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The gift of being unsure of what to do

In a pioneering study of 104 German chief executives facing the dramatic expansion of the European Union in 2004 to include many former communist countries, some of the 104 CEOs predicted it would bolster their firms while others said it would hurt their prospects, according to a study by Nils Plambeck of HEC Paris Business School and Northwestern University’s Klaus Weber, writes the Boston Globe. A third group, however, saw the enlargement of the European bloc as potentially both positive and negative; they were unsure of the ultimate outcome. When the researchers returned more than a year later to see how the executives had fared, they found to their surprise that the deep ambivalence popularly equated with paralysis had had the opposite effect.