How to Shift a Student’s Focus from Grades to Self-Discovery

[We’re pleased to welcome author Matthew Eriksen of Providence College. Eriksen recently published an article in the Journal of Management Education entitled “Shared-Purpose Process Implications and Possibilities for Student Learning, Development, and Self-Transformation,” co-authored by Kevin Cooper. Below, Eriksen outlines the inspiration for this study:]

Over my 20 year teaching career, I continuously have found myself disappointed with my students¹ initial level of commitment to, engagement in and responsibility for their learning and development as they entJME_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpger my course.  Just as Lencioni (2002) identifies a lack of commitment as one the five dysfunctions of a team, a low level of student commitment to a course has a significant negative impact on students¹ learning and educational experience, as well as on instructors¹ professional gratification (Jenster & Duncan, 1987). For many, it is as if education has become something that is happening to students rather than something that they actively and intentionally engage in to achieve some purpose beyond getting a good grade and course credit, preferably with a minimal amount of effort.

In our article, Kevin Cooper and I present a response to student disengagement in the form of a shared-purpose process. Although initially conceived to increase students¹ commitment to and engagement in their learning and development, as the shared-purpose process was employed it became apparent that it was also a form of experiential/case-in-point learning (Heifetz, 1994; Heifetz & Linsky,2002) that is relevant to leadership, team and organizational development courses, as establishment of and commitment to a shared purpose and organizing context is important to becoming an effective team or organization.  In addition, once a shared purpose is established and committed to by students and teacher, it can provide a guiding framework through which to facilitate additional partnership and in-class experiential learning opportunities.

In contrast to other student-directed learning methodologies, the shared-purpose process takes into account the social, as well the cognitive, aspects of learning. In addition, it helps students proactively identify and develop strategies to address hindrances to their learning. Over the course of the semester, students¹ self-transformation is facilitated through their weekly engagement in self-reflection (Kolb, 1984; Schön, 1983), self-reflexivity (Cunliffe, 2004; Cunliffe & Easterby-Smith, 2004), peer coaching, and a cogenerative dialogue (Martin, 2006; Stith & Roth, 2006). Cogenerative dialogue allows students to learn from their classmates¹ experiences, as well as their own direct experience.

In addition to being successfully employed in undergraduate and MBA leadership and team courses, this shared purpose process has also be employed in teams and organizations to improve members¹ engagement, commitment and performance, and once the shared purpose has been established, it can be used as a structure to facilitate collaboration and productively work through conflict.

References:

Cunliffe, A.  (2004). “On becoming a critically reflexive practitioner.”Journal of Management Education, 28(4), 407-426.
Cunliffe, A. and Easterby-Smith, M. (2004). “From reflection of practicalreflexivity: Experiential learning as lived experience.” In M. Reynolds and R. Vince (Eds.) Organizing Reflection, Ashgate: Aldershot, 30-46.
Heifetz, R. A. (1994). Leadership without easy answers. Cambridge, Mass:
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Heifetz, R. A., & Linsky, M. (2002). Leadership on the line: staying alive through the dangers of leading. Boston, Mass, Harvard Business School Press.
Jenster, P. V. & Duncan, D. D. (1987).  “Creating a context of commitment:
Course agreements as a foundation.” Journal of Management Education, 11(3): 60-71.
Martin, S.  (2006). “Where practice and theory intersect in the chemistry classroom: using cogenerative dialogue to identify the critical point in science education.” Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1 (4), 693-720.
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Lencioni, P. (2002). The five dysfunctions of a team: A leadership fable, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.
Schön, D.  (1983). The reflective practitioner.  London: Temple Smith.
Stith,I. & Roth, W-M. (2006). “Who gets to ask the questions: The ethics in/of cogenerative dialogue praxis.” [46 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum:  Qualitative Social Research, 7(2).

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Mobile or Not? Assessing the Instructional Value of Mobile Learning

[We’re pleased to welcome author Catherine Nickerson of Zayed University, UAE.  Nickerson recently published an article in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly entitled “Mobile or Not? Assessing the Instructional Value of Mobile Learning,” co-authored by Chrysi Rapanta and Valerie Priscilla Goby. From Nickerson:]

We became interested in this topic, partly because our university is keen to increase the use of mobile learning across the curriculum, but also because we know that our students – all young Emirati nationals – are very familiar with all forms of new media. We know that in adopting mobile learning 23887038194_2071dd9149_z.jpgin our business communication classes, we are tapping into their already existing skills, and at the same time, we are providing them with additional practice in multi-tasking, and the multi-media, communication skills that they are likely to need once they enter the workforce. However, in addition to the obvious advantages that are associated with student motivation and mobile learning that we established in our previous research, we also wanted to find out if mobile learning would actually help our students to improve their performance.

