How the human drive to belong can help organizations

Interesting research published in a just-released book “Ancestors and Relatives” by Eviatar Zerubavel contains really important lessons for all of us charged with putting teams together, generating ‘engagement’ or wanting to stem the attrition of valuable people.

The book details the human drive to find community and, more importantly, “social identities.” For example between the  1960 and 1980 US census the American Indian population rose from 524 million to 1.3 million.… [read more]

Power linked to poor decision making

Power makes people make bad decisions according to a research paper published today. Powerful people overestimate their own knowledge and this leads to bad decision making. There is a lovely quote from one of the researchers:

Power is an elixir, a self-esteem enhancing drug that surges through the brain telling you how great your ideas are.

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The problem with “diversity”

Nearly all organizations espouse diversity and, depending on who you talk to, do or do not have it. The problem, as UCLA researchers have found, is that the word, like so many generalizations, means different things to different people.

What people see as diverse depends, according to the researchers, on people’s “social dominance orientation” (essentially how open they are to change).… [read more]

What future possibilities do our grandchildren face?

The youth unemployment in the UK (and probably in the US as well) is over 22% and rising according to a study published today by the Economic and Social Research Council. The reason for this is what the study calls a ‘double penalty.’ They are the first to get laid off when a firm downsizes and they do not have the experience and the skills to easily get another job.… [read more]

Who makes the best decisions?

The genetics and neurochemistry of decision making is a highly controversial area but one which will become very relevant as science makes it possible to genetically and neurobiologically identify the right person to handle certain types of high-level decisions (a CFO or CEO for example).… [read more]

Why are some people better at making decisions than others?

Now a study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B has shown that carriers of a certain gene—MAOA-L—are better at making financial decisions in conditions of risk. Perhaps it means that, as with hunter-gatherer tribes’ council of elders, organizations need a system whereby major decisions are not made by a single person.… [read more]

The high price of low cost manufacturing

A lot has been written about the benefits and problems flowing from globalization, but until now little hard research has been done as to how the loss of manufacturing jobs has actually affected people generally in “developed” countries. Now a study by MIT researchers has, at last, some answers.… [read more]

There is no such thing as a rational decision

Another neuroscientific nail has been hammered into the coffin of rational decision making. Researchers at Oxford University have been studying what is called prediction error to show that we do not base our estimates of the likely outcome of any decision based on facts.… [read more]