Managing People

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 […]

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    Assessing Facebook profiles of job candidates: opening Pandora’s box

Assessing Facebook profiles of job candidates: opening Pandora’s box

Social media has changed many aspects of life. For instance, it has enabled friends to easily communicate with each other and helped governments share a variety of alerts, from weather emergencies to pandemics. However, the use of social media to evaluate job applicants has received very little attention. Understanding the use of social media in hiring is challenging because […]

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    Covid-19: overcoming obstacles to virtual inclusion for City of London workers

Covid-19: overcoming obstacles to virtual inclusion for City of London workers

In March 2020, as part of the COVID-19 response, firms in the UK made the transition from physical workspaces to virtual ones, with limited or no planning time. A similar pattern happened across the globe with different start dates. Today, most organisations have moved beyond the initial hurdle of shifting their workforce to a virtual format, and are now […]

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    Remote working is good for mental health… but for whom and at what cost?

Remote working is good for mental health… but for whom and at what cost?

The world of work as we know it is changing. We are seeing a dramatic rise in remote working, with more and more people working away from the physical office location — sometimes by choice, sometimes not. The Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated these changes, indicating that remote working is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

From studying the […]

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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 […]