TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Want to learn how things really work at your new job? Talk to the people at the bottom

New research shows that people of all ranks look to low-level peers for information about organizational social norms.

What are typical work hours here?

Do teammates do things together outside work?

If I have an idea for changing something, what's the best way to raise it?

Those are questions a new member of any organizational team might have.

How they get those questions answered has been a topic of interest to Dale T. Miller, Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) professor of organizational behavior; Jennifer Dannals, who received her PhD from Stanford GSB in 2018 and is now an assistant professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth; and Emily Reit, a current Stanford GSB doctoral student.

"A common assumption is that people just copy the behavior of the highest-ranking leaders in a group, rather than paying attention to anyone else," Dannals says. "That's always rubbed me the wrong way, partly because I hadn't done that as a PhD student within the academic hierarchy. I believed lower-ranked people matter more in our perceptions of social norms."

Continued here


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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Jaw-dropping study: Executives who manipulate earnings are hired for their lack of ethics

Your bad boss may be that way for a reason.

As a journalist who has interviewed hundreds of top CEOs, I can report that many of them are not overflowing with humanity. Now we may know why: In an eye-opening peek into the business of evil, a new study in the Journal of Business Ethics finds that companies purposely hire people with unsavory personality traits when earnings manipulations are in order.

Researchers from universities in four states conducted a trio of experiments studying executive hiring under various organizational earnings demands. They found that, yes indeed, when companies need to report earnings that stray from reality, no, they don't hire a CFO with super strong ethical foundations. They hire executives with "dark" personalities that are weak on ethics and strong on narcissistic traits. "Our research found that this is often no accident," said coauthor Nick Seybert, an accounting professor at the University of Maryland, in a news release.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why

The head of a large division of a multinational corporation was running a meeting devoted to performance assessment. Each senior manager stood up, reviewed the individuals in his group, and evaluated them for promotion. Although there were women in every group, not one of them made the cut. One after another, each manager declared, in effect, that every woman in his group didn't have the self-confidence needed to be promoted. The division head began to doubt his ears. How could it be that all the talented women in the division suffered from a lack of self-confidence?

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