Core 10: The Change Makers' Manual




Core Magazine Edition Ten Executive Editor: Warren Manger Cover: Peter Mays Art Director: Donna Morris © 2022 The University of Warwick. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the department of Warwick Business School at The University of Warwick. Published by Warwick Business School, the University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL. E T +44 (0)24 7652 4306 W @warwickbschool warwickbschool Where opinion is expressed, it is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily coincide with the views of the publisher or the University of Warwick. All information in this magazine is verified to the best of the authors’ and the publisher’s ability. However, Warwick Business School and the University of Warwick do not accept responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on it. warwickbschool warwickbschool

84 Why do managers make bad decisions? by Jerker Denrell

65 Fudge theory?

How has the pandemic affected staff wellbeing? by Stephen Roper

How corporate giants led behavioural science astray by Nick Chater 68



managers make bad Why do

be ways for them to improve. Dynamic decision-making tasks are those whereby taking an action today would change the pay-off of the same or other actions in the future – for example, when an internet platform adopts a push for users that seems costly in the short term but ultimately adds value to the service and firm. An alternative example would be when someone who hates exercise resolves to go for a run every morning, which eventually makes them fitter thus enjoying their exercise more. For the manager, this type of decision-making features in many aspects of corporate life, from product development and process improvement to pricing strategies. These decisions present an interesting learning challenge for managers. Because results in the future are the product of a dependent series of events, it is difficult to detect which actions are key to producing a good outcome. It is a learning challenge that managers appear to be failing at, given evidence from a wide range of studies covering activities that include supply chain management, resource management, allocation and competitive strategy. Similarly, in experiments designed to create micro-worlds that mimic real-life business situations, participants tend to make high short-term returns but low long-term profits, compared with possible returns, even with the benefit of managerial experience. To better understand why managers perform badly, we ran an online experiment that reduced the dynamic decision-making problem to a more basic form. We used a well-known decision-making task, known as the Harvard game, that involved a series of choices between two options (in this case, pressing a green or blue button 500 times). Pressing a green or a blue button

produced a numerical pay-off, with the size of the pay-off determined by the percentage of blue or green button presses over the previous 10 choices. Participants, had to figure out the best way to maximise their pay-off over the duration of the task. By varying the information given to participants, we hoped to gain some insight into how managers approach dynamic decision-making tasks, what factors prevent them from arriving at the best strategy, and how their performance could be improved.


Healthcare & Wellbeing

1. When faced with a complex dynamic problem, the right choice is far from intuitive. However, the most common decision-making strategy among managers is ‘muddling through’, trying different actions for size. 2. In our research, individuals performed relatively poorly, even after receiving help to understand how their choices would affect future outcomes. They may need more than a simple explanation of the consequences to improve their dynamic decision-making. 3. Appreciating the nature of dynamic decision-making may encourage the persistence to obtain a better long-term outcome. Conversely, pressure to produce immediate results can prevent managers from exploring a range of actions and learning the best strategy.


How has the pandemic affected staff wellbeing?


Taking into account the information provided to

participants, the results seem to exclude several plausible explanations for poor performance.

by Jerker Denrell

“When faced with a complex dynamic problem, the most common decision-making

D uring the pandemic, – many of which are strategically vital to the performance and survival of their organisation in a particularly unpredictable environment. These are often complex decisions requiring a calculation of how actions taken today could affect the results of actions taken in the future. With difficult trade-offs to consider, the route to the best long-term outcome can be hard to find. Indeed, the evidence suggests that managers are not good at understanding and evaluating these types of situations. Fortunately, there may managers have had to make tough decisions

Our complicated relationship with pay and status by Naomi Muggleton

by Stephen Roper

T hree days before the first UK COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, my wife and I were sitting in a hotel room in Cape Town desperately trying to find a rescue flight back to the UK. This made for a stressful few On the same day, my colleagues in the UK were finishing the fieldwork for a survey of 1,900 Midlands employers on their experiences of mental health and well-being. The timing of this survey was fortuitous, as it provides a robust pre-pandemic benchmark against which to judge the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health in the workplace. With the support of the University days, though many endured worse during the pandemic.

