News Article | November 7, 2016
Workplace incivility, characterised by subtle forms of mistreatment (such as a dismissive gesture, raised voices or harsh words) can lead to lower job satisfaction, psychological stress, and a decline in physical health. These negative effects eventually result in higher employee turnover. Workplaces where stress levels already run high are especially sensitive to incivility (because employees' emotional resources are highly taxed to begin with). And since high-stress environments tend also to be high-stakes, incivility could be at the heart of some very costly, even tragic mistakes. This is particularly worrisome for organisations that have employees working in shifts, such as manufacturing firms, police departments and hospitals. Nowhere are the stakes higher than in hospitals with many countries facing nursing shortages. Retention has become an urgent issue. If incivility were to cause nurses to leave the profession, patients at the affected hospitals would bear the brunt. Incivility is especially difficult to weed out of the workplace because it may be difficult for employees to even describe or articulate to Human Resources. But in his recent paper in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, Curtailing the harmful effects of workplace incivility: The role of structural demands and organization-provided resources, INSEAD Professor of Strategic Management, Quy Huy and his colleagues find that there are ways such incivility can be moderated. "As the victims of incivility suffer, so will employee engagement and productivity, until managers intervene to help them cope. Fortunately, there are specific interventions that appear to do just that," said Huy. In the study, the researchers performed a two-stage survey of 618 nurses at a 550-bed teaching and research hospital in the Southeastern United States. First, they asked the nurses to rate the hospital on measures of incivility, whether they worked overnight and whether they felt workplace expectations were unclear. Nurses were also asked about their exposure to managerial interventions known to mitigate stress and facilitate coping, such as team-building exercises and private informal meetings to discuss work responsibilities. Five months later, nurses were asked how likely they were to look for a new job in the coming year. Huy and his colleagues had hypothesized that incivility's impact on employees depends on the presence of reinforcing stressors in the workplace environment, and on whether managers step in to help employees cope. Subjected to regression analysis, the survey results supported his hypothesis: Nurses who felt unclear about their workplace role and/or worked the night shift were far more likely to be eyeing the door, if they felt their surroundings were uncivil. Those who experienced interventions to aid coping had less desire to leave, regardless of perceived incivility. Such interventions took the form of regular private meetings between the supervisor and employee to review tasks and team building interventions--focusing on both task-performance and feelings in the work place and home. Employees who participated in these meetings and team building sessions were less likely to have intentions of leaving. "It's dangerously complacent to assume that everything's fine between your employees because you haven't heard otherwise. This could be the last straw that 'breaks the camel's back'. When in doubt, err on the side of being a little more concerned with employees' emotional well-being than strictly necessary," said Huy. About INSEAD, The Business School for the World As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching. With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East, INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents. Our 148 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA specialised master's degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 9,500 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programmes each year. In addition to INSEAD's programmes on our three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; and MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Asia, INSEAD partners with School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil. INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010. Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly "The Business School for the World.
News Article | October 26, 2016
Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in the environmental management practices of the firms they have relationships with and buy products from. Several studies have shown that customers are willing to pay premium prices for products manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. Other studies show that customers take a firm's socially responsible activities into account when making purchase decisions. Firms respond by demonstrating their environmental credentials or building them to meet the expectations of their customers. But how does this work in practice? In a new paper, "Customer orientation and organizational innovation: the case of environmental management practices", in the Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Hubert Gatignon, an Emeritus Professor of Marketing and the Claude Janssen Chaired Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus at INSEAD finds that the extent of a firm's environmental management practices depends on how customer oriented it is. Following on from previous research in which he found customer orientation to be a crucial element of firm innovation and product performance, this paper shows that customer-oriented firms gather more critical market information, recognise new customer opportunities and satisfy customers by delivering the demanded products or services. In a large-scale survey of 4,324 French companies with ten or more employees, Gatignon measured customer orientation by examining the companies' commitment to quality standards, such as ISO9000, whether the firms had information-gathering systems in place to capture customer data and translate it into action and the firms' commitment to after-sale service. In his paper, Gatignon found that the higher the firms scored on these dimensions, the higher the likelihood that the firms adopted environmental management practices, such as procedures to identify and measure environmental impacts by preparing environmental audits, setting environmental performance goals and obtaining ISO14001 environmental certification. However, under two conditions, there was no support for the hypothesis; periods of market growth and periods of market uncertainty, which did not add significant incentives for firms to try and win customers. "It's clear from this research that customer satisfaction is an important driver of the implementation of environmental management practices. Firms need to integrate environmental issues into their strategic marketing and environmental management practices into their operations," Gatignon said. The study also found that whether the firms were responsive to customers or not did not have a significant impact on their environmental management practices, which Gatignon explains by the fact that a focus on only resolving current customer claims makes firms miss the needs of new customers, making them less innovative. The dimensions that mattered most were the firm's values and its information-gathering capabilities. The firms surveyed spanned several sectors, such as food, consumer goods, cars and equipment and transport. Construction and intermediate goods and energy were most sensitive to the adoption of environmental management practices. "Customer-orientation not only contributes to the firm's environmental performance but also contributes to the development of long-term relationships and a firm's capacity to innovate," Gatignon said. As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching. With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East, INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents. Our 148 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA specialised master's degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 9,500 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programmes each year. In addition to INSEAD's programmes on our three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; and MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Asia, INSEAD partners with School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil. INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010. Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly "The Business School for the World.
