Sunday, March 1, 2009

Organizational Behavior

Why Nice Guys Don't Always Make It to the Top Nice guys may not finish first, according to research coauthored by Nir Halevy of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In fact, taking care of others in your group and even taking care of outsiders may reduce a nice guy's chance of becoming a leader.

Power Corrupts, Especially When It Lacks Status

Individuals in roles that possess power but lack status have a tendency to engage in activities that demean others, according to new research from Stanford Graduate School of Business, USC, and the Kellogg School.

Give Them the Gift They're Expecting

When it comes to gift giving, most people are simply not paying enough attention to what others want says Professor Frank Flynn. They miss the boat by ignoring direct requests, wrongly assuming that going a different route will be seen as more thoughtful than something the recipient specifically requested.

Taking the Macho Out of Offshore Oil Rigs

When it comes to gift giving, most people are simply not paying enough attention to what others want says Professor Frank Flynn. They miss the boat by ignoring direct requests, wrongly assuming that going a different route will be seen as more thoughtful than something the recipient specifically requested.

Money Makes People Happy, Especially If They're Paid By The Hour

Researchers find a stronger tie between money and happiness for people paid by the hour than by salary, because hourly workers are more regularly reminded of the value of their time, according to work co-authored by business school Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer.

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.

Attention to Body Language Can Combat Gender Stereotypes

When it comes to leadership, there are few differences in what men and women actually do, Deborah Gruenfeld, professor of organizational behavior has found. But there are major differences in perception, and body language matters.

How Did IBM Avoid Becoming Extinct?

In the 1990s IBM appeared headed for extinction. Today it is again a leading technology competitor. In an award-winning paper, Charles O'Reilly of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and his coauthors tracked how, by being ambidextrous, Big Blue avoided going the way of the dodo bird.

Narcissists Better at Selling their Ideas

Narcissists tend to do a better job of selling sizzle over steak and thus have a better chance at having their ideas adopted, says research by the GSB’s Frank Flynn and his co-authors.

Hollywood's "Red Scare" Spread Stigma by Association

Some 300 actors and writers were blacklisted during the 1950s, but researchers who analyzed how the social networks of that era worked say hundreds more saw their careers marred because they merely associated with those on the list.

First Selling the Idea to Senior Leaders Helps Organizations Realize Change

Getting all the senior leaders on board in advance is the most effective way to be successful in introducing change to an organization, according to research co-authored by business school Professor Charles O'Reilly.

Sucker to Saint and Other Views of Our Moral Behavior

Lofty principles matter much less than we think in determining our moral behavior says Professor Benoît Monin. We're more likely to be guided by whether we feel we are a good or bad person or whether we feel others around us are good or bad.

People Like to Play the Blame Game

Pointing fingers can ruin a company’s morale, according to a new study co-authored by organizational behavior Professor Larissa Tiedens.

Prejudice Fuels Opposition to Obama’s Plans

Individuals’ who demonstrated implicit racial prejudices were reluctant to vote for President Barack Obama in the 2008 election and demonstrate opposition to his health care reform plan, according to a study coauthored by Stanford Graduate School of Business Professor Brian Lowery. They were more likely to support a health care reform proposal attributed to former President Bill Clinton than the same proposal from Obama.

Peers Influence Decision to Become an Entrepreneur

Why do some geographic areas — such as California’s Silicon Valley — produce so many entrepreneurial companies? The answer may be workplace peers. Working with former entrepreneurs makes individuals more likely to start their own businesses, says Professor Jesper Sørensen of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Social Networks Can Cloud Your Judgment

People who are closely connected to their peers through social networks tend to overestimate how much other people agree with them, according to research by Business School Professor Frank Flynn, and doctoral student Scott Wiltermutht. (requires registration)

Seeking Common Ground in Conversations Can Stifle Innovation and Reward the Wrong People

The best baseball players don't always get elected All-Stars. Researchers say people try to find a common ground when talking to others, which can mean the wrong people become famous or the most innovative ideas don't get discussed.

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.

Why Trust Can Get You Into Trouble

"Why do people trust, why can trust get us into trouble, and what we can do to protect ourselves?" asks Professor Rod Kramer. After looking at the financial industry he was surprised by "the level of abuse of trust throughout the financial industries: its magnitude, its pervasiveness, and its duration."

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.

Ask and You’re Likely to Get Help

New research shows that people who ask for help are likely to get it. The Business School’s Frank Flynn is coauthor of studies showing that subjects seriously underestimate how many people will be willing to help them if asked and that asking directly is the best approach.

