Sunday, December 8, 2013

Serious MBA knowledge dropped by Señor Markov. (Markov chain trained on Michael Porter's 5 Forces paper)3% 40 30 20 10 0 10th percentile median: 14 the food-service market, has been enormous clout through exclusive arrangements with technological advances, they were lowered when overall structure while major record stores and weaknesses: where quality cameras, for travel agents, who purchase expensive aircraft are large, and whether rivals the movie the- ater industry, which may be analyzed the sum of industry analysis may well in almost any one pur- chases in competitive force to find alternative fuels to a particular industry editor‚äôs note: in which ones harvard business review published ‚äúhow competitive strategy ôøº 5 number of complements affect profitability in any com- mon pitfall of incumbents possess substantial resources in which they also patronize the basis for most ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 11 affect structure that are large capac- ity if de- harvard sysco, the threat of these two new industry rivals, buyers, or even though there are minimal and costs once a company already know what it harder it available to retaining market for buying from the industry the five forces rather than a breakthrough framework allows companies and brandy bakery products a major motion dynamics that drive sustained profitability is more alike as some industries starting point is the five forces, sets industry analysis may appear to entry barriers 0% 13 the number of an industry rivals to entry, as airlines, textiles, and competitive force 1 in modernizing stores access to do delivery companies also value in industries rivalry is and often requires resources that internal processes have leveled the music when a trend toward new artists and exploiting shifts in seemingly unrelated businesses can potentially influence of substitutes many customers in the full business review ‚ä¢ why there is it is strapped for cash, or 3) serv- ing the roots of the structural changes there are strong brand of profitability since the needs of overcapacity and shapes the buyer‚äôs willingness to complements is emerging or are easy for profits to any industry, when videocassette-re- corder producer jvc persuaded movie producers in- dustry in good future profitability for hospitals, doctors, health care competition but today the global perspec- tive threats and with actual long-run profitability? ‚ä¢ buyers unions exer- cise considerable supplier power of the potential new gate- keeper, the attractiveness such a powerful channels, using it is not forces that the need for strategy ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 12 the profit pool involves minimal and new entry barriers capital (roic) is especially if it is these are sac- rificed to diminish chan- nel clout as a ceiling on industry prof- itability is not just price competition and whether an industry participants may not to when an industry competition transfers profits goes beyond established brand names that leak to to cut prices or compete by per- mitting the photographic film, learned with the aspiring entrant a long-run profitability? ‚ä¢ it easier to switch among existing competitors are powerful way they have highlighted the presumption is technology from the company that will not to send a sixth force determining industry on paccar‚äôs roadside assis- tance, and the industry accounts for example, is to steal incre- ments to 4% 13 the sup- plier group alto- gether with the role of buyer group of scale it was barred by companies hesi- tated to enter the five competitive advantage, then, strategists should be the food-service distributors or compete by preserving what‚äôs distinctive medical instruments men‚äôs and hence prices, costs, such as when they also make a large portion of participating in technol- ogy, preferential access to new entrants to cultivate customer group has access to in- crease the cockpit ‚ä¢ suppliers can raise their needs of the threat of how might shifts in the appropriate unit bound- aries when switching costs to a superior substitute for the costs incurred in industry rivals, and consolidation not distance itself many different 2 government policy, complements can heighten other entry barriers to potential entrants plentiful ‚ä¢ there are likely to avoid a cost and customers while a risky strategy ‚ä¢ why there is the analysis that shape strategy ôøº harvard business or even without an example is more of incumbents have major impact on how the opportu- nity for example, is more positive direction or constrained by themselves government policy, complements are those that dominate today‚äôs direct substitutes for itself many basic- materials businesses, such things as we utilize earnings before government directly from pursuing them in 1997 to competing, or all share can be the soft-drink producers of customers while major sources: 1) serving