Coaching Women Leaders

people-3-1030719-m[We’re pleased to welcome Deborah A. O’Neil of Bowling Green State University. Dr. O’Neil recently published an article in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science with Margaret M. Hopkins of University of Toledo and Diana Bilimoria of Case Western Reserve University entitled “A Framework for Developing Women Leaders: Applications to Executive Coaching.”

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

Mig (Margaret), Diana and I have conducted research on various aspects of working women for many years; specifically opportunities and challenges in women’s career and leadership development. Each of us has extensive experience coaching women across industries and management levels. We believe the leadership development stories we describe in the article to be evocative exemplars of the realities faced by many women leaders with whom we have worked. What we know through our coaching and our research, and what the literature on women’s career and leadership development supports, is that the combination of organizational environments and life/career choices are often quite challenging for women. We believe these issues must be raised in order to create equal opportunities for women to succeed at all levels.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

JABS_72ppiRGB_powerpointOne thing that continues to surprise us is that although we know much from research about the challenges that women face in their organizational lives, progress in overcoming many of these challenges seems to be an uphill battle. This is one of the reasons we wrote this conceptual piece, proposing a framework for women’s leadership development that highlights the importance for women of developing their leadership presence, i.e., self-confidence, self-efficacy, influence, and authenticity. Women have to establish this presence in the midst of challenging organizational contexts while dealing with work-life integration and life/career stage concerns. We believe executive coaching is one effective way to assist women in developing the key characteristics of leadership presence in the midst of managing the key factors impacting their leadership development.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

Our conceptual framework provides the opportunity for measuring and testing the variables and relationships we propose for women’s leadership development. We encourage future research to investigate combinations of the model’s elements in determining how women can develop their leadership capabilities and advance in their organizations. We hope that our framework will add to the body of knowledge on the strategic advancement of women. Equally important, we hope that our framework will provide executive coaches of women with practical strategies for effectively assisting women in navigating their complex professional and personal lives as they seek to advance into senior leadership roles in their organizations.

You can read “A Framework for Developing Women Leaders: Applications to Executive Coaching” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science for free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science!

1389388437500Deb O’Neil is an Associate Professor and Director, Master of Organization Development Program at the College of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University. Her research is focused on the processes by which individuals and organizations develop. Her fundamental questions of interest are those related to growth and progress. Within this broader area of research, she also investigates gender dynamics in organizations and the facilitators of and barriers to women’s career and leadership development. Currently Dr. O’Neil is working on a number of research studies examining leadership and career development. Dr. O’Neil has also been an executive coach and organizational consultant for 15 years.

miggy-hopkinsMargaret M. Hopkins is an Associate Professor of Management at College of Business and Innovation, University of Toledo. Her research interests and publications are in the areas of leadership, women in leadership, leadership development, executive coaching, and emotional intelligence. She is accredited in the Emotional Competence Inventory.Prior to joining the UT faculty, she worked in management positions in the public and private sectors.She also served as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education for the Cleveland Municipal School District.

dxb12Diana Bilimoria is KeyBank Professor and Chair of the Department of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. She was the 2011-12 Division Chair of the Gender and Diversity in Organizations Division of the Academy of Management. She has served as the editor of the Journal of Management Education. She has been internationally recognized for her leadership, research and service. Dr. Bilimoria’s research focuses on gender diversity in governance and leadership, and organizational transformation.

Do Marine Animals Make Effective Mascots?

whale-1406956-mIf you grew up in the United States, there’s a good chance that you were educated about preventing forest fires by Smokey the Bear. Smokey the Bear first debuted in 1944, following on the heels of Disney’s “Bambi” which had been successful in garnering attention for the dangers of wildfires. Over the years, Smokey’s story developed more and more with the scout hat-wearing bear appearing in radio programs, books, comics and on TV. According to the Ad Council, Smokey’s Forest Fire Prevention campaign has helped reduce the number of acres lost annually from 22 million to 8.4 million. But how much of Smokey’s success was due to the fact that he was a cute, cuddly mascot? Could a marine animal accomplish just as much for ocean conservation as Smokey did for forest fire prevention? Daniel Hayden and Benjamin Dills explore this topic in their article “Smokey the Bear Should Come to the Beach: Using Mascot to Promote Marine Conservation” from Social Marketing Quarterly.

The abstract:

home_coverThere is an open question among conservation practitioners regarding whether using flagship specifies to market marine conservation is less effective than using terrestrial species in the terrestrial context. A flagship species is a species selected to act as an ambassador, icon, or symbol for a defined habitat, issue, campaign, or environmental cause. A mascot species has many of the same attributes as a flagship species, but is selected for its communications value instead of its ecological value. Our research indicates that mascot species can be as effective a marketing tool for marine conservation as they have been for terrestrial conservation. Based on our study, there is no evidence that the use of marine mascot species or that confront threats based on fishing and harvesting of aquatic resources perform any differently from other social marketing campaigns that address terrestrial issues.

