Entries in "research"

June 13, 2007

Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics

Our handbook (which I co-edited with Ron Fry and David Cooperrider) is to be released next week, according to its Amazon listing. (The other good news is that Amazon is quoting a price almost 30% off Stanford University Press' list price.)

Here is a list of chapters and contributors:

Continue reading "Handbook of Transformative Cooperation: New Designs and Dynamics"

October 22, 2006

BAWB event open to NEO community coming up...

I will have handouts at BAWB on Tuesday or Wednesday, with the table of contents for the forthcoming Handbook of Transformative Cooperation. It is expected to be in print next summer at Stanford University Press.

I hope you see some of my BFD and/or REALNEO connections at the regional event! If you don't know what I'm talking about, please leave a comment and I'll find out if there is still space available for you to join us at Veale on Tuesday.

For now, let me leave you with a teaser about the forthcoming Handbook:

Continue reading "BAWB event open to NEO community coming up..."

August 14, 2006

Nurturing Identity, Professional Identity

In the body of this blog entry are the slides from my presentation today at the Academy of Management, with Latha Poonamallee. The presentation focuses on our ideas about how individuals develop or customize for themselves a new identity, focusing on the data from our interview study of how working professionals take on the identities of working mother and breastfeeding mother (or not).

(The study is still underway, and so if anyone viewing this entry is planning to participate in the study, we would ask you not to click through on any of the links below until after you have been interviewed. Thanks in advance!)

In the slides, there are a few links, which I am reproducing here so it is easier for readers to just click through and read the links:

Click through to read all the slides (either in PPS or in JPG), which are less about breastfeeding advocacy, and more about the experience of identity transitions...

Continue reading "Nurturing Identity, Professional Identity"

August 05, 2006

my colleague has promised me the last chapter...

... of our edited book on transformative cooperation by no later than August 13. I’m hoping to receive it by August 9, but we’ll see.

I just got the most reassuring email ever from the publisher, at Stanford University Press. I just need to keep being persistent, and practicing pronoia, and this book will be published in 2007.

If you would like to receive a copy of the table of contents via email, please comment on this post.

June 30, 2006

book in development: impacts of gender equity

I just read my copy of the newsletter for the Gender, Diversity, and Organizations division of the Academy of Management, which mentioned a very interesting new book which is in the development stages. It's called Living Life: Stories of Women, Men and Changing Roles in the 20th Century. The premise of the project is that stories about the progress of gender equity need to be told so that we can both cherish and protect these gains.

Click through on the book title to read more! There is an online survey that you can complete to share your stories with the project directors.

June 23, 2006

rethinking the pre-tenure process

A friend emailed me a link to a very interesting blog entry in an academic librarian's blog, commenting on the significant stresses that seem to descend on librarians pursuing tenure. Steven J. Bell asks an important question in his entry:

"Admittedly, the tenure track and its associated pressures are all about weeding out under performers to create an academic organization that benefits from having the best of the best. But what can be done to allow those on the tenure track to enjoy the process of research and publication, the way it was meant to be be experienced, without being made to feel as if they are on a vicious treadmill"?

I think it's time for this question to be asked in business schools as well. Some of the suggestions that Bell advocates for academic librarians might also be relevant in the b-school context, but we will have to come up with other remedies on our own.

I know that when the Weatherhead School here at Case extended the tenure clock from 6 to 9 years, one of the arguments for doing so was that the time that papers spent in review before being accepted for publication, and the time between acceptance and actual publication, had been increasing for the major journals in our field. I wonder, though, if this response of simply accepting the lengthening lead times and postponing the decision about a scholar's quality was really the wise choice. Perhaps we could instead lobby the major journals to set up a quick-response reviewing process, for those papers with authors who are untenured? Perhaps those papers could be given priority when moving from acceptance to publication? Since I have never edited a journal, I have no idea whether or not this kind of proposal would be considered realistic.

May 22, 2006

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!

April 22, 2006

framing your inquiry

My colleague Ron Fry has a new book out, coauthored with Frank Barrett (an alumnus of our Ph.D. program, now on the faculty at the Monterrey Naval Academy).

The press release aboout the book, in the link above, describes the approach that Ron Fry takes to combining problem solving and appreciative inquiry: "I don't try to avoid ever focusing on the problem, deficit or the negative. I just try to live more often in conversations that are unbalanced in terms of having more attention, questions and imagery that relate to possibilities, hope and the positive."

I think that is really a key element of understanding the role of positively framing an organizational change intervention. A positive frame is chosen because of the momentum and energy it can unleash, not because there is any desire to avoid a problem-focused frame.