diverse approaches of their underlying the leverage relative value the threat of purchasing directly to substitutes or substitutes for company strategist is similar (that is, record stores were lowered when they are not just a positive-sum competition strategy ôøº 10 that shape strategy and inves- tors instead of its own the past decade or negative to fill excess cash flows to have major causes of the product pc makers, this limits or mature, high entry barriers to see michael e thus, upstart low-cost airlines have nothing in which they compete can stem from three pharmaceutical makers by raising prices capital structure that deter- mine the costs in one must offer similar function as with cause (buyer econom- ics) where the impact on the expanded in recent decades, but most impor- tantly, an analysis bankruptcy rules that may be substitutes or by the need for the role of music entrants must hold the position your company already present and are highly reliable equipment oil used product a powerful in which rivalry sometimes ac- cess to and their new artists in two new entrants ôøºbargaining power over by the five competitive forces the forces responsible for instance, the geographic segments (such as ever, the in- dustry structure thus, upstart low-cost airlines as software, notably microsoft, for unrecover- able or research and offer patented drugs with a company‚äôs product the phonograph: be- cause of rivalry that produce the ability over time horizon might shifts in tech- nology or declining and made by placing a set average entrant they neutralize supplier or is the risks of substitution easier to circumvent apparent barriers without an industry however, would have aerodynamic designs that may appear on all rights reserved ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 11 affect the buyer money relative to enter the capital food-service distributor in subsequent decades, porter here reaffirms, up- dates, and are not best strategies consider the entire industry for exam- ple, alter product with the costs moreover, an equivalent product, buyers ôøºthreat of more favor- able together and logistical systems it harder it is the essential to under- pinnings of pc assemblers, exemplifies this may also the roots of their trucks when they can boost the forces that shape strategy ôøº 10 that has brought his first and profitability, not just a desire to it is it gravitates solely to shake up costs), and produce more ‚ä¢ the appropriate fueling stations makes it can fall in such as a substitute excess capacity can pay paccar illustrates the sidebar ‚äúdefining the forces that no means, however, would set industry 3 by a single glo- bal auto industry, al- ways to determine which they are visible at- tract competitors he also patronize the emergence of rivalry, however, is especially destructive to when overall structure is not just price compe- tition takes place, will provide a world to the in- dustry too broadly or declining and getting their own company‚äôs strengths and exploiting industry a ceiling on in- dustry too profitable strategic decisions of competition and operating systems, coupled with actual long-run return on government policies or competitive advantage of buyers‚äô switch- ing the bottlers ben- efited to invest more heavily in the company to substitutes or using static analysis is otherwise under 200,000) faced with about an industry as pepsi did when industry can also reveal major companies 9% average return on invested capital in good future before they are underpinning (or good) for example, jiffy lube pro- fits have major retraining needs, and station- ary engine uses the study of rivalry that is, of powerful supplier power of the profitability given low tech, regulated industries through, for competing in an illegal but to purchase food processors a superior substitute for example, is it led the inter- net would, they main- tain their needs con- sider, for the consolidation of partici- pating in volumes that large incre- ments in such as the number of another ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 6 industry profitability among thousands of customers: owner- operators‚äîdrivers who differ in virtually every activity in cars part of few needs though rival sony‚äôs standard was barred by placing a technical characteristics that shape strategy this problem, especially if de- harvard business (and the power and indus- try profitability ‚ä¢ is the five competitive forces that no means, however, expanding pie offers oppor- tunities for example, or are built to by threatening to someone searching for example, the industry profitability there are present fortunately, however, like industrial customers, this business?‚äù exit barriers mean that should be better terms and, as they take place at the forces that raise buyers‚äô costs overall profit pool the internet video rental outlets are most important not just as vonage and peripher- als

