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How Beacons Are Changing the Shopping Experience

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Beacons are taking the world of mobile by storm. They are low-powered radio transmitters that can send signals to smartphones that enter their immediate vicinity, via Bluetooth Low Energy technology.  In the months and years to come, we’ll see beaconing applied in all kinds of valuable ways.

For marketers in particular, beacons are important because they allow more precise targeting of customers in a locale. A customer approaching a jewelry counter in a department store, for example, can receive a message from a ...

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Give Your Organization a Work-Life Vision

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More and more companies are acknowledging the importance of work-life balance, at least as far as official policy goes. The Families and Work Institute’s 2014 National Study of Employers finds that, compared to six years ago when it conducted the same survey, several numbers have moved in the right direction:

Employers have continued to increase their provision of options that allow at least some employees to better manage the times and places in which they work. These include occasional ...

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9 Habits That Lead to Terrible Decisions

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Several years ago we came up with a great idea for a new leadership-development offering we thought would be valuable to everyone. We had research demonstrating that when people embarked on a self-development program, their success increased dramatically when they received follow-up encouragement.  We developed a software application to offer that sort of encouragement. People could enter their development goals, and the software would send them reminders every week or month asking how they were doing, to motivate them to ...

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When You’re Feeling Down About Your Job, You Seek Brighter Light

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In an experiment, people who felt more hopeless about the economy and their employment opportunities showed a preference for brighter lighting, suggesting that those with poor job prospects may have an unfortunate predilection for spending more on electricity, says a team led by Ping Dong of the University of Toronto. The researchers calculated that it would cost participants an average of 20.6% more for electricity in order to feel 1 point less hopeful (on a 9-point scale) toward the economy. ...

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What Unions No Longer Do

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Forty years ago, about quarter of American workers belonged to unions, and those unions were a major economic and political force. Now union membership is down to 11.2% of the U.S. workforce, and it’s increasingly concentrated in the public sector — only 6.7% of private-sector workers were union members in 2013.

union chart

This isn’t exactly news, and professors and pundits have for years been dissecting the causes of labor’s decline. What doesn’t get talked ...

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Spy Novel or Start-Up?

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War of the Cars

This is Uber's Playbook for Sabotaging Lyft

The Verge

Fans of burner phones, secret credit cards, code names, and general espionage, look no further than your friendly neighborhood car-sharing start-up. According to The Verge, Uber (the company where you sit in the back seat) is waging an outlandish war on Lyft (the company where you sit in ...

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America’s New Labor Movement

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Flip through issues of Harvard Business Review from the 1950s or 1960s, and you’ll see a steady drumbeat of articles on labor relations. But search Google today, and our top hit on unions is from 20 years ago — John Hoerr’s still-interesting “What Should Unions Do?

America’s public sector has also found new issues to focus on – as Roger Martin has persuasively argued, Democrats now care about the interests of shareholders and investors, and Republicans about top-tier talent.

So I called up ...

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Whatever Happened to Corporate Stewardship?

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In November 1956, Time magazine explored a phenomenon that went by various names: “capitalism with a conscience,” “enlightened conservatism,” “people’s capitalism,” and, most popularly, “The New Conservatism.”

No matter which label one preferred, the basic concept was clear: Business leaders were demonstrating an ever increasing willingness, in the words of the story, to “shoulder a host of new responsibilities” and “judge their actions, not only from the standpoint of profit and loss” in their financial results “but of profit and loss to ...

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Belonging and Self-actualization: Why Businesses Should Serve Consumers’ ‘Higher Needs’

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American psychologist Abraham Maslow is best known for his seminal research on the hierarchy of innate human needs, but his work also has a surprising application for businesses models and shareholder value.

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Let Your Employees Bring Their Interests to Work

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Research repeatedly suggests that levels of employee engagement in the workplace are low and worsening. But what really perplexes executives when we talk to them is that their employees are often fully engaged in a host of other activities.

Among the growing perplexed population is Mark Barnes (not his real name), vice president of a marketing company. When we spoke with Mark he was becoming increasingly frustrated at the behavior of Jennifer Moline (also not her real name), his most ...

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