Business

"When Passionate Advocates Meet Research on Diversity, Does the Honest Broker Stand a Chance?"

A paper based on the Presidential Address Northwestern professor Alice H. Eagly delivered at the 2015 conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Abstract of the paper (available free online):

In an ideal world, social science research would provide a strong basis for advocacy and social policy. However, advocates sometimes misunderstand or even ignore scientific research in pursuit of their goals, especially when research pertains to controversial questions of social inequality. To illustrate the chasm that can develop between research findings and advocates’ claims, this article addresses two areas: (a) the effects of the gender diversity of corporate boards of directors on firms’ financial performance and (b) the effects of the gender and racial diversity of workgroups on group performance. Despite advocates’ insistence that women on boards enhance corporate performance and that diversity of task groups enhances their performance, research findings are mixed, and repeated meta-analyses have yielded average correlational findings that are null or extremely small. Therefore, social scientists should (a) conduct research to identify the conditions under which the effects of diversity are positive or negative and (b) foster understanding of the social justice gains that can follow from diversity. Unfortunately, promulgation of false generalizations about empirical findings can impede progress in both of these directions. Rather than ignoring or furthering distortions of scientific knowledge to fit advocacy goals, scientists should serve as honest brokers who communicate consensus scientific findings to advocates and policy makers in an effort to encourage exploration of evidence-based policy options.

Link via The American Interest, via Instapundit.


"My Year in Startup Hell"

Sad, frightening, or just the future: you decide.

The offices bear a striking resemblance to the Montessori preschool that my kids attended: lots of bright basic colors, plenty of toys, and a nap room with a hammock and soothing palm tree murals on the wall. The office-as-playground trend was made famous by Google and has spread like an infection across the tech industry. Work can’t just be work; work has to be fun. HubSpot is divided into “neighborhoods,” each named after a section of Boston: North End, South End, Charlestown. One neighborhood has a set of musical instruments, in case people want to have an impromptu jam session, which Zack says never happens. Every neighborhood has little kitchens, with automatic espresso machines, and lounge areas with couches and chalkboard walls where people have written things like “HubSpot = cool” alongside inspirational messages like “There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. So that we listen twice as much as we speak.”


"The exact reasons why Europe is accusing Google of acting like a monopoly"

Even more misconceived than the DOJ's case against Microsoft 15 years ago.

Google created strong incentives for device manufacturers to use the company’s search engine and browser, ensuring those programs would be dominant on Android devices, the European Commission said in a statement. "Based on our investigation thus far, we believe that Google's behaviour denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players, in breach of EU antitrust rules," the European Union's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, said. . . .

According to the commission, Google obliges smartphone makers who want to pre-install Google's popular app store to also pre-install Search and set it as the default search engine on those devices. And the manufacturers who want Google's Play Store or Search also have to pre-install Google's Chrome browser.


"Bezos Prime"

Amazon, under Bezos, keeps rolling along.

He’s got every reason to cha-cha. More has gone right for Bezos lately than perhaps at any other time during his two-decade run in the public eye. His company is expanding internationally and spreading its hydra-headed product and service offerings in unexpected new directions. Bezos, too, is evolving. Always a fierce competitor and stern taskmaster, he has begun to show another side. With the Post, he’s taken a seat at the civic-leadership table. And with his various projects Bezos is also becoming known as a visionary on topics beyond dreaming up new ways to gut the profit margins of Amazon’s many foes.


"Meet Is Murder"

Virginia Heffernan asks a good question:

They’re boring. They’re useless. Everyone hates them. So why can’t we stop having meetings?

The only explanation I've seen that makes sense is that the third assertion is untrue: a lot of people like meetings. Some because they're friendly and extroverted. Some because they like to hear themselves talk. And some because they feel that however bad meetings are they're better than actual work.


"How to get any job you want — even if you're not technically qualified"

I'd be cautious, but your mileage may vary.

It turns out that people applying for a job care more about their own credentials than the people who are hiring them.

This is very counterintuitive.

Average applicants obsess over getting the right credentials and being "qualified" on paper. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, companies are playing a totally different game.

They’re obsessing over finding the right person to solve their problems.