Insights Newsletter Archive

Breaking the rules, Economics and ethics, Helping teams adapt

03 Apr 2023
AOM Insights
When Breaking the Rules Is Part of the Business Plan

From smart guns and sausage substitutes to psychedelic drugs and sex robots, some companies openly break social conventions and laws. Some get shut down. Others get away with it. "Many contemporary organizations seem to thrive by openly flouting them, de facto adopting deviance as a strategy,” according to an Academy of Management Review article.

While many studies have linked economics education to behaviors that are “less cooperative, more selfish, and greedier,” an Academy of Management Learning & Education article explains how students’ ethics can be tainted.

While years of previous research shows that loving your job brings only benefits to employees and their organizations, an Academy of Management Journal article uncovers an important downside.

Previous researchers recommend that teams manage their emotions and depend on planning and deliberation to find the best ways to make changes. But AOM scholars explain when using emotional appeals might work best.

Many organizations take a one-size-fits-all diversity approach that falls short in reaching employees with varying concerns. But identifying different styles of learners and tailoring programs to fulfill their needs, organizations can optimize training outcomes and enhance the bottom line, according to an Academy of Management Review article.

Although also-rans might act happy when they don’t win, an Academy of Management Journal article shows that runners-up are less likely to lend a helping hand to winners for as long as six months after awards are announced.

How Humor Helps (or Hurts) at Work

Female speakers who aren’t afraid to share their senses of humor score more points with their audiences and gain more influence than their male counterparts, according to an Academy of Management Discoveries article.


Joking around at work can help managers in several ways, but it can also get some surprisingly bad results, according to an Academy of Management Journal article. It all depends on how often managers use humor and the types of jokes they make. (related )


It’s no joke: Managers can use humor to get workers to go above and beyond, according to AOM scholars. (related )


Disguising inappropriate remarks as humor is just one factor that can make sexual harassment more likely at work, an Academy of Management Review article explains. (related )


A combination of caring and playfulness in a mostly masculine organization can create interpersonal connections that help build strong teams, AOM scholars reveal.


An event organizer is known as its “director of chaos.” A receptionist introduces herself as a “director of first impressions.” Employers allowing employees to create their own job titles to convey their unique attributes is a good way to counter stress, according to an Academy of Management Journal article.


Framing an experience as “tragicomedy”―showing “how foolish human beings can be … containing a fair amount of both grief and humor, despair and hilarity”―is just one way for leaders to share errors and fuel learning. (related )

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