Entries for May 2006

so much for small but strong

Business Week ranked undergraduate business programs for the first time this spring. One of their criteria for including a school in the rankings was whether at least 10 different employers named the school as among their top 20 sources of hires. By this criterion alone, Case was excluded from the set of 61 schools which were eventually ranked. This rankles, especially since only about 10 percent of the employers who were surveyed responded (and if their expectations of employers were anything like their expectations of schools, Business Week did not give employers long to express their views!)

In this way, the big schools are rewarded with additional applications, because they have been ranked in the top 50, and Case must continue to pay for marketing to prospective students while we simultaneously try to grow our undergraduate class size and the proportion of undergraduates who major in management.

what needs to be managed during a change process?

In response to my entry from last week about guiding change to a destination that is still below the horizon, Bill Harris (who blogs at Making Sense with Facilitated Systems) wrote me a comment with a link to an article by Dale Emery entitled "Managing yourself during change" (PDF).

The article by Dale Emery explains how we experience change, in a way that may allow managers to empathize with what happens to employees' lives when a dramatic change (such as a plant shutdown) is proposed. Emery draws on the Satir Change Model, which describes stages of behavior after a change is announced. The first stage in Satir's model, post-announcement, is chaos. This is why managers dislike change so much -- because it provokes strong emotional reactions in employees, and those emotions are often framed as "messes" that the managers have to "clean up".

But don't clean up too fast! Click to

Continue reading "what needs to be managed during a change process?"

former students mentioned in the PD

O-Web Technologies has redesigned the website for one of their clients, Rascal House, so that it requires fewer clicks to order a pizza online. Henry Gomez wrote it up on Sunday, but I never got to read the paper that day because I was at graduation. I'm glad to have caught the entry when it was mentioned in the Case Daily!

I'm wondering, though if Case needs to hire O-Web to redesign the Case Daily so that each entry is a separate RSS feed, so that the relevant snippet of information can be bookmarked, rather than emailing everything to everyone each day, with the rather unhelpful email title of the date. Sometimes I end up with four or five different dailies in my inbox, each saved because one snippet is relevant, but I can't find the snippet easily -- so I delete them all in frustration!

a dissertation meme

In honor of my participation yesterday in the Commencement ceremony at Case, I'm linking to this dissertation meme that I ran across at InsideHigherEd. The last words of my dissertation were "relationships among these individuals."

I have always enjoyed all the pomp and circumstance of graduation, and felt very lucky that the grey skies lifted just before we lead the faculty in full regalia out of Amasa Stone Chapel and toward the Veale Center. I especially enjoyed my first experiences with bestowing doctoral hoods on two students who completed their dissertations in organizational behavior -- congratulations to David Bright, who is joining the faculty at Wright State, and to Latha Poonemallee, who will take up a visiting position at Case!

guiding change to a destination still below the horizon

As I promised before my hiatus, I'm returning to ideas about the roles of managers and employees in organizational change processes. I want to share a reference that I came across during a presentation by two of our doctoral students on Monday, based on their qualifying research on the nature of mindfulness. They mentioned Linda Ackerman and Dean Anderson, which lead me to Scholar.Google.Com and to this article, which asserts that the type of managerial activity required depends on the type of change envisioned. Some change is developmental, and some is transitional, and perhaps for those types of change the old wisdom about minimizing resistance might be useful, but for the third type of change, the transformational type, different challenges must be addressed.

Click through to read more about what they mean, why I concur, and how I think they may be overstating the power of leadership in transformational change...

Continue reading "guiding change to a destination still below the horizon"

the metaphors of motivating change

"buy in", "get on board", "commit"

"selling", "signing up", "winning over"

Such interesting metaphors we use to describe what we want employees to do in response to a proposed organizational change, and what we as change agents need to do to get them to cooperate.

Yet one metaphor is even more pernicious than all the others, and potentially, much more damaging. "Overcoming resistance".

I'm going to leave you with that teaser, and come back to these ideas in about 10 days, when my grading is finished, my summer research projects are out for review in the human subjects committee or the grant approval committees, and I have had some time to recharge by visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. The quiet phase should end around May 15.

In the meantime, please explore my other blog entries, and leave me a comment or two if you'd like? I will look forward to hearing from you.

Here are some old, but valuable, thoughts on organizational change and transformative cooperation: