Leadership & Management: Character & Values

61 Results

 

Eyes Shut: The Consequences of Not Noticing

In his new book The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See, Max Bazerman explains how and why many leaders fail to notice critical information in their midst. Open for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Does ‘Could’ Lead to Good? Toward a Theory of Moral Insight

When people encounter difficult ethical challenges, research has shown, they generally ask themselves the question, "What should I do?" Organizations, too, frame the principles to guide managerial conduct in terms of "should." Despite the pervasiveness of having a "should" mindset when confronting moral dilemmas, however, the authors of this paper argue that a significant class of ethical challenges, often overlooked in efforts to understand misconduct, benefit from the application of unconventional thinking. When encountering ethical dilemmas, shifting one's mindset from "What should I do?" to "What could I do?" generates moral insight, defined as the realization that ostensibly competing values are not entirely incompatible. Moral insight allows for exploration of more possible solutions beyond the apparent constraints of the problem provided, and for the formulation of creative solutions that satisfy multiple moral imperatives. Although our natural inclination is to contemplate dilemmas with a "should" mindset, the authors argue that adopting a "could" mindset opens a broader range of possibilities and brings us one step closer to moral insight. Read More

Morality Rebooted: Exploring Simple Fixes to Our Moral Bugs

Although scholars know far more now than they used to about the conditions under which individuals are likely to behave, current understandings are still primarily descriptive. This paper responds to the challenge of advancing knowledge of unethical behavior from largely descriptive research to a framework aimed to reduce or even eliminate unethical behavior in organizations. The goal is twofold: First, the authors identify approaches to mitigating unethical behavior based on empirical evidence from existing research in moral psychology and behavioral ethics. Second, they develop a framework for evaluating different strategies with prescriptive recommendations on how to reduce unethical behaviors. Overall they find that ethical fixes emerge in two broad categories: values-oriented and structure-oriented approaches. Values-oriented approaches shift people's preferences to be moral, whereas structure-oriented approaches seek to design incentives, decisions, and tasks such that the unethical option is less tempting. Based on theory and empirical findings, the authors propose that adopting both values-oriented and structure-oriented approaches mitigates the risk of adverse effects from one strategy taken from a single approach. Read More

Managing the Family Business: Firing the CEO

Firing a CEO is never easy—but the task gets even more difficult in a family business. John A. Davis discusses when to change out the chief executive. Open for comment; 13 Comments posted.

Private Sector, Public Good

What role, if any, does business have in creating social good? A new seminar series at Harvard Business School tackles this complex question. Open for comment; 11 Comments posted.

Lessons from the Lance Armstrong Cheating Scandal

Clayton S. Rose's recent case study looks at the behavior of teammates who were swept up in Lance Armstrong's cheating scandal. When do followers need to break away from their leader? Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: The Good Struggle: Responsible Leadership in an Unforgiving World

In a turbulent, sometimes dangerous world, responsible leaders need a broader view of critical decisions. An excerpt from Joseph L. Badaracco's new book. Read More

Responsible Leadership in an Unforgiving World

In a provocative new book, Joseph Badaracco argues that our world is increasingly characterized by struggle—for labor, technology, funds, and partners. Leaders who embrace that struggle can also reap its rewards. Closed for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Firm Competitiveness and Detection of Bribery

Bribery is widespread around the world, illegal, detrimental to economic progress and social stability, and at the same time it can have clear economic benefits for a firm. While the benefits of bribery for a firm, through acquisition of contracts or avoidance of government bureaucracy, are intuitive and well documented, the costs after detection are less well understood. In this paper the author examines how the impact on firm competitiveness from the detection of bribery varies with the identity of the initiator, the method bribery was detected, and the firm's response after detection. All three dimensions are significantly associated with the impact on firm competitiveness. In addition, the data suggest that the most significant impact is on employee morale, followed by business relations and reputation, and then regulatory relations. Read More

From McRibs to Maseratis: The Power of Scarcity Marketing

In the new book Happy Money: the Science of Smarter Spending, behavioral economists Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton describe how money can buy happiness—but only if we spend it the right way. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

How CEOs Sustain Higher-Ambition Goals

At a recent conference, executives underscored the importance of employee engagement, contributing to the community, and creating sustainable environment strategies. Closed for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Penn State Lesson: Today’s Cover-Up was Yesterday’s Opportunity

While leaders may rationalize that a cover-up protects the interests of their organizations, the inevitable damage harms their institutions far more than acknowledging a mistake, says professor Bill George. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Book Excerpt: ‘The Strategist’

It's time for CEOs to start reclaiming strategy as a key executive responsibility, argues Cynthia A. Montgomery in her new book, The Strategist. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Why Is Trust So Hard to Achieve in Management?

