The Anchors of Happiness

Business Ethics Blog | February 26, 2015 | Joan Fontrodona

A few days ago Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute, came to IESE to give a seminar on Capitalism and Happiness. As Brooks explained, drawing on studies in psychology and sociology, 48% of what individuals define as having a happy life is the result of congenital factors. That is not enough to establish a “determinism” of happiness, because the fact remains that 52% corresponds to other factors.

Out of that number, 40% is due to temporary and circumstantial factorsThe remaining 12% depends on the decisions we make, and, to a large degree, can also influence the other 40%. So, if we stop to consider that fact, the degree of happiness we desire in our lives is actually up to us.

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Why I Would Want You to Trust Me

Expatriatus Blog | February 26, 2015 | Sebastian Reiche

Dear manager, could you ever imagine trusting your employees that much as to hire them without any need to fire them again? Dear employee, what would it feel like having that amount of trust and safety in your workplace?

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Together Raw Materials and Technology can Transform African Business

Africa from Africa Blog | February 25, 2015 | Africa Ariño

A cocoa grower from Ghana was once shown a piece of chocolate. It was the first time he had ever seen such a thing. When he was told what it was, he exclaimed, “Oh! really? Does this come from the cocoa beans?” These days new technologies are being harnessed to enable growers of cocoa and other commodities to transform their raw materials into processed goods such as chocolate on home ground.

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Tapping into Online Reviews’ Potential

Marketing | February 24, 2015 | Mario Capizzani

Does your business take online reviews seriously? Most small and medium service businesses find it hard to deal with customer reviews , especially those that are less than praise.

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Duquenal and the Mafia State

Doing Business on the Earth Blog | February 23, 2015 | Mike Rosenberg

Daniel Duquenal is the pen name of a Venezuelan blogger who has been writing his blog for 15 years in an effort to resist the Chavez-Maduro regime and expose its darkest aspects. For Duquenal, the regime is nothing more than a band of drug trafficking thieves who have perverted Venezuelan democracy in the name of the people for their own private benefit. For him, Venezuela has reached the breaking point or El Llegadero and he sees no hope for a peaceful transition.

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The Many Benefits of a Shared Language in Multinationals

Expatriatus Blog | February 18, 2015 | Sebastian Reiche

Knowledge sharing is a critical activity when it comes to multinational enterprises (MNEs) and doing business across borders. In my previous blog posts I have already touched upon the importance of global employees as ‘linking pins’ between headquarters (HQ) and subsidiaries, discussed the required input of both, knowledge transmitters and receivers, and brought up the role of host country nationals as facilitators of knowledge sharing. Moreover, there appear to be benefits of a shared language for MNEeffectiveness, as an increasing number of MNEs are adopting a lingua franca, predominantly English, to improve communication and information flows.

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Entrepreneurial Attitude Across Countries

Entrepreneurship Blog | February 17, 2015 | Antonio Dávila

A fun part of being a professor is talking to entrepreneurs and learning from them. A few weeks ago, I was talking with a European CEO who had just moved his company to California. He has a pretty amazing business model, which is quickly evolving as they learn about the landscape of the industry. But in this post I want to highlight one of his experiences, which teaches us something about the entrepreneurial drive across different cultures.

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Four Pillars of Experiential Marketing (II)

Marketing | February 16, 2015 | Iñigo Gallo

In a previous post I introduced a four-pillar framework to help marketers build excellent experiential marketing campaigns. Remember that brands use experiential marketing to personally interact with consumers. It’s different to conventional marketing because they use an unforgettable live event to draw the interest of consumers and raise and spread awareness of the brand by word of mouth.

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Shareholder Activism: Is Bill Ackman’s shorting of Herbalife a form of Responsible Investing?

Strategy | February 16, 2015 | Fabrizio Ferraro

The EconomistLast week’s cover of The Economist featured Activist Investors and in a number of articles on the topic, the magazine takes a controversial positive stance on these investorsThe Economist article also mentions the controversial shorting of Herbalife as an example of this form of activism. Indeed, since Bill Ackman presented his short thesis on Herbalife on December 20, 2012, and publicly disclosed Pershing Square Capital’s $1 billion short position on the nutrition company, the media has been charting the ups and downs of this investment soap opera and the plot has thickened at every turn.

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Crude oil and Venezuela

Doing Business on the Earth Blog | February 16, 2015 | Mike Rosenberg

The drop in oil prices has crashed Venezuela’s economy and will most likely bring down the regime of Nicolás Maduro raising questions about what will happen to Venezuela’s $20 billion debt to China.

