Entries in "MGMT250"
November 06, 2006
responsible capitalism and ethical behavior in the face of discrimination
One of my posts from last spring which gets a lot of traffic is on responsible capitalism and ESOPs. This morning I decided that I wanted to reinforce the connections between responsible capitalism and individual proactive behavior in organizations.
What is responsible capitalism? William Pfaff wrote about it in 2002 in the International Herald Tribune (and Common Dreams provides the text online). He provides a history lesson, distinguishing responsible capitalism from the popular capitalism that was championed by Henry Ford. Responsible capitalism is about more than simply paying workers well so that they can afford to buy the products they make in their workplaces. It is about decisions for the long-term benefit of all, rather than for the quarterly earnings reports. It probably even involves regulation of businesses, rather than assuming that the invisible hand will always reward the companies which act ethically.
In business schools, there is a trend to return to the teaching of ethics. We now realize, after Enron and Worldcom and other scandals, that we have not done enough. It is not enough to assume that all our students have already learned the Golden Rule. It is not enough to mention ethics at the beginning of the semester. It's not even enough to address it through one required course in the MBA curriculum dedicated to ethics in business.
I have always discussed ethical issues in my teaching of organizational behavior, and I'm sure that I will continue to improve the effectiveness of those discussions. Last week, in MGMT 250, both class sessions were focused on ethics.
Click through to read more about students' responses to Thursday's class session.
October 20, 2006
Mena Trott evangelizes personal blogs
This is a quick, reflective post in the role of the web in general, and blogs in particular, in how adults learn, make and keep connections to friends and family, and get things done (both for heir hobbies and avocations and in their paid work).
Yesterday, I taught a MGMT 250 class session on the training design process. Twelve different student teams prepared and delivered 3-minute impromptu speeches on different training methods. The list of 12 different methods included: distance learning, learning portals, and at least one other method that involved the use of technology in some way. I was really struck by how differently this semester's group of 40 students respond to the different training options, in terms of their perceived advantages and disadvantages, than the group of students I taught back in 1998 or 1999 when I first came to Case Western Reserve.
I think I first started using blogs as one way of getting students to capture and share their reflections with me and with their classmates sometime around 2002 or 2003. Lots more students, this fall, have some previous experience with blogging. But there are still some who don't blog, and may not read any blogs on a regular basis. At the other end of the spectrum, there have been a few students in my class who were very internet-savvy in high school, learned to do web design for fun, and then converted their new skills into a way to make money. Things are clearly changing.
And yet, our local paper of record still seems to portray the dominant culture image of blogs -- they're just personal diaries on the web, they're not worth reading, they aren't going to change the entire media industry.... all while developing their own site for the newspaper, which now includes blogs by a few reporters.
I just came across Mena Trott's blog recently (click through to read more)
And will someone please post a comment on this entry, so I can be reassured that the Blog@Case spamfilter isn't overfunctioning again?
September 08, 2006
Another semester of students begin a blogging experiment
Yesterday, Jeremy Smith gave a fabulous presentation on blogging using the Blog@Case system to interested students in MGMT 250 and 251 this fall. He discussed why it is useful for professionals to maintain a blog, explaining the merits of controlling one's online brand. He also walked through how to start up a blog on the Blog@Case system, how to categorize or tag a blog entry, and how to manage comment spam. Many thanks to Jeremy for a well-organized, crisp, and informative presentation!
If any of my readers are interested in following the MGMT 250 students' blog entries, here's a link that will aggregate all entries that are tagged "MGMT250" (note the lack of space in that tag): topic=MGMT250
Here is the equivalent link for students in MGMT 251: topic=MGMT251. This fall, students in 251 will be starting topical blogs, in pairs or trios... the assignment has been modified slightly, so that there will be more than one student contributing on the same approved topic. I hope that the added number of entries on the same topic will help students find ways to draw traffic to their blogs. I will post later in the semester introducing the topic of each of those focused blogs, once they have an initial effort at relevant entries under their belts.
If you are curious about why I encourage my students to learn how to blog, you might be interested in reading this entry of mine from about one year ago.
September 05, 2006
are you looking for a better you?
In MGMT 250, we have begun the segment of the course which focuses on self-assessment and self-development. My students are thinking about how to make a good first impression on others, what their strengths are, and where they want to be in 5 or 10 years.
There are lots of supplementary resources out there to help people who aren't taking the course explore some of the same questions. One excellent guide which I just came across to some of those resources is the blog Lifestylism. If you're not sure what that means, just read the first entry in the blog, written back in July, 2004.
Another new resource is a spinoff from the increasingly popular site 43 things, which allows users to keep track of their goals and dreams and their progress toward achieving them, and helps them connect with others who have similar goals or dreams for support and mutual encouragement. (I have written about 43things before and about the sister site of 43things, 43 places, as well.) To celebrate the second anniversary of the founding of the Robot COOP, which houses the creators of 43 things, some of the key people in the COOP have launched a new blog called the Mutual Improvement Blog. It looks really fascinating.