Our students’ performance on a particular topic improved, when their time in the classroom included mobile learning and also when it didn’t, as long as the teaching that they received was specifically focused. At the same time, the students that received a mobile learning intervention were more likely to perform better than the students in a control group who were not given any specific teaching, than those students who were taught in a traditional way. This meant that in introducing mobile learning, we could expect our students to be more motivated, we could expect them to further develop a set of useful skills, and we could expect them to potentially improve their performance. In the future we aim to incorporate more mobile learning into our business communication classes, while at the same time, continuing to investigate the effect that mobile learning has.

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Classroom photo attributed to Catalyst Open Source (CC).

 

Learning to Lead: A Comparison of Women’s and General Leadership Development Programs

6109345368_004befc070_z[We’re pleased to welcome Keimei Sugiyama of Case Western Reserve University. Keimei recently published an article in Journal of Management Education with co-authors Kevin V. Cavanagh, Chantal van Esch, Diana Bilimoria, and Cara Brown entitled “Inclusive Leadership Development: Drawing from Pedagogies of Women’s and General Leadership Development Programs.” From Keimei:]

The importance of leadership development training focused on women has been well understood given the challenges of overcoming gender biases, stereotypes and unwritten rules that affect women in their leadership identity transition.  Yet there have also been shifts in how we think about the important qualities of leaders such that general programs include enhancing competence in self-awareness and emotional and social skills, making the work of leadership not just about meeting business demands but also about meeting the interpersonal needs of an increasingly globalized and diverse workforce.  If this is the case, then does there continue to be a need for women-focused programs or has our very understanding of leadership shifted enough to include women?

In this context, we were inspired to compare general and women’s leadership development programs in order to explore the following questions:

  • Are general and women’s leadership development programs becoming more similar or do they remain distinct in assumptions of what “leadership” is?
  • How do these assumptions affect how relating to others is addressed in developing as a leader?
  • How do these assumptions address the leadership identity transition of understanding both self and others to develop leadership capabilities?

What we found was that although General Leadership Development Programs JME(GLDPs) and Women’s Leadership Development Program (WLDPs) shared similar themes of leadership development, there was a stark contrast in what each type of program emphasized.  GLDPs were more likely to reflect assumptions of a leader as an independent self, separate from others, and manifested in more agentic and transactional leadership approaches.  WLDPs were more likely to reflect assumptions of a leader as a relational self, learning through connecting with others, and approaching the transition to leadership as relational and identity-based.  Given these contrasts and the challenges that continue to face women in the transition to leadership, we concluded that WLDPs do continue to offer significant value in supporting the advancement of women in leadership.

What surprised us in this study is that despite acknowledgement of the global context of the increasingly diverse workforce, both types of programs in their descriptions did not directly highlight how leadership involves being inclusive of multiple diverse identities and intersectionality (e.g., being a woman of color). We suggest that highlighting the importance of inclusive leadership that both values uniqueness and creates belonging for diverse multiple identities is important for any leadership development program.

We also developed a model that integrates pedagogies implicit in both types of programs to suggest a framework for inclusive leadership development. We anticipate that this framework will be helpful in better balancing and promoting more inclusive approaches to leadership in both types of programs. We also hope that this model helps to expand the research on inclusive leadership and informs new pathways for leaders to be developed in ways that value and enhance all their meaningful identities.

The abstract for the paper:

Trends in extant literature suggest that more relational and identity-based leadership approaches are necessary for leadership that can harness the benefits of the diverse and globalized workforces of today and the future. In this study, we compared general leadership development programs (GLDPs) and women’s leadership development programs (WLDPs) to understand to what extent program descriptions addressed inclusive leadership—leadership that draws on relational skills to value both the uniqueness and belonging needs of diverse identities to create business effectiveness for the long term. GLDPs predominantly reflected pedagogical assumptions of separate knowing, development of the autonomous self, and masculine leadership approaches of agentic and transactional leadership. In contrast, pedagogical assumptions of connected knowing, development of the relational self, and relational and identity-based leadership approaches were more prevalent in WLDPs. These findings suggest that WLDPs continue to offer significant value to supporting women leaders in their advancement, yet both WLDPs and GLDPs can do more to be inclusive of additional diverse identities to better develop leaders of the future who can lead with inclusive behaviors. We suggest a pedagogical framework for inclusive leadership development that may better balance and promote synergies between achieving business priorities and relating to others and their diverse identities.

