Archive for the ‘Business & Management’ Category

Corporate sustainability: What it could mean for arms control, climate change, and biosecurity

May 15, 2013

Beyond compliance: Integrating non-proliferation into corporate sustainability

From Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 

Corporate sustainability initiatives – commonly known for reducing accidents in the workplace and making businesses greener – may seem an unlikely deterrent to organizations bent on terror. But experts suggest that a tightly controlled supply chain is key to preventing weapon materials getting into the wrong hands. This paper takes a fresh look at corporate sustainability in a wider, more unconventional context, with authors exploring the topics of nuclear proliferation, biosecurity, and climate change.

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The 2013 annual survey of the delivery and use of business information services and sources in the UK

April 30, 2013


Survey and free podcast

From Business Information Review

The 23rd annual Business Information Survey has been published. This is the longest continuous survey of the delivery and use of business information services and sources in the UK. In addition to the survey a free accompanying podcast has been recorded.  The history of the survey and some of its findings are discussed.


Graduate glut spells underused skills and dissatisfaction for many

April 16, 2013

Shades of grey: Understanding job quality in emerging graduate occupations

From Human Relations

Graduates are taking up jobs that don’t fully use their skills and as a result are causing high turnover for employers, claims this research. The findings raise questions about today’s high throughput in university education. Policy makers in many developed and developing countries envisioned high-value economies supported in part by a highly-skilled and well-paid workforce. As a result, many nations have increased higher education (HE) access, assuming that employers will be able to use this larger bank of skills effectively. However, the number of skilled jobs has not matched the rising number of skilled workers, so that today’s higher qualifications no longer guarantee graduates higher earnings, or further opportunities to use and develop knowledge and skills. Many graduates are now employed in ‘intermediate’ level jobs previously not regarded as graduate jobs. There is now an abundance of evidence that a substantial minority of graduates start their careers in non-graduate low-skill, low-pay occupations. Employment in emerging occupations may imply a step up, but does not compare with traditional graduate

This research forms part of Human Relations special issue on job quality, which features articles, amongst others on, the challenges of job quality, its conceptualization and its impact on individual, firm and national wellbeing, global variations and perceptions, global variations and the relationships between job and work quality.



Science or science fiction? Professionals’ discursive construction of climate change

March 19, 2013

From Organization Studies

Is it possible that modern society’s bitter political divisions over belief in anthropogenic climate change is distracting decision-makers from the far more practical and urgent matter of confronting the risk that it presents, directly or indirectly, to businesses and the economy? Based on a survey of 1,000 professional engineers and geologists in Alberta, this paper suggests this may be so. It examines the different viewpoints these experts hold concerning climate change and possible ways forward. Five frames that differ with regard to the cause of climate change, its implications and impacts, and especially the necessary steps, including regulation, to attend to the problem are identified. The paper also offers insights on the different ways in which adherents of these frames justify their views, legitimate themselves as experts in the matter, and try to mobilize others to support them.

Exploring the link between position within corporations and government and the frames used, the study indicates that those who are more defensive occupy more senior organizational positions and are much closer to decision-making than pro-regulation activists. Despite the current scientific dissension, declining public interest and political intransigence, the paper concludes by outlining an opportunity to ‘broker’ dissention between these groups.


Digital workplaces: Vision and reality

March 6, 2013

From Business Information Review

The last decade has seen some significant changes to the IT landscape. It has been a period where developments in consumer technology have had a major impact on enterprise technology. The most obvious example is mobile technology. However, the working environment has changed very little over the last decade and companies are now beginning to consider how they can provide better support for the next generation of knowledge workers. Employees these days want to work hard, from home or the office, using social networks and cloud applications to get the job done. This article provides an overview of the development of the concept of digital workplaces and sets out user requirements that a digital workplace has to meet.


Facebook “Likes” a good indicator of quality hospital care

March 5, 2013

Do Patients “Like” Good Care? Measuring Hospital Quality via Facebook

From American Journal of Medical Quality

While those active on social media aren’t shy about expressing opinions on their Facebook pages, how much do their “Likes” really reflect the quality of an organization? This study found that Facebook “Likes” were indeed an indicator of hospital quality and patient satisfaction. Researchers compared the 30-day mortality rates and hospital patron recommendations to the number of “Likes” on the hospitals’ Facebook pages from 40 hospitals near New York, NY. They found that Facebook “Likes” were positively associated with patient recommendations and that a one percentage point decrease in the 30-day mortality rate corresponded with almost 93 more Facebook “Likes.”

In addition to these findings, the researchers also found that teaching hospitals had a lower number of Facebook “Likes” than traditional hospitals, despite the fact that the staff at teaching hospitals is younger and predicted to be more active on Facebook. “Any hospital can start a Facebook page, but those with higher levels of quality and patient satisfaction are more likely to attract “Likes” to their page” wrote the authors. “Public health researchers and hospitals can use facebook “Likes” as a proxy for hospital quality and patient satisfaction.”