Enjoy! And please be sure to let me know what your next steps toward a better you will be, and whether any of the links I recommended were useful.
January 16, 2006
MGMT251: a second chance to make a first impression
Tomorrow, I will be reunited with most of the students from MGMT 250 last fall, when MGMT 251 begins. It's an interesting dynamic, working with the same students for more than one semester. On the one hand, I feel that I get a running start during this second course, because I know some of the students and have a sense of what kinds of approaches will help engage them in learning. On the other hand, there is always some baggage from the previous semester, and figuring out how to address that and move beyond it is a relatively new challenge for me.
I hope that we will be able to move promptly beyond students' frustrations and concerns about grades next semester, and get to the real work of learning, rather than the superficial issues of grades. I hope that students will open their minds again to the possibility that this semester might be both useful and enjoyable.
Click here to read a student's testimony on this possibility... and a preview of MGMT 251 in contrast with MGMT 250.
December 23, 2005
People will listen when they're ready... above all, listen.
"People will listen when they're ready to listen and not before. Probably, once upon a time, you weren't ready to listen to an idea than now seems to you obvious, even urgent. Let people come to it in their own time. Nagging or bullying will only alienate them. Don't preach. Don't waste time with people who want to argue. They'll keep you immobilized forever. Look for people who are already open to something new.
When presenting a new idea, you don't have to have all the answers. It's better to say 'I don't know' than to fake it. Make people formulate their own questions. Don't take on the responsibility of figuring out what their difficulty is. We each internalize information differently. If you don't understand a question, keep insisting they explain it until it's clear. Nine times out of ten they'll supply the answer themselves.
Above all, listen. Your close attention is sometimes more important than your articulateness in winning converts. And learning is always a good thing."
-- Daniel Quinn
December 22, 2005
sophomores are careful of some very careful thinking (and writing)
"Tom becomes bored with his work easily and his performance drops when this happens. Our half of the class suggested that the company look into adopting a method of allowing workers to change to different positions (i.e. operate drill presses for a period of time instead of only tightening nuts and bolts). Assembly line jobs are boring; ask any worker who has had to repeat tasks for long periods of time. I even injured myself out of boredom when operating a drill press for an extended period. By allowing employees to rotate through different positions, a company can change the rhythm of the work and keep workers interested in their job.
This procedure has risks. I'll rewrite that sentence with different styling: This procedure has risks. To execute this properly, management needs to set up a list of workers and desired rotation positions. Training and orientation sessions will then be given to all workers for each position they specify. Workers will be rotated in and out of positions over a regular and stated period of time and all positions will have trained and experienced workers at all times. That way, the number of people moving into a position that are relatively new to that position is small compared to the number of experienced workers at that position at all times."
November 02, 2005
One of my advisors once said...
... "you can be either a reader or a writer." The implication was, of course, that it's better to write every day, and read sometimes, if we students were planning on successful academic careers. If you have noticed my silence over the last two weeks, I apologize -- but I am right now in editing mode, and I have no time to blog! I'm working to make the final adjustments to the edited book, '''A Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics''', which I will be sending in to Stanford University Press with David Cooperrider and Ron Fry as co-editors. My aim is to get this work done in the next two weeks, and then come back to blogging.
In the meantime, I hope that you will enjoy reading the thoughts of our undergraduate management majors in MGMT 250 -- they are writing about all kinds of interesting things, from ethics to summer jobs, incentive plans to intrinsic motivation -- and perhaps you might comment on an entry or two. All the students' entries are gathered here.
September 30, 2005
I attended an undergraduate-focused faculty meeting this morning and learned that the number of employers who participated in the Career Fair was up 20 percent, and at least 35 percent of employers were accepting applications from management and accounting majors. This is a great sign that the economy is improving and Case's Career Center is excelling in attracting new interest in Case's newly minted BA and BS graduates.
Unfortunately, undergraduate attendance was down 20 percent compared to last year, and only 18 management and accounting sophomores handed in their resumes at the door. Talk about missed opportunities! Students who did not attend the fall fair should put February 16 on their calendars now.
I hope that many of our students will take advantage of employer information sessions being hosted by the Career Center during the year. Those sessions are good opportunities to learn more about specific companies which hire graduates, and explore opportunities for internships and full-time jobs.
There are also some great sessions coming up next week (scroll down) on long-distance job searches and networking, and the week after on internships.
September 29, 2005
measuring your self (or, how not to be reduced to a box)
Students' reactions to the two psychometric measures they have completed as part of the MGMT 250 module on self-assessment have been varied. Some, like Joe Tichar, found it difficult to answer the LSI and MBTI questions, but still worthwhile. Others, like Daniel Jurek, struggled with the forced-choice format of the questions. Others were concerned that the measurement schemes seem to invite putting people into boxes; for instance, Trevor Clatterbuck expressed a great deal of skepticism about both sets of measures, and made a good point about the need to adapt learning styles to suit different situations.
