Stop Me Before I Shop Again
Consider it Newton's first law of shopping: The more you shop, the more you shop. In The Shopping Momentum Effect, appearing in the Journal of Marketing Research, three researchers from Yale University, Duke University, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business show that consumers are more likely to buy merchandise when they've already made a purchase. After giving cash to a group of students, the authors offered them items that they might be interested in buying. In study after study, students given the choice of purchasing something they wanted—a pen, for example, or an educational CD—were far more likely to buy more items afterward than students who were offered something they didn't need. Giving the students free merchandise was surprisingly ineffective: Seventy-eight percent of students bought a key chain after being given an option to buy a pen, while only half bought the same key chain after receiving the pen as a gift.
Decide to Share Some Feelings
Managers try to avoid making decisions based on emotion. But is that a good idea? In Being Emotional During Decision Making—Good or Bad? An Empirical Investigation, appearing in the Academy of Management Journal, researchers from the University of Maryland and Boston College make the case that intense emotions can actually improve performance. In a stock investment simulation, 101 investors were asked to rate their feelings during a four-week stretch of investment decisions. The stock-pickers who reported the most intense emotions—including excitement, pride, and satisfaction—achieved the best returns. The key to high performance wasn't ignoring emotion, the researchers found. It was finding a way to understand it—and to channel it toward a goal.
Every Group Needs a Leader
"Diversity" has become today's corporate credo. Managers looking for new ideas carefully construct working groups so they include a range of different backgrounds and experiences, hoping for that magic spark. But does diversity really equal creativity? In When Is Educational Specialization Heterogeneity Related to Creativity in Research and Development Teams?, appearing in the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers from Washington State and Rice universities studied R&D teams at 44 South Korean tech companies, examining how groups made up of chemists, designers, and computer engineers worked together. Educational diversity alone, the authors found, didn't necessarily lead to creative teams. Instead, it was diversity paired with "transformational leadership"—a supervisor who could communicate a vision and create a team identity—that generated the best ideas. Diversity may provide the potential for creativity, but execution still requires leadership.