Summing Up There are many reasons for the trust gap between employees and management—but also many ways to bridge the divide, according to Jim Heskett's readers. What do YOU think? Closed for comment; 108 Comments posted.

When Business Competition Harms Society

In highly competitive markets, many firms are likely to bend the rules if doing so will keep their customers from leaving for a rival, according to new research by professor Michael W. Toffel and colleagues. Case in point: service stations that cheat on auto emissions testing. Open for comment; 10 Comments posted.

Clayton Christensen’s “How Will You Measure Your Life?”

World-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen explores the personal benefits of business research in the forthcoming book How Will You Measure Your Life? Coauthored with James Allworth and Karen Dillon, the book explains how well-tested academic theories can help us find meaning and happiness not just at work, but in life. Open for comment; 75 Comments posted.

Occupy Wall Street Protestors Have a Point

The concerns of the Occupy Wall Street movement are not far different from what business leaders have told professors Joseph L. Bower, Herman B. Leonard, and Lynn S. Paine. Closed for comment; 16 Comments posted.

Behavioral Ethics: Toward a Deeper Understanding of Moral Judgment and Dishonesty

What makes even good people cross ethical boundaries? Society demands that business and professional schools address ethics, but the results have been disappointing. This paper argues that a behavioral approach to ethics is essential because it leads to understanding and explaining moral and immoral behavior in systematic ways. The authors first define business ethics and provide an admittedly biased history of the attempts of professional schools to address ethics as a subject of both teaching and research. They next briefly summarize the emergence of the field of behavioral ethics over the last two decades, and turn to recent research findings in behavioral ethics that could provide helpful directions for a social science perspective to ethics. These new findings on both intentional and unintentional unethical behavior can inform new courses on ethics as well as new research investigations. Such new directions can meet the demands of society more effectively than past attempts of professional schools. They can also produce a meaningful and significant change in the behavior of both business school students and professionals. Read More

Are Creative People More Dishonest?

In a series of studies, Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely found that inherently creative people tend to cheat more than noncreative people. Furthermore, they showed that inducing creative behavior tends to induce unethical behavior. It's a sobering thought in a corporate culture that champions out-of-the-box thinking. Closed for comment; 87 Comments posted.

High Ambition Leadership

Higher-ambition business leaders skillfully integrate both economic and social value. Professor Emeritus Michael Beer explains what makes them special, and how you can learn what they know, in his new book, Higher Ambition: How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value. Q&A plus book excerpt. Closed for comment; 3 Comments posted.

The Power of Leadership Groups for Staying on Track

Twenty-first-century organizations are breaking with traditional command-and-control hierarchies to develop a new generation of values-centered leadership, argues Professor Bill George, author of True North. The best way to get there? True North Groups. Open for comment; 5 Comments posted.

Rupert Murdoch and the Seeds of Moral Hazard

Harvard Business School faculty Michel Anteby, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Robert Steven Kaplan explore the moral, ethical, and leadership issues behind Rupert Murdoch's News of the World fiasco. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Why Leaders Lose Their Way

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is just the latest in a string of high-profile leaders making the perp walk. What went wrong, and how can we learn from it? Professor Bill George discusses how powerful people lose their moral bearings. To stay grounded executives must prepare themselves to confront enormous complexities and pressures. Closed for comment; 77 Comments posted.

Signing at the Top: The Key to Preventing Tax Fraud?

In filling out self-reported documents such as tax forms, we declare the information truthful with our signature, but usually we sign at the end of the form. Researchers Francesca Gino and Lisa Shu discuss whether governments and companies can bolster honesty simply by moving the honesty pledge and signature line to the top of the form, before people encounter the opportunity to cheat. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

Blind Spots: We’re Not as Ethical as We Think

Even when we think we are making principled decisions, recent research reveals we are not as ethical as we would like to believe. Professor Max H. Bazerman discusses his new book, Blind Spots: Why We Fail to Do What's Right and What to Do about It. Plus: Book excerpt. Open for comment; 12 Comments posted.

