Big chairs create big cheats — Andy Yap

MIT Sloan Lecturer Andy Yap

MIT Sloan Lecturer Andy Yap

From Harvard Business Review

The research: In a series of experiments, Andy Yap and his colleagues examined the impact that people’s ergonomic environments had on their ethics. The studies tested whether being put into an expansive or a contracted posture would affect people’s honesty. The results showed that subjects in larger workspaces and seats, which encouraged expansive postures, were more likely than other subjects to pocket, rather than return, an overpayment for participating in the study, to cheat on a test, and to break the rules in a driving simulation game.

The challenge: Is the boss a jerk because of the size of his chair? Is that guy running a red light because he’s in a giant SUV? Professor Yap, defend your research.

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Schools can help spark change required to address world crises — Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Otto Scharmer

From the Financial Times

Today, we are in an age of disruption. Global crises challenge just about every aspect of society – finance, food, fuel, water, resources, poverty. The list goes on and on.

Yet this disruption brings with it the possibility of profound personal, societal and global renewal. We need to stop and ask ourselves why we collectively create results that nobody wants? What keeps us locked into the old ways of operating? And, perhaps most importantly, what can we do at a societal level, but specifically in business schools, to transform these patterns so that we are no longer locked in the past?

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Going Outside of Comfort Zones to Bridge Silos — Ray Reagans

MIT Sloan Prof. Ray Reagans

Silos are fairly common things in large organizations. While bridging those silos can lead to innovation and increased productivity, making those connections can be a tough thing to do. It’s easier to develop networks within the familiar silos than reach out to people in disparate areas.

And even if you do decide to reach out to new people, who do you select and from how many departments? It’s not like you can say you will have strong ties only with people who matter because you don’t know who those people will be and, even if you do know, there will be so many of them that you still will have to make choices.

In research focused on this issue, I studied the knowledge transfer relationships among several hundred scientists and found that when it comes to creating the right network for facilitating knowledge transfer, not all networks are equal. Read More »

Don’t be a zombie organization — Steven Spear

MIT Sloan Lecturer Steven Spear

From Huffington Post 

Zombies are all the entertainment rage. They’re terrifying, but only if there is a mass of them in pursuit. Mindless, they keep coming despite the flame-thrower and Gatling gun fired at them. They are easy targets once they reveal themselves.

Facing them are our human heroes.  Outnumbered, they nevertheless prevail because they are agile and constantly learning. They adapt as they assess situations—seeing problems, developing new schemes—solving problems, to clobber the zombie hoards.

It’s not just TV that has plodding zombies massed against agile, adaptive people. Organizations also display either zombie or agile hero qualities. In zombie organizations, engineers, doctors, nurses, mechanics or managers encounter problems like missing information, missing documentation, unclear assignments, missing materials or even missing colleagues. Yet, not really seeing them as abnormalities, they don’t solve them, unrelenting when something is amiss, not pausing to investigate and develop solutions. Read More »

Innovating Beyond GDP — Otto Scharmer

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Otto Scharmer

Ask almost any economist or government official about how they measure a nation’s progress and they are likely to answer with three letters: GDP, or gross domestic product. But just as there is growing disenchantment with the way we currently run our economies, there is also now mounting discontent with GDP as the main and sometimes only indicator of social and economic progress.  That’s why I am partnering with others to launch the Global Wellbeing & Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab to explore new ways of measuring and implementing well-being and progress in societies around the world. Read More »