How Do Senior Leaders Navigate the Need to Belong?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Jessy Zumaeta of the University of Chile and the London School of Economics. Dr. Zumaeta recently published an article in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies entitled “Lonely at the Top: How Do Senior Leaders Navigate the Need to Belong?” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Zumaeta speaks about the motivations, challenges, and findings of this research:]

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

I’m very interested in Leadership research and practice. Leaders may contribute to a great extent to organizations’ success or failure. They can make organizations and its people to thrive or, on the contrary, leaders may block employees’ and organizations’ progress. Due to the importance of their role, managers at the top echelons of organizations are usually highly pressured to deliver results. Among other things, I wanted to explore to what extent these pressures affected the person behind the professional mask.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research

Considering the abundant leadership literature, I wanted to look at it from a novel perspective, so I started to explore these kind of questions: How does it feel to be a senior leader? What are the main challenges? How do top managers experience their role? I did my research to shed light on leaders’ experiences in their role, going beyond the common view of the leader as a hero. My investigation focused on senior leaders as people with personal and social needs, as everyone else.

Were there any surprising findings?

In the interviews that I conducted, I could gather very personal accounts that may give the reader a good sense of what is like to perform a high-ranked leadership role in a corporate context on a daily basis. It was surprising to me the high degree of openness that the leaders showed during the interviews, which seem to contrast with the usual levels of authenticity that they are able to perform among other workers.

What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?

Organizations can be very difficult places, even for those that we all deem as super powerful. In consequence, I think we have to look at leadership phenomenon from different perspectives. It is a misleading message to think about top leaders as glamorous or highly desirable roles. Senior leaders have great responsibilities and setting them apart from the rest of people, it doesn’t seem to be helping organizations or leaders themselves. We need more workplaces centered on real people and their fundamental needs.

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Congratulations to the Winners of the Douglas McGregor Award for Best Paper of 2017

We would like to congratulate authors, Laurence G. Weinzimmer of Bradley University and Candace A. Esken of Louisiana State University. Their article, “Learning From Mistakes: How Mistake Tolerance Positively Affects Organizational Learning and Performance”  published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, recently won the Douglas McGregor Award for Best Paper of 2017. Below is the abstract of the article, which will be free to read for a short time.

JAB_72ppiRGB_powerpointOrganizational learning has been shown to affect performance. This study offers a fine-grained view regarding different types of learning opportunities. Specifically, opportunities to learn from mistakes are examined. Using three separate samples, we first establish statistically reliable and unidimensional measures of both organizational learning and mistake tolerance. Second, we empirically demonstrate the mediating role of organizational learning on the mistake tolerance–performance relationship. Our results offer findings that will generalize to other organizational contexts. We conclude with a dialogue suggesting prescriptive advice for managers and provide a discussion of how learning from mistakes can be an important catalyst in organizational change. Using specific items from our survey, we stress that managers need to make a conscious effort to communicate to employees the value in learning from mistakes as an important part of improving and changing existing organizational practices.

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Do Gen X and Millennials Learn Differently?

visa_22_1_cover.pngResearch has shown that the current generation in higher education has significantly different learning characteristics than its predecessors.

It is essential to understand this generation’s learning attributes so that educators have useful guidance in designing teaching pedagogies for this generation. It has been found that Millennials do not prefer traditional lecture mode of teaching, traditional communication standards and have zero tolerance to delays.

Findings also suggest that Millennials have a collaborative learning style and enjoy working and learning in groups and teams. They like the use of technology, entertainment and excitement. They prefer structure and experimental activities and learn immediately from their mistakes.

The research in this article published in the journal ‘Vision’ also suggests that there are certain issues of concern with this generation that are particularly worrying such as Millennials demonstrating a lack of drive, motivation and accountability. This generation likes to choose what they learn, how they learn it and when they learn it. Researchers have also pointed out laxity towards their research sources, predisposition to believe peer opinion and public consensus and the absence of original ideas.

The findings also indicate that this generation significantly differs from the previous generation on the attributes of trust and competition. Millennials are found to be more competitive and less trusting than Gen X. This article ‘Gen Y Attributes—Antecedents to Teaching Pedagogy’ addresses various other learning characteristics exhibited by this generation that are significantly different than those of its predecessor generations.

