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MPs' inquiry: Five things we've learned about benefit sanctions

Guardian online, Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog, 23/01/2015, Patrick Butler
Patrick Butler discusses the most interesting things which came out of the work and pensions select committee hearing into benefit sanctions last week. Professor David Stuckler of the University of Oxford was one of those giving evidence. His research has shown, among other things, that the chances of being sanctioned vary widely depending on where you live, and that many of those who are sanctioned ‘disappear from view’. Article notes: ‘The risk, according to the Oxford researchers, is that the punitive use of sanctions drives vulnerable people away from social support because the barriers for compliance with the rules are too tough. The potential consequences of this disconnection can be mental illness, hunger and homelessness.’

Read more on The Guardian website (opens new window)

Self-InTerest Will Drive Fossil Fuel Divestment More Than Idealism

Huffington Post (USA), 23/01/2015, Carol Pierson Holding
Comment article on economic imperatives behind fossil fuel divestment cites research by Oxford University’s Stranded Assets Programme which has found that ‘Even when divestment outflows are small or short term and do not directly affect future cash flows (as is true with fossil fuel divestment), if they trigger a change in market norms that close off channels of previously available money (i.e., the ability to sell stock), then a downward pressure on the stock price of a targeted firm may be large and permanent.’

Read more on the Huffington Post website (opens new window)

Improvisation puts a spring in the step of plodding managers

Financial Times, 26/01/2015, p.12, Emma De Vita

Instead of wasting time and effort trying to control the uncontrollable, improvise, suggests Robert Poynton, of Saïd Business School and co-founder of On Your Feet, a consultancy that transposes methods from improvisational theatre to business. ‘Improvisation is not making it up on the spur of the moment, it’s not winging it,’ he says. Nor do you have to be an acting genius to become an effective improviser. Instead, it comes down to your ability to view everything as an ‘offer’ ­– something that can be used to good effect. Mr Poynton has created games that executives use to strengthen their improvisational muscles. At improvisation’s core is being responsive to unexpected situations, letting go of expectations and using every skill to find a solution.

Read more on the Financial Times website (opens new window)

Purposeful Transformation: Davos Conversations Advance the Journey

Huffington Post (USA), 24/01/2015, Valerie Keller
Comment piece, co-written by Professor Marc Ventresca, an economic sociologist at the University of Oxford, discussing research by the EY and Saïd Business School, University of Oxford which was launched at the World Economic Forum last week which found that ‘senior executives are pioneering a portfolio of new tools and approaches that leverage purpose to spur and sustain innovation and growth.’

Read more on the Huffington Post website (opens new window)

CEOs Need A Sense Of Purpose And Of Where They Are

Forbes (USA), 23/01/2015, Roger Trapp
Comment piece on two pieces of research published last week by the Saïd Business School into corporate leadership. Includes comment from Professor Peter Tufano, Dean of the Saïd Business School.

Read more on the Forbes website (opens new window)

Climate change has kept the Doomsday Clock ticking, but that's not the only threat we face

The Independent online, 23/01/2015, Stuart Armstrong
Comment article by Stuart Armstrong, James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, on the existential risks facing humanity: ‘After analysing the various “existential risks” here at the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, it seems to us that the real doomsday scenarios come from diseases (especially engineered pathogens) or, possibly, from the creation of powerful and dangerous technologies. These might not be as likely as climate change or war, but they could be true doomsdays. A twilight to the human race, with a void empty of intelligent life stretching forwards in a barren universe.’

Read more on The Independent website (opens new window)

The Duel:  Is austerity right for Britain?

Prospect, 01/02/2015, p.24, Unattributed
Simon Wren-Lewis, professor of economics at the University of Oxford, takes part in a head-to-head debate on the best way to cut the budget deficit.

Read more on the Prospect website (opens new window)