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Andrew Hill's challenge
The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.
Cash bonuses have their uses. As an incentive to complete a particular task, they can be helpful, but I have my doubts about how valuable they are in encouraging companies to do the right thing. Still there seems to be no stopping the trend towards linking executive pay to non-financial targets — on diversity, sustainability, safety and a range of other noble goals.
What is needed is an alternative to cash bonuses, which notoriously crowd out our "intrinsic motivation" to work hard. For this week's challenge, then, please suggest novel incentives that might be more effective than monetary rewards, and have fewer deleterious side-effects. Send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In further reading this week, I enjoyed Kurt Wagner's analysis, for Recode, of what has happened at Twitter since founder Jack Dorsey returned to run the social media group in 2015. Short answer: not much. Not surprisingly, Twitter disputes the charge of "tepid leadership". But Wagner writes that Mr Dorsey's strategy since 2015 has been characterised by a "fear of straying too far from what was comfortable" — the reverse, in fact, of what you would expect from an entrepreneurial leader.
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Comments on AI’s rapid advance sparks call for a code for robots This article captures the sentiment behind what could be one of the greatest ethical challenge of our times. Who takes moral and legal responsibility for our AI creations? As future leaders of industry, business school students will increasingly deal with some of the ethical challenges discussed in this article.
Decision-making by humans is guided by ethical and legal considerations. As AI capabilities become increasingly accessible to people, the time has come to ask the question — what guides decision-making by autonomous machines? More importantly, is it even possible to enforce a common ‘code’ for the creators, users, and arguably the machines?
Hedge funds see a gold rush in data mining Data are a valuable resource for hedge funds. This article helps students understand the competitive dynamics behind the use of big-data.
We know that competitive strategies built on valuable and unique resources are likely to succeed. But is data truly ‘inimitable’, i.e., it cannot be mined by other companies and ‘non-substitutable’, i.e., it cannot be replaced by other resources?
First, if data are inimitable then the source is not accessible to other vendors — making the mining process questionable. Second, given the increasingly high price that hedge funds pay for exclusive data, they may be better off looking for inexpensive alternatives.
Jonathan Moules' business school news
The whirlwind that is the start of term of business schools is starting to subside. But before MBA students start focusing on their studies, there is a window of opportunity when they can consider their career plans after graduation. If you are at the start of a two-year course, this might seem premature, but the wise counsel from the experts in careers departments is that such thinking time quickly becomes a scarce resource when you get onto the treadmill of seminars and assignments.
The main task MBA careers advisers find themselves involved with is managing the expectations of job opportunities available. Often the reappraisal happens only after the student has accepted a role. The good news is that there are always opportunities to change, as I have written about in this week’s FT.
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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — firstname.lastname@example.org