News Article | December 19, 2016
Bottom Line: The presence of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) isolated from blood samples of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma was associated with poor outcomes. Journal in Which the Study was Published: Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. Author: Jean-Baptiste Bachet, MD, PhD, from the Gastroenterology and Digestive Oncology Department at Sorbonne University, and the Centre Universitaire des Saints-Pères, both in Paris, France. Background: The incidence of pancreatic adenocarcinoma is on the rise in Western countries, and prognosis remains very poor. Pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States by 2030, behind lung cancer, and is therefore considered a public health problem, Bachet noted. There are several challenges to conducting translational research on pancreatic cancer, including the difficulty in obtaining tumor samples from patients, because of which, most studies have been limited to patients with resectable disease until now, Bachet explained. However, only 10 to15 percent of patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma have resectable disease at diagnosis. Identification of robust prognostic or predictive biomarkers are urgently needed for all patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma, whatever the stage of the disease, he said. How the Study Was Conducted: Bachet and team initiated a prospective study five years ago to collect blood samples from patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma with the goal of identifying blood-based biomarkers to overcome the challenge of limited availability of tumor samples for research purposes. In this study, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 135 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma; 31 had resectable tumors, 36 had locally advanced disease (LA), and 68 had metastatic disease (M). They extracted DNA from the plasma samples and used a specific NGS analysis method to detect low-allele frequency mutations. They also screened all plasma samples for the three most frequent KRAS mutations in pancreatic adenocarcinoma, besides several other mutations, by picoliter droplet-based digital PCR (dPCR). In multivariate analysis, the presence of ctDNA was an independent prognostic biomarker in patients with advanced disease, and it also correlated with the stage of the disease and the grade of tumor differentiation. Of the 104 patients with advanced disease, 50 had detectable ctDNA (LA, 17 percent; M, 65 percent). After a median follow-up of 34.2 months, 76 died. Overall survival (OS) was 19 months in patients with no detectable ctDNA, versus 6.5 months in those with ctDNA. When patients with advanced disease were grouped into tertiles based on the frequency of mutations in the ctDNA, there was a significant dose-response relationship with OS: 18.9 months for those in the lowest tertile, 7.8 months for those those in the middle, and 4.9 months for those in the highest tertile. Of the 31 patients with resectable disease, six had detectable ctDNA. After a median follow-up of 33.3 months, 23 had disease recurrence and 13 of them died. Disease-free survival was 17.6 months in patients with no detectable ctDNA, versus 4.6 months in those with ctDNA; OS was 32.2 months versus 19.3 months. A strong correlation was observed between the results obtained with NGS and droplet-based dPCR to study KRAS, confirming that their NGS strategy is pertinent, Bachet said. Author Comment: "Our study confirms, in one of the largest reported series, the feasibility of detecting ctDNA in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma using a specific next-generation sequencing (NGS) analysis method that allows us to screen a large number of genes," said Bachet. "Our study also confirms the strong prognostic value of the presence of ctDNA and of its level, when detected, in advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma," he added. "Our results demonstrate the utility of circulating biomarkers in subclassifying cancers and managing treatment," Bachet noted. "We need to confirm these results in prospective clinical trials to better assess the predictive value of this biomarker in light of the dynamic biological changes that occur during treatment." Limitations: As a limitation to the study, in the subgroup of patients who had curative-intent resection, blood samples were not collected before surgery so the researchers did not have pre-operative ctDNA data for these patients. Funding & Disclosures: The study was funded by the Fondation d'Aide et Recherche en Cancérologie Digestive, the Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche, the Université Paris-Descartes, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, the Institut Mérieux the SIRIC CARPEM, and a Fondation Servier fellowship. Bachet declares no conflicts of interest. Valerie Taly, a co-author of this study, received honoraria from Radiance Technologies and Boehringer Ingelheim. Bachet thanks all members of the team INSERM UMRS-1147, and in particular, Professor Laurent-Puig, the head of the team. To interview Jean-Baptiste Bachet, contact Julia Gunther at email@example.com or 215-446-6896. About the American Association for Cancer Research Founded in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is the world's first and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research and its mission to prevent and cure cancer. AACR membership includes more than 37,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and patient advocates residing in 108 countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise of the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, biology, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer by annually convening more than 30 conferences and educational workshops, the largest of which is the AACR Annual Meeting with nearly 19,500 attendees. In addition, the AACR publishes eight prestigious, peer-reviewed scientific journals and a magazine for cancer survivors, patients, and their caregivers. The AACR funds meritorious research directly as well as in cooperation with numerous cancer organizations. As the Scientific Partner of Stand Up To Cancer, the AACR provides expert peer review, grants administration, and scientific oversight of team science and individual investigator grants in cancer research that have the potential for near-term patient benefit. The AACR actively communicates with legislators and other policymakers about the value of cancer research and related biomedical science in saving lives from cancer. For more information about the AACR, visit http://www. .
