Relative and Absolute Change in Discontinuous Growth Models

6431785919_07c22823c6_z[We’re pleased to welcome Paul Bliese of University of South Carolina. Paul recently published an article in Organizational Research Methods entitled “Understanding Relative and Absolute Change in Discontinuous Growth Models: Coding Alternatives and Implications for Hypothesis Testing” with co-author Jonas W.B. Lang.]

Jonas and I became interested in the topic because we kept encountering “transition events” that could lead to discontinuous change and wondered how to statistically model the events.  For instance, a combat deployment represents a potential transition event in the career of a soldier.  Likewise, unexpectedly changing a complex task on a participant in a lab represents a transition event that could be frustrating and impede performance. As a final example, letting sleep deprived participants get a full night’s sleep is a positive transition event that should improve cognitive Current Issue Coverperformance (but may not do so equally for all participants). In all these examples, some pattern of responses is interrupted by the transition event; however, where the models are really useful is in trying to understand the patterns of change after the transition event because individuals rarely react in the same way.

When Jonas and I got into writing the manuscript we were really surprised by how some minor coding changes surrounding TIME could produce parameter estimates that had quite different meanings. In fact, I realized that if I had figured out all the details that went into the submission years ago, I probably would have specified and tested hypotheses differently in my own publications where I used the approach. My hope is that other researchers will use the manuscript as a resource to study other transition events and that the examples will help provide better specificity to the types of hypotheses researchers can propose.

The abstract for the paper:

Organizational researchers routinely have access to repeated measures from numerous time periods punctuated by one or more discontinuities. Discontinuities may be planned, such as when a researcher introduces an unexpected change in the context of a skill acquisition task. Alternatively, discontinuities may be unplanned, such as when a natural disaster or economic event occurs during an ongoing data collection. In this article, we build off the basic discontinuous growth model and illustrate how alternative specifications of time-related variables allow one to examine relative versus absolute change in transition and post-transition slopes. Our examples focus on interpreting time-varying covariates in a variety of situations (multiple discontinuities, linear and quadratic models, and models where discontinuities occur at different times). We show that the ability to test relative and absolute differences provides a high degree of precision in terms of specifying and testing hypotheses.

You can read “Understanding Relative and Absolute Change in Discontinuous Growth Models: Coding Alternatives and Implications for Hypothesis Testing” from Organizational Research Methods free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all the latest research from Organizational Research Methods? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


How Leaders Succeed and Fail at Communicating Change to Subordinates

Spending Review Briefing, Birmingham, November 2010.

[We’re pleased to welcome Timothy Hartge of University of Michigan-Dearborn, who co-authored an article published in International Journal of Business Communication, entitled “Leaders’ Behaviors During Radical Change Processes: Subordinates’ Perceptions of How Well Leader Behaviors Communicate Change” with co-authors Thomas Callahan of University of Michigan-Dearborn and Cynthia King of Naval Post Graduate School.]

  • What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

As a member of the research team and a former senior manager in the marketing and advertising for 35 years, I was always fascinated by what management communications methods and techniques propelled subordinates into action. Change being the constant in business, and so critical to management success, it seemed appropriate to look at effective communications and quantify what leadership communication behaviors worked and what didn’t during critical change periods.

  • Were there findings that were surprising to you?

What was a pleasant surprise, when we sat back to look at what we had done, to us, we seemed to quantify the meaning of “Walk the Talk”. Also, some surprising findings; the expectations of management, communicating frequently critical behaviors suchBPCQ/IJBC3.indd as providing resources, soliciting feedback and driving change, the results showed that this may lower subordinate perceptions of change. By not meeting subordinates’ expectations, the communications change messages are not successful in affecting change. In reality, not all subordinates believe that these leader communications behaviors are relevant or important. The high frequency of behaviors that they consider unimportant can result in lower perceptions of successful change.

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

We believe that future research should focus on samples from a larger number of firms experiencing significant change. We believe a unique contribution to leadership communications is related to the validation and refinement of findings from qualitative research through quantitative methods. From the King, Brook, and Hartge. (2007) Interviews with senior executives, we derived communications, and behavioral factors that senior executives said were effective during times of financial and market crises and we tested that hypothesis. More work should be done to validate both of these contributions to the literature of management change communication.

The abstract:

This research asked 252 upper-, middle-, and first-line-level managers in organizations experiencing radical change to assess the effects of their own leaders’ communications and behaviors on their perceptions of the change process. Results indicated that the frequency of exhibition of most behaviors by leaders positively affected subordinates’ perceptions of change. For three types of behaviors, soliciting upward feedback, driving change, and providing resources, the importance of these behaviors to the subordinates’ moderated perceptions of the change process. Discussion of these results and their implications conclude the study.

You can read “Leaders’ Behaviors During Radical Change Processes: Subordinates’ Perceptions of How Well Leader Behaviors Communicate Change” from International Journal of Business Communication free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from International Journal of Business CommunicationClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Meeting image credited to highwaysengland (CC)


Timothy Hartge is participating marketing communications faculty at the College of Business, at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Intermittent Lecturer at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research focuses on leaders and how they make high quality connections (HQC’s), also, improving management communications during change, or transformation.

Thomas Callahan is an emeritus faculty at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. His research interests have included buyer-supplier relationships, employee pay, and retirement plans, educational and career choice, and leadership. He has been the recipient of the Scholarly Achievement Award from the Human Resources Division of the Academy of Management.