You can read “Smokey the Bear Should Come to the Beach: Using Mascot to Promote Marine Conservation” from Social Marketing Quarterly for free for the next week by clicking here. Want to get all the latest research like this from Social Marketing Quarterly sent directly to your inbox? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Lise van Oortmerssen on Creative Processes and Their Valuable Surprises

business-graphics-1428648-m[We’re pleased to welcome Lise van Oortmerssen of the University of Amsterdam. Dr. van Oortmerssen recently collaborated with Cees M. J. van Woerkum of Wageningen University and Noelle Aarts of both Wageningen University and the University of Amsterdam on their paper “When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board,” recently published in the OnlineFirst section of Group and Organization Management.]

When I started the case study that resulted in this article, it was not creative processes that I was focused on. I had access to the board meetings of an innovative collaboration at the intersection of the ICT and creative industries, involving parties from both the private and (semi-)public sectors. The original research focus was on interaction patterns during board meetings and on trust developments among the board members. However, after I had followed the board meetings for a while, I became intrigued by the way that this group of successful, highly skilled people conducted its deliberations and how the board’s interaction patterns were connected to problem solving developments. I felt that I – ánd the readers of a future paper on this case study – could learn a lot from these innovators who were, almost passionately, dedicated to a common goal.

During meetings, the board’s conversation regularly intensified GOM 39(6)_Covers.inddand sometimes even seemed to get into a flow. Such flow episodes generated new insights and often resulted in novel solutions. This dynamic became my new focus of attention. Following this new direction, the case study resulted in completely different output than I had in mind at the start. It resulted in exploring collective creative processes through communication patterns and in launching the concept of interaction flow. The research process was a creative process in itself. This is what makes me a fan of the interpretive research approach – the approach that allows keeping the eyes open to interesting surprises that emerge from the data and following these into novel research directions. It unlocks the potential for finding even more remarkable insights than you were originally looking for. And that actually happened in this case.

You can read “When Interaction Flows: An Exploration of Collective Creative Processes on a Collaborative Governance Board” from Group and Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Group and Organization Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

LiseLise A. van Oortmerssen (PhD) lectures in Corporate Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Her main research interest is in group communication dynamics in organizational contexts, for example focusing on communication patterns in relation to trust and to creativity. She accumulated varied experience as senior advisor in public organizations.

CeesCees M.J. van Woerkum is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Communication at Wageningen University. He published in the fields of mass communication, policy science and organizational communication, mainly about topics related to the domain of life sciences.

noelleNoelle Aarts is Professor of Strategic Communication at the University of Amsterdam and Associate Professor of Communication Strategies at Wageningen University. She studies inter-human processes and communication for creating space for change, in governmental organizations, NGO’s, and commercial companies. She has published on topics such as communication of organizations with their environment, conflict and negotiation, dealing with ambivalence, network-building and self-organization.

John Paul Stephens on Aesthetics in Design Thinking

[We’re pleased to welcome John Paul Stephens of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Stephens recently collaborated with Brodie J. Boland, also of Case Western Reserve University, on their paper entitled “The Aesthetic Knowledge Problem of Problem-Solving With Design Thinking” from Journal of Management Inquiry.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointIn attending the 2010 “Convergence: Managing + Designing” workshop at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, we were struck with a particular question. Isn’t “managing as designing” (or “design thinking” for some folks) simply all about aesthetics? If so, what does this mean for managers and their organizations?

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

In researching for this essay, we were struck by the mix of opinions and research on how well managers and organizational systems could rely on “design” and using non-rational forms of problem-solving. More recent thinking has suggested that organizations today really need to incorporate novel, less-familiar ways of defining and generating solutions for problems.

But there are also arguments that the management education and the reward systems in organizations are all set up to focus on rationally getting to the bottom-line through selecting from pre-determined options. Also, even though design thinking seems to be a pretty popular way to approach problems in organizations these days, it still hasn’t been defined clearly, and is still limited to only a few key adopters. We tried to take in all perspectives saying that 1) we agree that new ways of seeing problems and their impacts are needed 2) using art-based forms of defining problems and generating solutions provides insight into things that are usually hard to see and talk about 3) this relies on aesthetic knowledge – or the ‘feel’ of a problem for the people involved – and therefore on engaging our bodily senses and 4) not very many organizations are set up to draw on this kind of knowledge based in what we see, hear, touch, smell, and even taste.