News Article | March 4, 2016
Concrete is the world’s most widely used construction material, so abundant that its production is one of the leading sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet answers to some fundamental questions about the microscopic structure and behavior of this ubiquitous material have remained elusive.
Concrete forms through the solidification of a mixture of water, gravel, sand, and cement powder. Is the resulting glue material — known as cement hydrate, or calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) — a continuous solid, like metal or stone, or is it an aggregate of small particles?
As basic as that question is, it had never been definitively answered. In a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers at MIT, Georgetown University, and France’s CNRS (together with other universities in the U.S., France, and U.K.) say they have solved that riddle and identified key factors in the structure of CSH that could help researchers work out better formulations for producing more durable concrete.
Roland Pellenq, a senior research scientist in MIT’s department of civil and environmental engineering, director of the MIT-CNRS lab
News Article | August 22, 2016
An MIT-led team has defined the nanoscale forces that control how particles pack together during the formation of cement “paste,” the material that holds together concrete and causes that ubiquitous construction material to be a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. By controlling those forces, the researchers will now be able to modify the microstructure of the hardened cement paste, reducing pores and other sources of weakness to make concrete stronger, stiffer, more fracture-resistant, and longer-lasting. Results from the researchers’ simulations explain experimental measurements that have confused observers for decades, and they may guide the way to other improvements, such as adding polymers to fill the pores and recycling waste concrete into a binder material, reducing the need to make new cement. Each year, the world produces 2.3 cubic yards of concrete for every person on earth, in the process generating more than 10 percent of all industrial carbon dioxide (CO ) emissions. New construction and repairs to existing infrastructure currently require vast amounts of concrete, and consumption is expected to escalate dramatically in the future. “To shelter all the people moving into cities in the next 30 years, we’ll have to build the equivalent of several hundred New York cities,” says Roland Pellenq, senior research scientist in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and research director at France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). “There’s no material up to that task but concrete.” Recognizing the critical need for concrete, Pellenq and his colleague Franz-Josef Ulm, professor of CEE and director of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub), have been working to reduce its environmental footprint. Their goal: to find ways to do more with less. “If we can make concrete stronger, we’ll need to use less of it in our structures,” says Ulm. “And if we can make it more durable, it’ll last longer before it needs to be replaced.” Surprisingly, while concrete has been a critical building material for 2,000 years, improvements have largely come from trial and error rather than rigorous research. As a result, the factors controlling how it forms and performs have remained poorly understood. “People always deemed what they saw under a microscope as being coincidence or evidence of the special nature of concrete,” says Ulm, who with Pellenq co-directs the joint MIT-CNRS laboratory called MultiScale Material Science for Energy and Environment, hosted at MIT by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). “They didn’t go to the very small scale to see what holds it together — and without that knowledge, you can’t modify it.” Cement: the key to better concrete The problems with concrete — both environmental and structural — are linked to the substance that serves as its glue, namely, cement. Concrete is made by mixing together gravel, sand, water, and cement. The last two ingredients combine to make cement hydrate, the binder in the hardened concrete. But making the dry cement powder requires cooking limestone (typically with clay) at temperatures of 1,500 degrees Celsius for long enough to drive off the carbon in it. Between the high temperatures and the limestone decarbonization, the process of making cement powder for concrete is by itself responsible for almost 6 percent of all CO emissions from industry worldwide. Structural problems can also be traced to the cement: When finished concrete cracks and crumbles, the failure inevitably begins within the cement hydrate that’s supposed to hold it together — and replacing that crumbling concrete will require making new cement and putting more CO into the atmosphere. To improve concrete, then, the researchers had to address the cement hydrate — and they had to start with the basics: defining its fundamental structure through atomic-level analysis. In 2009, Pellenq, Ulm, and an international group of researchers associated with CSHub published the first description of cement hydrate’s three-dimensional molecular structure. Subsequently, they determined a new formula that yields cement hydrate particles in which the atoms occur in a specific configuration — a “sweet spot” — that increases particle strength by 50 percent. However, that nanoscale understanding doesn’t translate directly into macroscale characteristics. The strength and other key properties of cement hydrate actually depend on its structure at the “mesoscale” — specifically, on how nanoparticles have packed together over hundred-nanometer distances as the binder material forms. When dry cement powder dissolves in water, room-temperature chemical reactions occur, and nanoparticles of cement hydrate precipitate out. If the particles don’t pack tightly, the hardened cement will contain voids that are tens of nanometers in diameter — big enough to allow aggressive materials such as road salt to seep in. In addition, the individual cement hydrate particles continue to move around over time — at a tiny scale — and that movement can cause aging, cracking, and other types of degradation and failure. To understand the packing process, the researchers needed to define the precise physics that drives the formation of the cement hydrate microstructure — and that meant they had to understand the physical forces at work among the particles. Every particle in the system exerts forces on every other particle, and depending on how