This is a subtlety that I am still learning, in the context of my work with NEOBEAN, as is evidenced in my earlier entry about when to trust a consultant.

April 17, 2006

can you ever trust a consultant?

I came across a great excerpt from a speech by Bob Sutton recently, at the AlwaysOn Network: it's called "Use Common Sense, Not Crystal Balls". In it Professor Sutton (a U of M alum like me) provides four questions for managers to ask themselves when thinking about whether to take the advice offered by consultants. First, is the practice that is being advised time-tested? Second, who benefits? Third, what are the risks? And fourth, what evidence is there that this practice is connected with effectiveness?

I would argue that a consultant who can engage in an honest dialogue with a manager about these questions is a consultant who can be trusted. The rest --

Continue reading "can you ever trust a consultant?"

April 04, 2006

campus event 4/11: regional coalitions as a way to address inequalities

Did anyone get to attend this? I couldn't (a last-minute conflict arose) but I would love to read a blog entry by someone who did... or even just hear an informal update!

Margaret Weir, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science and Sociology, University of California at Berkeley
will present an NSF-ADVANCE Distinguished Lecture on

Challenging Metropolitan Inequalities: Coalition Building for Inclusive Growth

April 11, 2006, Clark Hall 309 - 4:00-5:30 pm

Many discussions of how to address the Cleveland area's economic and social challenges include proposals for some sort of "regionalization." Yet the obstacles to any shared efforts across government boundaries remain substantial. Join us for a talk and conversation about the prospects for policies that seek growth with equity for Cleveland and other metropolitan regions.

Professor Margaret Weir received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1986. Her research and teaching fields include political sociology, American political development, urban politics and policy, and comparative studies of the welfare state. She has written extensively on issues of regional coalition-building, metropolitan government, and the political and economic isolation of central cities. Professor Weir is also coauthor, with Benjamin Ginsberg and Theodore J. Lowi, of We the People (5th ed.), a major textbook on American government.

One of her recent chapters on coalitiion building and regionalism is available online here (essay 5).

Sponsored by ACES and the Office of the President and The Provost, in conjunction with the Department of Political Science.

March 08, 2006

let this be the century when sexism ends

Today is Blog Against Sexism day, and as promised, I'm going to write something about pregnancy discrimination. It's by no means the only manifestation of sexism in our society, but it's one that I have thought about a lot over the last few years, especially since I began teaching my undergraduates the basics about nondiscrimination in employment interviewing.

In a great post on BlogHer about ten days back, Jory DesJardins told a story that sounded all too familiar to me:

Recently I helped a friend get a position at a firm where I knew the principals, who were both men. She already had a small child, and they'd agreed to flexible hours. She worked from home but was enormously structured, starting work at 5am to begin sales calls on the East Coast and taking breaks in the middle of the day to be with her daughter. The situation was working well, until she got pregnant again. Her voice was low and secretive when she called. "I'm pregnant," she nearly whispered. "Congratulations!" I said. She didn't sound as happy as I was for her.

"Thanks," she said. "I haven't said anything yet to my boss."

Sadly that is often what women think upon hearing such news--how do I make it look like having another life in the house won't have any effect on my work performance?

Yes, many employers consider it a bad thing if a worker gets pregnant, and it's such a short-term and narrow-minded point of view. Forget the joy of bringing a new life into the world, forget the long-term contribution that the mother and her social support system will make by raising a young citizen with untold promise, forget that all workers eventually retire and we do need, as a society, to nurture the next generation of productive workers... are you going to be able to deliver your tasks on time to me over the next six months?

I understand that it is disruptive to the normal flow of work to deal with someone going on maternity leave, to find a temporary replacement, to manage the uncertainties of when the new mother will be ready and able to return to full-time work. But let's not forget to be human when we are managers -- let's not forget to say "congratulations!" and mean it. After all, most women are already confronting a lot of stress and challenges when they are holding down a job and growing a baby simultaneously, especially in countries like Papua New Guinea and the United States, where they have no guarantee of paid maternity leave. The least you can do, as an employer, is not add to that stress with a selfish, short-term reaction to the news that an employee is expecting.

According to Carmen Armenti, many women academics either attempt to hide their pre-tenure babies by having May babies or delay having children until after they have earned tenure. In both situations, women are hiding their maternal desires to meet an unwritten professional standard that is geared toward the male life course. While I did not go this far with my first child, I did make a conscious effort not to conceive at a time when I would have gone on leave in the middle of a semester. I didn't want to develop relationships with students and then "leave them in the lurch" when I went into labor, and I didn't want to develop any complicated system for my colleagues to cover for me through the second half of a semester.

