The Best of This Week
The week’s must-reads for managing in the digital age, curated by the MIT SMR editors.
For Transformative Change, Adapt to New Identities, Not New Tasks
Leaders driving transformation often focus too much on how employees’ tasks will change — but this is less of a hurdle for workers than dealing with the threat to the informal roles they’ve established. Major transitions cause personal disruption along three different dimensions: role adjustment, task learning, and emotional engagement.
Navigating ‘Invisible’ Leadership Transitions
Managers often go through invisible leadership transitions, with additions to the scope of their roles but no changes in their official positions. Survey results show that leaders experience such transitions as 27% more difficult to navigate than formal ones due to a lack of authority, difficulties in communicating effectively, and insufficient opportunities for self-improvement.
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Three Ways to Support AAPI Colleagues and Communities
May is National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and this article offers three key steps leaders and colleagues can take to become better allies to Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Smell Sells: Emerging Olfactory Technologies
Businesses have lacked robust tools to detect, measure, and manage smells in a scientific way — until now. A range of industries could be revolutionized by two emerging branches of digital olfaction technology: one focused on the digital detection and analysis of different odors, and the other on the digital transmission and re-creation of smells.
Who’s Really In Charge Here?
Research has found that perceptions of power in the workplace can factor into people’s responses to situations. But power doesn’t necessarily correspond to official hierarchies. This article explores the six main forms of power — which can overlap: coercive, reward, legitimate, referent, expert, and informational power.
What Else We’re Reading This Week
- Dramatic changes within the life sciences industry present unique opportunities to use AI (Source: MIT SMR)
- Will COVID-19 push science to finally address how poverty and discrimination drive disease? (Source: Nature)
- Six questions to determine whether your workplace’s return-to-office plans are actually safe (Source: The Atlantic)
Quote of the Week:
“The abrupt transition to working full time from home, set against the surreal and terrifying backdrop of a global pandemic, is not telework; it is forced telework. And it’s a far cry from what research recommends.”
— Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, management professor at Université du Québec à Montréal, in “Remote Work Can Be a Lot Better Than This”