September 22, 2005
learning the presentation of self
We are wrapping up our discussion of self-assessment and impression management in MGMT 250, and the students are practicing introducing themselves. Last week, many students conducted mock interviews on campus, and today, most of them will attend the Career Fair. (Trevor probably won't, though, because he got a job offer for next summer at the end of his mock interview!)
All throughout this first part of the course, we have talked about the tricky balancing act of promoting ourselves and our strengths while remaining authentic.
September 20, 2005
In his column this week, David Batstone writes about employer-paid healthcare and suggests that the current rates of increase cannot be sustained. How do you think that businesses should cope with the possibility of needing to cut back on employee benefits in order to keep their finances in balance? What advice would you give to CEOs like Howard Schultz of Starbucks?
September 14, 2005
how was MGMT 250 designed?
I am seeing evidence in the first blog entries made by this fall's MGMT 250 students that the course is having some of its intended effects. One of the things I wanted to accomplish when we began redesigning our curriculum for management and accounting majors was to give students a sense, early in their undergraduate career, of what the lives of managers are like.
(Click to read more, including some links to student posts.)
September 12, 2005
for MGMT 250 students...
Here's how to read the entries made by other students that have been tagged for "MGMT250" (no spaces)....
September 09, 2005
MGMT 250 discussions of equal employment opportunity
Yesterday we handed out the assignment instructions for MGMT 250 students who are selecting the onling journaling assignment which will use Blog@Case this fall, and I did a little demonstration in each section of how to set up a new blog, make a new entry, edit an entry, add the "MGMT250" tag, and read others' entries using the Topics feed that Jeremy Smith has been working on.
I did not stay to listen to the class discussions about the EEO (equal employment opportunity) case, but I'm curious to hear students' responses to the minicase that Professor Powley discussed with the students. I want to know what students took away from the case discussion -- was the way that the manager handled the interviewing of a job candidate in a wheelchair legal? Was it ethical? (The first question has much more of a black-and-white answer than the second question.) I hope that students might also share their personal reflections on how they would like to handle such a situation when they encounter a similar dilemma in the workplace. When you become a manager in charge of interviewing and hiring new employees, what will you want to keep in mind about the Americans with Disabilities Act? How might your behavior be different if a job applicant arrives at an interview not in a wheelchair, but with an apparent pregnancy, or wearing religious dress or jewelry, or speaking English with a heavy accent?
Some students have already made entries reflecting on the class discussion of the EEO case; see:
September 06, 2005
who are your management mentors?
As I have been meeting with new MGMT 250 students one-on-one, I have had some interesting conversations about the kinds of experiences that influence people to choose a major in management or accounting. Often, parents have a big influence on students' choices, both because of the hopes they express for a child to do prestigious work or to gain financial security. The thing is, parents often have indirect influences, because of the way they have talked about their work while their children were growing up. I came across this interview with the author of a new book today and it really struck home that I may have helped my parents develop their own management skills, just because they had to negotiate and motivate me through my childhood and teen years!
I have definitely felt my skill base expand over the last few years, as I have confronted the challenges of raising a daughter. It's wonderful to see that personal investment I have made being recognized by other managers as something that has benefits for my peers in the workplace as well. For me, the biggest skill gain that I have made since becoming a parent is taking a longer view of the future. I now have a personal interest in thinking about what my community will be like in 10, 20, or 30 years, and in shaping it so that my daughter will encounter desirable opportunities.
August 18, 2005
why I ask students to blog
Below is the beginning of the assignment instructions that I will distribute to the students in MGMT 250. If anyone has any comments or suggestions, I would welcome your thoughts!
Here’s what Hillary Johnson said about blogging in Inc Magazine:
“Most people think of blogs as public diaries kept by the kinds of egotists who make loud, inappropriate political comments at family barbecues or hog the discussion at book clubs, or wannabe journalists who post inflammatory stories with no fact-checking. … For me, a woman who didn't graduate from Stanford and doesn't live in Silicon Valley, reading blogs by other entrepreneurs provides unexpected access to a virtual peer group.”
Students in MGMT 250 this fall will be offered the option of maintaining a blog and commenting on the blogs of other class participants. Any student who wishes to earn a B or an A for their final course grade will need to complete this assignment. There are three goals of this assignment:
° To encourage students to reflect on what they are learning and what they want to learn about the management of organizations and people
° To provide valuable practice in written communication and impression management
° To facilitate the development of connections among students and between students and course staff that will deepen the learning experience
Reflecting carefully on your own thinking is a very important skill to cultivate. Whether you are planning to enter management or any other professional field, your learning will not end on the day you graduate from college. You will need to engage in lifelong learning, which involves developing a sense of how to sort through different sources of information and distinguish between facts, well-reasoned judgments or conclusions, and poorly supported opinions. To encourage you to develop this skill in reflecting carefully on your own thinking, this course blogging assignment will challenge you to go beyond simply stating your opinion, or quoting a source that you respect and accepting its assertions at face value. In your course blog entries, we will challenge you to state not only what you believe about managing organizations and people, but also why you believe it. Developing your skill in articulating and advocating for your beliefs will help you become a more effective manager or professional.