That many academic women feel these pressures to minimize the visibility of their motherhood and its impact on their work productivity in the first few months after childbirth is problematic, particularly since that many academics pursue long careers -- 30, 40, or sometimes even 50 years long. Why must their first 10 years follow a lock-step pattern of 4 years earning their doctorate, followed by 6 years of incredibly long hours spent on research, writing, and teaching, in order to earn tenure? Why must people who wish to pursue an academic career, but would prefer not to work 55, 65, or 75 hours a week, be treated as second-class citizens?

Many women entering professional work face these challenges, not just academic women. In consulting, twice as many women exit the big companies from the middle rungs of the career ladder as do men. In medicine, a whole wave of new entrants into the field are seeking ways to combine careers as doctors with family or other personal interests -- both men and women. The organizations which can figure out how to rework traditional male career patterns and create options for their professional employees, both male and female, are the ones which will succeed in retaining outstanding talent in the coming decades, when baby boomers will retire and there will be smaller numbers of new professionals entering the US workforce.

Let this be the century when biased attitudes toward working women who get pregnant fade away, replaced by an appreciation for the value that childbearing and parenting have in our society in the long term.

Let this be the century when shards of the shattered glass ceiling are swept up and shipped off to be recycled, and the maternal wall is demolished for good.

Let this be the century when employers learn to manage employees flexibly, allowing them to structure their own days so they can be most productive.

Let this be the century when women (whether mothers or not) come to be treated as true equals, in the workplace and in their homes, and our global society learns the meaning of equity.

Let this be the century when sexism ends.

(If you want to participate in Blog Against Sexism day, just make a post in your own blog, and put a tag on it that says "blog against sexism". Then you can read other posts made in honor of the cause via Technorati.)

March 04, 2006

working women stretched to the limit

The New York Times does not have the greatest track record in writing about workplace trends regarding women's participation. Last fall I wrote about Louise Story's flawed article, and later about the response from AlterNet and the National Council for Research on Women highlighting fact vs. anecdote contrasts in the media's portrayal of women in the workplace.

This week's article at first seems to be more grounded in scientific research, and less in subjective assessments of trends. The article, by Eduardo Porter, is entitled "Women in the Workplace: Stretched to Limit, Women Stall March to Work". It attempts to explain why the rate of workforce participation of women, which rose from about 40 percent in 1960 to a peak of 77 percent in 2000, has dropped off in the last 5 years.

The single explanation which resonated the most with my experience is the statistic provided by Suzanne M. Bianchi, a sociologist at the University of Maryland. "Professor Bianchi found that employed mothers, on average, worked at home and on the job a total of 15 hours more a week and slept 3.6 fewer hours than those who were not employed."

I am definitely feeling this limit this week. The stress of uncompleted tasks wakes me up in the middle of the night, especially during the workweek, though in my case the uncompleted tasks I stress the most about are work-related, rather than housework-related. I spend the wee hours of the morning catching up on emails to students, literature searches, data analyses, and drafting and revising research proposals. Then the early morning wakeful hours devoted to work tasks leave me worn out when the weekend rolls around and the opportunities to play with my husband and daughter open up.

The article seems to suggest that I am atypical, and provides statistics from sociologists arguing the balance of unpaid work between men and women is still unbalanced. I do not live the trends described in the article regarding housework -- we hire out at least half of those tasks, and the rest are unevenly divided, with my husband carrying more than half of the responsibilities for cooking, laundry, etc. I don't want my experience to invalidate that of other women who do want their husbands to wake up and do their share -- but I suspect that there are other dynamics at work as well.

The article does not mention another potential explanation for changes in women's workforce participation, which focuses not on husbands as a problem, but on the increasing demands made by employers on their staff, especially at professional levels. I'm surprised that the article did not include statistics about the increase in total work hours for both men and women in the last 45 years. Take a look at these statistics for the UK in the last decade, for example. Also, this background information from PBS is informative about the US experience generally. The presentation given on campus last week by Diane Bergeron indicated that the average number of work hours for associate and full professors in her survey sample was 55 hours per week, and the most productive individuals often work 70 hours or more! Surely, those types of demands for long hours made by elite organizations of their highly-educated staff (not just in universities, but in law offices, health care, and business) are going to put a strain on working professionals. Women in their thirties with children may be feeling this the most, but it affects many women without dependents, and many men, as well.

The long work hours being put in by professionals, and the unwillingness of employers to validate professionals who seek part-time work opportunities, seem like a much more likely explanation for the drop in female workforce participation than any gender war within marriages. They may also explain the high proportion of women experiencing mental health challenges, and our society's decreasing ability to eat well, exercise, and manage stress.

