Bad Behavior at Business School Becomes Corporate Misconduct Later

One of the striking aspects of the recent financial crisis is not just that there were few criminal prosecutions (virtually none) of people who oversaw the writing of fraudulent loan documents, the botching of foreclosures, and the misleading of unsophisticated consumers with unclear loan terms. What should truly shock you is the near-complete absence of stigma adhering to corporate boards or executives following all this corporate misbehavior.

Let’s Be Honest About Lying

If lying — or even just exaggerating a bit — would help your team win, would you do it? More provocatively: should you do it?

Consider the case study unfolding right now in Brazil at the World Cup. For many players, pretending they’ve been fouled is no big deal. Called “flopping” or “diving,” a player who has felt a minimal amount of contact will grimace in agony, fall to the ground, and, often enough, get a bit of sympathy from the referee, who will award his team possession of the ball. But the players on the U.S. and the U.K. teams, reports the New York Times, don’t like to fake fouls. Are they leaving goals — and wins — on the table?

Here’s Why Amazon Is More Ruthless Than Walmart

With no stores and an IT infrastructure that makes the cost of adding inventory close to zero, Amazon doesn’t have to care about its suppliers

The recent dustup between Amazon and publisher Hachette reminds us that retail is a brutal business — tough on employees, really hard on suppliers. Walmart, the largest physical retailer, and Amazon, the largest retailer online, illustrate the pain produced in the effort to make consumers’ prices as low as possible.

Underpaying Employees Can Hurt a Company’s Bottom Line

There’s little evidence to indicate that raising wages will lead to job losses, and studies show that high-wage companies fare better than lower-wage ones.

Just this week, Seattle workers won a significant battle when the city raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour. Richmond, Calif, recently voted to hike theirs to $13 by 2018, while polls indicate San Francisco voters favor a $15 minimum. Even the CEO of McDonalds is somewhere between neutral and positive on raising the minimum wage.

Win at Workplace Conflict

No matter how sound or well-intentioned your ideas, there will always be people inside — and outside — your organization who are going to oppose you. Getting things done often means that you’re going to go head to head with people who have competing agendas. In my career studying organizational behavior, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some incredibly effective conflict management techniques. I’ve distilled a few of them into some rules for dealing with organizational conflict:

1. Stay focused on the most essential objectives.

The Latest Executive Dustups Prove Relationships, Not Skills, Determine Success

The media firestorm over Jill Ambramson’s firing from the New York Times mostly ignores a simple but crucial lesson for people at any organizational level: Critical relationships have to work.

You have to make them work, not only to get things done in the web of interdependencies that characterize most jobs, but also to keep your position. Leaders need support—from their subordinates, customers, and most importantly, their bosses. When that support vanishes, so do their careers. This lesson holds true regardless of your job performance and track record.

Do it, Japan Inc.: go against the most fundamental of human tendencies

The Wikipedia entry for Elon Musk, CEO of the $26 billion electric car company Tesla Motors, says it all: “Elon R. Musk is a South African-born Canadian-American business magnate, inventor and investor.” Musk, like Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google; Andrew Grove, co-founder and retired CEO of Intel; Winston Chen, who built Solectron into a large contract manufacturer before its acquisition by Flextronics; and scores of others illustrate precisely what is required to succeed in an increasingly globalized world: an eagerness to embrace talent regardless of its origins or accents, or, for that matter, gender, as the career of Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook demonstrates.

Lessons in Power from the Chris Christie Kerfuffle

There are numerous lessons from the Chris Christie “bridgegate” scandal for people in high-profile leadership roles. Here are a few.

Sorry, Kids, Corporate Power Hasn’t Changed

Today’s work world is increasingly populated by millennials with values presumably different from more-senior employees—more egalitarian, less competitive, more meritocratic, less accepting of hierarchy, and more tolerant of all forms of diversity. And if that’s true, surely companies are changing, which means we need new theories about power and influence to reflect these new cultural realities. Strategically expressing anger, building a power base, or eliminating rivals are considered outmoded ways of getting ahead. Certainly, the reasoning goes, in a world where reputations get created and transmitted quickly and anonymously through ubiquitous social networks, people who resort to such bad behavior will suffer swift retribution.

When Did Business School Become All About the Parties?

The discussions of the role of social class at Harvard Business School apply to all the leading business schools where, like the rest of the world, inequality in wealth has grown tremendously. But these discussions mostly miss the underlying cause of the problem: Students from all social backgrounds who gain admission to top schools all have the intellectual horsepower to effectively compete with their classmates in academics. Not all students have equal ability to compete when it comes to participating in and throwing lavish parties. Unfortunately, as the New York Times makes clear with its revelations about the ultra-wealthy members of the mysterious “Section X” at HBS, business school has become way more about the parties than about the course work, which has left poorer students at a social—and professional—disadvantage.