close together they are, the forces either pull them together or push them apart. The particles seek an organization that minimizes energy over length scales of many particles. But reaching that equilibrium state takes a long time. When the Romans made concrete 2,000 years ago, they used a binder that took many months to harden, so the particles in it had time to redistribute so as to relax the forces between them. But construction time is money, so today’s binder has been optimized to harden in a few hours. As a result, the concrete is solid long before the cement hydrate particles have relaxed, and when they do, the concrete sometimes shrinks and cracks. So while the Roman Colosseum and Pantheon are still standing, concrete that’s made today can fail in just a few years. Laboratory investigation of a process that can take place over decades isn’t practical, so the researchers turned to computer simulations. “Thanks to statistical physics and computational methods, we’re able to simulate this system moving toward the equilibrium state in a couple of hours,” says Ulm. Based on their understanding of interactions among atoms within a particle, the researchers — led by MITEI postdoc Katerina Ioannidou — defined the forces that control how particles space out relative to one another as cement hydrate forms. The result is an algorithm that mimics the precipitation process, particle by particle. By constantly tracking the forces among the particles already present, the algorithm calculates the most likely position for each new one — a position that will move the system toward equilibrium. It thus adds more and more particles of varying sizes until the space is filled and the precipitation process stops. Results from sample analyses appear in the first two diagrams in Figure 1 of the slideshow above. The width of each simulation box is just under 600 nanometers — about one-tenth the diameter of a human hair. The two analyses assume different packing fractions, that is, the total fraction of the simulation box occupied by particles. The packing fraction is 0.35 in the left-hand diagram and 0.52 in the center diagram. At the lower fraction, far more of the volume is made up of open pores, indicated by the white regions. The third diagram in Figure 1 is a sketch of the cement hydrate structure proposed in pioneering work by T.C. Powers in 1958. The similarity to the center figure is striking. The MIT results thus support Powers’ idea that the formation of mesoscale pores can be attributed to the use of excessive water during hydration — that is, more water than needed to dissolve and precipitate the cement hydrate. “Those pores are the fingerprint of the water you put into the mix in the first place,” says Pellenq. “Add too much water, and at the end you’ll have a cement paste that is too porous, and it will degrade faster over time.” To validate their model, the researchers performed experimental tests and parallel theoretical analyses to determine the stiffness and hardness (or strength) of cement hydrate samples. The laboratory measurements were taken using a technique called nanoindentation, which involves pushing a hard tip into a sample to determine the relationship between the applied load and the volume of deformed material beneath the indenter. The graphs in Figure 2 of the slideshow above show results from small-scale nanoindentation tests on three laboratory samples (small symbols) and from computations of those properties in a “sample” generated by the simulation (yellow squares). The graph on the left shows results for stiffness, the graph on the right results for hardness. In both cases, the X-axis indicates the packing fraction. The results from the simulations match the experimental results well. (The researchers note that at lower packing fractions, the material is too soggy to test experimentally — but the simulation can do the calculation anyway.) In another test, the team investigated experimental measurements of cement hydrate that have mystified researchers for decades. A standard way to determine the structure of a material is using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). Send a beam of neutrons into a sample, and how they bounce back conveys information about the distribution of particles and pores and other features on length scales of a few hundred nanometers. SANS had been used on hardened cement paste for several decades, but the measurements always exhibited a regular pattern that experts in the field couldn’t explain. Some talked about fractal structures, while others proposed that concrete is simply unique. To investigate, the researchers compared SANS analyses of laboratory samples with corresponding scattering data calculated using their model. The experimental and theoretical results showed excellent agreement, once again validating their technique. In addition, the simulation elucidated the source of the past confusion: The unexplained patterns are caused by the rough edges at the boundary between the pores and the solid regions. “All of a sudden we could explain this signature, this mystery, but on a physics basis in a bottom-up fashion,” says Ulm. “That was a really big step.” “We now know that the microtexture of cement paste isn’t a given but is a consequence of an interplay of physical forces,” says Ulm. “And since we know those forces, we can modify them to control the microtexture and produce concrete with the characteristics we want.” The approach opens up a new field involving the design of cement-based materials from the bottom up to create a suite of products tailored to specific applications. The CSHub researchers are now exploring ways to apply their new techniques to all steps in the life cycle of concrete. For example, a promising beginning-of-life approach may be to add another ingredient — perhaps a polymer — to alter the particle-particle interactions and serve as filler for the pore spaces that now form in cement hydrate. The result would be a stronger, more durable concrete for construction and also a high-density, low-porosity cement that would perform well in a variety of applications. For instance, at today’s oil and natural gas wells, cement sheaths are generally placed around drilling pipes to keep gas from escaping. “A molecule of methane is 500 times smaller than the pores in today’s cement, so filling those voids would help seal the gas in,” says Pellenq. The ability to control the material’s microtexture could have other, less-expected impacts. For example, novel CSHub work has demonstrated that the fuel efficiency of vehicles is significantly affected by the interaction between tires and pavement. Simulations and