strategy is muddling through”

of Warwick and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), we were able to repeat the survey in 2021 and 2022. This data provides a dynamic picture of how workplace mental health and wellbeing has changed over the last couple of years, as well as how employers have tried to cope with the challenges. This matters because of the personal and social costs of poor mental health and well-being, but also because of its economic cost. Pre-pandemic, the productivity costs of poor mental health alone to UK employers were between £42 billion and £45 billion, according to estimates by Deloitte. This includes the cost of mental health-related absence, at around £7 billion as well as presenteeism (when employees are at work but underperforming due to ill-health), at around £28 billion, and the


1. Before COVID-19, poor mental health cost UK employers up to £45 billion in lost productivity. 2. Levels of presenteeism and mental health absences fell sharply in 2021 despite COVID, but have since returned to pre-pandemic levels. 3. More firms now have a senior mental health lead and provide mental health training for line managers, but fewer have a budget for supporting good mental health. Half of UK employers offered staff support to maintain good mental health, compared to 90 per cent in the US. 4. The social and economic cost of poor mental health means firms should remain focused on mental health in the face of growing financial pressure and economic uncertainty.

It did not, for example, appear to be due to uncertainty about the basic nature of this type of decision- making (that pay-offs depend on past actions over a particular period), nor was it a lack of the information needed to grasp the structure and dynamics of the task in hand and calculate the optimal solution. Indeed,

Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School



cost of employees leaving work, at around £9 billion. A recent update suggests

Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School



88 How successful leaders stay on top of things by Maja Korica 92 Hounds of love

13 Five ways lean leadership can help to save the NHS by Nicola Burgess & Bernard Crump 16 Improving outcomes for care leavers by Graeme Currie

Decision-Making & Analytics




DIGITAL INNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP 29 When to go with your gut feeling by Deniz Ucbasaran 32 How can digital platforms beat their rivals? by Kalina Staykova


42 Revolution or retreat? The future of green energy after the invasion of Ukraine by Michael Bradshaw 48 10 years of CORE 50 Five reads to evaluate your CSR initiatives by Umar Boodoo 52 River rescue How Karan Rastogi is stemming the tide of religious waste poisoning the Ganges

56 Navigating your career Getting ahead in the age of home working by Jacky Swan, Eivor Oborn, & Ila Bharatan

by Naomi Muggleton

Inequality is driving status anxiety – and debt – among hard-pressed workers as they struggle to keep up with wealthier colleagues, which raises fresh questions about the merits of trickle-down economics.

How Claire Horton became a leading charity CEO

Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School



72 The racial bias of stop and search by Neil Stewart


Future of Work



C laire Horton is a appearance on Desert Island Discs , she revealed that, as a teen, she spent a dark and stormy night dancing barefoot to Kate Bush on a hillside in her best twirly skirt. Three decades later, she is no longer running up that hill, having reached the peak of her profession. The WBS alum was responsible for a spectacular revamp of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home before taking the helm of another internationally renowned institution – the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – where she aims to bring about a similar transformation. Her achievements at multiple charities have won her numerous heart-on-sleeve sort of woman. During a recent

How Claire Horton became a leading charity CEO Hounds of Love

awards and a CBE for services to animal welfare. Not bad for someone who left school at 16. Claire has two secret weapons she credits for her sustained success: honesty and a fine pair of listening ears. When she joins an organisation, one of the first things she does is speak to her staff individually. “I go in with a very open mind. I try to meet absolutely everybody I can,” she says. “In order to trust me, people need a sense that I am genuinely open to hearing what they say, though I have to manage the expectation that I am going to change everything first up.” Joining Battersea as Chief Executive in 2010, three years after her MBA, she propelled the iconic but then-struggling charity into years of growth. Against a backdrop of sector-wide decline in charitable donations, annual turnover at Battersea grew from £12 million to £57 million during her decade in charge. By then she was a charity veteran, but her first paid charity role in 1990 at the NSPCC came as a happy surprise. “Until then I had no idea that charities paid their staff,” she admits. Claire’s rise up the managerial ladder saw her named as UK Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors. And though she has since left Battersea, she continues to work on wider animal welfare issues. In both her paid and voluntary roles, there is a common thread of gently rattling cages. “The more you allow people to talk and share, the more confident they get, and the more they open up. That has to come from authentic leadership. “Over time – weeks rather than months or years – people get a sure sense that you are invested in them and committed

