Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at 12pm

Business School Research Roundup: June 10 2015

MBA news

What is the true legacy of hosting the World Cup?

It is often argued by emerging nations bidding for the hosting rights of major sporting events that the so called ‘legacy’ of tournaments like the World Cup or the Olympics will help them to reach their development goals. Nations such as Brazil (World Cup hosts in 2014 and Olympic hosts in 2016), South Africa (World Cup hosts in 2010) and Qatar (World Cup hosts in 2022 pending the results of current investigations) are a few examples of nations which have made this case.

However, research from Oxford Saïd professor Dr Eamonn Molloy and K40 Group director Trish Chetty argues that in order for this to be case, an oversight body needs to be established to oversee infrastructure programs, to ensure that a clear and integrated strategy is drawn up and followed. They cite the example of South Africa, where a fragmented approach resulted in technical overdesign, naïve cost estimations and politics taking precedence over rational decision making. FIFA’s failure to communicate the scope and complexity of the task was cited as potentially damaging. Of the resulting six new stadia and four upgraded ones, six cost more to maintain than they generate in revenue, and five of these require ongoing taxpayer support. Some legacy:

“Failure to improve management of infrastructure around major sporting events means that the world’s sporting entertainment will be paid for by those least able to afford it,” reflected Molloy.

‘Queen bee syndrome’ theory disproved

In news that will surprise no one bar those who have been trapped in carbonite, Han Solo style, for the past 42 years, the so-called ‘queen bee syndrome’ – the idea that women in power will do their utmost to keep other women out of power and first put forward in a 1973 study – has been disproved.

A research team from Columbia Business School looked at 1,500 companies over a 20-year period, finding that female-led companies were more likely to bring more females into senior positions (The Guardian reports). Who’d have thought it? However, when a woman was given an executive role below CEO-level, the chances of others following them to executive level fell by 50%. “Women face an implicit quota, whereby firms seek to maintain a small number of women on their top management team, usually only one,” the researchers commented.  “While firms gain legitimacy from having women in top management, the value of this legitimacy declines with each woman.”

Precedent encourages ethical behavior

Research from Chicago Booth professor Ayelet Fishbach and Rutgers Business School professor Oliver J Sheldon has found that people are more likely to act in ethical ways if they anticipate that there will be a temptation to act unethically in the first place, or if they understand how the act can be likened to other unethical acts. When not connecting the act to others, or being made to think in an ethical frame of mind, people are more likely to transgress. Simple, isn’t it?

In an experiment in which participants were divided into buyers and sellers of a New York brownstone, buyers were told to conceal their aim of destroying the building, while sellers were told they should aim to preserve it. Half of the sellers were told to think about a time they had cheated before. This half were found to be less likely to conceal the truth, with 45% utilizing duplicity to close the deal, while 67% of those who weren’t connecting the sale to previous ethical quandaries were happy to lie.

Another experiment found that participants were less likely to steal pens and other office supplies if they considered a handful of ethical dilemmas at the same time, or were made to anticipate an ethical dilemma in a writing exercise. “Unethical behavior is rampant across various domains ranging from business and politics to education and sport. Organizations seeking to improve ethical behavior can do so by helping people recognize the cumulative impact of unethical acts and by providing warning cues for upcoming temptation," said Fishbach.

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Mansoor is a contributor to and former editor of TopMBA.com. He is a higher and business education specialist, who has been published in media outlets around the world. He studied English literature at BA and MA level and has a background in consumer journalism.

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