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Top Companies in Africa

Africa from Africa Blog | February 11, 2015 | Africa Ariño

A good number of managers of sub-Saharan companies have told me that when it comes to their efforts to internationalizeSouth Africa is off their radar screen. These countries see industries in South Africa as already quite developed and think it would be pointless to try to compete in that market. With this in mind a quick scan of the top 500 companies in Africa ranking gives us no surprises.

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Mindfulness on the Rise with Backing from Business

Managing People in Organizations | February 10, 2015 | Alberto Ribera

Mindfulness” has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, often in the form of shallow New Age recipe for feeling good. But it’s worth re-visiting here because science and research are now backing up the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of the practice; benefits which are so extensive as to seem far-fetched.

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Who gets to Grow?

Doing Business on the Earth Blog | February 9, 2015 | Mike Rosenberg

After the landmark agreement between China and the United States back in November, I wrote a post which quoted Sunita Narain, from India’s Centre of Science and Environment, who has eloquently argued that if both China an the US emit 12-14 tons of CO2 per person per year then the rest of the world will not be able to emit very much at all!

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Three key guidelines for building high-quality organizations (I)

Decision Analysis, Strategy | February 5, 2015 | Miguel Ángel Ariño

On countless occasions I have heard the expression “high-quality organization,” a broad and diffuse concept that can give rise to multiple interpretations of what is — or should be — a company and what quality means.

In my classes on decision making, I always start with a premise: It is foolish to think that a company’s aim is to maximize its profits . That is just as silly as believing that a person’s purpose is to breathe. Breathing is necessary, but we do not live to breathe; money is needed for the company to survive, but operating solely to maximize profits makes no sense. This has been made crystal clear in these recent years of crisis.

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Global Markets: Prospects for 2015

Expatriatus Blog | February 5, 2015 | Sebastian Reiche

The most recent PWC Global CEO survey asked over 1,300 global leaders about their prospects for 2015. Given the currently intensified geopolitical uncertainty, CEOs are generally less confident in global economic growth this year compared to last year. Yet, the PWC survey results indicate that they remain confident of their own business prospects, as today global leaders see both more risks and more opportunities for their companies.

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Women Executives: Are we after quotas or business?

Managing People in Organizations, Leadership | February 4, 2015 | Nuria Chinchilla

This past November, the lack of consensus in the European Council resulted in the rejection of the European directive that would have made it imperative to have 40% women in the non-executive boards of publicly traded companies. Commissioner Viviane Reding had spent over two years advocating this measure, which had already been approved by the European Parliament and the European Commission last year.

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Trading Times Across East African Borders

Africa from Africa Blog | February 4, 2015 | Africa Ariño

My young friend Giovanni came back from a visit to East Africa last week. As part of the trip, he traveled by car from Uganda to Kenya. This involves crossing the Malaba border where trucks can wait anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. But the driver was an expert at crossing this border, so they only had to wait about 3 hours.

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From Davos to Paris

Doing Business on the Earth Blog | February 2, 2015 | Mike Rosenberg

According to Google Maps, its a 7-8 hour drive from Davos to Paris and depending on the route its about 500 Miles or 800 Kilometers. There also some tolls to pay along the way.

Randall Krantz, a former student and friend was in Davos for the World Economic Forum a couple of weeks ago and while I was watching videos of the sessions on the Middle East at home, he was  talking to people about climate change in Switzerland. Randall used to manage the climate issue at the Forum and said that “being on the other side added an element of adventure”.

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New challenges in recruiting: Finding the hidden gem

Managing People in Organizations | January 29, 2015 | Mireia Las Heras

Hiring a new employee is certainly an important decision for a company. The recruiting process is often expensive, and making a hiring mistake can prove costly. In the digital age, recruiting processes have changed so much that companies must leverage tools made available by technology to find the right person, wherever they may be.

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Unite to Make Diversity Work

Expatriatus Blog | January 29, 2015 | Sebastian Reiche

Cultural diversity may bring about more creativity, which is good for innovation, problem solving and decision making. Diversity may also increase returns through employee satisfaction, but they also have process losses of increased conflict and lower social integration. To put it differently, globally diverse companies may have abundant opportunities to beneficially utilize this diversity, as long as they are capable of effectively managing the possible conflicts.