Memory Lane and Morality: How Childhood Memories Promote Prosocial Behavior

Little Damien from The Omen notwithstanding, we generally associate childhood with goodness, purity, and innocence. This paper investigates whether feelings of moral purity can be triggered by reminding adults of their childhoods, and whether this can help to induce kind and philanthropic behavior both in social settings and in the workplace. Research was conducted by Harvard Business School professor Francesca Gino and Sreedhari D. Desai of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Read More

The Importance of ‘Don’t’ in Inducing Ethical Employee Behavior

In a new study, HBS professors Francesca Gino and Joshua D. Margolis look at two ways that companies can encourage ethical behavior: the promotion of good deeds or the prevention of bad deeds. It turns out that employees tend to act more ethically when focused on what not to do. That can be problematic in firms where success is commonly framed in terms of advancement of positive outcomes rather than prevention of bad ones. Open for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Terror at the Taj

Under terrorist attack, employees of the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower bravely stayed at their posts to help guests. A new multimedia case by Harvard Business School professor Rohit Deshpandé looks at the hotel's customer-centered culture and value system. Closed for comment; 0 Comments posted.

Creating Leaders: An Ontological Model

HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen and coauthors have created an ontological approach to creating leaders in which leadership emerges through spontaneous and intuitive natural self-expression. Read More

Mindful Leadership: When East Meets West

Harvard Business School professor William George is fusing Western understanding about leadership with Eastern wisdom about the mind to develop leaders who are self-aware and self-compassionate. An interview about his recent Mindful Leadership conference taught with a Buddhist meditation master. Closed for comment; 33 Comments posted.

How Transparent Should Boards Be?

Summing Up: When should boards fire CEOs? How transparent should boards be? Jim Heskett's readers are divided as they look at the HP/Mark Hurd case. What do you think? (Online forum has closed; next forum opens October 8.) Closed for comment; 50 Comments posted.

Just Say No to Wall Street: Putting A Stop to the Earnings Game

Over the last decade, companies have struggled to meet analysts' expectations. Analysts have challenged the companies they covered to reach for unprecedented earnings growth, and executives have often acquiesced to analysts' increasingly unrealistic projections, adopting them as a basis for setting goals for their organizations. As Monitor Group cofounder Joseph Fuller and HBS professor emeritus Michael C. Jensen write, improving future relations between Main Street and Wall Street and putting an end to the destructive "earnings game" between analysts and executives will require a new approach to disclosure based on a few simple rules of engagement. (This article originally appeared in the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance in the Winter 2002 issue.) Read More

Integrity: Without It Nothing Works

"An individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honour their word," says HBS professor Michael C. Jensen in this interview that appeared in Rotman: The Magazine of the Rotman School of Management, Fall 2009. Jensen (and his coauthors, Werner Erhard and Steve Zaffron) define and discuss integrity ("a state or condition of being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, in perfect condition"); the workability that integrity creates for individuals, groups, organizations, and society; and its translation into organizational performance. He also discusses the costs of lacking integrity and the fallacy of using a cost/benefit analysis when deciding whether to honor your word. Read More

Transforming Giants

A new type of 21st century company is emerging that is transforming how business is conducted. These are values-driven companies that define a core set of values and rely on these values in making all strategic decisions. Read More

7 Lessons for Navigating the Storm

Leading in crisis requires a combination of skills and behaviors—personal and professional—that can be mastered, says HBS professor Bill George. A crisis, difficult as it is, also presents an opportunity to develop and grow. Q&A and excerpt from 7 Lessons for Leading in Crisis. Read More

Can the “Masks of Command” Coexist with Authentic Leadership?

Summing up. "Instructors seek case studies that provoke discussion on both sides of an issue and raise many questions. We seem to have found such an issue this month," says Professor Jim Heskett, reviewing nearly 80 insightful comments. (Online forum now closed; next forum begins November 4.) Closed for comment; 79 Comments posted.

SuperCorp: Values as Guidance System

In her new book SuperCorp, professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter details how vanguard companies such as IBM, Cemex, and Omron are rewriting the nature of the business enterprise and how firms will gain sustainable prosperity in the 21st century. Read our excerpt. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Career & Life Balance

Achieving a life that balances the pleasures and demands of work and life has never been easy. Here are four HBS Working Knowledge stories from the archives that address everything from spirituality in leadership to understanding when "just enough" is truly enough. Read More

The Inner Life of Leaders

"Even when leaders try to hide and disguise their character, their traits are recognizable to others," says HBS professor emeritus Abraham Zaleznik. His new book, Hedgehogs and Foxes: Character, Leadership, and Command in Organizations, explores the internal complexities of people in control. Plus: Book excerpt. Read More

Teaching The Moral Leader

In The Moral Leader course at Harvard Business School, students exchange their business management case studies to discuss some of the great protagonists in literature. Professor Sandra Sucher discusses how we all can find our own definition of moral leadership. Read More

Six Steps for Reinvigorating America

In the early stages of the 21st century, America has lost its way both at home and in the world, argues Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. In her new book, America the Principled, she details 6 opportunities for America to boost its economic vitality and democratic ideals. Q&A plus excerpt. Read More