to excellence, finding out and fixing whatever is wrong.” She’s keen to talk about her MBA at Warwick, which she graduated from in 2007. But it was in her early career that she learned her toughest lesson after encountering shockingly bad management. “It was a masterclass in what not to do. A number of us were bullied by a new manager lacking any kind of empathy, who came in like a bull in a china shop and caused a great deal of hurt and pain to a lot of people. But I learned a lot.” She credits her parents with her work ethic and empathy – her mother, Mildred, was a trailblazer who worked as one of Lancashire’s first woman police officers to support sex workers and victims of abuse, and who went on to work in occupational therapy; her civil

Police as a cadet, but failed the eye test. “I didn’t even know then I needed glasses.” Two years later, after some volunteering and time studying business and management at technical college, she became a ‘special constable’ – a volunteer police constable – working alongside regular officers on the streets of Dudley for eight years. On the night Margaret Thatcher was elected, she met her future husband while on duty. After her son was born, her husband was injured at work and forced to retire from a job he loved – that’s when she left the police for paid work in the charity sector, jumping at the chance to fundraise for the NSPCC. “Recently, I wondered, ‘Should I have joined the Met, maybe I’d be taking a shot at the Commissioner role by now!’ But I don’t think I was that brave then. I’m not really one for looking back.” It was only much later in her 30s, as Chief Executive of the University of Warwick Students’ Union, that she began to wonder what she may have missed by never going to university. “I loved working with the students, seeing their ambitions and values, and being part of helping to shape their lives. At that point, I thought I might have lost out. But there I was running an organisation with a multi- million-pound turnover and a sizeable staff – I was doing all right without having done a degree.” Keen to formally learn the theory behind the practice, she began to see the appeal of a business education and, in particular, an Executive MBA – although she never dreamed WBS might accept her. “I thought I wouldn’t be

their spare time make their way to the bridge where they could gain essential navigational experience. This came at a personal cost – ships can be dangerous places and rest times are important. Some learned the rotas – knowing where the friendly faces were, and when, or knowing when staff might be more relaxed and open to helping cadets, and this made all the difference to their opportunities to learn. Some managed to prove their competence, which in turn led senior staff to call on them when under strain – and briefly do away with an onboard hierarchy. By working creatively with the onboard structures (such as rotas) cadets were able to turn what used to be barriers to learning into opportunities. We call this ‘stealth’ work – flying under the radar to get vital experience. How does this help today’s remote workers, gig workers and freelancers who have more autonomy but arguably fewer opportunities to learn directly from colleagues? Although we’ve looked at an unusual context, our research can be more broadly applied. As on board a ship, there are boundaries and structures in many workplaces that may hinder learning – not least, hierarchies, and constraints of time and space. All managers are under pressure and have limited resources. Technologies and staff change all the time. Those who changed jobs during COVID may never even have met their colleagues in person. In order to learn, newcomers need to be creative. They must think strategically about how they can carve out opportunities for casual encounters (online or face to face), identify supportive colleagues, create bonds, or observe directly how other staff operate. These types of encounters have

always been opportunistic – the celebrated ‘water cooler’ moments – but nowadays these opportunities may need to be manufactured, not taken for granted. As an individual, you can’t just stroll into places – be it the bridges on a ship, online meetings, or boardrooms – and learn your craft, no matter how much you may want to. Our research shows that the newcomers who coped best were those who found ingenious ways of identifying and getting access to the people and places they needed to progress, even if these spaces were ‘guarded’ by gatekeepers. They were prepared to sacrifice their personal time to be able to practise their task. In our research, the more passive the cadet, the more likely they were to flounder. Employers also need to understand that opportunities for new employees to learn from experienced colleagues (and vice versa) are diminishing. They need to identify what newcomers are missing out on if they are working remotely – and design programmes that build those experiences. In a changing workplace, employees and employers need to craft opportunities to learn their trade more strategically, rather than assuming that learning will just happen on the job. But this comes at a cost. Individuals may have to work harder and longer to get these vital opportunities, while their more experienced colleagues reap the benefits of hybrid working through a better work-life balance.