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Risk-Free Rate: An Irrational Financial Practice

Economics Blog | January 28, 2015 | Eduardo Martínez Abascal

A key concept at the heart of financial theory is the “risk-free rate.” The idea is simple: the rate at which you would lend money to a very secure borrower, one with 0% probability of default. If you lend money to a riskier borrower (one with some probability of default) you would charge a “risk premium” or extra return due to the risk you bear (the probability of not being paid back). Like most successful academic theories, the idea is simple, clear and alluring; hence its widespread acceptance in the financial community. And yet, many would argue that you don’t need an academic to explain such a basic law of human behavior.

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African Investments in Africa

Africa from Africa Blog | January 28, 2015

Great news! Africa is the second largest source of greenfield foreign direct investment projects in Africa. This is according to a perspective paper by Ralf Krüger and Ilan Strauss published by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investments. So it looks like African development is finally beginning to come from within the continent.

Over 400 Africa-to-Africa projects (which I like to call intra-African development projects) were carried out between January 2003 and January 2014.

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Draghi Deploys the ECB’s Full Artillery? A Reaction

Economics Blog | January 26, 2015 | Antonio Argandoña

The best commentary came from the Spanish daily Expansión. They gave us nine pages on Draghi’s measures and a headline from a statement made by Francisco González, president of BBVA: “The ECB cannot fix [all] the problems” (note – I added the “all” to that statement). Draghi was already talking, a few months ago, of measures that needed to be taken in three different areas: Monetary policy (him), fiscal policy (the national governments and the European Commission) and structural reforms (national governments).

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Fact and Fantasy at Davos

Doing Business on the Earth Blog | January 26, 2015 | Mike Rosenberg

As discussed in last week’s post, a number of very interesting sessions at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week had to do with the Middle East and taking my own advice, I tried to watch as many as I could.

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Swiss Franc: It ain’t gonna happen

Economics Blog | January 20, 2014 | Antonio Argandoña

This colloquial phrase is used when something is considered impossible. That seems to be the case with the Swiss franc, which saw a major appreciation when the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced it was floating its currency. It is an excellent example for one type of exchange rate.

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The Sharing Economy: An Ocean of Unconscious Cooperation

Economics Blog | Januray 7, 2015 | Pedro Videla

The sharing economy is a topic of hot debate. It means different things to different people. For investors, firms like Uber and Airbnb offer tantalizing market capitalizations. For visionaries, the peer-to-peer transaction model represents a new, post-capitalist economic reality. Meanwhile, critics see the rise of these services as just another brick in the winner-takes-all wall.

Whatever your view, the collaborative economy chronicle is certainly becoming harder to ignore. Take Uber, the San Francisco Internet firm offering ride sharing. Perhaps unexpectedly, Uber is battling against vested interests. Taxi-drivers everywhere are uniting against it, taking them to court, securing bans and organizing protest marches. By the law of unintended consequences, the protests generated more publicity for Uber – bringing them to the attention of new clients!

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China’s Explosive Digital Growth

Face IT Blog | December 22, 2014 | Javier Zamora

The boundaries between the physical and digital are disappearing and as this expansion continues China will be in the vanguard. By 2015 some 680 million Chinese will be connected to the Internet and that same year three times as many smartphones will be sold in China than in the U.S. and most of them will be manufactured locally.

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Who contributes to the growth of the US Economy?

Economics Blog | December 11, 2014 | Eduardo Martínez Abascal

The US Bureau of Economic Analysis provides interesting data on the contribution of 93 different industries (and groups of industries) to the GDP. In a previous post I analyzed the contribution of the oil industry to US GDP growth. Now I present the big picture: the contribution of every industry to the GDP and GDP growth. In other words, who is responsible for the sound growth of the US economy since the crisis of 2009?

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Why Should we Invest Responsibly?

Business Ethics Blog | December 10, 2014 | Antonio Argandoña

I don’t want to discuss socially responsible investment, just investment plain and simple. Deciding how to invest my money: what type of assets, where to invest, which industry, which company or government, etc. When I was young(er), ethics manuals talked about the responsibility of cooperating with the actions of others (whether good or bad).

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Four Pillars of Experiential Marketing (I)

Marketing | December 9, 2014 | Iñigo Gallo

In the world of marketing, experiential is officially a buzzwordAll brands are now expected to go experiential: develop non-TV, non-print campaigns around live events in which consumers interact with the brand. Such activities, the argument goes, provide personal and memorable experiences for consumers and therefore bring them closer to the brand, trigger motivation, and ignite word-of-mouth.

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