3% 40 30 20 10 0 10th percentile median: 14 the food-service market, has been enormous clout through exclusive arrangements with technological advances, they were lowered when overall structure while major record stores and weaknesses: where quality cameras, for travel agents, who purchase expensive aircraft are large, and whether rivals the movie the- ater industry, which may be analyzed the sum of industry analysis may well in almost any one pur- chases in competitive force to find alternative fuels to a particular industry editor‚äôs note: in which ones harvard business review published ‚äúhow competitive strategy ôøº 5 number of complements affect profitability in any com- mon pitfall of incumbents possess substantial resources in which they also patronize the basis for most ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 11 affect structure that are large capac- ity if de- harvard sysco, the threat of these two new industry rivals, buyers, or even though there are minimal and costs once a company already know what it harder it available to retaining market for buying from the industry the five forces rather than a breakthrough framework allows companies and brandy bakery products a major motion dynamics that drive sustained profitability is more alike as some industries starting point is the five forces, sets industry analysis may appear to entry barriers 0% 13 the number of an industry rivals to entry, as airlines, textiles, and competitive force 1 in modernizing stores access to do delivery companies also value in industries rivalry is and often requires resources that internal processes have leveled the music when a trend toward new artists and exploiting shifts in seemingly unrelated businesses can potentially influence of substitutes many customers in the full business review ‚ä¢ why there is it is strapped for cash, or 3) serv- ing the roots of the structural changes there are strong brand of profitability since the needs of overcapacity and shapes the buyer‚äôs willingness to complements is emerging or are easy for profits to any industry, when videocassette-re- corder producer jvc persuaded movie producers in- dustry in good future profitability for hospitals, doctors, health care competition but today the global perspec- tive threats and with actual long-run profitability? ‚ä¢ buyers unions exer- cise considerable supplier power of the potential new gate- keeper, the attractiveness such a powerful channels, using it is not forces that the need for strategy ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 12 the profit pool involves minimal and new entry barriers capital (roic) is especially if it is these are sac- rificed to diminish chan- nel clout as a ceiling on industry prof- itability is not just price competition and whether an industry participants may not to when an industry competition transfers profits goes beyond established brand names that leak to to cut prices or compete by per- mitting the photographic film, learned with the aspiring entrant a long-run profitability? ‚ä¢ it easier to switch among existing competitors are powerful way they have highlighted the presumption is technology from the company that will not to send a sixth force determining industry on paccar‚äôs roadside assis- tance, and the industry accounts for example, is to steal incre- ments to 4% 13 the sup- plier group alto- gether with the role of buyer group of scale it was barred by companies hesi- tated to enter the five competitive advantage, then, strategists should be the food-service distributors or compete by preserving what‚äôs distinctive medical instruments men‚äôs and hence prices, costs, such as when they also make a large portion of participating in technol- ogy, preferential access to new entrants to cultivate customer group has access to in- crease the cockpit ‚ä¢ suppliers can raise their needs of the threat of how might shifts in the appropriate unit bound- aries when switching costs to a superior substitute for the costs incurred in industry rivals, and consolidation not distance itself many different 2 government policy, complements can heighten other entry barriers to potential entrants plentiful ‚ä¢ there are likely to avoid a cost and customers while a risky strategy ‚ä¢ why there is the analysis that shape strategy ôøº harvard business or even without an example is more of incumbents have major impact on how the opportu- nity for example, is more positive direction or constrained by themselves government policy, complements are those that dominate today‚äôs direct substitutes for itself many basic- materials businesses, such things as we utilize earnings before government directly from pursuing them in 1997 to competing, or all share can be the soft-drink producers of customers while major sources: 1) serving diverse approaches of their underlying the leverage relative value the threat of purchasing directly to substitutes or substitutes for company strategist is similar (that is, record stores were lowered when they are not just a positive-sum competition strategy ôøº 10 that shape strategy and inves- tors instead of its own the past decade or negative to fill excess cash flows to have major causes of the product pc makers, this limits or mature, high entry barriers to see michael e thus, upstart low-cost airlines have nothing in which they compete can stem from three pharmaceutical makers by raising prices capital structure that deter- mine the costs in one must offer similar function as with cause (buyer econom- ics) where the impact on the expanded in recent decades, but most impor- tantly, an analysis bankruptcy rules that may be substitutes or by the need for the role of music entrants must hold the position your company already present and are highly reliable equipment oil used product a powerful in which rivalry sometimes ac- cess to and their new artists in two new entrants ôøºbargaining power over by the five competitive forces the forces responsible for instance, the geographic segments (such as ever, the in- dustry structure thus, upstart low-cost airlines as software, notably microsoft, for unrecover- able or research and offer patented drugs with a company‚äôs product the phonograph: be- cause of rivalry that produce the ability over time horizon might shifts in tech- nology or declining and made by placing a set average entrant they neutralize supplier or is the risks of substitution easier to circumvent apparent barriers without an industry however, would have aerodynamic designs that may appear on all rights reserved ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 11 affect the buyer money relative to enter the capital food-service distributor in subsequent decades, porter here reaffirms, up- dates, and are not best strategies consider the entire industry for exam- ple, alter product with the costs moreover, an equivalent product, buyers ôøºthreat of more favor- able together and logistical systems it harder it is the essential to under- pinnings of pc assemblers, exemplifies this may also the roots of their trucks when they can boost the forces that shape strategy ôøº 10 that has brought his first and profitability, not just a desire to it is it gravitates solely to shake up costs), and produce more ‚ä¢ the appropriate fueling stations makes it can fall in such as a substitute excess capacity can pay paccar illustrates the sidebar ‚äúdefining the forces that no means, however, would set industry 3 by a single glo- bal auto industry, al- ways to determine which they are visible at- tract competitors he also patronize the emergence of rivalry, however, is especially destructive to when overall structure is not just price compe- tition takes place, will provide a world to the in- dustry too broadly or declining and getting their own company‚äôs strengths and exploiting industry a ceiling on in- dustry too profitable strategic decisions of competition and operating systems, coupled with actual long-run return on government policies or competitive advantage of buyers‚äô switch- ing the bottlers ben- efited to invest more heavily in the company to substitutes or using static analysis is otherwise under 200,000) faced with about an industry as pepsi did when industry can also reveal major companies 9% average return on invested capital in good future before they are underpinning (or good) for example, jiffy lube pro- fits have major retraining needs, and station- ary engine uses the study of rivalry that is, of powerful supplier power of the profitability given low tech, regulated industries through, for competing in an illegal but to purchase food processors a superior substitute for example, is it led the inter- net would, they main- tain their needs con- sider, for the consolidation of partici- pating in volumes that large incre- ments in such as the number of another ‚ä¢ january 2008 page 6 industry profitability among thousands of customers: owner- operators‚äîdrivers who differ in virtually every activity in cars part of few needs though rival sony‚äôs standard was barred by placing a technical characteristics that shape strategy this problem, especially if de- harvard business (and the power and indus- try profitability ‚ä¢ is the five competitive forces that no means, however, expanding pie offers oppor- tunities for example, or are built to by threatening to someone searching for example, the industry profitability there are present fortunately, however, like industrial customers, this business?‚äù exit barriers mean that should be better terms and, as they take place at the forces that raise buyers‚äô costs overall profit pool the internet video rental outlets are most important not just as vonage and peripher- als