Reinventing retirement: New pathways, new arrangements, new meanings

January 23, 2013

Special issue and podcast

From Human Relations

This special issue outlines the historical and social context of retirement as a concept and identifies some of the most dramatic broad-based forces of change that in recent years have shaken this established construct to its core. Retirement involves a set of institutional arrangements combined with socio-cultural meanings to sustain a distinct retirement phase in life course and career pathways. The articles outline that recent forces of change may lead to reinvention of retirement. There are factors that must be recognized as having a significant impact such as the fact that life expectancy and health status of adults over 60 has increased dramatically in recent years. Reinvention could involve change to one or more of the institutional arrangements supporting retirement. New financial risks and uncertainties loom large, as national and corporate pension arrangements are reconfigured to deal with ongoing financial turmoil. The special issue considers the future of retirement and emphasises that understanding how retirement pathways are changing, and what is influencing them will remain a challenging research task. Institutional changes will be important, but are far from the only influences.


Climate change and the emergence of new organizational landscapes

December 11, 2012

Special Issue

From Organization Studies

Climate change for many is a critical issue. There appears to be a general consensus among the countries that constitute the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that a 2° Celsius warming of the planet will have dangerous, perhaps even catastrophic, consequences. More than 20 years after climate change was recognized as a critical problem, efforts to address it show a record of failure. Despite high-level efforts by states under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, there is still no legally binding agreement to effectively cut carbon dioxide emissions globally.

This special issue recognizes that climate change is not just an environmental problem requiring technical and managerial solutions; it is a political issue where a variety of organizations – state agencies, firms, industry associations, NGOs and multilateral organizations – engage in contestation as well as collaboration over the issue. Given the urgency of the problem and the need for a rapid transition to a low-carbon economy, there is a pressing need for organization scholars to develop a better understanding of apathy and inertia in the face of the current crisis and to identify paths toward transformative change. The seven papers in this special issue examine strategies, discourses, identities and practices in relation to climate change at multiple levels.


Female employees benefit from a male CEO’s generosity when he becomes a father, particularly if the first child is a girl

December 5, 2012

Fatherhood and managerial style: How a male ceo’s children affect the wages of his employees

From Administrative Science Quarterly

Motivated by research suggesting that the transition to fatherhood influences a man’s values, this study examined how a male CEO’s newborn child affects the wages of his employees. It used the Database for Labor Market Research (IDA) as the source of data. The IDA contains demographic information on all firms, plants, and individuals in the Danish economy. The research found evidence not only that a male CEO generally pays his employees less generously after fathering a child, but also that this effect is moderated by the gender of the child as well as that of the employee. In particular, a male CEO pays both his female and male employees more generously after the birth of his first daughter and he pays his female employees more generously after the birth of his first child. Thus a female employee benefits doubly from the birth to her CEO of a first daughter who is also the CEO’s first child. It was revealed tmale CEOs tend to pay themselves more after fathering a child, especially if the child is a son. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that a male CEO tends to husband more resources for his own growing family after fathering a child as well as with the hypotheses that the first child activates the CEO’s generosity toward women and that the first daughter activates his generosity toward everyone. The study provides robust, albeit indirect, evidence that social preferences do play an important role in economic life. Future research could focus on different outcome variables, such as investment and acquisition behavior, diversification, competitive strategy, organizational culture, other human resources activities (e.g., hiring, promotion, and termination), and managerial cognition, as well as how a manager might anticipate changes to a competitor’s strategy as a result of changes to the family structure of the competitor’s CEO.


Top executives’ team spirit affects whole business

November 6, 2012

How top management team behavioural integration can impact employee work outcomes: Theory development and first empirical tests

From Human Relations

Effective teamwork among an organization’s top management makes employees happier and more productive, with positive benefits to the organization. This research surveyed business theory and put it to the test empirically, showing that top management’s behavior does trickle down. Does effective teamwork in an organization’s top management team (TMT) matter to employees? The Authors gathered data from employees, TMT members, and human resource (HR) representatives of 63 organizations, They aimed to test the hypothesis that TMT behavioral integration increases organizational-level productive energy. They also aimed to find out whether organizational-level productive energy improves employee job satisfaction, and on the other side, reduces employee turnover intention. Finally, they hypothesized that organizational-level productive energy mediates both the positive relationship between behavioral integration and employee job satisfaction. Finding suggest that TMT’s “teamness”, indicated by the level of behavioral integration and how this might impact an organization’s productive energy and employees’ job satisfaction and turnover intention, is an important contribution to the field. The authors observe “Even though TMTs may assume that their behavior inside the executive suite is not visible to employees, or reason that teamwork is for everyone except the executive team, a TMT that actually works as a team can confer important advantages upon the entire organization.”


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