Management Article

Multiple Authors
By: Ian Hesketh, Cary Cooper

Most people are familiar with presenteeism, where employees spend many more hours at the workplace than necessary—out of a sense of duty or to impress the boss or whatever. Presenteeism damages productivity, ultimately weakening the economy, and many companies now prioritize stamping it out.

A few years ago, our research into this sort of behavior led us to identify a related but different phenomenon: employees using annual leave or other work entitlements, such as banked flexi-hours, to go off sick or to look after a relative or dependent. There was no name for such situations, so we called it leaveism.

As part of the same category, we also included employees taking work home that can’t be completed in normal working hours, or catching up on work while on leave or holiday. Half a decade later, the bad news is that leaveism appears to be getting more and more common.

William A. Levinson’s picture

By: William A. Levinson

Almost half of Americans work in low-wage jobs despite the nation’s low unemployment rate. Aimee Picchi, writing for CBS News, cites a Brookings study that says “44 percent of U.S. workers are employed in low-wage jobs that pay median annual wages of $18,000.”1 A Bloomberg story adds, “An estimated 53 million Americans are earning low wages, according to the study. Their median wage is $10.22 an hour and their annual pay is $17,950.”2

These wage levels are not consistent with the United States’ industrial and technological development or its standard of living, but this is far from the only issue. Executives with profit-and-loss responsibility should realize that low wages are also often symptomatic of low profits. Purchasing managers should recognize that a supplier’s low wages are often symptomatic of excessively high prices, even though this seems counterintuitive. The reason is that low wages, low profits, and high prices all have the same root causes: waste (muda) and opportunity costs. Recognizing this simple fact, for which there are proven, off-the-shelf, and simple remedies, opens the door to almost limitless wealth for all stakeholders.

Ken Voytek’s picture

By: Ken Voytek

I find that every so often it is good to step back and think about the current state of manufacturing in the broadest sense. We all see bits and pieces as part of our daily work with manufacturers across the country and from reading the news, but sometimes it can be difficult to fit those puzzle pieces into the whole.

This is the day I break out my trusty old charts and graphs and data points to try and work some augury on where we may be headed.

Overall, most indicators show the manufacturing landscape slowing. Whether the slowdown is a temporary aberration (we saw similar patterns in 2016, for example) remains to be seen. The current data do, of course, reflect some large OEMs (GM and Boeing, in particular) slowing production, the trade dispute with China, and an economic slowdown globally, concurrent with the one we’re experiencing here.

Randall Goodden’s picture

By: Randall Goodden

The manufacturing industry, stock market, and new product development have really taken off in the past four years, and there’s a lot of focus now on moving offshore manufacturing back into the United States. With all of this growth, it is also apparent that many manufacturing corporations are primarily focused on marketing their new products, increasing sales, and hopefully, ensuring their products are safe and will live up to expectation.

But with all the records being set in the stock market and employment, record numbers of product recalls and product liability lawsuits are also happening. What further compounds that problem are executive management teams making assumptions that their employees know how to prevent product recalls and product liability lawsuits, that it’s basically “common sense.” This false perception has led to an ever-growing trend in product recalls, record-breaking numbers of product-liability lawsuits, and manufacturing corporations going bankrupt.

Lolly Daskal’s picture

By: Lolly Daskal

When I first started out as an executive leadership coach, not many CEOs saw the importance of leadership coaching or development. During the past few years attitudes have changed, and recent research finds that 90 percent of CEOs are planning to increase their investment in leadership development and see it as the most important human-capital issue their organizations face.

Identifying and developing great leaders is a critical factor in organizational health, which in turn drives shareholder returns. But what direction should that development take? I think it’s important to focus on the fundamentals—the most critical traits and skills leaders need to be successful. Here are some of the most important:

Emotional intelligence. Any successful leader must have a healthy dose of emotional intelligence. Leaders with good emotional intelligence know how to identify and manage emotions—their own as well as those of others. They practice awareness and empathy, and stay connected with their own feelings and in control of situations. Understanding emotional intelligence and developing the emotional intelligence of your organization’s leaders is a great investment.

Matthew Hora’s picture

By: Matthew Hora

When her college started requiring students to complete an internship in order to graduate, it created a serious dilemma for Janelle.

“I wouldn’t be able to do classes, do the internship, and work to make money—which is kind of important because I’m basically just paying for school as I can,” Janelle said in an interview for a study of internships during her junior year in South Carolina.

Janelle is by no means alone. Of the 1,060 students at five colleges and universities who answered “no” to having taken an internship for our University of Wisconsin–Madison based College Internship Study survey, 676—or 64 percent—stated that they had actually hoped to take an internship but could not. The schools were located in Maryland, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.

NIST’s picture

By: NIST

Artificial intelligence (AI) promises to grow the economy and improve our lives, but along with these benefits, it also brings new risks that society is grappling with. How can we be sure this new technology is not just innovative and helpful, but also trustworthy, unbiased, and resilient in the face of attack? We talked with NIST’s Information Technology Lab director Chuck Romine to learn how measurement science can help provide answers.

How would you define AI? How is it different from regular computing?

One of the challenges with defining AI is that if you put 10 people in a room, you get 11 different definitions. It’s a moving target. We haven’t converged yet on exactly what the definition is, but I think NIST can play an important role here. What we can’t do, and what we never do, is go off in a room and think deep thoughts and say we have the definition. We engage the community.

Paavo Käkelä’s picture

By: Paavo Käkelä

After two decades of offshore productions in low-cost countries, manufacturers are now struggling with the rapidly growing salaries and countereffects of cheap production. The question that industries are asking today is: Do we continue offshoring, or should we consider reshoring?

The right answer, according to Paavo Kakela, the CEO of EID Robotics, who provides modular microfactory systems, is that manufacturers should transform their operations to rightshoring.

During the 1990s, U.S. manufacturers were sold by the lower cost of Asian labor. This is how the global offshoring boom started in Asia. By the 2000 millennium, offshoring began to peak; it maintained this growth trend until 2010—the year when U.S. domestic-manufacturing employment rates reached all-time lows.

Jon Speer’s picture

By: Jon Speer

Believe it or not, paper is very expensive. Although the going rate for a ream of standard copy paper is only about 10 bucks, the expense of relying on paper for your medical device quality management system is downright outrageous.

Some medical device manufacturers have recognized how expensive paper really can be and therefore rely on spreadsheets and documents—so-called “digital paper,”—only to realize this variation of paper is just as expensive, if not more so, due to the false sense of security digital file systems can give.

If you’re still relying on these outdated systems, let’s consider three key ways paper ends up costing significantly more than $10 per ream.

Loss of company valuation

We had an eye-opening conversation with Ronny Bracken, executive and principal at Paladin Biomedical Consultants, an accomplished medical device research and development executive with a career spanning more than two decades. In addition to his role helping his clients in all manner of regulatory and engineering services, Bracken invests in early-stage medical device companies.

Anthony Veal’s picture

By: Anthony Veal

When Microsoft gave its 2,300 employees in Japan five Fridays off in a row, it found productivity jumped 40 percent.

When financial services company Perpetual Guardian in New Zealand trialed eight Fridays off in a row, its 240 staff reported feeling more committed, stimulated, and empowered.

Around the world there’s renewed interest in reducing the standard working week. But a question arises: Is instituting the four-day week, while retaining the eight-hour workday, the best way to reduce working hours?


Perpetual Guardian trial outcomes, as measured by researchers from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. 4dayweek.com, CC BY-SA

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