Human Behavior

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The Dandelion Principle: Redesigning Work for the Innovation Economy

People who are “different,” either behaviorally or neurologically, can add significant value to companies. The authors, who studied the practices of innovative organizations and the experience of a Danish company working with people with autism, argue that companies can benefit from adjusting work conditions to embrace the talents of people who “think differently” or have “inspired peculiarities.” “Managing innovation is less about averages and more about understanding outliers,” write the authors.

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The Pitfalls of Using Online and Social Data in Big Data Analysis

Is Twitter a litmus test for how a segment of society is acting — or thinking — at any given moment? Not quite. Striking new research out of Princeton University and the University of North at Carolina Chapel Hill suggests that inferences based on how people use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be reconsidered because these platforms represent skewed samples from which it is difficult to draw accurate conclusions.

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Is Viral Marketing a Myth?

That ideas can go viral is now a given in corporate marketing. But new research suggests the term “viral” marketing does not describe well what happens in the market.

Sharad Goel, senior researcher at Microsoft Research, and fellow researchers wanted to see whether messages spread via social networks virally, “like the common cold, some sort of biological contagion. One person gets infected and their friend gets infected and a friend of their friend gets infected.”
That wasn’t what Goel found.

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Clay Christensen Asks: How Will You Measure Your Life?

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In May, 2012, the New Yorker published an 11-page profile of Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor. The article details his fascination with low-end disruptive products (articulated in his 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma), his Mormon faith, and how good people, like good companies, can lose their way in life. That last topic is the subject of Christensen’s book How Will You Measure Your Life? and his TED talk of the same name.

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“Let Me Come Right Out and Say It: You Cheat”

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”As long as we cheat by only a little bit, we can benefit from cheating and still view ourselves as marvelous human beings,” writes behavioral economist Dan Ariely in his new book “The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie To Everyone — Especially Ourselves.”

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Image courtesy of Flickr user pixbymaia.
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What You Wear Can Influence How You Perform

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New research suggests that clothing can have an effect on our behavior if that clothing has a symbolic meaning and if we have the physical experience of wearing the clothes. Researchers at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University call this “enclothed cognition.”

Image courtesy of Flickr user andysternberg.

How to Become a Better Leader

Good leaders make their work look easy. But the reality is that most have had to work hard on themselves — by managing or compensating for potentially career-limiting traits. To grow as an executive, you need to recognize and manage your strongest tendencies.

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Opportunism Knocks

Complex supply chains with many agents are more prone to problems, and on occasion, to spectacular collapse. Examples from the last few years include the subprime mortgage crisis; the failure of the Peanut Corporation of America; and dioxin-contaminated Irish pork. Without a doubt, today’s complex supply chains are vulnerable to opportunistic behavior leading to sometimes catastrophic failure. But there are five steps managers can take to protect their companies.

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Chip Heath on Making Change Easier

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We all know change is hard -- and so people resist it. Right?

Well, maybe not always. Chip Heath, a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, gave an insightful presentation on that theme earlier this month at the World Innovation Forum conference in New York.

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Morph the Web To Build Empathy, Trust and Sales

We’ve long been able to personalize what information the Internet tells us — but now comes “Web site morphing,” and an Internet that personalizes how we like to be told. For companies, it means that communicating — and selling — will never be the same.

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How to get radical innovations adopted

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A new book explains the surprising extent to which activist communities can influence the adoption of radical innovations.

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Bringing research to the mass market

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Too often, academics' research stays within the ivory tower.  Not so for behavioral economist Dan Ariely, a professor at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab.

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