You can read “Inclusive Leadership Development: Drawing from Pedagogies of Women’s and General Leadership Development Programs” from Journal of Management Education free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to be the first to know about the latest research published by Journal of Management EducationClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to aiesecgermany (CC)

Laissez-Colbert: Using The Colbert Report to Teach Macroeconomics

512px-rally_to_restore_sanity_andor_fear_-_colbertIt is not often that economics and comedy come together, but for professors looking to infuse their macroeconomics courses with comedic appeal, look no further than The Colbert Report. A recent article from The American Economist from author Gregory M. Randolph entitled “Laissez-Colbert: Teaching Introductory Macroeconomics with The Colbert Report” outlines how the Comedy Central show can be useful tool to engage students and teach lessons about macroeconomic principles, including GDP, supply and demand, and unemployment. The abstract for the paper:

The Colbert Report combines comedic entertainment and current events, two pedagogical sources that have the potential to increase student interest in classes and improve student learning. This article offers suggestions on the use of segments from The Colbert Report to teach introductory macroeconomics. Segments Current Issue Coverare included that relate to comparative advantage, supply and demand, externalities, GDP, unemployment, classical versus Keynesian theory and the Great Depression, fiscal policy and economic stimulus packages, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve, money, taxes, and foreign aid. Guidance is provided regarding the use of the clips in an introductory macroeconomics class.

You can read “Laissez-Colbert: Teaching Introductory Macroeconomics with The Colbert Report” from The American Economist free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by The American EconomistClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Stephen Colbert image attributed to Cliff (CC)

Read the New Issue of Journal of Management Education!

10740098824_efe1d316b7_zThe October 2016 issue of Journal of Management Education is now available online, and can be accessed free for the next 30 days. The October issue features a new provocative conversation for the article “Isn’t It Time We Did Something About the Lack of Teaching Preparation in Business Doctoral Programs?” by authors Robert D. Marx, Joseph E. Garcia, D. Anthony Butterfield, Jeffrey A. Kappen, and Timothy T. Baldwin. The rejoinders for the article include rejoinders from Roy J. Lewicki, James Bailey, Graham Gibbs, Dianne Minh Le, and Denise M. Rousseau.

In the rejoinder “A Deeper Dig,” Roy J. Lewicki and James Current Issue CoverBailey delve into the supply side, demand side, and throughput process of management doctoral programs to fully understand the lack of teaching preparation. Their rejoinder suggests that institutions would be resistant to the suggested changes, but a shift in the supply and demand for skilled teachers could potentially force the hand of institutions to address this issue.

In the rejoinder “On the Call for Action,” Dianne Le discusses the role of AACSB and hiring institutions in addressing the lack of teaching preparation. Her rejoinder raises the question of when and where teacher training should begin, considering teaching expectations differ quite a bit from one institution to the next.

You can read all of the rejoinders and more from the October 2016 issue of Journal of Management Education free for the next 30 days–click here to view the table of contents! You can also read through past provocative conversations published on the Journal of Management Education website here.

Want to stay current on all of the latest research and rejoinders published by Journal of Management Education? Click here to sign up for e-alerts! 

*Lecture image attributed to University of Liverpool (CC)

Shifting the Blame: Mistakes As Learning Opportunities for Employees

5783612156_21ff40ee84_zAlthough making mistakes is a part of the human experience, mistakes can be embarrassing, sometimes leading individuals to cover up and keep errors secret. This behavior likely has its origin in our socialization. Errors can be perceived by others to be a lack of competency, and making mistakes can lead one to have a negative self-assessment, as well as an increased expectation of penalties as a direct consequence of a mistake.