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Babies, Dogs, and Weddings: The keys to Internet Win


Here is an excerpt:

Basically I think that if you want internet win… the trifecta of puppies (or other animals, preferably cute), babies (dancing, singing, or dressed like Hitler), and weddings (wedding dances, songs, dresses… I mean there are entire shows dedicated to this stuff) is the way to go.  Specifically… if you can come up with something that would be of interest in one of these three topics… you may have some ‘solid content’ on your hands… the interest level is peaked for these 3 because people seem to be pretty determined when they are doing the information search for babies, puppies, and weddings….  So if you have a baby that can ride a puppy and hand out flowers down the aisle of a wedding ceremony on film… or you can write about how to do something like that… you might be the next internet phenom…

Monday, June 7, 2010

Recruiting 2.0: Pillaging talent has never been so easy


Here is an excerpt:

So here is an interesting scene, I roll into work to find an interesting set of IM’s from a few different friends.  They all have hyperlinks to a particular website… What is this website you might ask? Well, it turns out that it’s a link to a job posting on one of our competitors websites… the rub? Well interestingly enough they actually have information like Signing Bonus on the job requisitions they have listed, which is kind of unheard of in my particular industry. Anyhow.. the reason this is interesting is two fold, #1 a few of my friends scoped this out on Facebook of all places 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Corporate Social Networking: The New Cycle of Sisyphus

An article I wrote for techsocialite.com on the subject of Corporate Social Networking: The New Cycle of Sisyphus

Here is an excerpt:

Companies today are like bewildered heroes beset on all sides by the titans of Facebook, twitter, blogging, and Youtube.  They think to themselves that they have held out for a long time and that they have fought the good fight.  However, now comes the time where many corporations must choose to either ignore, embrace, or vanquish the dragon of social networking…..  This moment of decision is a lot like the beginning of the trials of Sisyphus….
Sisyphus was a king cursed by the gods to roll a heavy stone up a great mountain every day… only to see it roll back again… day after day.  Most experienced leaders will know that many times the promise of “new and change” just bring about more of the “same”…..  Social networking is the like the rolling stone that will either brings destruction or a shining future….. the wheel of progress turns steadily and it grinds ceaselessly forward…. Sisyphus never rests…. his task is to roll the stone up the mountain with full knowledge that it will roll down always… and that he will again have to toil the burden up the hill again and again…. this is the price of progress…. this is the price of creative destruction.

What do Facebook and Kirby have in Common?

An article I wrote for techsocialite.com on What Facebook and Kirby have in common.

Here is an excerpt:

So what do Facebook and Kirby have in common?  Ok so it’s not that they both suck, actually I’m a fan, but all is not well at the social networking juggernaut.  User privacy issues bring the latest woe, but you know that’s pretty boring…  so let’s talk about what Facebook has in common with Kirby.  For the uninitiated Kirby is a happy ball that basically inhales bad guys and steals their powers….   Seems simple enough…. Right?  Well if you look at it… Facebook is the ‘me too’ master of the social networking world. The funny thing about Facebook is it’s always been the ‘safe’ form of social networking. It’s always been relatively cleanly designed (well historically at least) and free of the spam/cluttered nature of other social networking sites (ok so I do agree that now the spam comes from all your friends asking to join Farmville, Mafia wars, and other stuff). It’s kind of like that girl in accounting that you think you can bring home to mom.  In contrast Myspace is more like the delightfully sketchy girl next door.  That being said, Facebook is at the point now where your parents are joining.  I think it’s hit that stage of the Technology Adoption Lifecycle (seen below) that we call the Late Majority/Laggards stage.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Human Resources: A Evolutionary Based Approach

In Gad Saad's book the Evolutionary Bases of Consumption, he outlines how the new discipline of Evolutionary Psychology can be applied as an additional tool to compliment the current body of research regarding consumer behavior. Thus this approach does not replace but enhance the current concepts applied to consumer behavior such as MAO, Theory of Reasoned Action, and Information Processing theory (Central vs Peripheral information processing).  After reading his text I thought that there were some interesting parallels to the domain of organizational behavior and human resources.
I am going to give a short discussion on each module (I really can't do them justice but it should give you a general idea of the thought process). If anything I hope this will give you something extra to think about when you are trying solve the somewhat intractable problem of designing the optimal organization architecture or setting up your organization so that your employees will behave in ways that are consistent with your intent. Obviously not every behavior/situation has an evolutionary etiology.  However for those that are good fits for using this paradigm, I think it is a useful tool that should be considered.
His framework is broken down into 4 regions of analysis.  
 
Survival Relevance:
This concept is based on the ancient survival instinct.  Behaviors and situations that threaten our survival, such as loss of access to life sustaining resources or the threat of violence are some examples of triggers for this module.   A good thought experiment is, if "I was a cave man how would I react to this?"  In this modern world the direct relation is not exactly one to one, but you could imagine that losing one's job translates to losing one's means of survival.  This actually ties into the other modules as well since most of these are interdependent.
 
Reciprocation:
This concept is based on the fundamental rule of how friendships and partnerships are forged. The idea that cooperation can only be built through an expectation that when you do things for someone that they will return the favor. Performing altruistic actions for each other, with the expectation that you will be visited similar beneficial actions in the future is the core of reciprocation. This is an oversimplified explanation but I think it covers what you need to know.  This module becomes interesting at two points, when favors are rendered to others and when the chain of reciprocation breaks.  Think of this as the unspoken social contracts that we broker on a daily basis.  When people do not hold up the other end of the bargain a negative primal reaction can occur. Deeply embedded in Reciprocation is the concept of fairness.
 
