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.”

Lite Nartey’s picture

By: Lite Nartey

George Bernard Shaw famously quipped that “the single biggest problem in communications is the illusion that it has taken place.” This is often the case when it comes to interactions between firms and stakeholders. Organizations need to improve communication with key actors to foster trust, enhance cooperation, and mitigate potential risks and conflicts.

But what form does that communication take? And should it differ depending on the stakeholder profile?

In a recent study published in the Journal of Business Ethics, Wharton professor Witold Henisz, Stern School of Business associate professor Sinziana Dorobantu, and I shed light on the four factors that matter most when dealing with stakeholders: timeliness, valence, richness, and topicality. We observe how the speed of a firm’s response (timeliness), the tone of that response (valence), the depth of engagement (richness), and the degree of responsiveness to the specific issues raised by the stakeholder (topicality) influence stakeholder reactions.

Multiple Authors
By: Mark Mortensen, Heidi K. Gardner

AWD-40 Co., there are no teams. Instead, there are tribes. Tribe members look out for one another, feel a sense of belonging, and share the company’s values and vision. Compassion is at the heart of WD-40’s work culture, which strives to create a community of highly engaged employees who deliver their best every day.

Chairman and former CEO Garry Ridge believes that when workers are cared for, they yield remarkable results. Caring doesn’t mean coddling, he stresses. This compassionate approach delivers business outcomes, produces quality products, and benefits shareholders.

When Ridge took over as CEO in 1997, employee engagement was about 50 percent, market capitalization was $250 million, and WD-40 was primarily a domestic U.S. business. By 2020, Ridge noted in a post on LinkedIn, it had transformed into a global enterprise with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion and an employee engagement score of 93 percent.

WD-40’s success story shows that compassion isn’t antithetical to business outcomes. Indeed, the belief that leaders and companies can be either compassionate or high-performing, but not both, is a false dichotomy.

Gleb Tsipursky’s picture

By: Gleb Tsipursky

Recently, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon claimed that returning to the office will help improve diversity. If he’s right, that’s an important argument for office-centric work. After all, extensive research shows that improving diversity boosts both decision-making and financial performance.

Yet does office-centric work really improve diversity? Meta Platforms, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, decided to offer permanent, fully remote work options to its current employees and new job applicants as part of adapting to the post-pandemic environment. If Dimon is right, this shift should have undermined Meta’s diversity.

Multiple Authors
By: Meridith Wentz, Kevin Wilkinson, Gary Zack

The purpose of this article is to highlight actions that organizational leaders can implement to help improve organizational resilience and sustainability. Building on the case study, “Using the Baldrige Framework to Improve Organizational Resilience and Sustainability” by Garfield et al (2022), we interviewed leaders from national Baldrige Award recipients and top-tier alliance program recipients to learn how their organizations used the Baldrige Excellence Framework to promote resilience and sustainability.

We focus on five key actions that were repeated themes across the interviews. They are: 
• Engage all organization levels in the journey to performance excellence, with a focus on motivation, teamwork, and collaboration.
• Use the Baldrige framework to augment efforts the organization is already doing instead of starting new.
• Use voice-of-the-customer information as a key management tool to improve customer interactions, improve workflow efficiencies, and ensure alignment with customer needs. 
• Consider more than just the financial bottom line. To be successful, organizations must also consider stakeholder needs and produce high-quality products. 
• Collaborate, learn from, and grow with other performance excellence-oriented organizations across industries. 

Alexander Mirza’s picture

By: Alexander Mirza

As a double immigrant who worked his way through high school and university, I’m a big believer in the lifelong benefits of working on the front line of a service business early in life.

One of my first front-line jobs was in the retail sector working at one of the biggest sports stores in Toronto. This job taught me how to work with diverse colleagues and adjust to the grueling demands of store managers trying to hit their numbers while handling dissatisfied customers wanting a better deal.

After an initial test period, the store manager, a tough but fair French Canadian who loved the sports retail business, allocated his staff according to their talents, moving us around to the departments where we performed best. He also had an eye for talent. He was particularly interested in quick learners who could conquer a complex department like ski equipment or hockey skates and outsell others. Looking back, he managed an informal talent marketplace in one of the world’s most diverse cities extremely well. It was an incredibly diverse meritocracy: Jamaican kids rose from selling track shoes to managing winter sports, and women moved from apparel to assistant manager roles overseeing budgets and purchasing.

Abdul Salam’s picture

By: Abdul Salam

Water is the most essential resource for life, for both humans and the crops we consume. Around the world, agriculture accounts for 70 percent of all freshwater use.

I study computers and information technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and direct Purdue’s Environmental Networking Technology (ENT) Laboratory, where we tackle sustainability and environmental challenges with interdisciplinary research into the agricultural internet of things, or Ag-IoT.

The internet of things is a network of objects equipped with sensors so they can receive and transmit data via the internet. Examples include wearable fitness devices, smart home thermostats, and self-driving cars.

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