experiments in the lab-scale setup shown in Figure 3 of the slideshow above suggest that making concrete surfaces stiffer could reduce vehicle fuel consumption by as much as 3 percent nationwide, saving energy and reducing emissions. Perhaps most striking is a concept for recycling spent concrete. Today, methods of recycling concrete generally involve cutting it up and using it in place of gravel in new concrete. But that approach doesn’t reduce the need to manufacture more cement. The researchers’ idea is to reproduce the cohesive forces they’ve identified in cement hydrate. “If the microtexture is just a consequence of the physical forces between nanometer-sized particles, then we should be able to grind old concrete into fine particles and compress them so that the same force field develops,” says Ulm. “We can make new binder without needing any new cement — a true recycling concept for concrete!” This research was supported by Schlumberger; France’s National Center for Scientific Research (through its Laboratory of Excellence Interdisciplinary Center on MultiScale Materials for Energy and Environment); and the Concrete Sustainability Hub at MIT. Schlumberger is a Sustaining Member of the MIT Energy Initiative. The research team also included other investigators at MIT; the University of California at Los Angeles; Newcastle University in the United Kingdom; and Sorbonne University, Aix-Marseille University, and the National Center for Scientific Research in France. This article appears in the Spring 2016 issue of Energy Futures, the magazine of the MIT Energy Initiative.
News Article | October 31, 2016
A crucial factor in someone's decision to act in a socially responsible manner is the extent to which they believe that their actions make a difference. In her recent paper, "Yes, I can: Feeling connected to others increases perceived effectiveness and socially responsible behavior" in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, Natalia Karelaia, an Associate Professor of Decision Sciences at INSEAD, finds that whether a person feels they make an impact or not depends on how socially connected they are. "Our paper offers new insight into how feeling connected to others affects behavior. We find that identification with a social group has an empowering effect on individuals. People who are highly socially motivated may surrender some aspects of their individuality, but receive in return a sense of strength in numbers that gets absorbed into their own self-image. Consequently, they have a greater belief in the effectiveness of their individual actions, and a clearer conception of how their own choices directly impact the collective", said Karelaia. Her paper studied the consumer habits of more than 600 adults in the US in a survey which sought to understand their social values, sense of connectedness to others and how effective they perceived their actions to be. Those respondents who felt a high degree of social connectedness felt their individual actions had a greater impact on a larger scale. They were also found to be the most socially conscious consumers, which was reflected in their responses to questions about how often they recycled and whether they were environmentally conscious in their purchasing behavior, such as avoiding products that cause environmental damage or those tested on animals. The respondents' social values, which were measured by their responses to questions of whether particular behaviors were morally appropriate, however, turned out to be a less important predictor of their behavior than whether they felt they could make a difference. While values were important, the belief in one's ability to make an impact was necessary to influence behavior. Karelaia took these insights into further studies to see whether people's decision-making could be influenced on the basis of social connectedness. In a second study, to bring about one's sense of connectedness to others, she recruited 39 undergraduate students and asked one group of them to bring to mind and describe a situation when they were buying a gift for someone. The other group was asked to write about buying something for themselves. Further reinforcing the initial findings, Karelaia found that people in the first group felt more socially connected and were more likely to believe in their actions having an ability to make a difference. In a third study, 132 US-based adults completed the same writing task as in the second study. Afterwards, in a seemingly unrelated task, participants were asked to provide assistance to a non-governmental organization (NGO). They were told that the researchers conducting the study supported the actions of "EarthAction", an NGO, and it needed help finding corporate sponsors. To get that help it needed to develop corporate slogans. Participants were asked for their voluntary help in creating between 1 and 5 slogans. Those in the condition that made their connectedness to others more salient, developed more slogans each than those in the control condition. Karelaia also put money into the equation. 48 undergraduate students went through the same connectedness manipulation as in study 2 and 3 and were then invited to make a financial contribution to an NGO. The same pattern emerged. In summary, the sense of one's connectedness was found to enhance the perceived effectiveness of one's actions, which in turn raised the participants' appreciation for the consequences of their behavior. This is especially important for organizations trying to promote ethical behavior. Karelaia's findings suggest that managers should build a sense of communal awareness, framing the actions of individuals and the firm in the context of the wider community. "Overall, this suggests that we're at our ethical best when we feel part of a human community that transcends our immediate surroundings", said Karelaia. As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching. With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East, INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents. Our 148 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA specialised master's degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 9,500 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programmes each year. In addition to INSEAD's programmes on our three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; and MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Asia, INSEAD partners with School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil. INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010. Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly "The Business School for the World.