Kin Selection:
This concept is based on the idea of 'family dynamics'.  Specifically how altruistic behavior can manifests itself within units that are 'related' in a genetic sense. I would also argue that 'synthetic' families such as (people you have spent a lot of time with, friends (especially those you make during time of crisis), wartime comrades etc) 'could' also fall under this paradigm.  For instance why do you care more about your friend being sick than a stranger? Why do you love your children more than your neighbor's children? If you could imagine that the way we define family is as simple as, those who we spend a lot of time with AND share goals with, then it is possible to extend the genetic family behaviors.
Mating Relevance:
This concept perhaps requires the least explanation.  However it's relevance to Human Resources is particularly interesting I think.  The basic argument being that a large amount of our behaviors are driven by the desire to mate, have children, and protect those children.  This is interesting because there are some fundamental differences in how men and women process this module.  An interesting topic that you don't hear much about is Sexual Harassment in the workplace, productivity, compensation, and risk taking tendencies. All of these appear to be at least somewhat related to the mating module.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Here are 3 topics in human resources that I will attempt to provide an alternative method of analysis for using the 4 evolutionary modules detailed by Gad Saad. 

Rumor Damage Control

Modules applied (Mating, Survival, Reciprocation, Kin selection)
An issue that is common in corporate circles is the spread of rumors. Specifically rumors related to loss of benefits, the next bonus, who's sleeping with their boss, layoffs, nepotism and so on.  I believe a key concept here is that you can predict the spread of rumors by the context of them.  For instance if rumors have some relevance to the 4 stated evolutionary modules, then they have a good chance of spreading in an automatic fashion.  Take say... the rumor that "Bob has high blood pressure" vs "Sally has herpes."  I'm pretty sure that Sally has herpes will win hands down in rumor spreading because of its mating/survival relevancy.  I bring this up because, many times when there is impending news of layoffs or changes in compensation, it is important to address these concerns more carefully than you would normally handle other situations.  Because of the relevance people are going to be hyper tuned into this information and will be scrutinizing everything you do very closely.  The key is, many times messages are stated, but the keen observer will drill down to the core basics of the message. If there is something fundamentally awkward with it, they will come to their own conclusions and this distorted version will propagate faster than any communication you can send out.
Executive summary: If you have an issue that is related to the 4 modules, you better be very careful in how you handle the situation and the message you communicate to your organization.  

Bonus:  The issue of 'fairness' seems like it doesn't belong to any of the 4 modules, but in fact I would say that it relates strongly to 'reciprocation'.  Justice in repaying your debts as Plato would talk about.
Breaking of fair social contract is a human universal that people react strongly to.

Sexual Harassment
Modules applied(Mating, Survival)

I don't know the figures on this but my best guess would be that a vast majority of 'reported' sexual harassment cases in the workplace are most likely placed by women.  This apparent imbalance is to be expected though, if you believe that men and women approach this subject area differently.  There have been studies in the past that seem to come to the conclusion that men have a tendency to interpret most interactions with women through a mating relevant lens. So natural friendliness on the part of a female is many times interpreted as an invitation by men, regardless of whether or not it 'actually' is. This also plays to the Survival module for women I think. The idea of harassment at the workplace perhaps creates an environment of Fear. Either way a hostile work environment is the last thing anyone wants.

On a lighter note, I wonder how much minor sexual harassment is due to 'BAD FLIRTING' and lack of social calibration on the part of socially awkward men? This reminds me of that scene in Simon Pegg's film "How to lose friends and alienate people" when the dialogue goes something like this:

Suave office goldenboy: 
You need to stop talking to women at the watercooler, it is creepy and inappropriate



New non-suave guy:
Well I see you do it all the time


Suave office goldenboy:
Yeah but when I do it it's called flirting, when you do it it's called sexual harassment

This isn't exactly what they say but that's the jest of it.


Executive Summary: Sexual harassment is always going to be a constant challenge as long as we have mixed gender office settings.  How you handle the harassment events is going signal your stance on it.


Compensation Structure and Layoffs

Modules applied(Mating, Survival, Reciprocation, Kin Selection)
One of the most important interesting issues related to compensation is the dynamic tension between correctly finding the balance between enough 'carrot' and not breaking the bank.  On one hand it seems only natural to attempt to reward your employees based on their contribution to the bottom line.  Yet many times it is impractical to do so.  Many companies resort to generating stable and consistent raises that seem to be mostly invariant against performance. Although this provides some stability and ease of forecasting at the top level, it generates some interesting behaviors at the ground floor.  People start to notice the invariance and adjust their effort accordingly.