  • How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We hope that our research into this provides a more concise and meaningful definition of design thinking. We believe that at its core, design thinking is about generating and using aesthetic knowledge to define a problem and generate appropriate solutions to it. This means that when designers try to translate their practice for managers, they need to be up front about how important the body and its senses are for problem-solving. This also means that managers and the entire organizational system need to acknowledge where the body gets devalued or is made invisible at work. If an organization wants to adopt design thinking, then it needs to lay a lot of ground work to do so successfully. For organizational researchers, this means that it is important to focus on the body when trying to study complex problem-solving and decision-making. At some level, we all study what is meaningful for the human beings who make up organizations, and how people use their bodies will always be an important aspect of that meaning-making.

You can read “The Aesthetic Knowledge Problem of Problem-Solving With Design Thinking” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

jps136John Paul Stephens is an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He pursues research on the felt experience of organizing, in terms of the emotional characteristics of high-quality relationships at work and the aesthetic experience of coordinating as a group. He received his PhD in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan.

picture-40800Brodie J. Boland is a management consultant based in Toronto. His research interests are primarily in the areas of institutional change, social movements, and ecological sustainability. He earned his PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University.

No texting, plz! :)

laptop-and-cellphone-1269437-mIt can be discouraging for instructors who, after taking the time to prepare a lesson plan, find their students texting rather than taking notes in class. Educators across all disciplines and state lines are faced with the dilemma of how to respond. Is it a sign of disrespect or simply the burgeoning of a new generational divide?

A closer look at the numbers shows that the issue isn’t limited to a few problem students. A study conducted by Barney McCoy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that of the 777 students surveyed, more than 80% admitted to using their phone for non-academic related reasons during class. Undergraduates were the heaviest users, reaching for their phones an average of 11 times per school day, while graduate students came in at an average of 4 uses. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly Editor Melinda Knight discusses this issue in her editorial entitled “What to Do About Texting?”

Right before the first required oral presentation in this class, I asked everyone once again to BPCQ.inddturn phones off and give full attention to each speaker. As I was saying this, one student, whom I had previously asked to stop texting on several occasions, continued to text away until I stopped speaking all together. Usually, this kind of dramatic action will help make everyone aware of the problem, yet for the rest of the semester I had only limited success in convincing students that texting during class and especially when others were giving presentations was not professional behavior. Worse yet, I continually had to answer the same questions from students who did not hear what we had previously discussed because of texting. Perhaps the apparent lack of respect for everyone, instructor and students, is what has bothered me the most about this problem.

You can read “What to Do About Texting?” and the March issue of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly free for the next two weeks! Click here to access the editorial and here to access the Table of Contents. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Business and Professional Communication Quarterly!

Does Organizational Citizenship Behavior Increase Organizational Performance?

business-graphics-1428654-mIf an employee feels disempowered at work, they’ll soon find themselves struggling to stay motivated and productive. This disengagement is a lose-lose situation for everyone, causing unhappiness for employees and profit loss for companies. In the 1980’s, Edward E. Lawler III presented a possible solution to this problem by initiating a model which increased employee engagement and, as a result, organizational performance. But how well does this model hold up when put into practice and what behavioral components are needed for success? Mark A. Kizilos, Chailin Cummings, and Thomas G. Cummings explore this question on their article “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

The abstract:

Employee involvement is a popular approach to improve organization performance. It moves JABS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpointdecision making downward in the organization so employees can make decisions and solve problems as quickly and close to their source as possible. One of the most developed and referenced approaches to involvement is Edward E. Lawler’s model of “high-involvement work processes” (HIWP). It describes organizational attributes that contribute to employee involvement and explains how they work together to increase organization performance. Although extensive attention has been paid to Lawler’s model in the literature, empirical tests of the model are still in a preliminary stage. Our study describes and tests a mechanism through which HIWP increases organization performance, organizational citizenship behavior. We find that organizational citizenship behavior mediates the relationship between HIWP and organization performance in a sample of 143 consumer-products organization units. Results also confirm that the HIWP attributes work together synergistically to create opportunities for employee involvement.

You can read “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Happy Boxing Day!

gift-box-1115059-mCelebrated in the British Commonwealth, Boxing Day – also known as St. Stephen’s Day – has become a day of sales and shopping comparable to America’s Black Friday in November. But according to TIME Magazine, the origins of Boxing Day remain something of a mystery. Theorists have considered both the older traditions of employers giving their servants end of the year gifts on this day as well as the clergy taking boxes with the money collected from Christmas services and giving alms to the poor as possible origins.

However, some have also turned a hopeful eye to the legend of King Wenceslas. The story goes that in the 9th century, Wenceslas spotted a poor man braving a harsh winter storm to collect fire wood and was moved to battle the snow storm himself to take food and wine to the man’s home. While the truth of this story may be debatable, the custom of giving to the less fortunate during the Christmas season is one which survives to this day.

In the spirit of giving, we’re happy to provide you with the illustration below from the 1879 book of Christmas Carols, New and Old by Henry Ramsden Bramley. We hope your holiday season was filled with warmth and cheer!


By engraving by Brothers Dalziel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (CC PD-1996)