Click here to read Gen Y Attributes—Antecedents to Teaching Pedagogy for free from Vision.

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Identity, Mental Health and Work

[We’re pleased to welcome author Hadar Elraz of Cardiff University. Hadar Elraz recently published an article in the Human Relations entitled “Identity, mental health and work: How employees with mental health conditions recount stigma and the pejorative discourse of mental illness,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Hadar Elraz summarises the findings of her study:]

Experiences of mental health in the workplace

huma_71_2.coverThis article examines how identity is constructed for individuals with mental health conditions in the workplace. The study found that people with mental health conditions use their experiences to perform more effectively in the workplace. The same strategies that individuals put in place to manage their mental health can also be applied to prioritize workload effectively, promote mental health awareness and achieve work‒life balance.

In a series of 60 interviews, the study reveals how people with mental health conditions overcome stigma, judgement and discrimination to stay in employment and, in many cases, prosper in the contemporary workplace. Those who have experienced mental ill health have knowledge and expertise about the interface between work and their condition and ways to address them.

The findings shows how the individual sensitivity to these issues addresses all kinds of strategies to manage their mental health and working lives more effectively. The interviews revealed the following coping strategies used by the study participants to manage their mental health conditions:

Maintaining silence

Some respondents recalled how they would maintain silence, coping on their own against all the odds without requesting support. While anti-stigma campaigns and awareness training are not uncommon in many contemporary workplaces, interviewees still felt looked down upon and discriminated against. Non-disclosure might be one response to this type of hostile environment.
One respondent recalled how they “didn’t think people associated mental illness with people who are functioning in high-status jobs. [Instead,] people associate mental illness with people who can’t work.”

Sheer hard work

Others developed strategies to manage their mental health effectively alongside their responsibilities at work, to stay, cope and thrive in employment.

Doubling their efforts in this way led many respondents to reflect on how they have grown more resilient than their colleagues who have not experienced mental ill health.

One respondent said: “I am a strong character. [But,] I don’t think people realise how strong a character you are. They don’t have any reference, because they never suffered from it [mental health condition] themselves.”

Another referred to this as “sheer hard work”, adding: “I just absolutely feel like I’m working twice as hard as anyone else in the place to achieve the same level of output.”

Taking control

Study participants used self-taught and reflexive techniques as well as self-medicating to take control of their health and performance at work. Combining both soft skills and medical insight into their condition made many of the participants experts on managing their mental health conditions within and beyond the working environment.

One respondent said: “I have been doing that for years. I self-manage myself by taking mood stabilisers, anti-depressants […] finding one that works to get you up to a level where you can function.”

Public disclosure

While concealing mental ill health in the workplace was a key concern for many interview participants, some spoke of the positive outcomes associated with public disclosure.
Significantly, the interviewees that were more confident about the security of their employment found public disclosure raised awareness and improved mental health management. Motivated by a desire to share their experiences of mental ill health to encourage broader cultural change, these participants expressed eagerness to assist both employee wellbeing and organisational performance by openly disclosing their mental health experiences at work.

One respondent said: “I think it’s part of me. Why should I hide away? If I see other people, I think if I gave them a bit of insight and knowledge, maybe that’d save them from going through some of the things.”

Allaying their fear of stigma and discrimination, public disclosure represented a legitimisation of mental ill health within the working environment.

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SAGE to Publish the Project Management Journal

PMX_72ppiRGB_powerpointSAGE Publishing today announces a partnership with the Project Management Institute, Inc. (PMI), a leading not-for-profit professional membership association, to publish Project Management Journal® (PMJ).

“The new partnership between PMI and SAGE creates an opportunity to retain focus on our mission, enhance our quality, and leverage our impact and ethical standards by benefiting from the sustained performance and reputation of two esteemed organizations,” said Dr. Ralf Müller, PMJ’s co-editor-in-chief and Professor of Project Management at the BI Norwegian Business School.

“Published six times a year, PMJ publishes scholarly articles that critically examine matters of project, program, and portfolio management at all levels and in all contexts,” added Dr. Gary Klein, PMJ’s co-editor-in-chief and Couger Professor of Information Systems at the College of Business and Administration at the University of Colorado. “Our content informs research, learning, and practice by continually improving our understanding of how teams, organizations, and societies get things done.”

