Monthly Archives

June 2019

Research Findings

Unstable and unpredictable work schedules are an occupational hazard

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June 17, 2019

The rallying cry for millions of fast food and retail workers is $15 an hour.  But, low pay isn’t the only occupational hazard that baristas, servers, and cashiers face.  These workers also contend with work schedules that are unstable and unpredictable. 

Long gone are the days of 9-5 shift, and so too are even regular night or evening shifts.  Instead, workers contend with schedules that vary from day-to-day and week-to-week often with little advance notice. Workers are required to be on-call – paid if asked to work, but otherwise uncompensated.

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Research Findings

Nonprofit interlocks on corporate boards: Corporate board members on the boards of nonprofit organizations

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June 13, 2019

No one likes to be told what to do, but it happens all the time—even to some of the most powerful people. When powerful people have to comply, what does that mean for the organizations they influence?

We all know what it feels like to be coerced into doing something that makes us uncomfortable. As you consider examples of this, you may go to the extreme and think of a scenario where someone puts a gun to your head and tells you to do something that you never would do otherwise. While a gun to the head is, luckily, very unlikely, there are many settings where we might see forced compliance in our day to day world – including both business and philanthropic settings.

We see this, for example, when watchdog groups or other outside stakeholders (for example, regulatory agencies) mandate certain rules and actions even when the organizational members themselves consider the mandate to be detrimental to their stakeholders. Our motivation for this study was in exploring the performance impact of forced compliance on boardroom actions in corporate and non-profit settings.

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Research Findings

Why should you work with a creative star?

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June 10, 2019

Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton(LV)’s men’s artistic director, and founder of Haute streetwear label Off-White, admits he learned a lot from his LV predecessor, and former mentor, Kim Jones, now creative director for Dior Homme.

The two first met in 2007 when Virgil was a virtual unknown and Kim, a prominent designer renowned for successfully blending high fashion and streetwear. Virgil reflected on his dream of collaborating with Kim, who he had admired for years: “I slept on his couch in a front room in Maida Vale and forced him to teach me stuff; I spent a summer sitting there with him.”

Like every aspiring innovator, Virgil knew that working closely with stars such as Kim would be good for him. Indeed, stories of junior designers learning from creative masters are common in various industries. However, what do you get by working with a creative star beyond fame and connections? And does it actually make you more creative?

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Research Findings

The networks of people who think of quitting their job

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June 6, 2019

Numerous studies have shown that people with large networks who have many friends and work relationships are less likely to quit their job than people who only have small work-related networks. But do people who think of quitting their job change their networks at work? Do they change the people they go to for advice or seek out for help? Do they change their friends? Knowing this is important because after all it may be that people who expect they will be leaving a company give up their network during the months prior to quitting. 

If this is the case it means that many previous studies that have found a connection between network size at time of exit and turnover incorrectly concluded that smaller networks make people leave the organization. Should the explanation behind the relationship between networks and turnover need to be re-written? Indeed, we found in our study that people who were thinking of quitting their job had very different networks from those who were not thinking of quitting. But the results were different from what we expected.

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Research Findings

Collaborative by design? How matrix organizations see/do alliances

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June 3, 2019

Matrix companies such as Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly, General Electric, or PepsiCo are more likely to enter into complex alliances with other companies, because their structure and experience working in a matrix give managers more confidence to collaborate in challenging situations.

Our research shows, however, that the stock market often penalizes these companies for such collaborations because companies take on “double complexity”; that is managing complexity both within the organization and in its alliances.

The matrix organizational structure is designed with multiple links across the company’s customer, functional, geographic, and product groups. You work in a matrix organization if you have more than one boss; for example, you report to both a regional leader and a product leader. Account manager positions and cross-functional teams are typical elements of the matrix design.

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