News Article | November 17, 2016
Close to half the world's population lives in countries without press freedom, where governments restrict civil activism and individuals have less capacity to exercise their public voice. The rise of digital media allows social activists to address this challenge, providing new mechanisms to influence public policy. There is also evidence that social media activists are influencing corporate agendas. In "Mobilization in the Internet Age: Internet Activism and Corporate Response", to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Academy of Management Journal, Xiaowei Rose Luo, Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise at INSEAD, finds that online activists can elicit corporate responses by threatening a firm's public image. The authors propose that a particularly potent tactic of Internet activists is triggering and intensifying social comparison, defined as the comparison of firms made by Internet users to evaluate firm behavior. In a study of 613 large publicly-listed Chinese firms in the aftermath of the deadly Sichuan earthquake in 2008, the authors found the use of tactics which highlighted social comparisons - such as online rankings and articles on corporate donations - was a key mechanism to pressure for corporate response. Companies with greater image vulnerability, such as real estate firms and those with high social and political standing, were more sensitive and willing to respond by making donations to relief efforts. "Powerful and privileged businesses were unable to escape scrutiny. In fact, the lofty standing of companies with politically affiliated executives and high reputation - those typically associated with resources and power - meant they were particularly vulnerable to a threat to their corporate image, drawing instant comparison and higher expectations from internet users," said Luo. The Sichuan disaster, which left nearly 70,000 dead and 4.6 million people homeless, triggered a pervasive activist campaign against large corporations and was a turning point in China in terms of corporate philanthropy. Wang Shi, chairman of Vanke, China's largest real estate development firm, initially pledged two million yuan (US$290,000) towards the Sichuan disaster relief. When social media noted the difference between Vanke's miserly offering and the more substantial donations pledged by other local and international corporations, the reaction of the community and stakeholders was immediate and negative, affecting both Vanke's public image and its share price; Wang promptly responded, apologizing and offering an additional 100 million yuan (US$14.3 million) in aid. The overall results of the study showed: The interaction between corporate vulnerability characteristics and social comparison stemming from online rankings suggests that these firms' vulnerability was enhanced when compared unfavourably and hence they further hastened their donations. "In countries with significant government control of traditional media, the power of the internet and cyber activism is intensified by the increased influence it has over the community. In these societies, where news from traditional outlets is screened and not considered by people to be particularly trustworthy or valuable, individuals are more attentive to information released on digital media and Internet activism is more likely to elicit corporate responses," Luo concluded. As one of the world's leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching. With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East, INSEAD's business education and research spans three continents. Our 148 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA specialised master's degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 9,500 executives participate in INSEAD's executive education programmes each year. In addition to INSEAD's programmes on our three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; and MIT Sloan School of Management in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In Asia, INSEAD partners with School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai. INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil. INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010. Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly "The Business School for the World.
