UNC Kenan-Flagler Blogs

Author Archives: Heather Harreld

How to Build a Resilient Organizational Culture

The following is an excerpt from a white paper by Marion White, director of UNC Executive Development. A 2012 Towers Watson study found that in most organizations, only 35 percent of employees said they were engaged. In other words, 65 percent of employees have mentally checked out, causing productivity, innovation, and creativity to plummet. While this is never good news for employers, the timing could not be more critical as organizations across the globe continue to struggle to survive. Thought leaders are increasingly calling today’s turbulent business world a “VUCA” environment—one that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. To succeed in this environment, organizations must be more adaptive and agile than ever before—they must be resilient. Organizations that lack resilience—that Read More

How a lack of sleep can affect employee ethics

This is a story from the latest version of UNC Business magazine. To read the entire issue, download the iPad app. By Heather Harreld Can a lack of sleep make you more likely to be unethical at work? That is the question that intrigued Michael Christian, assistant professor of organizational behavior at UNC Kenan- Flagler, and prompted him to study the effects of sleep deprivation in the workplace. What he found about deviant behavior — hostility toward customers, stealing and other unethical actions — may surprise you. Christian studied the effects of sleep deprivation on nurses at a large medical center and on undergraduate volunteers in a laboratory setting. He found that those who are sleep deprived — defined as Read More

Leadership: When to lead by empowerment vs. when to be directive

This is a story from the latest version of UNC Business magazine. To read the entire issue, download the iPad app.  By Heather Harreld Empowering leadership — the practice of sharing power with subordinates and allowing them to collectively make decisions — has long been touted as better for performance than a more directive approach. But is an empowering leadership style always better when managing teams? It depends on the nature and timeline of the project, according to new research from Matthew Pearsall, assistant professor of organizational behavior at UNC Kenan-Flagler. While researchers have looked at the effects of both empowering and directive leadership styles separately, Pearsall wanted to directly compare the approaches at the same time. He studied 60 Read More

Insights into Innovation: How companies can improve innovation

Chris Bingham is associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler . He is also professor of strategy and entrepreneurship. Below, read his Insight into Innovation, the fourth in a five-part servies. Previous posts touched on innovation versus entrepreneurship, the importance of failing fast and often and detailed why organizations must innovate. Why do so many organizations find innovation so hard? I think there are a number of reasons that innovation is challenging and difficult in organizations.  The first one is pretty simple – most new ideas are bad.  If you look at stats about product failure, you’re going to see studies citing between 60 to 95 percent of new products failing.  For the very simple reason that most new Read More

The Big Data Talent Gap

The following is an excerpt from a white paper from UNC Executive Development. By Stan Ahalt, director of the Renaissance Computing Institue (RENCI) and Kip Kelly, director of UNC Executive Development Big data—the massive amounts of information companies collect through web crawlers, social media feeds, server logs, customer service databases, and other sources—is quickly becoming big business in today’s competitive marketplace, and if business leaders haven’t added big data to their strategic agendas yet, they will be compelled to in the near future. Few organizations, however, have the talent with the expertise needed to collect, organize, and analyze the data and to provide meaningful insights. Even fewer organizations have business leaders with the knowledge and experience needed to create value from Read More

Got Game? The Use of Gaming in Learning and Development

Below is an excerpt of a white paper by Kip Kelly, director of marketing and business development at UNC Executive Development. Video games—and the people who play them—have changed dramatically since 1948, the year the first video game was patented. Generations of gamers have grown up and entered the workplace, and video games have made the same transition, extending their influence into companies around the globe. Many organizations are increasingly using gaming technology in their learning and development (L&D) programs to help build the next generation of business leaders. As video games grow in popularity and sophistication, more organizations and government agencies are embracing them to support L&D efforts. A recent ESA study found that 70 percent of major U.S. Read More

3 Things to Consider Before Expanding Supply Chain To Emerging Markets

Thanks to globalization, multi-national supply chains that span across emerging economies are fast becoming the norm. While it’s easy to focus on the impressive growth and profit statistics that have accompanied this development, managing a supply chain in an emerging economy also comes with a unique set of challenges. Jayashankar Swaminathan, UNC Kenan-Flagler faculty director of the UNC Center for International Business Education and Research, has outlined three factors companies should consider before expanding their supply chains to India, Turkey or any other emerging economy. 1. Infrastructure Challenges When operating a supply chain in an emerging market, many of the things taken for granted in developed countries are often unavailable. Infrastructure challenges can manifest themselves in many different ways, from Read More

Consulting alum emphasizes importance of big data in branding

Michael Stutts (BSBA ’02), principal at The Boston Consulting Group, delivered the first lecture of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s new Consulting Speaker Series earlier this year. Stutts, who focuses on BCG’s consumer, marketing and sales practice areas, shared his experience working on a project with a top hotel company in his presentation, “Getting Out of the Arms Race: Branding a Loyalty Program.” While branding has traditionally been ruled by emotion and “what feels right,” Stutts says that consulting in this area is beginning to take a much more data- driven approach. “What used to be marketers sitting in a room, squeezing toys, throwing out ideas and brainstorming has now become a very quantitative process that we really pioneered,” said Stutts. “We do Read More

Insights into Innovation: Fail Fast and Often

Arvind Malhotra is UNC Kenan-Flagler’s T. W. Lewis Scholar and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship. Below, read his insight into innovation, the second in a five-part series with UNC Kenan-Flagler professors. Why is it important for an organization to master innovation? In many ways that’s what kept most organizations going into pattern differentiation.  Innovation is a good buzz word, but to me it’s also about saying, “How can you sustainably differentiate yourself in the marketplace?”  with sustainably meaning over time having an edge over your competition and being seen as superior to your competition.  It’s really critical because it’s not a one shot game.  It’s over and over and over and over again trumping your competition.  That is the only way to Read More

Insight Into India

As part of the “Best Practices in Global Business Education” webinar series hosted by UNC’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), Professor Nicholas Didow and Dr. Jay Swaminathan, faculty director for CIBER, presented a country briefing on India along with five UNC Kenan-Flagler undergraduate students. The hour-long webinar featured an overview of India’s history, politics, culture and markets, and provided suggestions for successful entry into India’s business landscape aimed at those who have little to no market experience in the country. Home to one of the oldest civilizations, India’s history has been shaped by Britain’s colonial rule and its ongoing conflict with Pakistan, which has resulted in three wars since India gained its independence in 1947. Although one Read More