I hope we see followup articles in the New York Times exploring these issues.

February 16, 2006

step 1: believe in yourself

Today Meredith Myers and Latha Poonamallee will be leading MGMT 251 students through a presentation skills workshop. As this essay by Carmine Gallo in Business Week points out, step 1 in delivering an effective presentation is to believe in yourself. The article offers other helpful tips as well.

I found the article online via the Tom Peters Newswire, which is a really helpful filter if you are looking for discussions of current business topics on the web.

There is also a collection of other presentation tips collected at my deli.cio.us tag about presentations, and at the aggregation of all popular deli.cio.us links on presentations. If you have not already seen Delicious, I recommend checking it out -- you can even integrate your list of tagged weblinks into your Blog@Case! Here's how.

Unfortunately, I cannot be in class today, because I am scheduled to fly to Chicago at 10:30 am for a board meeting in a professional association. I was elected last May to serve as a representative-at-large for the 2600+ members of the Organization Development and Change division of the Academy of Management. I'll be back Saturday evening. If anyone needs me before then, my office voicemail has my cellphone number.

August 24, 2005

what is it about college that helps students learn?

Oops, I missed two full weekdays of blogging? To be honest, I've been holed up in the library, getting up to speed on the literature in developmental psychology and adult learning and development. I'm writing a research proposal to gather data on the general topic, "what is it about college that helps students learn?" Specifically, I'm applying for approval from the Case IRB to analyze which elements of the MGMT 250-251 course sequence have the most powerful impact on students. I want to know how much students are improving in their critical thinking skills, systems thinking skills, and emotional intelligence. Do they really become self-directed learners by the end of their sophomore year? If so, what is it about their experience which helps them to develop, and if not, what else might we try so that they will gain the skills needed to be self-directed learners?

So far, the most useful resource has been the book In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life, by Robert Kegan. Kegan proposes a developmental model for human beings, and asserts that by the end of adolescence, most of us are firmly beyond the second stage of development of our consciousness. We enter into college at the time when we should be solidifying our grasp on the third stage, or order of consciousness, which Kegan calls "traditionalism" ( see figure 9.1, pp. 314-315 in In Over Our Heads). My aim for our undergraduates in management is that by the end of four years of college, they should have a firm grasp of traditionalism, and be moving beyond it into the fourth order of consciousness, "modernism" in Kegan's framework.

The thing is, Kegan's ongoing studies show that most people are not at this forth order of consciousness when they enter graduate programs, even if they are in their thirties or forties. So my dilemma is whether I am setting expectations too high for our undergraduates, or whether we as a society are not setting expectations high enough?

It's a very valuable exercise, to be framing this research. It is pushing me to be explicit about the kinds of skills I expect our undergraduates to be developing, not just in laypersons' terms, but in terms of what scholars have concluded are common patterns of intellectual and moral development.

February 05, 2005

What do we know about the factors that influence breastfeeding initiation and the duration of exclusive breastfeeding?

One of the projects we would like to collaborate with other participants in NEOBEAN on is a review of existing literature on this topic. What we do know so far is that rates of breastfeeding initiation are intertwined with rates of full-term birth (since some premature infants have not yet developed their suck reflex at birth) and with the education level and age of the mother. Rates of exclusive breastfeeding are connected with employment status of the mother, WIC status, and other factors. For these reasons, we see it as especially important to reach out to pregnant women who are younger, less educated, receiving less prenatal care, and otherwise lacking in financial resources.

Some of the strongest predictors of breastfeeding initiation and willingness to continue breastfeeding are the supportiveness of key supporters of the new mother, including her baby's father and other key supports, such as her childcare providers. For this reason, we see it as especially important to reach out not just to pregnant women, but also to their partners and husbands, and to the future grandparents and childcare providers, so that they can learn how to be supportive.

February 02, 2005

The Status of Breastfeeding in NEOhio

The latest research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that in Cuyahoga County, only 55% of infants are ever breastfed, and only 25% continue to be breastfed at 6 months of age, which is below the average rates in other parts of the country, and far below the target rates that were set for 2010 by the Department of Health and Human Services Blueprint for Action.

See this entry in the Frequently Asked Questions category for additional information.

If we wish to invest in our children's health, we must not accept this status quo. A team of researchers from the Weatherhead School of Management is working to create a learning and advocacy network to support breastfeeding in Northeast Ohio. Learn more at the NorthEast Ohio Breastfeeding Education and Advocacy Network (NEOBEAN).