PMJ publishes research relevant to researchers, reflective practitioners, and organizations from the project, program, and portfolio management fields. Its editorial board includes leading business researchers from across Europe and the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia.

“Dedicated to advancing business theory and practice, SAGE has built a robust business and management portfolio spanning journals, textbooks, reference materials, and digital resources,” commented Bob Howard, Senior Vice President of Global Journals, SAGE Publishing. “Project Management Institute has been providing value to professionals and organizations for nearly five decades, and we are pleased to partner with it to publish PMJ.”

For more about the journal click here.

To submit to the journal click here.

The Journey of Unicorn Uber, One of the Most Valuable and Talked About Private Start-Ups of Today’s Time- A Case Study

“After the completion of a hectic tour the previous week, I hired a taxi at the BART people transportation station in San Francisco, which was only a few miles away from my house. As specified by law, I picked the first cab available in the taxi queue. The taxi was filthy. The driver begrudgingly popped opened the trunk, which was filled with litter. Throughout the ride, the driver was busy talking on the headset linked with his mobile phone, and the radio blasted on full volume at the back seat; this was deliberately done so that I could not intercept and overhear his conversation. He missed every turn, repeatedly overlooked directions and had no clue where he was going. Confused, he enquired the directions. The greatest agony was perhaps that there was nothing new about this experience, and no point in arguing with either the cab company or the regulatory authority.”

—The Authors

Enter Uber

AJMCUber did what the best Internet organizations do; it disrupted a business technique which had thrived for a very long time. In the present case of Uber, the business in question was the transportation industry, especially the taxi services that had existed in the same monotonous fashion for a very long time and had been highly controlled. Taxi drivers hated Uber, and in the transportation industry, Uber was against the law.

There were very few companies in the world that made such an impact. Apple, Facebook, Tesla and the latest entrant Uber could well qualify for this list. The story of Uber could be traced back to 2008 when Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were still friends who were attending a web conference in Paris. They had little idea that this meeting would lay the foundation of one of the most successful start-ups in recent times. The two, after attending the conference, faced transportation woes and realized how difficult it was for commuters—loaded with luggage, encountering bad weather, and above all, being at the mercy of taxi owners. By January 2010, both of them were ready with the prototype, which could enter the roads of New York to gauge its service. On 5 July 2010, Uber went live in San Francisco. It was an application-based transportation network, which worked on a very simple business model. It functioned on its smartphone-based application, which connected to drivers and offered passengers the said ride. The system of payment was primarily mileage based through credit cards. A percentage of that fee was kept by Uber while the rest was given to the drivers.


Uber, one of the most valuable and talked about private start-ups of today’s time, took the transportation industry by storm through its technology enabled transportation solutions. This case study explores the journey of Uber from its inception to being one of the most valuable new organizations. It also tries to explore the various issues, which the company countered in its journey of expansion and growth.

Register here to read full article!

Click here to read The Journey of Unicorn Uber from San Francisco to International Disruption for free from Asian Journal of Management Cases

Congratulations to the 2017 Family Business Review’s Outstanding Article

We would like to welcome and congratulate authors, Daniel T. Holt of Mississippi State University, Kristen Madison of Mississippi State University, and Franz W. Kellermanns of the University of Nother Caroline at Charlotte and WHU-Otto Beisheim. Their article, “Variance in Family Members’ Assessments: The Importance of Dispersion Modeling in Family Firm Research”  published in the Family Business Review, recently won the Family Business Review’s 2017 Outstanding Article Award. Below is the abstract of the article, which will be free to read for a short time.

fbra_30_2.coverThe extent to which assessments are shared across family members and generations has been questioned, suggesting that the variability in the family members’ perceptions may convey important family-level information. With this in mind, we theoretically and methodologically introduce dispersion modeling which is designed to use this variance as an important explanatory variable, presenting a framework that can guide scholars in its application. Using field data to apply the framework, we illustrate how this modeling approach helps us understand the dynamic interactions within family firms, and then we offer future research ideas that are best suited to dispersion composition modeling.

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