The Authentic Leader

Podcast: The best leaders are not the "follow me over the hill" type, says Professor Bill George. Rather, they're the people who lead from the heart as well as the head, and whose leadership style springs from their fundamental character and values. George discusses his new book True North, co-written with Peter Sims. Read More

On Managing with Bobby Knight and “Coach K”

Bobby Knight and Mike Krzyzewski are arguably the two most successful college basketball coaches in the country. But their leadership styles could not be more different. Professor Scott Snook wonders: Is it better to be loved or feared? Read More

Resisting the Seductions of Success

"The basic problem with the flow of success is that life can look very good when it really isn't," writes Harvard Business School's Joseph L. Badaracco Jr. His new book, Questions of Character, uses literature to look closely at issues of leadership. Here's an excerpt. Read More

Deep Links: Business School Students’ Perceptions of the Role of Law and Ethics in Business

The researchers spent more than a year eliciting twelve MBA students' thoughts and feelings about the role of law in starting and running a U.S. business. This research offers new insights into the ongoing debate about how best to educate the business leaders of tomorrow. More than a standalone course in business law or ethics, it would be wise for educators to use an approach that treats the role of law and business in the broader context of societal needs and norms. Read More

Corporate Values and Employee Cynicism

A values-driven organization poses unique risks for its leaders—in particular, charges of hypocrisy if the leaders make a mistake. Sandra Cha of McGill University and Amy Edmondson of Harvard Business School discuss what to do when values backfire. Read More

How to Put Meaning Back into Leading

When research on leadership pays more attention to financial results than a person's ability to give the company a sense of purpose, something crucial is lost. Three Harvard Business School scholars are working to change the debate. A Q&A with Joel M. Podolny, Rakesh Khurana, and Marya Hill-Popper. Read More

Becoming an Ethical Negotiator

Think you negotiate fairly? Harvard Business School professor Michael Wheeler and colleague Carrie Menkel-Meadow have co-edited a new book, What’s Fair: Ethics for Negotiators. Here’s a Q&A. Read More

Sharing the Responsibility of Corporate Governance

Is business malfeasance always the board's fault? HBS professor Constance Bagley argues that everyone has a stake in ethical behavior and moral reasoning. Read More

What It Takes to Restore Trust in Business

What’s still wrong with American business? Start with pervasive conflicts of interest and the limits of enforcement. Read More

How the U.S. Army Develops Leaders

Leadership development in the U.S. Army has ramifications beyond American borders. In this e-mail interview, HBS professor Scott A. Snook, a retired Army colonel, describes how military leaders grow. Plus: Book excerpt Read More

At the Center of Corporate Scandal Where Do We Go From Here?

What’s at the heart of recent corporate misdeeds and scandals? Harvard Business School Dean Kim B. Clark looks at the causes and the potential remedies needed to restore public trust in institutions of business. Read More

Fixing Corporate Governance: A Roundtable Discussion at Harvard Business School

Bad business practices on a huge scale have made corporate governance Topic A of late. In a roundtable discussion, Harvard Business School professors Krishna Palepu, Jay Lorsch, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Nancy Koehn, Brian Hall, and Paul Healy explore guidelines for change. Read More

Where Morals and Profits Meet: The Corporate Value Shift

Although recent headlines focus on business boondoggles, HBS professor Lynn S. Paine's research shows a rising standard of corporate performance that includes moral and financial dimensions. In an interview, she details this trend and her new book, Value Shift. Read More

Bringing the Master Passions to Work

Ambition, envy, self-deception. These "master passions" are everywhere, say HBS professor Nitin Nohria and the University of Toronto's Mihnea C. Moldoveanu, co-authors of Master Passions: Emotion, Narrative, and the Development of Culture. In this excerpt, they describe what master passions mean for you. Read More

Does Spirituality Drive Success?

Is there a place for spirituality in the workplace? Executives from Silicon Valley to Boston tell how they twine their business leadership with religious and personal values. Read More

The Quiet Leader—and How to Be One

Think of a business leader and who comes to mind? A brash type like Jack Welch? But real leaders solve tough problems in all kinds of ways, and often quietly, says Harvard Business School's Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr. Read More

Machiavelli, Morals, and You

What do a butler and a prince know about leadership? A lot more than you would think, as MBA students in Harvard Business School’s course The Moral Leader find out. Here is how they use great literature to become better leaders.
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Why Leaders Need Great Books

How do leaders get to be leaders? HBS professor Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.'s remarkable course uses works of literature instead of case studies to teach leadership. Find out what’s on his reading list. Read More