A statement is not fact: it may not be accurate

Writers often quote studies for apparently proving that ‘Companies that do X are more successful’ or ‘People who do Y are happier’. But the study may have drawn a different conclusion which the writer twisted to fit his story better. Or, the study may have never actually measured X, Y, success, or longevity but something quite different.

Inside the Ivory Tower

Inside the Ivory Tower

In May Contain Lies, I highlight the value of academic research. While it's far from perfect, it can be more reliable than practitioner studies for a number of reasons:
  1. Its goal is scientific inquiry, rather than advocacy of a pre-existing position or releasing findings to improve a company's image.
  2. It's conducted by those ...
An unhealthy obsession with organisational health

An unhealthy obsession with organisational health

Two leading asset management firms drew my attention to the McKinsey Organizational Health Index as a potential tool to evaluate a company. A book, "Beyond Performance 2.0: A Proven Approach to Leading Large-Scale Change", written by two McKinsey partners, claimed that companies with high scores on this Index trounced their unhealthy peers along a range of ...
Discernment matters even more

Discernment matters even more

In 2015, 2018, and 2020, McKinsey released a trio of papers claiming that diversity has a positive causal impact on firm performance, titled "Diversity Matters", "Delivering Through Diversity", and "Diversity Wins". These studies make basic errors, as highlighted by Green and Hand ...
Want a more innovative conclusion? Innovate the conclusion

Want a more innovative conclusion? Innovate the conclusion

'Want a more innovative company? Hire more women'. The title hooked me immediately. I’m an avid follower of the @TEDTalks Twitter page, but I don’t have time to watch every talk. But when I saw one with the title ‘Want a more innovative company? Hire more women’, I wanted to hit play instantly.
Missing the big picture

Missing the big picture

In 2016, the finance company MSCI released a study claiming that CEO pay bears no link to company performance. It couldn’t have been better timed. That year, soaring CEO pay was controversial on both sides of the Atlantic. The UK government was so concerned that it launched an official inquiry into it (and other aspects of how companies are run).
Do women improve decision-making on boards?

Do women improve decision-making on boards?

Last week, Harvard Business Review published an article entitled "Research: How Women Improve Decision-Making on Boards". It was widely shared on LinkedIn and someone tagged me in it, given my research on diversity, equity, and inclusion. When I became ...
Did the New York Times make Wordle harder?

Did the New York Times make Wordle harder?

Many forms of misinformation have a clear source — authors or journalists misquoting a study, or a famous person giving an extreme quote. That allows us to check the underlying source, as in this example.