by Jacky Swan, Eivor Obornm & Ila Bharatan Navigating your career

through busy lanes or into port, for instance. Classroom simulations can go so far, but doing this when feeling seasick, tired, lonely or under pressure is a different experience. On board, the captain and officers are responsible for ensuring cadets an opportunity to learn. Unsurprisingly, senior crew were often too busy, or under too much pressure, to allow the young recruits access to opportunities to acquire skills – particularly navigation. Instead, many saw cadets as ‘menial workers’, and their training was hit or miss. These cadets – usually one per ship – are having to learn their craft in an isolated, confined and sometimes fearful place. How did cadets respond? What we discovered surprised us – many managed to get around the obstacles blocking them from gaining vital experience on board. They did this through a mix of tactics. Some would complete a full shift of menial work, and in

FINANCE & MARKETS 74 Tweet talker The impact of Trump's outbursts on Twitter by Arie Gozluklu 78 Levelling up the UK economy post-Brexit by Nigel Driffield 81 Regulation or risk Is cryptocurrency about to balloon or burst? by Ganesh Viswanath-Natraj

R eager to learn? In previous decades, working life was more predictable, and newcomers would learn their profession or trade on the job, alongside more experienced colleagues. By contrast, work today can be a lonely affair. Navigating your own career is more hazardous – jobs are more fragmented, career paths are less linear, working may be largely from home or performed via emember your first day at work? Keen to meet new people,

technology, and opportunities to build social bonds and learn from others are more squeezed. Since the pandemic, the amount of remote working has soared. At the same time, the gig economy continues apace – for many, working life is solitary and disjointed. It’s harder than ever to learn from others. Where does this leave fledgling staff? We’ve investigated how new employees still manage to learn the skills they need to succeed, even when they feel isolated and sidelined. And we’ve discovered that they respond with a mix of ingenuity, guile and doggedness.

We’ve chosen a very specific scenario for this investigation – how merchant marine cadets fare when they are denied access to opportunities to learn. We followed a group of cadets for five months as they completed their shore- based training before being posted on board commercial ships to consolidate their classroom learning. Cadets are expected to spend time on the ship’s bridge, absorbing the complex tasks of navigation that are essential for their career progression to become officers. At sea, cadets need to put theory into practice, learning how to navigate a ship

engineer father was her mentor. “My mother always said ‘Do as you would be done by,’ and I believe and live by that. Don’t be mean to people when you’re managing them – lead by example, with clarity, strength and decency. “Support and empower people and teams as, if organisations are to thrive, you need supportive and inspirational leaders at every level – and I’ve had some of those, too.” As a 16-year-old, she was desperate to join West Midlands

Learn more about the world- leading Distance Learning MBA at Warwick Business School

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

credible without A levels or a degree. But I asked their

Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School



Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School



Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship

18 The final frontier:


How can digital platforms beat their rivals? Competition online is fiercer, more

58 How can employers avoid the 'great resignation'? by David Allen

Collaboration at NASA by Loizos Heracleous, Christina Wawarta, & Sotirios Paroutis 22 Five ways to make HR more strategic by Achim Krausert 24 Shame on who? Why a scandal may not always spell disaster for an organisation’s reputation by Irina Surdu

dynamic, and less predictable. This is how to succeed in this cut-throat landscape.

by Kalina Staykova

Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School | Warwick Business School



Future of Work


36 David McClelland’s Need theory 38 How can businesses combat fraudulent reviews? by Ram Gopal


by David Allen

The so-called ‘great resignation’ has been one of the defining trends in the labour market since the COVID pandemic, but bosses can avoid it by making sure employees are embedded in and outside work.

62 Closing the gap

Working from home is no quick fix for disabled staff by Kim Hoque

Warwick Business School | | Warwick Business School



Made with FlippingBook Learn more on our blog