Mistakes occur more frequently than we’d like. And generally, when they happen, we often don’t go about advertising them to others. But companies can benefit from letting consumers know when they make mistakes with a product. Consumers perceive these products as more unique, because they think mistakes in product creation are more improbable than there being no mistakes. And the perceived rarity of mistakes increases their value.
To explore the preference for products made by mistake, we conducted a series of experimental studies and examined market sales data. In our fir [...]
Transforming a school is a long, hard, and often lonely task. Some people want change, others don’t, and some simply aren’t prepared to wait for results to show. As a school leader sets off on this journey, how do they know what to do, when to do it, who to listen to, and how to manage critics along the way?
Our study of the actions and impact of 411 leaders of UK academies found that only 62 of them managed their turnaround successfully and sustainably transformed their school. While other leaders managed to create a school that looked good while they were there, but then went bac [...]
Paul Garbett for HBR
It’s become a popular explanation for the gender-wage gap: Women are less likely than men to self-advocate for a pay raise. It has an appealing logic. If we can get women to negotiate more like men, then the gap will shrink. This is in part why there has been a surge in negotiation trainings for women. For example, in 2015, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh launched a five-year partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to offer free salary negotiation workshops to women in the city of Boston. These trainings are now offered across the nation.
Many employers are paying more and more attention to the well-being of their employees and to how they perceive their current jobs, especially because employee satisfaction is associated with important work-related outcomes such as organizational commitment and job performance, as well as with lower levels of turnover and absenteeism. But what role do unions, historically advocates for the well-being of workers, play in promoting employee happiness? The relationship between union membership and job satisfaction is still disputed vigorously among scholars. Many of the early studies suggest [...]
Conflicts over federal government spending have been a defining feature of 21st-century American politics. It is not surprising that a general uptick in opposition to spending should follow a global economic crisis like the Great Recession. But the dynamics of the conflict are curious — in particular, fierce critiques of spending have come from areas of the U.S. that rely more heavily on federal money.
In a paper recently published in American Politics Research, we document and analyze this phenomenon, which we call the federal spending paradox. We began by calculating each state’s [...]
Don’t underestimate the importance of basic competence. [...]
When new managers and their employees meet for the first time, they begin to forge their working relationship, which will be a crucial factor in how they both experience work, how much they trust each other, and how effectively they can work together. You may have a direct report that you hold in high regard, whom you give the most important tasks to, and spend the most time mentoring. You may have another direct report whom you see as a drag on the team, give fewer opportunities to, and are less effective working with. The first few months of working together with any given employee is especi [...]
It’s the time of year when many employees are cashing in their vacation allotment, and it can sometimes seem like no one is in the office. But rather than bemoan how hard it is to get stuff done during vacation season, recent research and corporate experiments suggest that there might not be enough employees taking time off — and even if they are taking time off, they should be taking more of it. There’s an upward trend in employers offering their people more long-term vacations and sabbaticals, and the evidence suggests that everyone benefits.
While sabbaticals are stil [...]
In 2013 an activist investor criticized the board at ConMed for a “culture of nepotism, patronage, and dystopian corporate governance.” Director Stephen Mandia, who had served on the board for 12 years, departed shortly after. Two other directors stayed on the board but picked up additional board seats at other firms within the year. When Baker Hughes and Halliburton were both downgraded by equity analysts following an Obama administration oil drilling ban in 2010, several of their long-serving directors decamped to take up seats at other firms. What these examples suggest is that [...]
Since the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, concerns over the circulation of “fake” news and other unverified digital content have intensified. As people have grown to rely on social media as a news source, there has been considerable debate about its role in aiding the spread of misinformation. Much recent attention has centered around putting fact-checking filters in place, as false claims often persist in the public consciousness even after they are corrected.
We set out to test how the context in which we process information affects our willingness to verify ambiguous claims. Re [...]
Tax evasion is a key societal challenge and causes considerable losses in government revenue. In the U.S., these losses are estimated to be about $500 billion, roughly the size of the federal government’s annual deficit.
How can we ensure that people report their income correctly? The classic approach to reducing tax evasion is to increase the probability of being detected and to increase penalties. However, if people are motivated by a desire to do the right thing, moral appeals could also contribute to increased tax compliance. In a new study, we show that moral motivation is impo [...]
Paul Garbett for HBR
Risk taking by big U.S. banks exploded in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, with disastrous consequences for American firms, markets, and households. Much of the added risk, of course, came in the form of complex, opaque financial instruments like derivatives, the “financial weapons of mass destruction” that played such a central role in the crisis and the panic that followed.
But why did banks get in so deep with derivatives, particularly after Washington tried to crack down on risk with new laws and regulations in the early 2000s? In [...]