Angie Basiouny’s picture

By: Angie Basiouny

When Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell first came to the U.S. from England in the 1990s, he was struck by the dogged American work ethic.

“It was a culture that was much more organized around work than in the UK,” he recalls. “When I was growing up, there wasn’t quite the same heroism about long hours.” He adds that workaholics in Britain were regarded as people who needed to get their priorities in order.

“Work gives us a sense of meaning and accomplishment, and more of our identity is tied to work,” Bidwell says. “But it also crowds out a lot of other things we’d like to be doing.”

That desire to do other things is why more than 3,300 employees across 70 companies in the UK are participating in a pilot program to work four days a week in exchange for the same productivity and pay. Launched in June 2022, the six-month experiment led by the nonprofit 4 Day Week Global relies on previous research that finds employees are happier, healthier, and more efficient with reduced working hours.

Claire Zulkey’s picture

By: Claire Zulkey

A boss who overloads you with information may be frustrating, but one who leaves you in the dark may come off as uncaring.

That’s the key finding from a new study that examines how employees perceive managers who assume that less is more when it comes to communicating at work.

After reviewing thousands of 360-degree leadership assessments in MBA and executive education classes, Francis Flynn noted that complaints about managers’ communication were common and often harsh. “More than just about any other leadership skill, people are fiercely criticized for poor communication,” says Flynn, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. “The higher up you get, the more brutal that criticism becomes.” Noting this, he and doctoral candidate Chelsea Lide saw an opportunity to examine the quantity and quality of communication between managers and the people they supervise.

Multiple Authors
By: Ho-Yin Mak, Christopher Tang, Tinglong Dai

Two recent electrifying moves have the potential to ignite electric vehicle demand in the United States. First, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, expanding federal tax rebates for EV purchases. Then California approved rules to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035.

John Logan’s picture

By: John Logan

Labor Day 2022 came smack-bang in the middle of what is increasingly looking like a pivotal year in the history of American unions.

The summer saw a steady stream of workforce mobilizations. Employees at Trader Joe’s locations in Massachusetts and Minneapolis both voted to unionize. Meanwhile, restaurant chain Chipotle saw the first of its stores unionize, following a vote by workers at an outlet in Lansing, Michigan.

It comes on the back of a wave of successful efforts to mobilize at Starbucks and Amazon. The growth of unionized stores at Starbucks in particular has been stunning. Since baristas in Buffalo, New York, became the first at the chain to unionize in December 2021, their colleagues at 234 other outlets have followed suit in recent months.

Libby Sander’s picture

By: Libby Sander

Telstra and Westpac are the latest companies to encourage staff to work from home, just a few months after some of them returned to the office. However, working from home for extended periods can leave employees feeling socially and professionally isolated. When people work from home, they have fewer opportunities to interact and acquire information, which may explain why remote workers feel less confident than their office-based counterparts.

Researchers also report working from home (WFH) is linked to negative physical health outcomes such as increased musculoskeletal pain and weight gain, as well as exhaustion.

Vanessa Bates Ramirez’s picture

By: Vanessa Bates Ramirez

Most people older than 30 probably remember doing research with good old-fashioned encyclopedias. You’d pull a heavy volume from the shelf, check the index for your topic of interest, then flip to the appropriate page and start reading. It wasn’t as easy as typing a few words into the Google search bar, but on the plus side, you knew that the information you found in the pages of the Britannica or the World Book was accurate and true.

Not so with internet research today. The overwhelming multitude of sources is confusing enough, but with the proliferation of misinformation it’s a wonder any of us believe a word we read online.

Wikipedia is a case in point. As of early 2020, the site’s English version was averaging about 255 million page views per day, making it the eighth-most-visited website on the internet. As of last month, it had moved up to spot No. 7, and the English version currently has more than 6.5 million articles.

Jennifer Lauren Lee’s picture

By: Jennifer Lauren Lee

As mechanical objects, gears have been around for so long that people generally take them for granted. But gears are sophisticated parts that play a vital role in cars, airplanes, construction and mining equipment, food processing, clock making, and more. Companies are still trying to make them better—specifically, quieter.

As electric vehicles become more popular, the auto industry is pushing for gears that have tighter and tighter tolerances—in other words, smaller differences between the maximum and minimum sizes in a batch of gears that are considered acceptable for sale. Gears that fit together better make less noise, transfer power more efficiently, and last longer.

The smaller of the two gear artifacts calibrated at NIST this summer. Credit: NIST

“Those gear noises have always been there in gas cars, but electric cars are so quiet that now you can hear them over the engine,” says Dennis Everett, a mechanical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). “Consumers don’t like hearing those noises.”

Matt Fieldman’s picture

By: Matt Fieldman

You’ve heard the questions from your manufacturing colleagues: “Where are all the good people these days?” “Why don’t people want to work anymore?” and, “Why can’t people show up on time and ready to work?”

During a recent seminar at the City Club of Cleveland, I learned that there are eight simple reasons why you’re struggling with your workforce. These “social determinants of work” are plaguing most cities and towns and must be addressed. When we’re talking about millions of Americans still on the sidelines of our economy, this isn’t about individuals—this is about our systems.

Originally popularized by America Works partner National Fund for Workforce Solutions, social determinants of work are defined as:
“Opportunities that surround a given job and affect a worker’s ability to succeed, such as the ability to live close to the workplace, reliable and affordable transportation, dependable family care, and workplace benefits like healthcare and paid leave. These opportunities support employment stability and worker well-being, and impact workforce equity.” 

Lisa Wong Macabasco’s picture

By: Lisa Wong Macabasco

The underrepresentation of women at the top of corporate America is a persistent and exasperating problem. Women currently hold 32 CEO positions in S&P 500 companies—slightly more than 6 percent of the total.

“We have all this knowledge on stereotypes and the biases and challenges people face, but there’s still so little progress in actually diversifying the leaders of the largest companies in the country,” says M. Asher Lawson, an assistant professor of decision sciences at INSEAD.

Women climbing the corporate ladder often run up against insidious gender stereotypes that associate men—but not women—with highly valued leadership traits of agency and achievement. And when women do display stereotypically “male” leadership traits like assertiveness and decisiveness, they are often seen as less warm and likable.

These stereotypes may be hidden in plain view in the language a company uses to discuss leadership and women in its annual reports, proxy statements, and investor calls. So how can companies change the way they talk about women and perhaps help break the double standard that undermines female leaders?

Bendta Schroeder’s picture

By: Bendta Schroeder

The first step in choosing the appropriate treatment for a cancer patient is to identify their specific type of cancer, including determining the primary site: the organ or part of the body where the cancer begins.

In rare cases, the cancer’s origin can’t be determined, even with extensive testing. Although these cancers of unknown primary tend to be aggressive, oncologists must treat them with nontargeted therapies, which frequently have harsh toxicities and result in low rates of survival.

A new deep-learning approach developed by researchers at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) may help classify cancers of unknown primary by taking a closer look the gene expression programs related to early cell development and differentiation.

“Sometimes you can apply all the tools that pathologists have to offer, and you’re still left without an answer,” says Salil Garg, a Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator at the Koch Institute and a pathologist at MGH. “Machine learning tools like this one could empower oncologists to choose more effective treatments and give more guidance to their patients.”

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