Managing People

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    How disruptions to our morning routines harm daily productivity, and what we can do about it

How disruptions to our morning routines harm daily productivity, and what we can do about it

Since the onset of COVID-19, a common topic of conversation with family, friends, and colleagues has been the challenge of getting back to pre-pandemic levels of daily productivity. In this transition period between their old work lives and the new normal that has not yet arrived, many begin their mornings with the best of intentions, but by the evening, […]

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    Violence against doctors is increasing worldwide. Will the pandemic revert the trend?

Violence against doctors is increasing worldwide. Will the pandemic revert the trend?

On Christmas Eve 2019, Dr. Yang Wen had two more hours on the night shift at a General Hospital in Beijing, and planned to spend the day with her college student son, who was back from Yale for the holidays. But an irate man, who had been complaining about his 95-year-old mother’s treatment, snapped. He suddenly started stabbing the […]

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    To create dream teams, allow ‘a thousand flowers to bloom’

To create dream teams, allow ‘a thousand flowers to bloom’

Teams are the fundamental building blocks of modern organisations, as team-based structures have grown from less than 20 per cent in 1980 to 50 per cent in 1990, to over 80 per cent in 2000, and by 2010 nearly all organisations had adopted formal team structures. Business success today depends not on how people work but how effectively people work […]

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    Toxic organisations and the unenviable choices available to mid-level managers

Toxic organisations and the unenviable choices available to mid-level managers

Many people find themselves working in organisations characterised by dysfunction. These so-called “toxic workplaces” can involve intolerance, bullying, narcissism, and other forms of destructiveness that, over time, can demoralise people and undermine organisational purposes. Workers in these organisations have three primary courses of action when faced with toxic work conditions over which they have little control: they can leave; […]

Are healthcare workers stressed by information technology?

Today’s healthcare workers are stressed. In addition to dealing with a myriad of difficult situations, such as developing effective treatment plans and overcoming the death of patients, many care providers currently find themselves on the frontlines battling a global pandemic. In the United States, for example, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 215 per cent, and the […]

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    COVID-19 has put trust front and centre in human resources management

COVID-19 has put trust front and centre in human resources management

If the world wanted to know what impact a global health threat would have on work and working practices, COVID-19 has provided some answers. The pandemic led to rapid and varied government responses requiring self-isolation and lock down across the globe. Employers have had to respond quickly to ensure business continuity and often, the only way to keep businesses […]

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    Human resources management in the age of ‘adapt, evolve, or die’

Human resources management in the age of ‘adapt, evolve, or die’

Prior to the pandemic, the Republic of South Africa was already dealing with a largely stagnant economy, an almost 26% official unemployment rate, high HIV and TB infection rates, national power cuts and economic downgrading by various international rating agencies. Ironically, the resilience developed in dealing with these significant issues by organisations and human resources (HR) professionals may have […]

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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 […]

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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    Moving from cheap talk to action: the case of diversity and inclusion

Moving from cheap talk to action: the case of diversity and inclusion

It is easy to talk about caring about diversity and inclusion. In fact, it would be hard to find a professional worker these days who would declare that they did not in public. It is also far too easy to write policies that are not enforced and make promises for change that go unfulfilled. This makes it all the […]

COVID-19 and the changing employee experience

While remote working has been available to many employees for many years, the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly accelerated its scalability beyond what could have been imagined. From our research in Australia, most organisations had only a specialised few or no employees working from home before the pandemic. Over the last two months, however, these organisations have had to make […]

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    Why using technology to spy on home-working employees may be a bad idea

Why using technology to spy on home-working employees may be a bad idea

What will the life of a post-COVID-19 remote worker look like? Imagine yourself as one of the army of white-collar workers now working from home. You wake up, help with family chores, then sit at your desk ready to work. As you open your laptop, an app connected to your company’s server asks you to log in and to […]

Many mergers end up as a bad experience for employees

Major organisational changes like mergers and acquisitions (M&A), restructures, and spin-offs often leave a bad taste in the mouth of employees. The reason for this is frequently because those responsible for planning and implementing these changes are unable to balance the tension between task and relationship. Or put differently, organisations in change often spiral into a very transactional way […]

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    Who do you tap for help when trying to solve an unusual business problem?

Who do you tap for help when trying to solve an unusual business problem?

During sudden onset crises, such as pandemics, military conflicts, hurricanes and large scale bushfires, the number of unusual, complex business problems surges dramatically, and managers at all levels of an organisation’s hierarchy need to be able to deal with them. However, because of the erratic occurrence and unique structure of these problems, managers are not often trained in how […]

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    On being human: how behavioural science can help virtual working

On being human: how behavioural science can help virtual working

In 1816, Mary Shelley spent the summer in Geneva in the company of her family, Lord Byron and his physician John Polidori. The weather was dreadful due to the eruption of Mount Tamboro in Indonesia, and the group spent much of their time locked inside to escape the incessant rain. The group had stirring discussions on science and the […]

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    Virtual teams are generally less effective than face-to-face ones

Virtual teams are generally less effective than face-to-face ones

Opening offices will be our decision. When and if our employees come back, will be theirs.

— Jennifer Christie, vice president of people at Twitter on the company’s blog

Large swathes of the economy seem to have painlessly switched to working “digitally”.  Zoom, Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams have kept most of us working in the “knowledge economy” fully employed. Was all […]

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    Agile at home: tech startup lessons for making home working a success

Agile at home: tech startup lessons for making home working a success

As the pandemic continues to disrupt businesses, agile and digital-native organisations are demonstrating the greatest resilience. Why? Because in uncertain environments, agile teams can adapt quickly to fast-changing priorities, which translates into a powerful competitive advantage.

To a large extent, agile companies are simply practicing what they preach. The agile approach has proven particularly effective when team members are geographically […]

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    The impact of Covid-19 on human resource management: avoiding generalisations

The impact of Covid-19 on human resource management: avoiding generalisations

While there is now a great deal of discussion concerning the impact of Covid-19 on and implications for working practices and human resource management (HRM), much of the content and comment on these topics tends to be of a general nature, offering observations and/or guidance that seek to define what a ‘new normal’ might be. For example, that remote […]

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    Cinco lecciones de ciencias del comportamiento para las reuniones virtuales de equipo

Cinco lecciones de ciencias del comportamiento para las reuniones virtuales de equipo

Con el inicio de COVID-19, muchas empresas han hecho la transición de espacios de trabajo físicos a virtuales, con tiempo el limitado para planearla o si él. Después de que las organizaciones hayan atravesado el obstáculo inicial de cambiar a su fuerza de trabajo a un formato virtual, se encontrarán en la búsqueda de una definición de negocio como tal. […]

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    Five behavioural science lessons for managing virtual team meetings

Five behavioural science lessons for managing virtual team meetings

With the onset of Covid-19, many firms have made the transition from physical workspaces to virtual ones, with limited or no planning time. After organisations get beyond the initial hurdle of shifting their workforce to a virtual format, they will be searching for a new definition of business as usual. During that time, it is important to bear in […]