Debra L. Shapiro

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Debra L. Shapiro (Ph.D. Northwestern U) is the Clarice Smith Professor at the U of Maryland (UMD), formerly the Willard Graham Distinguished Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill where she was 1986-2003. Debra has led UNC's and MD's business schools' PhD Programs (as Associate Dean at UNC from 1998-2001 and UMD from 2008-2011).

When Traditionalism Helps Innovation

Conventional wisdom says innovation flows from the minds of mavericks, not protectors of the status quo; and teams comprised of rule-breakers as well as traditionalists are likely to suffer process challenges when their values clash. Such thinking, if true, ought to worry global organizations that rely on people from different cultures to solve complex business challenges. But new research from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business finds that innovation is aided when teams include both traditionalists and forward thinkers from diverse backgrounds.

Fearless Idea 21: Anchor Your Teams

Organizations need strong leaders who can build high-quality relationships with their subordinates. But the same leaders create a liability when they exit because loyal employees will often follow them out the door. The result can be “turnover contagion.” The opposite happens when bad leaders depart. Employees are more likely to celebrate. So what’s an organization to do? Research co-authored by Smith School professor Debra L. Shapiro explores ways to anchor employees to their organizations so they don’t want to leave. Read more...

Why Your Next Performance Review Might Never End

Those annual employee performance reviews can be pretty stressful. But what if instead of being a once-a-year thing with just your boss, they were every day, with everyone you work with? JPMorgan Chase & Co. is revamping the way it evaluates its 240,000 employees, deploying a mobile app that will let colleagues across the organization send and receive instant feedback about each other any time. Executives say the application, Insight360, was inspired by the bank’s younger, millennial employees, many of whom say they prefer continuous feedback, rather than a once-a-year report card. Read more...

Sugarcoating Layoffs Doesn't Work

Yahoo announced last week that it would be laying off 15 percent of its 11,000-person workforce, as the company seeks a profitable way forward. By the end of the cuts, the company will employ 42 percent fewer people than it did in 2012. But you'll never hear CEO Marissa Mayer use the word "layoff." The New York Times reports that Mayer forbids her managers to use the word, prodding them to say instead that Yahoo is "remixing" itself. Does such euphemistic language actually bolster employee morale?

The Amazon Controversy: Exploring Workplace Justice

In a much-discussed piece in The New York Times, which drew on interviews with more than 100 people, Amazon comes off as a rough place to work. Emails from bosses arrive after midnight, followed by texts demanding answers. Employees are encouraged "to rip into colleagues' ideas with feedback that can be blunt to the point of painful." Smith School professors Debra L. Shapiro and Subrahmaniam Tangirala weigh in on some of the issues raised. Read more...

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