Key hypothesis: Increases in means or salary are met with X units of positive feeling.  Decreases in means or salary are met with significantly higher than X units in negative feeling.

There is a concept in pricing behavior that says something to the effect of
"If you want to raise prices... raise them once and to the level required. If you want to lower prices, lower them in a staggered fashion. This is due to the asymmetry in how we take good bad news (from the customer's point of view).  Thus when things are bad you might as well 'bundle them'. When they are good stagger them out. "

The Mating module of course comes into play since means and salary are historically linked to value. Perhaps this seems old fashioned but the instinct of losing your means still packs the same punch in the face.  Also a sudden loss of means also hits the Survival module in a similar way. The thought of losing food on the table is much worse than missing an opportunity to get more food. 

Key hypothesis: When giving bad news such as layoffs, give them in a single shot versus a series of bad news slowly eating away at the soul of your employees. When giving good news, build a stream of positive energy over time. This will allow you to minimize damage and maximize the positive feelings related to actual good news.

So what is Human Resources to do?  Compensation is a difficult subject because of the complexity.  I would say that it may be easier to frame the analysis by looking at the Reciprocation module.  The concept of Reciprocation is deeply rooted in 'fairness' and the exchange of 'equal value'.  If a person feels they are doing worthwhile work, then as long as the compensation is in line with others of the same occupation then they most likely will not hyper-focus on increasing income (at least to a point).
I think that you are less likely to have an HR situation blow up in your face if you always proceed in a manner that is fair to a vast majority of observers.

Kin selection module to the rescue!
If the simple rule of creating group membership or 'family' can be transposed to groups of individuals who are not related, then this idea would be powerful in the realm of creating a 'kinship' amongst an organization.  If you strive to honestly pursue the concept of the organization as a family and you act in congruence with that concept, you may have the ability to override some of the other reactive modules.  Specifically, if you have made an honest effort to treat the company as a family and your employees honestly feel that way, you have a good chance of executing a salary freeze or temporary raise freeze without causing a mutiny.  Again this requires a strong appeal to the kinship module (this also does not happen overnight, you need a history of treating your employees like family if you ever hope to pull this off).  When I was working at a semiconductor firm in college, the company I was working at held a salary reduction for the highest paid employees so that they would not lay off any engineers during the down turn.  From what I understand they did not lay off any engineers due to that time and once things picked back up, they kept trucking along.  I don't think they would have ever pulled this off smoothly had they not instilled some sort of kinship amongst the company.  The flip side of this is when you do actually do something less than fair. You have solidarity coming against you.

Executive Summary: When trying to determine HR policies you need to take a bottom up view of how employees will actually respond to them. Think of it as applied game theory with the payout matrix inherited from the 4 evolutionary modules I have outlined.  If it is aligned with your way of doing business, creating a family context for your employees can be advantageous. 


*** Overarching hypothesis ***
 Since scenarios and actions related to the 4 evolutionary modules are so important to us, it is a logical extension that we should be particularly good at noticing sincerity and authenticity with respect to them.  More specifically, if you are going to appeal to your employees using these 4 evolutionary modules, you need to be congruent in your overtures and actions.  Your appeal must be authentic since they theoretically should have a high sensitivity to deception concerning these modules.

-------------------------------------------
These are just some of my ideas on how one could 'attempt' to use an evolutionary based framework
to help determine the proper course of action in a few common HR scenarios.  The one thing I would like to stress is that, this is but one tool that you should use in making any determination. Of course it is far from perfect but I think it does help give you an alternative way of looking at these situations that may help you in your final decision process.  I admit I made these examples up as I went in the course of about 30 minutes so forgive me if they are not fully fleshed out or perfectly compelling.  I just wanted to throw something out there that I had not seen anywhere else. An Evolutionary Psychology based approach to Human Resources.  I hope you found some of this interesting.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fork()


So I've decided to separate my blog postings into the fun/humor/awesome vs original material only. This blog (www.lazymba.com) will be used for original material, writings, thoughts etc.  The fun/humor/awesome will remain at www.khappucino.com (also http://khappucino.blogspot.com)