The Emerging Science of Worker Productivity

"The finding that exposure to low-output work lowers output, combined with the finding that low-productivity reduces willingness to punish, suggests the possibility of an organizational vicious cycle: after observing idiosyncratically bad work, workers may lower their own output and punish less in response, in turn reducing other workers' incentives to be highly productive."

And this, says Horton, may explain why leaders often use the language of contagion to describe morale and why management theory focuses on understanding and influencing culture within an organisation rather than trying to write perfect employment contracts.

Horton's work raises many questions, not least because it contradicts other work suggesting that it is possible to improve poor workers' output by pairing them with good workers. By contrast, Horton found that "the bad apples ruined the good apples, and the good apples did nothing for the bad."

Found on Hacker News.

Startup Bootcamp, MIT, September 11, 2010 (sign up now)

Have an idea? Starting a company is easier than you think.

Startup Bootcamp is a free one-day event featuring talks by entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on how to start a company. Hear from founders themselves about the journey of turning the spark of an idea into a viable product. Get the inside scoop on raising money, term sheets, and how to deal with VCs or angel investors. What should you look for when choosing a co-founder, and when should you incorporate or file patents? What can go wrong in a startup, and how does an acquisition work? Have your questions answered by experts and learn key lessons on how to start a company.

Saturday, September 11, 2010
9:00 am
Kresge Auditorium, MIT

I spoke at MIT Startup Bootcamp last year and had an even better time watching talks from pals like Dharmesh Shah, Drew Houston, and Adam Smith. This was an extremely well run conference last year and I'm sure it'll be another winner this year.

So what are you waiting for? That's back-to-back (free) startup conference recommendations!