Management

How consumers perceive sustainable products

When tire producers started launching recycled tires, truck drivers were sceptical. They didn’t trust the quality and assumed that there had to be a trade-off with the durability and effectiveness of the tires. Similarly, when there is a flu epidemic or pipes are clogged, consumers systematically choose the non-sustainable hand disinfectants and drain openers. Consumers are afraid that the […]

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 […]

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    Building your competitive strategy? It’s all down to methodology

Building your competitive strategy? It’s all down to methodology

In late 2019, headlines around the world trumpeted the collapse of global travel giant Thomas Cook. Amid news of stranded families and freshly-redundant airline pilots volunteering to bring people home for no pay, what most onlookers and pundits alike wanted to know was: what went wrong? How could an organisation with 19 million customers, 22,000 staff in 16 countries […]

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    Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

On the eve of the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting in Davos, I wrote about the need for well-intentioned corporations seeking to lead a new era of stakeholder capitalism to convincingly separate themselves from the also-ran. By the end of the week in Davos, I was pleased to see businesses race against each other to forcefully signal their […]

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    The number of older workers is increasing fast, yet they face growing age discrimination

The number of older workers is increasing fast, yet they face growing age discrimination

The days of collecting your carriage clock and waving goodbye to your workmates of 45 years are over, particularly as more people, whether through choice or necessity, are now working into their late 60s and 70s. In the EU, about one fifth (19%) of the population is 65 or more. A 65-year-old in the United Kingdom can now expect […]

February 5th, 2020|Gender|1 Comment|

How successful leaders avoid predictable surprises

By now every reader drawn to articles like this will almost certainly have heard the acronym VUCA, so widely used these days. It was first used in 1987 and originates from the theories on leadership of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. It is also associated with use by the U.S. Army War College following the end the cold war. […]

February 3rd, 2020|Management|1 Comment|
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    Under pressure from consumers and employees, firms now compete for the most fragile commodity: goodwill

Under pressure from consumers and employees, firms now compete for the most fragile commodity: goodwill

The history of business is the history of human beings trading with each other; discovering efficiencies of scale and comparative advantage, creating surplus, investing capital, and building infrastructure. In its purest form, capitalism is a sort of social and cultural glue. It’s about markets and money, trade and competition, risk and reward. It’s about the allocation of resources to […]

Why word of mouth works better for niche products and ideas

Imagine you learn about a concert through social media. You saw a friend post that she is excitedly planning to attend. How do you decide whether you want to go? Does it matter whether the concert is a popular artist performing in a major arena or an indie band performing in a neighbourhood venue? The analysis in my paper […]

January 28th, 2020|Management, Marketing|0 Comments|

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 […]

Avoiding strategic surprises: beware of the lurkers!

Usually, we talk about two types of surprises in strategic projects: those that hit you like a flash out of a blue sky, and those that creep up on you, nudging you off track, bit by bit. Either type requires a specific approach to manage – efficient contingency plans and crisis response for the former, improved monitoring and detection […]

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    The behavioural approach to gender equality: changing how we think about workplace culture

The behavioural approach to gender equality: changing how we think about workplace culture

Over the last decade, our approach to gender inequality in the UK workplace has remained relatively static. We’ve pitched the business case for change, tried to transform mindsets with diversity and unconscious bias training, and done our best to influence the leadership pipeline with development and mentoring programmes.

In 2017, I wrote about the urgent need to change tack. The UK’s Hampton […]

January 21st, 2020|Gender, LSE alumni|0 Comments|
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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 […]

Signalling sincerity in stakeholder capitalism

Milton Friedman versus Klaus Schwab – it was a battle between two world views. In 1970, Friedman wrote his seminal essay on the role of the firm effectively arguing that the “business of business is business” and that wider stakeholder considerations can be value-destructive. In 1973, Klaus Schwab’s Davos Manifesto argued that management must also serve employees and society, […]

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    What leads financial and non-financial firms to adopt corporate social responsibility?

What leads financial and non-financial firms to adopt corporate social responsibility?

In an era when the voice of customers, environmentalists and other interest groups is getting stronger and stronger, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly adopted by firms and other organisations as a strategy to reduce business risks and achieve results that satisfy both shareholders and stakeholders.

CSR is associated with a large number of related concepts such as business ethics, […]

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    What happens when we find out how much everyone else is making?

What happens when we find out how much everyone else is making?

Technological advances have made it possible for everyone to know potentially everything about everyone else. Sci-fi shows such as Netflix’s Black Mirror imagine dystopian scenarios that could result from these new technologies. In the real world, social media is already allowing individuals to disclose details about their personal lives with strangers. This technological change has sparked a policy debate […]

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    After 2008, the reputation of bankers took a nosedive, but are bankers really that bad?

After 2008, the reputation of bankers took a nosedive, but are bankers really that bad?

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” That’s what Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father and third president of the United States, once said. If that’s true, then you might think that bankers are stuck on the first page, such is the public perception of them.

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, the reputation of bankers took a nosedive. […]

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    Most party manifestos have taken women’s interests seriously

Most party manifestos have taken women’s interests seriously

Half of the electorate are women. Research has consistently shown that women are more likely to be floating voters and to make their minds up on how to vote later than men. Securing women’s votes is increasingly recognised as essential for parties as they seek to consolidate their voting base and capture undecided voters. This is something we have […]

December 7th, 2019|Gender|0 Comments|
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    Mainstreaming environmental, social and corporate governance

Mainstreaming environmental, social and corporate governance

Businesses in today’s marketplace, in both the financial and non-financial sectors, have to pay attention to the environmental and social impact of what they do, as well as to respect high standards of corporate governance. The group of standards is commonly referred to as ‘ESG’. ESG is now a mainstream activity. President Trump resists. He is mistaken (again).

I see […]

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    The trade-offs between labour productivity and decarbonisation

The trade-offs between labour productivity and decarbonisation

In a recent paper, we show how decarbonisation in industrial plants interacts with efficiency-driven initiatives regarding flow management, waste reduction and workforce commitment, which represent three key fields in which high-performance shop floors strive. Inventory turnover reflects our measure for improvements in flow. The ratio of the total manufacturing cost to the cost of materials indicates how efficiently firms carry […]

November 26th, 2019|Environment, Management|0 Comments|

How to turn trust into a competitive advantage

Business is facing an existential trust crisis, a recent article found. Companies from Boeing to Facebook are losing the public’s faith by paying insufficient attention to trust as an important ingredient for answering their stakeholders’ needs. But where there is a crisis, there is an opportunity, too. How can business leaders turn trust into a competitive advantage?

Trust matters because […]

November 20th, 2019|Management, Strategy|2 Comments|