News Article | December 12, 2016
NEW YORK NY (December 12, 2016)--Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) researchers have discovered that a deficiency of the enzyme prohormone covertase (PC1) in the brain is linked to most of the neuro-hormonal abnormalities in Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic condition that causes extreme hunger and severe obesity beginning in childhood. The discovery provides insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the syndrome and highlights a novel target for drug therapy. The findings were published online today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. "While we've known for some time which genes are implicated in Prader-Willi syndrome, it has not been clear how those mutations actually trigger the disease," said lead author Lisa C. Burnett, PhD, a post-doctoral research scientist in pediatrics at CUMC. "Now that we have found a key link between these mutations and the syndrome's major hormonal features, we can begin to search for new, more precisely targeted therapies." An estimated one in 15,000 people have Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The syndrome is caused by abnormalities in a small region of chromosome 15, which leads to dysfunction in the hypothalamus--which contains cells that regulate hunger and satiety--and other regions of the brain. A defining characteristic of PWS is insatiable hunger. People with PWS typically have extreme obesity, reduced growth hormone and insulin levels, excessive levels of ghrelin (a hormone that triggers hunger), and developmental disabilities. There is no cure and few effective treatments for PWS. Dr. Burnett and her colleagues used stem cell techniques to convert skin cells from PWS patients and unaffected controls into brain cells. Analysis of the stem cell-derived neurons revealed significantly reduced levels of PC1 in the patients' cells, compared to the controls. The cells from PWS patients also had abnormally low levels of a protein, NHLH2, which is made by NHLH2, a gene that also helps to produce PC1. To confirm whether PC1 deficiency plays a role in PWS, the researchers examined transgenic mice that do not express Snord116, a gene that is deleted in the region of chromosome 15 that is associated with PWS. The mice were found to be deficient in NHLH2 and PC1 and displayed most of the hormone-related abnormalities seen in PWS, according to study leader Rudolph L. Leibel, MD, professor of pediatrics and medicine and co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at CUMC. "The findings strongly suggest that PC1 is a good therapeutic target for PWS," said Dr. Burnett. "There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the gene that makes PC1--it's just not getting activated properly. If we could elevate levels of PC1 using drugs, we might be able to alleviate some of the symptoms of the syndrome." "This is an outstanding example how research on human stem cells can lead to novel insight into a disease and provide a platform for the testing of new therapies," said Dieter Egli, PhD, a stem cell scientist who is an assistant professor of developmental cell biology (in Pediatrics) and a senior author on the paper. "This study changes how we think about this devastating disorder," said Theresa Strong, PhD, chair of the scientific advisory board of the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research and the mother of a child with PWS. "The symptoms of PWS have been very confusing and hard to reconcile. Now that we have an explanation for the wide array of symptoms, we can move forward with developing a drug that addresses their underlying cause, instead of treating each symptom individually." Following the findings reported in this paper, the Columbia research team began collaborating with Levo Therapeutics, a PWS-focused biotechnology company, to translate the current research into therapeutics. The study is titled, "Deficiency in prohormone convertase PC1 impairs prohormone processing in Prader-Willi syndrome." The other contributors are: Charles A. LeDuc (CUMC), Carlos R. Sulsona (University of Florida College of Medicine Gainesville, FL), Daniel Paull (New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute, New York, NY), Richard Rausch (CUMC), Sanaa Eddiry (Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France), Jayne F. Martin Carli (CUMC), Michael V. Morabito (CUMC), Alicja A. Skowronski (CUMC), Gabriela Hubner (Packer Collegiate Institute), Matthew Zimmer (New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute), Liheng Wang (CUMC), Robert Day (Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada), Brynn Levy (CUMC), Ilene Fennoy (CUMC), Beatrice Dubern (Sorbonne University, University Pierre et Marie-Curie, Paris, France), Christine Poitou (Sorbonne University), Karine Clement (Sorbonne University), Merlin G. Butler (Kansas University Medical Center, Kansas City, KS), Michael Rosenbaum (CUMC), Jean Pierre Salles (Université de Toulouse. Toulouse, France), Maithe Tauber (Université de Toulouse), Daniel J. Driscoll (University of Florida College of Medicine), and Dieter Egli (CUMC and New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute). The study was supported by grants from the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, Russell Berrie Foundation, Rudin Foundation, The New York Stem Cell Foundation, Helmsley Foundation, and National Institutes of Health (RO1DK52431 and P30 DK26687). The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. The campus that Columbia University Medical Center shares with its hospital partner, NewYork-Presbyterian, is now called the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.