Organizational failure culture, which is an integral part of corporate culture, may encourage these negative perceptions of mistakes. In reality, the perception and response to errors made by individuals is not so limited and altogether negative. The perception of errors is more of a continuum between two stances, error avoidance and error management. In the perspective of error avoidance, errors are viewed as an unnecessary risk. This is where the Current Issue Cover“culture of blame” comes in. It is characterized by a high importance placed on identifying the person responsible, rather than identifying the cause for the error.

In contrast, error management views errors as an inevitable phenomenon in corporate environment, which are impossible to avoid. Each error is recognized as a potential resource and learning opportunity. In this perspective, errors can support complex learning processes and expand possibilities toward further development and options for action. Contrary to problem-oriented error avoidance, the error management approach is solution-oriented and reflective.

Since organizations can learn from both good and bad outcomes, employers should reconsider how they perceive and respond to employee errors. A company can encourage employees to learn from failure by establishing a culture that supports employees and highlights the importance of communicating about errors. A constructive “learning from failure culture” should enable employees to talk about mistakes, deal with them constructively, learn from them, and, if possible, to take advantage of them. The goal is not about looking for someone to blame or ruminating on past mistakes. Rather, the goal is to reduce fear while increasing security and stability, ultimately leading to error minimization.

The article “From a ‘Culture of Blame’ to an Encouraged ‘Learning From Failure Culture'” from Business Perspectives and Research delves further into this issue. You can click here to read the article free for the next two weeks. You can also click here to sign up for e-alerts and receive email notifications for the latest research from Business Perspectives and Research!

*Image attributed to Project Morpheus (CC)

Creative Problem Solving Training: What Works?

4769744435_1985998a32_z (3)[We’re pleased to welcome David Vernon of Cantebury Christ Church University. David recently published an article in Human Resource Development Review entitled “An Evidence-Based Review of Creative Problem Solving Tools: A Practitioner’s Resource” with co-authors Ian Hocking and Tresoi C. Tyler.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

My colleague, Dr Ian Hocking, and I were interested in the nature of creative problem solving and how, if at all, this could be facilitated or improved by using a structured thinking tool. With the help of Tresoi Tyler we began a systematic search of the literature to explore and identify the various tools that have been used to enhance some aspect of creative problem solving. We then focused our search to examine precisely which tools have some/any evidence to support their use. In essence, we wanted to know which tools have been shown to work.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

Yes. I think the aspect of our work that surprised us all was the mismatch between the Current Issue Covernumber, availability and use of creative problem solving tools and their empirical basis. This gave rise to what we referred to as ‘the plethora and the paucity’ – which simply meant that the plethora of available tools was matched only by the paucity of research showing that they had any real benefit.

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

In terms of practice we hope this will have two effects. First, our review will provide practitioners with a clear understanding of which tools have been shown to benefit a particular stage of creative problem solving. In this sense, we hope that it will serve as a useful resource. Second, we hope that this encourages practitioners to ask what we consider to be an essential question when faced with using any creative problem solving tool: ‘What is the evidence that this works?’

In terms of future research, again there are two directions we think our work can have some impact. First, we have provided in the review an outline of which tools seem to work at the various stages within creative problem solving. However, this work needs to be continued to ascertain the broader benefits of using such tools. For instance, such tools can be explored using a variety of different problem types and levels of training, as well as looking at long-term benefits and transfer effects. Second, many tools have little or no empirical support. This doesn’t mean they don’t work, of course. It may reflect the fact that no one has looked. Moving forward, we would hope that our review stimulates researchers to examine the possible benefits these tools.

The abstract for the paper:

Creative problem solving (CPS) requires solutions to be useful and original. Typically, its operations span problem finding, idea generation, and critical evaluation. The benefits of training CPS have been extolled in education, industry, and government with evidence showing it can enhance performance. However, although such training schemes work, less is known about the specific tools used. Knowing whether a particular tool works or not would provide practitioners with a valuable resource, leading to more effective training schemes, and a better understanding of the processes involved. A comprehensive review was undertaken examining the empirical support of tools used within CPS. Despite the surprising lack of research focusing on the use and success of specific tools, some evidence exists to support the effectiveness of a small set. Such findings present practitioners with a potential resource that could be used in a stand-alone setting or possibly be combined to create more effective training programs.

You can read “An Evidence-Based Review of Creative Problem Solving Tools: A Practitioner’s Resource” from Human Resource Development Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from Human Resource Development ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to Reilly Butler (CC)