Why overpaying chief executives is a bad idea

An economy where the highest paid business leader pockets £265 million for one year’s work, while the number of working families in poverty rises to a 20-year high, is one that needs to address its income gaps.

Denise Coates, the chief executive of gambling group Bet365, has been paid £265 million in 2017 at a time when many of those in […]

A new measure to assess companies’ external engagement

Could a single tweet destroy your company? Just a few years ago, a question like that might have seemed absurd. But now that possibility is something that executives and investors around the world are increasingly thinking and worrying about. Perhaps the most prominent evidence of this trend arrived at the start of 2018, when BlackRock’s Larry Fink laid out […]

January 10th, 2019|Management, Marketing|2 Comments|

After Rana Plaza: the politics of sharing

Disasters often catalyse new regulatory initiatives by exposing the human costs of inadequate worker or public protection. The Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh in 2013, which killed 1134 garment workers, was no exception. Horrific scenes of carnage brought the “race to the bottom” into the living rooms of Western consumers and prompted a rapid reaction by the global […]

Why entrepreneurs should avoid or delay venture capital

It is difficult to pick up a major business publication today without reading about how venture capital and venture capitalists develop unicorn ventures, privately held start-ups valued at over $1 billion. This publicity prompts entrepreneurs to ask how to get VC, rather than if they should even seek it, or when.

The reality is that very few get VC

Venture capitalists […]

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    The Ellsberg Paradox and the ambiguity and complexity of decision-making

The Ellsberg Paradox and the ambiguity and complexity of decision-making

In 1961, Daniel Ellsberg (who is perhaps best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret study of the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam war) considered a thought experiment involving two urns, each containing 100 balls. The first urn contained exactly 50 black balls and 50 red balls, while the second contained 100 black and red balls in […]

December 12th, 2018|Marketing|0 Comments|
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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 […]

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    Data analytics, inclusion, sustainability: new roles multiply in organisations

Data analytics, inclusion, sustainability: new roles multiply in organisations

New roles are multiplying in organisations. Look around your own organisation and you can probably spot some of these new roles: Is there a data analytics manager? An inclusion manager? A sustainability manager? Organisations often struggle with how to best support new roles. New roles do not come with a blueprint, nor can they be copied from other organisations. […]

November 14th, 2018|Management|0 Comments|

Good corporate governance requires diversity

A hallmark of our era of disruption, populism and apparent de-globalisation is the erosion of trust in organisations and institutional systems. Trust is gained through better governance, which in turn is built on transparency, accountability and openness to diversity.

It is no coincidence that both Singapore and the UK issued new codes of corporate governance this year. Reinforcing systems of […]

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    When companies have ties to politicians or military officials

When companies have ties to politicians or military officials

Entrepreneurs want to reduce uncertainty and shape environments to their advantage. To do so, they sometimes collaborate with government leaders to gain valuable information, resources, and favourable legislation.

Most prior research on this practice has treated government partners as monolithic entities, or focused only on elected officials who grant resources through policy efforts or contracts. But we were interested in […]

November 9th, 2018|Management|0 Comments|

The paradox of communist entrepreneurs in China

The Chinese economy has grown phenomenally over the past 40 years since it was opened to the outside world. In recent decades, the private sector in particular has been the engine of this growth, contributing to more than 60 per cent of China’s GDP (US$12,237.7 billion), extensive fixed-asset and outbound investment, 80 per cent of jobs, and 70 per […]

On timing and rhythm for strategy implementation

We know that time is important – after all, timing is everything! And time is money! If used skilfully, time and timing can be allies in strategising. But, surprisingly (or maybe not-so-surprisingly), getting time right is hard; it involves a complex balancing act. For example, if you push your strategy too much, you overwhelm your team, whereas if you do […]

Smart and simple strategy decisions to minimise regret

We like to think that for our strategy work, we will have plenty of time and resources. Armed with both, out of the 10s or 100s of options we have on the table, we will pick the best one.

In this article, we will make the opposite argument. Not only do we not have much time or resources available to […]

Uncertainties and risks of strategy implementation

In a previous post, we talked about how two major dimensions shape the type of strategy work we need to do: 1) the degree of people impact, i.e., how many people the task at hand affects and how much it affects them; and 2) the degree of uncertainty it faces and subsequently addresses.

With this post, we are going to […]

October 11th, 2018|Strategy series|0 Comments|

The importance of resilience for delivering strategies

You are responsible for the success of your strategic initiatives. Your results will be measured and you will be judged. As long as we have success, we consider this to be perfectly fair. But let’s be honest: your results will depend to a large extent not only on what you do (or not do), but also on events and […]

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    Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management

Between a person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management

Human resource management (HRM), both in practice and as taught in business schools, appears to display a gap between its soft person-focused rhetoric and the harsh realities of people management. While ‘good’ people management is likely to contribute to organisational performance, HRM has also been called out on occasion for promoting untested assumptions and fads, lacking a solid evidence […]

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    The four types of strategy work you need for the digital revolution

The four types of strategy work you need for the digital revolution

Strategy work is always hard, but particularly so when senior executives know less about emerging trends than the 19-year-old intern that just brought them coffee. Blockchain-based bank accounts, Artificial Intelligence lawyers, smart cities, collaborative robots, autonomous cars and online dating – wherever you look, pervasive digitalisation is turning businesses upside down. “I have been doing this for 50 years” […]

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    What explains the evolution of management models over the past two centuries?

What explains the evolution of management models over the past two centuries?

Scientific Management, Human Relations, and Strategy-and-Structure are well-known management models in the history of business, but we still understand little about why a given model succeeds in competition with other models. This lack of understanding is troublesome. Practitioners would benefit if they could assess more reliably the potential value of the various competing models they read about. Our analysis […]

German firms: Open borders, closed boardrooms

With the impending exit of Great Britain from the European Union in 2019, German firms will likely assume an even greater position within the trading block. Given its reputation as the largest exporter in Europe, accounting for over a quarter of EU exports, Germany is a driving force for free trade and open borders. Firms such as Siemens and […]

September 17th, 2018|Management|0 Comments|

Business relationships boost firms’ performance

In the quest for identifying barriers to firm growth, much attention has been paid to barriers that act at the level of the individual firm. But firms do not operate in a vacuum: business relationships are potentially central. We conducted an intervention in China to measure their importance.

A field experiment with 2,820 firms

In 2013 we invited tens of thousands […]

September 6th, 2018|Management, Strategy|0 Comments|

Who stays longer, male or female CEOs?

Only 5 per cent of major North American firms had a female CEO as of January 2018. (Catalyst)

Clearly women are underrepresented at the top level of corporations, but the reasons for this are less clear. In a recent article, we investigate two different paths to the scarcity of female CEOs:

Women are appointed as CEO less often; and/or
Women are […]