News Article | November 27, 2016
Miami’s newest contemporary and cutting edge fair, Art Concept, located on the stunning waterfront at Bayfront Park in the heart of Miami's downtown Arts, Entertainment and Museum district, will be held during Miami’s Art Basel Week November 30-December 4. Art Concept boasts 40 participating galleries, waterfront dining, and innovative emerging art. Conveniently adapted to Miami time 1- 10 pm daily, with Art After Dark at Art Concept held 7-10pm, where visitors can enjoy Latin-infused Asian cuisine, cocktails, music, and evening artist receptions, film viewings and art performances. Art Concept is presenting rare modern masters and contemporary works ranging from early 20th century masters to works by emerging artists from an international selection of exhibiting galleries. Renowned Dada masters including integral founding members of the movement such as Hans Richter, whose work will be represented at the fair by a series of rare paintings, to premier Post-Modern works will be on exhibition from galleries around the world. Cutting edge visual art and works incorporating new age technology, such as video Hyper –Reality by Columbian artist Keiichi Matsuda will showcase the new contemporary art movement of today and explores our over-saturated reality and reliance on technological projects. The premiere East Coast exhibition of the recently discovered works by renowned painter Gil Cuatrecasas will be on at the Rediscovered Masters of CT and NY. Agerled Arts, and Hans Alf Gallery, Copenhagen will exhibit a collection of celebrated Dadaist photographer Man Ray. The works are stunning examples of Man Ray's innovative Avant-Garde techniques with light and photography that led him to become one of the significant contributors to the Dada and Surrealist movements, and a transformative figure in the art world. A daily lecture series includes “Everything You Want to Know About the Art Market and the Golden Rules in Collecting”, by Sebastien Laboureau, Art Advisor, Curator, Collector and "Is the Price Right? An Insider’s View on Valuing Fine Art”, the first time at any art fair where an insight into the process of valuing and pricing fine art is being given. Lead by art historian, publisher, and appraiser, Peter Hastings Falk, it provides a transparency and clear logic to all collectors that is easy to understand and finally illuminates what has long been an opaque subject for most people. Dr. Milagros Bello, art historian and sociologist of art, graduate from Sorbonne University, curator and art writer, will present the lecture on “Modern/Postmodern Perspective”, describing opposing perspectives of the early 20th-century art and the art of the post-war epoch. “Richard Meier, the Artist” will be presented by Gary Lichtenstein, on Master Graphic Printer Richard Meier who has collaborated on new art projects with the architect since 2011. Art Concept will reactivate Bayfront Park as Miami’s outdoor center of the arts, reflecting the location of the fair itself. “Reimagining Miami Public Spaces - Homage to Isamu Noguchi”, part of the Art Concept Fair program, is a special outdoor project in Bayfront Park, highlighting the significance of art in public places to enhance urban communities and create new audiences sponsored by Bayfront Trust, Miami Dade Art in Public Places, City of Miami Public Art Initiative and Miami Dept. of Cultural Affairs. Gallery exhibits will include contemporary sculpture in outdoor sculpture gardens in the lush park and waterfront landscapes. Art Concept’s central location close to ample parking and public transportation and the proximity to Miami’s leading restaurants, luxury shopping, museums and five-star hotels makes it the perfect spot to enjoy Miami Fair Week. Concept fair is organized by Lee Ann and David Lester of Miami-based Next Level Fairs LLC founders of Art Miami 1991-2001, Art Palm Beach and Art Boca Raton fair. Sponsor Lounges will include Chopard, Barnes International Real Estate, ArtBCO, and WaltGrace Vintage Cars and Guitars. For more information, images and press passes, firstname.lastname@example.org
News Article | December 7, 2016
Vivendi (Paris:VIV) today announces the appointment of Caroline Le Masne de Chermont as Head of Legal Affairs for the Vivendi Group. Caroline Le Masne de Chermont reports to Frédéric Crépin, the Group’s General Counsel. A graduate of the Paris Institut d’Etudes Politiques and of the Panthéon Sorbonne University Paris I (Master in Business and Economics Law), Caroline Le Masne de Chermont is a trained lawyer. After having worked for five years at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Paris, she joined Vivendi’s Legal Department in 2007 where she held the position of Vice President, Corporate Law and M&A. In this position she worked on many significant transactions for the Group, including the creation of Activision Blizzard and the subsequent sale of Vivendi’s interest therein, the sale of SFR, the acquisition and then sale of the Brazilian telecoms operator GVT, and, more recently, the acquisition of an interest in Telecom Italia and the public take-over bid on Gameloft. About Vivendi Vivendi is an integrated media and content group. The company operates businesses throughout the media value chain, from talent discovery to the creation, production and distribution of content. The main subsidiaries of Vivendi comprise Canal+ Group and Universal Music Group. Canal+ is the leading pay-TV operator in France, and also serves markets in Africa, Poland and Vietnam. Canal+ operations include Studiocanal, a leading European player in production, sales and distribution of film and TV series. Universal Music Group is the world leader in recorded music, music publishing and merchandising, with more than 50 labels covering all genres. A separate division, Vivendi Village, brings together Vivendi Ticketing (ticketing in the UK, the U.S, and France), MyBestPro (experts counseling), Watchever (subscription video-on-demand), Radionomy (digital radio), Olympia Production, the L’Olympia and the Théâtre de L‘Oeuvre venues in Paris and the CanalOlympia venues in Africa. With 3.5 billion videos viewed each month, Dailymotion is one of the biggest video content aggregation and distribution platforms in the world. Gameloft is a worldwide leading video games on mobile, with 2 million games downloaded per day. www.vivendi.com, www.cultureswithvivendi.com