A look back at how experts from across the Rotman School contributed to the conversation on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our work and personal lives, from February 2021.
In February 2021, the world was trying to make sense of COVID-19 data, struggling with lockdown fatigue and looking for direction on building effective corporate boards. Here’s what experts from across the Rotman School had to say.
In his piece for MIT Sloan Management Review, Sam Maglio and co-authors explain why pandemic data is often misinterpreted by the public. Maglio, who is an associate professor in Marketing and Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough and at the Rotman School, describes how visualization tools and annotations can help general audiences grasp confusing concepts, such as the time lags inherent in data and the exponential growth.
“More than a year into this global crisis, we’ve learned the power that data visualizations have in shaping public opinion about the coronavirus,” the authors write. “For those with key roles of influence and authority in the pandemic, such as policy makers, businesses, and the media, it’s important to avoid confusability when presenting data and making data-based decisions.”
On a similar note, Lisa Kramer, a professor of Finance at the University of Toronto Mississauga and the Rotman School, stresses the importance of transparent and consistent messaging when communicating lockdown restrictions and presenting data. In her piece for The Globe and Mail, she suggests that public health officials borrow from psychology-based concepts to encourage lockdown-abiding behaviour.
“Evidence suggests people will be more likely to follow the rules when information is framed both to make it easy to grasp and to emphasize that the majority of others are behaving themselves, too,” she writes.
In his piece for The Toronto Star, Will Mitchell, the Anthony S. Fell Chair in New Technologies and Commercialization at the Rotman School, takes a closer look at long-term care. To mitigate the current COVID-19 disaster and to protect staff and residents in long-term care environments from future pandemics, he recommends that older homes be rebuilt to meet current standards, enhanced funding for wages and training of front-line staff, and more hours of care for residents.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Hodnett, the executive director of Executive Programs at the Rotman School, takes on the growing talent gap in Canada in her piece for The Toronto Star. Creating a searchable database of all education programs (as recommended by the Institute for Research on Public Policy) is a solid first step, but organizations need to do more.
“Once upon a time, employers carried more of the burden of training their new hires,” she writes. “To address the growing skills gap faced by the labour force, it would be wise to find ways for business to partner with training programs to ensure that incoming hires can be as successful as possible.”
Others at the Rotman School explored strategies for better governance.
In their piece for The Globe and Mail, Peter Dey (executive in residence at Rotman) and Sarah Kaplan (director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at Rotman) reflect on their latest publication — The Michael Lee-Chin Family Institute for Corporate Citizenship's new report, 360° Governance: Where are the Directors in a World in Crisis? They provide the answer in the form of 13 guidelines that get at the need for a corporate purpose, realigned executive compensation and active policies on the environment, diversity and Indigenous rights, among other priorities.
“For every company — public or private, large or small — building board competencies to address these challenges will be good for business, good for society and good for Canadian competitiveness and prosperity,” they write.
Robin Cardozo (executive in residence at Rotman) and Matt Fullbrook (manager of the David & Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation at Rotman) describe how Canada has a long way to go until governing boards of non-profit organizations reflect the diversity of the populations they serve in their piece for The Toronto Star. The two draw from their findings from their latest David and Sharon Johnston Centre for Corporate Governance Innovation report, Not-for-Profit Board Diversity and Inclusion: Is it essentially window-dressing?
“The traditional approaches for onboarding new members need to be reimagined. In addition to the typical onboarding workshops, we heard that the most inclusive onboarding practices look to curate personal goals and engagement approaches for each member,” they write.