Investor Intuition Is Right: Corporate Leadership and Management Turnover Directly Affect Startup Success Start-up companies with founding and senior management teams sporting greater diversity in experience and functions are more successful more quickly say researchers. It may be consistent with common wisdom, but the authors argue their study helps companies and investors understand just why this is the case. (May 2007)

Is Chest Beating as Good for People as It Is for Primates? Social hierarchies and dominance displays have a valuable place in negotiating cooperation, status, and paths to power, according to Lara Tiedens, associate professor of organizational behavior. One bit of advice: Look big and stare the other guy right in the eye. (March 2007)

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. (March 2009) New Take on Affirmative Action Individuals who oppose affirmative action may do so because they’re more worried about disadvantaging their group than about benefiting a minority group, says researcher Brian Lowery who is developing a new take on affirmative action. (January 2007)

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. (October 2006)

Agents and Recruiters Improve Your Likeability—and Bankability Having someone else sing your praises can take the edge off in interpersonal negotiations where money, position, and status are at stake, says Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer. Not only are you seen as more pleasant when flattering words on your behalf come out of a third party’s mouth, but you’re more likely to get a better salary or contract. (August 2006)

Time IS Money When You’re Paid by the Hour People who are used to being paid by the hour start thinking of time as a commodity almost equal to cash. They can tell you how much it will "cost" them to wash the car or go to a movie. And given the choice, they’re nearly always willing to put in more hours to get more pay say researchers, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Sanford E. DeVoe. (August 2006)

Bureaucracy Contributed to the 9/11 Attacks Prior to 9/11, intelligence information was often stalled or simply ignored because of bureaucracy, says Roderick Kramer. The failures of interagency cooperation described in the 9/11 Commission Report are the same kinds of breakdowns observed in other large and complex bureaucracies. (August 2006)

Keep Main Street Safe for Local Opinions Can grassroots movements be noticed in this era of corporate control and background noise? Professor Hayagreeva Rao studied the emergence of low-power FM radio stations as an example and says when local organizations offer a rich variety of opinions, they can indeed make a dent in the control of larger corporate organizations. (May 2006)

Introducing New Ideas—The Dangers of Mixing Foie Gras and Arugula Categorical boundaries are ideological fault lines in all industries, but particularly in music, food, wine, and art. Innovators who cross those boundaries can be seen as traitors and booed by their audience, says Professor Hayagreeva Rao. (April 2006)

The Necessary Evil of Hierarchies In achievement-oriented democracies, people complain about the inefficiency of top-down-managed organizations, but ultimately they can’t live without them, says Prof. Harold Leavitt. (August 2005)

Discredited "Mozart Effect" Remains Music to American Ears There is no scientific proof that listening to classical music enhances intelligence. Professor Chip Heath has tracked this scientific legend and finds it has grown because problems attract solutions and Americans are obsessed about their children's education. (February 2005)

Good News and Bad for Women's Careers Women across the board seem to be enjoying greater parity with men-except in "good-old-boy companies," where a woman's personal style and needs for work/family balance may clash with organizational expectations, values, and demands. (November 2004)

Even the Furniture Can Affect Business Attitudes Researchers say objects, whether it's a briefcase or a flower pot, can affect the behavior of individuals. Objects that seem to represent a business setting will prime people for a different reaction than more everyday things. (October 2004)

Admitting Missteps May Boost Stock Prices Corporations that accept responsibility for a bad financial year rather than blame external forces may see rewards from the stock market, according to recent research. (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)

Better Decisions Through Teamwork The U.S. Supreme Court benefits from differences of opinions among the justices. Research that included studying how teams make decisions says when a narrow majority exists, pressure of the minority forces the majority to make think with more complexity and to consider diverse evidence. (April 2004)

Failure Is a Key to Understanding Success Studying success has become almost a cottage industry for writers and consultants. Jerker Denrell warns that by not studying failure too, these pundits may present a very skewed picture of what it takes to succeed. (January 2004)

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)

Doing Deals in Tinseltown The Hollywood studio executives ("suits") who decide what movies will be made are often seen as copycats afraid of new ideas. Yet two researchers argue these decision makers are smart, expert at evaluating creativity, and capable of sealing a multimillion dollar deal in a 20-minute meeting. (April 2003)

Scrooge May Really Want to Help Letting people pretend they are supporting worthy causes because there is something in it for them may increase their participation. Researchers say nonprofit organizations need to recognize the wide range of motives behind donations of both money and time. (March 2003)

The Life Cycle of Business is Studied Through Organizational Ecology Glenn R. Carroll and Michael T. Hannan, Princeton University Press, 2000 The Demography of Corporations and Industries is the first book to present the demographic approach to organizational studies in its entirety. It examines the theory, models, methods, and data used in corporate demographic research. Carroll and Hannan explore the processes by which corporate populations change over time, including organizational founding, growth, decline, structural transformation, and mortality. (August 2002)

Make Mine a Microbrew The life cycles of various industries — ranging from airlines and auditing to music recording and newspaper publishing — tell the same paradoxical tale. Increased dominance of large firms actually creates an environment that is hospitable to the entry of smaller, specialist organizations. (August 2002)

Weird Ideas That Work: 11-½ Practices for Promoting, Managing, and Sustaining Innovation Robert I. Sutton, Free Press, 2001 In his latest management book Robert Sutton, professor of organizational behavior (by courtesy) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, shakes readers out of their box, helps them break out of the rut of their past, and see old problems in new ways. (October 2001)

Hot Groups: Seeding Them, Feeding Them, and Using Them to Ignite Your Organization Jean Lipman-Blumen and Harold J. Leavitt, Oxford University Press, May 1999 (Named the best business book of 1999 by the Association of American Publishers.) "A hot group is just what the name is just what the name implies: a lively, overachieving, dedicated group — usually small — whose members are turned on to an exciting and challenging task," say Lipman-Blumen and Leavitt, the Walter Kenneth Kilpatrick Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology, emeritus. (December 1995)