The key to a happy workplace? Let employees watch the Olympics

Canadian worker productivity may drop during the Olympics, but business experts say this is only short-term pain, reported the Toronto Star Feb. 14. Smart employers can be strategic and use the Olympics as a team-building exercise to boost morale by making certain allowances during the Games. “There obviously will be a decline in productivity,” said York University business professor Richard Leblanc. However, productivity is more than pumping out work hours. “What about people bonding, what about morale? These softer elements of productivity are overlooked,” said Leblanc. “Just because you can’t measure it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a powerful effect. Good employers will understand that.” Read full story. 

Poets & Quants names Top 40 Business School Professors Under 40
A new survey by Poets & Quant, a US blog on business schools, names the top 40 business school professors in the world under 40 years of age, reported Biz Wire Express Feb. 12 in a story picked up by The Globe and Mail Feb. 13. The Top 40 includes Markus Giesler, 37, York University (Schulich): The youngest marketing professor to be hired by a North American B-school, Giesler is known as a dynamic instructor willing to go to extreme lengths to drive a point home, even setting his PhD dissertation on fire for a demonstration. The German-born professor eschews textbooks in favor of real-world cases and hands-on experiences. He spends summers traversing Europe with his rock band. Read full story.

Knowing when to wave the flag
In a commercial running during the Games from Canadian Olympic Committee sponsor BCE Inc., roughly 50 scenes show Canadians watching events on Bell devices, reported The Globe and Mail Feb. 14. Among them is a lightning-fast shot of two men celebrating an athlete’s success with a kiss. Brief as it was, Bell’s gesture was also a relatively lonely one. This kind of message of diversity has been a no-brainer for many advertisers in Canada. So why, during an Olympic Games that has highlighted concerns over discrimination and violence against gays, have Canadian advertisers not made a message of support part of their campaign plans? “One wouldn’t expect much of a pushback in Canada. The risk of doing it would be relatively low,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business. Read full story.

Will ‘spring’ ever come to dysfunctional Bosnia?
Nearly 20 years after the end of brutal ethnic conflicts surrounding the collapse of Yugoslavia, black smoke billowed across the Sarajevo skyline in early February, as hooded youths attacked administrative buildings and burned police cars, reported the Winnipeg Free Press Feb. 13. They’re taking aim at their corrupt and ineffective government, which is rooted in the US-brokered Dayton Accords of 1995. The agreement ended the Bosnian War and divided the country into two entities. “In the end, Dayton has entrenched exactly that which it was meant to call bad. It has cemented in place an unaccountable political oligarchy,” says Jasmin Mujanovic, a Balkans researcher at York University. “Much of the responsibility for this [situation] has to be on the shoulders of the European Union and international community.” Read full story.