Managing People

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    How the unions helped transform employment relations at France Télécom

How the unions helped transform employment relations at France Télécom

On December 20, 2019, the French courts found the former CEO of France Télécom and two executives guilty of ‘moral harassment’ of their employees. During what has been called ‘a social crisis’, more than 40 employees in two years committed suicide, directly blaming the company in their notes, taking their lives on the workplace; a technician stabbed himself in […]

Are recruiting practices throwing away neurodiverse talent?

In their quest for talent, companies conduct hundreds of thousands of competency-based interviews each year. Despite some criticism, competency-based interviews are regarded by many companies as the best way to assess whether a job candidate would perform successfully in the position for which they interview.

Competencies represent a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours that enable an individual […]

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    Change and obliquity: how to achieve complex objectives through indirect means

Change and obliquity: how to achieve complex objectives through indirect means

“Those only are happy who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness… aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way”

– John Stuart Mill

 How come so many change efforts in today’s unpredictable world fail to achieve their stated objectives – be they corporate turn-arounds, public-sector reform, or wider societal flourishing? I have […]

Reflections on the nature and meaning of teamwork

Teamwork is a complex social dynamic, at once a principle of optimal efficiency and an occasion of personal cooperation. We might visualise this complexity in terms of a vertical pursuit (the achievement of some collective goal) and a horizontal relationship (the cooperation among team members as they pursue the collective goal). The vertical is conceptually prior: teammates do not […]

Make work fun again

In the summer of 2015, in a crowded beer garden in Barcelona, we talked about work – the work we were doing then. It was a rather sad conversation, because the bottom line was that our jobs were uninspiring at best. Work was making us anything but happy.

We weren’t frustrated with the work itself. It was interesting, challenging, and […]

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    As firms collect their data, employees learn to game the system

As firms collect their data, employees learn to game the system

Organisations are increasingly turning to ‘people analytics’ – using vast amounts of data about their employees – to gain insights into their workforce and introduce evidence-based decision-making. Companies hope to use measures such as clicks, views, interactions and many other online operations to accurately capture employee performance on top, or even instead of, traditional performance evaluation systems that are […]

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    How companies organise jobs may go a long way towards alleviating employees’ commuting hell

How companies organise jobs may go a long way towards alleviating employees’ commuting hell

Whether you take the bus, the train or a car, commuting equals boredom, occasional strain and mostly a lot of lost time. On average, commuting takes up 38 minutes a day summing up to several 24-hour days a year. Such a massive time investment should have a serious return, right? Obviously, it does. Commuting enables many of us to […]

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    Service delivery networks at German airports: jeopardising industrial peace on the ground?

Service delivery networks at German airports: jeopardising industrial peace on the ground?

In principle, as is said for services more generally, the link between managing the work force and operative service performance is particularly strong in aviation, especially in airports serving as the logistical hubs for passengers as well as freight. On top, sound employment relations and working conditions are connected to service processes that require a high level in terms […]

The potential dark side of teamwork

Most work today is done in teams where employees collaborate, discuss new ideas, and share responsibilities for specific goals. While this leads to a lot of good – like greater productivity and performance – teamwork can also be demanding and cause a lot of frustration. There are coordination costs to managing teams, as well as interpersonal conflicts that put […]

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    Can organisational culture explain the labour market discrimination of ethnic minorities?

Can organisational culture explain the labour market discrimination of ethnic minorities?

The most recent statistics confirm an ongoing reality for British black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, which is that they are typically twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts. Indeed, while overall unemployment rates remained static between the January-March and April-June 2019 accounting periods, the rates for white unemployment improved marginally from 3.4 to 3.3 per […]

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    Leaders are more likely to empower employees with a proactive personality

Leaders are more likely to empower employees with a proactive personality

As the business landscape continues to evolve and pressures to remain competitive mount, organisations are increasingly recognising that their employees are key to realising strong firm performance and ultimately, competitive advantage. It is no surprise, then, that organisations are making considerable investments in programs designed to promote employee empowerment. Perhaps the gold standard when it comes to employee empowerment, […]

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    The neglected fact of diversity research: religious identity in the workplace

The neglected fact of diversity research: religious identity in the workplace

Some years ago, we started to wonder when (or when not), how and why (or why not) employees are expressing their religious identity at work.

This interest was driven by some highly visible cases were employees’ religious beliefs were in conflict with work. For example, two Catholic midwives sought to avoid supervising abortion procedures, a case that reached the UK […]

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    How to encourage better performance without straining employees

How to encourage better performance without straining employees

An organisation’s competitive advantage is usually directly tied to its employees’ productivity. Therefore, executives desire heightened productivity and often pressure their employees to continually perform at high levels. Although this pressure can motivate employees, it also serves as a significant workplace stressor. Employees’ accomplishments are short-lived, with managers patting them on the back for achieving yesterday’s goals and then […]

When employees retreat from corporate volunteering

Support for employee volunteering is a corporate social responsibility activity that signals commitment to social values and citizenship. It is also a strategic initiative that helps companies recruit new talent. Indeed, both researchers and practitioners argue that companies that facilitate their employees’ volunteering are viewed more favourably by job candidates and are therefore more likely to attract talent, especially young […]

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    Companies look at job candidates’ previous experience, but does it predict anything?

Companies look at job candidates’ previous experience, but does it predict anything?

The use of job experience in hiring decisions is ubiquitous. For example, a recent analysis of online job ads showed that over 80 per cent of the ads stated that experience was required or preferred, even for many entry-level jobs. Examples of the types of experience organisations require or prefer include years of work experience, number of previous jobs […]

When employees are ideological misfits

There have been many recent examples when personal politics has collided with professional workspaces. In November of 2016, Geoff Lewis, a partner at Founders Fund (a venture capital firm founded by Peter Thiel), penned a blistering critique of reality TV culture and the rise of Donald Trump. This article was posted just as Thiel, one of Trump’s highest-profile Silicon […]

Why boredom might not be a bad thing after all

“I am bored!” “This piece of work is so boring.” Many of us at work are familiar with these sentiments expressed by colleagues at work. Indeed, some companies like Google Singapore and Zappos have gone out of their way to let their employees have fun at work. Benefits associated with fun at work include greater job satisfaction, engagement, and […]

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    The office networks of people who are thinking of quitting their job

The office networks of people who are thinking of quitting their job

Numerous studies have shown that people with large networks who have many friends and work relationships are less likely to quit their job than people who only have small work-related networks. But do people who think of quitting their job change their networks at work? Do they change the people they go to for advice or seek out for […]

How organisations discriminate during recruitment

“I have worked with many recruitment agencies. In fact, some people asked for what in French is called a BBR; it’s a code to say a “Bleu-Blanc-Rouge” – the colours of our national flag. It was to tell the recruitment agency ‘I am a racist company but I do not want it to appear as such so I use […]

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    Diversity networks in organisations: are they really (net)working for equality?

Diversity networks in organisations: are they really (net)working for equality?

In recent years, the use of diversity networks in organisations has increased tremendously. Diversity networks, also referred to as ‘employee resource groups’ or ‘affinity networks’, are initiated to inform, support and advance employees with similar social identities. In many organisations, diversity networks are part of a larger diversity management agenda and an increasingly popular practice to promote equality, diversity […]