April 20, 2018

Value of diverse CEO networks, research on paternal leave, and next-gen office furniture

This week, research finds that CEOs with heterogeneous networks may bring more value to their firms. Plus, dads support paid leave but they don’t always take it, and noise-cancelling furniture brings function and design together.

CEOs with diverse networks create more value: study

A recent Harvard Business Review article features new research that finds that “CEOs with strong connections to people of different demographic backgrounds and skill sets create higher firm value.”

The study, published in the Journal of Corporate Finance, examined data of more than 1,200 CEOs who led S&P 1,500 firms between 2000 and 2010. The researchers analyzed the CEOs’ networks and connections and measured their diversity.

Researchers tested two hypotheses: one, that CEOs with more diverse networks demonstrate greater innovation in their firms, and two, they are better able to make foreign connections and identify good business opportunities in other industries. Their findings showed positive associations for both.

The researchers note that the study is only “empirical” evidence, and that CEOs should first consider the costs of maximizing the diversity of their social networks. The takeaway, however, reinforces that diversity at every level of an organization is beneficial.

“Our results should encourage shareholders to consider how the diversity of the social network of upper management and board members can add value to the firm, given the changing face of the workforce and increasing global competition,” the researchers said.

Dads support paid leave for fathers, but don’t take it

Bloomberg reports that while dads support paid paternal leave, they don’t often take it. That’s according to new research from Ball State University.

Ball State sociology professor Richard Petts analyzed several sets of data on how people use parental leave, and who uses it.

Two of the key findings from the studies are that first-time dads were 77% more likely to take leave than a father who had two or more children. Only 36% of dads taking leave took all paternity leave permitted.

Bloomberg further noted the benefits for both parents in fathers taking leave, as per Petts’s research:

“When men take longer leave, two things happen: women return to work sooner, and men become more attuned to, and less tolerant of, those opportunity costs. What’s more, Petts said, dads who take longer leave also tend to be more involved in their child’s life and care overall.”

Related: Why paid parental leave is good for business

Will there be more noise-cancelling furniture in the future of work?

With the notion of the “corporate office” becoming more fluid, environmental designers are increasingly taking into account the idea that open office environments should accommodate many different worker needs without the rigidity of cubicles and impenetrable board rooms. Further, as noted by Stylus, “the future of work productivity demands flexible, fluid and comfortable environments.”

In the vein of creating adaptable spaces, companies are beginning to look towards noise-cancelling furniture to optimize productivity and create engaging workspaces. It’s a way to reduce noise levels (and the distractions that result from them) without forcing offices to sacrifice their openness.

While some offices may have already implemented the basics, like wall flaps or acoustic chairs, companies are beginning to design for aesthetic, as well as function. For example, at this year’s Stockholm Design Week, held in February, Swedish design studio Glimakra introduced the Barn, designed to be used in both corporate or public settings, for intimate meetings or as a working area in a larger space. It looks like a minimalist hut, a step up from a room with felt panels.



Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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