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12 Oct. 2012 | Comments (0)
File these two items under the "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" category. First, an op-ed in the New York Times that would aim to solve both the underemployment of low-paid women (who want more and more regular working hours) and the overemployment of women at the other end of the economic spectrum (women in white-collar jobs where devices and expectations mean they're always on). The author, Susan Lambert, writes that although the challenges are very different, the root cause — incentives —and the outcome — workers at all paygrades must always be "available" — are the same. So Lambert suggests overhauling the Fair Labor Standards Act to institute both minimum hours for hourly workers, and paid overtime for salaried ones. Yes, that would surely help working women. But wouldn't it also help working men?
In the same category, this Businessweek column by Diane Brady suggests that the way to get more women onto corporate boards is simply to make some men leave, via term limits. Given the well-publicized failings of corporate governance in recent years, term limits may indeed be a good idea, irrespective of gender.
In this sprawling magazine piece, James Bennet puts campaign finance under the microscope. American politics hasn't been so open to corporate donations and money from secret sources since the Gilded Age. Is that a bad thing? Not if you ask Jim Bopp, the little-known intellectual architect of the movement. It is bad if you ask most voters, however. And as Russ Feingold recently told me in this HBR IdeaCast, regulating corporate donations isn't just about limiting corporations' influence over elections. It's about preventing politicians — who are, after all, the ones doing the asking — from extorting businesses. Maybe the simplest question to actual businesspeople, who are often left out of this debate, is this: Would you rather send your money to Washington, or reinvest it in your own bottom line?
Is the term "best-selling author" worth anything anymore? Nonfiction (read: business) books are no longer just books. They are branding devices and credibility signals — in other words, the ultimate business cards — more for author promotion (speaking engagements, consultant fees) than readers. As Ryan Holiday writes, "Readers are no longer the sole 'buyers.' In fact, they may be the least important type."
— by Meghan Ennes
This blog first appeared on Harvard Business Review on 09/24/2012.
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