Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Human Resources

Women Who Display Masculine Traits — and Know When Not to — Get More Promotions Than Men

In the business world, women who are aggressive, assertive, and confident but who can turn these traits on and off depending on the social circumstances get more promotions than either men or other women, according to a recent study by Olivia O'Neill and Charles O'Reilly.

Work-Life Balance: Men Want It, Too

The pay gap is narrowing between men and women in the workplace as is the percent of time men and women spend on family duties, but workplace policies have not caught up with these new realities, Professor Myra Strober says in an essay in US Banker.

Self-Identified Multiracial Individuals Realize Real Benefits

Individuals who identified with multiple ethnic or racial groups reported either equal or higher psychological well-being and social engagement than those who identified primarily with a single group, say researchers trying to understand multiracial psychology.

Are Wall Street Careers Just the Luck of the Draw?

Paul Oyer’s past research shows that many young MBAs who graduate during a bear market may never get the chance later to start a Wall Street career—a fact that dramatically cuts down on their lifetime earnings. Recent research supports that the same holds true for undergrads.

photo of Robert SuttonHow to Be a Good Boss in a Bad Economy

When cutbacks are necessary, can a good boss do right by the company's finances and by its staff? Some pain is probably unavoidable, but Stanford Professor Bob Sutton says that psychological and organization theory research suggests clear ways to handle such situations with a minimum of harm to the people and company involved.

It Really IS The Thought That Counts

When it comes to putting out money for gifts, less may well be more. Researchers say that although most gift givers assume that a more expensive present will be more appreciated, receivers don’t appreciate expensive gifts that much more.

The Thought of Acquiring Power Motivates People to Act

In the wake of Barack Obama’s “yes we can” victory, a timely study has emerged from the Stanford Graduate School of Business about what motivates people to take action. The prime mover, say researchers, is acquiring a position of power.

Challenging Work and Corporate Responsibility Will Lure MBA Grads

A survey of 759 graduating MBAs at 11 top business schools reveals that the future business leaders rank corporate social responsibility high on their list of values, and they are willing to sacrifice a significant part of their salaries to find an employer whose thinking is in synch with their own.

Financial Incentives Can Create Bad Employee Behavior Financial incentives, including commissions, should be used only to recognize good employee performance. They can backfire if used to try to influence behavior, says Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer.

Mimicking Produces Better Negotiated Outcomes Subtly imitating mannerisms, gestures, etc. of the other partner during a negotiation can lead to greater success for both parties in a negotiation according to recent research co-authored by Elizabeth Mullen.  

The Key to a Successful Merger of Cultures? Look at Employee Demographics Although it may not get a lot of lip service, the reason most mergers succeed is that employees of the new firm coalesce into a united whole. It sounds harsh, but Professor Glenn Carroll and his co-author say the best thing for employees who won’t or can’t fit the new mold may be to encourage them to leave.

Diverse Backgrounds and Personalities Can Strengthen Groups Groups with diverse functional expertise, education, or personality can increase performance by enhancing creativity or group problem-solving. In contrast, more visible diversity, such as race, gender, or age, can have negative effects unless it’s managed properly, says Margaret Neale. (August 2006)

Let Them Eat Cake: How Thoughts of Death Affect Consumer Behavior How do people behave when faced with a threat to their mortality? According to research by Associate Professor Baba Shiv, there are dramatic changes ranging from increased church attendance to serious overeating. The reaction depends heavily on our self-image. (September 2005)

Untested Assumptions May Have a Big Effect Many managers assume certain things in the business world. Working to uncover exactly what leaders’ assumptions are and then testing them to be sure they’re true may be the most important step in human resource management, says Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer. (June 2005)

Racial Stereotypes Can Be Unconscious but Reversible Racial stereotypes can creep into the subconscious without warning, coloring decisions even by people who disavow any type of prejudice. (August 2004)

When First Impressions Flop: The Power of Getting a Second Chance Many people can overcome a bad first impression if they're given a second chance. But, says professor Jerker Denrell, human nature and many corporate environments make it very hard to get that second chance. (June 2004)

When the CEO Leaves, Do Others Follow? The departure of the CEO doesn't necessarily mean the entire top management is in jeopardy, says Prof. Paul Oyer. What really matters when top corporate leadership changes is how much the CEO and the top-level executive have invested in their relationship. (February 2004)

MBA Graduates Want to Work for Caring and Ethical Employers A survey of more than 800 MBAs from 11 leading North American and European schools found a substantial number were willing to forgo some financial benefits to work for an organization with a better reputation for corporate social responsibility and ethics. (January 2004)

Newcomers Improve Group Performance When newcomers join a group, their presence can cause stress and even present problems for older group members who ally with them, but Professor Margaret Neale says the pain is worth the gain. (October 2003) 

Workers Fear Cooperating in Virtual Teams May Make Them Obsolete Virtual teams, fostered by today's information technology, may extract an unexpected price: People who add their hard-won knowledge to a common pool may become alienated from the organization and even fear that they are sowing the seeds for their own replacement. (October 2003)

Too Much Management Can Block Innovation Commonly used management processes can stifle creativity, writes Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer. Practices as widely accepted as annual performance reviews and goal setting can actually work against innovation and change. (September 2003)

Good Outcomes for Negotiating About Problems Too often the study of negotiations has focused on splitting up the goods and ignored trying to deal with the bads. Professor Margaret Neale argues that finding win-win ways to deal with problems can be extremely rewarding. (2003)

Negotiation Strategy: Six Common Pitfalls to Avoid Whether it's selling a house or agreeing on a contract with a supplier, negotiators can fall into traps that keep them from making the best deal possible or walk away and leave resources on the table. Professor Margaret Neale outlines some of the common shortcomings negotiators need to be aware of. (2001)

Success of Women Employees Depends Largely on Decisions by Founder A six-year study of high-tech startups in Silicon Valley identifies factors that can predict how hospitable firms are to women and challenges the common assumption that access for women is uniformly low across technology firms. (May 2001)

How Do White Males Fare in the Heterogeneous Workplace? As greater numbers of women, ethnic minorities, and other "nontraditional" employees join the workforce, the increasing heterogeneity of employee groups has had a greater negative effect on white males than on nonwhites or women, researchers say. (2001)

The Knowing-Doing Gap Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, Harvard Business School Press, January, 2000 "Did you ever wonder why so much education and training, management consultation, organizational research and so many books and articles produce so few changes in actual management practice?" ask Stanford Business School Professors Pfeffer and Sutton. "We wondered, too, and so we embarked on a quest to explore one of the great mysteries in organizational management: why knowledge of what needs to be done frequently fails to result in action or behavior consistent with that knowledge." The authors describe the most common obstacles to action—such as fear and inertia—and profile successful companies that overcome them. (November 1999)

Diversity and Work Group Performance A little employee conflict can be a good thing. Having employees from diverse organizational backgrounds or those with informational diversity can stir constructive conflict around the task at hand. Professor Margaret Neale says this is the type of conflict absolutely should be engendered in organizations. (November 1999)

Education is the Key to Closing the Income Gap Economist Paul Romer argues that education-with a focus on supplying better-educated labor—is the key to undoing income inequality between the wealthy and the poor. (March 1999)

Why Managers Won't Let Go Giving people more responsibility for making decisions in their jobs can boost morale and have good economic effects for a firm. Yet many American managers refuse to delegate responsibility. (September 1997)