turning to the part business should play in the recovery and aftermath. Will companies funnel government bailouts and wage subsidies into dividends and bonuses? Or repay the debt by committing to their workers and communities and investing more in developing the products and services of […]

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    COVID-19 can speed up the use of technology in supply-chain sustainability audits

COVID-19 can speed up the use of technology in supply-chain sustainability audits

The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted supply chains around the world.  The last several months have seen massive drops in industrial production, widespread export restrictions, and renewed discussions on the need to rethink supply chain business models. Travel restrictions, lockdowns, and facility closures have also prevented certification of supplier practices and products. Our research has studied how technology can be […]

Managing virtual teams requires devolving leadership

Moving entire offices to work from home has presented organisations with many and often unexpected challenges. Technology alone is not the solution; different approaches to leadership, communications and corporate policy are required to maintain productivity and staff wellbeing. For affected staff, balancing work with varied and escalating personal demands is a substantial ongoing dilemma.

My research to understand how members […]

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    COVID-19 makes inclusion a strategic imperative for companies and investors

COVID-19 makes inclusion a strategic imperative for companies and investors

To quote Singapore’s senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam from his national address last month, “the future begins now”. That future will be dramatically different not only for governments and individuals but also for big business and big finance. A silver lining to the devastation of COVID-19 could be the onset of a new era for both stakeholder capitalism and sustainable investing.

The future […]

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    UK economic problems: diagnosing is easier than coming up with solutions

UK economic problems: diagnosing is easier than coming up with solutions

With Boris Johnson’s launch of his “New Deal” and Michael Gove’s speech on “the privilege of public service”, the government has made clear its intention to press ahead with the domestic agenda of “levelling-up” and reform of government on which it was elected. There was little surprise in either announcement, with all of the elements to be found previously […]

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    Financial crises and right-wing populism: how do politics and finance shape each other?

Financial crises and right-wing populism: how do politics and finance shape each other?

The current health crisis, with its long-term repercussions on the political structure of countries, offers new avenues for researchers to understand how political systems interact with financial actors. The topic was recently discussed in the first London Political Finance (POLFIN) workshop, which reached an international audience of more than 200 scholars interested in the topics at the intersection of […]