Cynthia King is assistant professor of Management Communication and associate director of the Center for Defense Management Reform at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. King’s research focuses on rhetorical criticism and discourse analysis of spoken and written texts, with an emphasis on the relationship between language and meaning in organizational contexts.

Book Review: Organizational Resilience: How Learning Sustains Organizations in Crisis, Disaster, and Breakdowns

Organizational Resilience Cover

D. Christopher Kayes: Organizational Resilience: How Learning Sustains Organizations in Crisis, Disaster, and Breakdowns. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 171 pp. $59.95, hardcover.

Karl E. Weick of Ross School of Business recently reviewed the book in Administrative Science Quarterly. From the review:

Kayes has been a long-time, articulate student of experiential learning (e.g., 2002) and of dramatic instances when such learning falls short (e.g., 2004). Those strengths are evident again in this volume. The argument is developed along two dimensions: the environment is either routine or novel, and the operational orientation is either performance or learning. Of special interest are those situations in which a performance orientation in a routine environment shifts abruptly or gradually toward a requirement for ASQ_v60n4_Dec2015_cover.indda learning orientation in a novel environment. These shifts are often incomplete because factors such as preoccupation with goals, unwarranted optimism, and rational decision making make experiential learning more difficult and reinforce a performance orientation.

The author argues that many models of organizational failure (e.g., Janis, 1972; Reason, 1990; Perrow, 1999) are inadequate because they ignore how failing masks breakdowns and recoveries of learning. Because learning is a ‘‘naturally occurring process,’’ disruptions of that ongoing process contribute to disasters and make them worse.

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How Important is Self-Managing Leadership for Crisis Management?

Crises are common in the modern world and the value system of leaders plays a crucial role in effectively managing a crisis. The article “Role of Self-managing Leadership in Crisis Management: An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Rajayoga” explores the role of self-managing leadership in crisis management. The topic is particularly pertinent because many crisis management blunders can be attributed to leadership failures, and in the context of business, lack of effective crisis management has led to downfall of many businesses.

IIM Journal CoverCrises can be generalized along a spectrum—on one end, you have individual crises, and on the other end, you have global crises. However, in all cases, it is individuals who have to provide leadership, whether it be for individual crises, organizational crises, or global crises.

In rapidly changing times, the challenge to an organization is to provide a framework for people to understand their journey through change so they can contribute their best work to the organization. In order to act as a leader or an agent of change within an organization, employees must be able to bring about significant change within their organization. The rate of external environmental change is inexplicably linked to self-management—as changes increase, self-management becomes more important. Because it is hardly possible to control the external environment, emphasis has shifted towards managing the inner environment and harnessing resources within an organization. The future of an organization rests on the autonomy, maturity and confidence of the people. Many employees are trained with particular technical and functional-oriented skills, and later promoted on the basis of those skills. However,sign-success-and-failure-1133804-m those skills primarily prepare employees to work in a relatively stable environment, not in a rapidly changing and at times chaotic environment. Thus, the skills necessary for employees now are those that help employees lead through a never-ending process of change.

The abstract:

Crises are common in the modern world and the value system of leaders plays a crucial role in effectively managing the crises. The role of self-managing leadership in crisis management is explored in this article. An empirical study is conducted to understand the effectiveness of the ancient self-management technique called Rajayoga. It is based on a sample survey among two groups—one group not practicing Rajayoga and the other group practicing Rajayoga. It is found that the inner powers and innate values have a positive correlation with crises management capabilities. Further, these capabilities and correlations are found to be stronger in a group of people practicing Rajayoga for self-empowerment. The relationship between inner powers and innate values, the interactivity and proactivity among the inner powers, the relationship between the ‘doing’ powers and the ‘being’ powers are also confirmed through the study.

You can read “Role of Self-managing Leadership in Crisis Management: An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Rajayoga” from IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Miners’ Tales: Storytelling in Times of Change

GOM_72ppiRGB_150pixwPatrick Dawson of the University of Aberdeen and Peter McLean of the University of Wollongong published “Miners’ Tales: Stories and the Storying Process for Understanding the Collective Sensemaking of Employees During Contested Change” this month in Group Organization Management’s OnlineFirst section. Professor Dawson kindly provided the following brief reflection on the study:

Interest: This work builds on a longstanding interest in traditional working communities and change aligning well with previous studies in the automotive industry and on the railways.

UntitledFindings: The findings that were especially interesting related to the temporal aspects of sensemaking and sensegiving and how these contrasted with post-hoc rationalisations and documented accounts of change processes. It also draws attention to some of the limitations of existing story typologies (the narrative turn) where lot of emphasis is put on coherence and the backward glance. This suggests the need for more of a storying turn that embraces relational concepts of time (prospective, retrospective and the here-and-now).

Future research and practice: The research draws attention to the causality embedded in research narratives and case study accounts, particularly in the way that these may inadvertently reinforce the tendency to develop n-step models that promote best practice guidelines for managing change. This highlights the need for further research on temporality and change in order to consider alternative ways of presenting research material (for example, how to deal with both objective event sequences and lived subjective experiences) and for dealing with concepts of time in conducting longitudinal research in organizations.

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Making Change Happen: Part 1 of 4

Part One: Facets of Effective Change Leadership

It’s 2013 and change is in the air. This week, we seize the opportunity to bring you articles on change competency, change readiness, and barriers to change that leaders may face. Kicking off the series is “An In-Depth View of the Facets, Antecedents, and Effects of Leaders’ Change Competency: Lessons From a Case Study,” published by Stefan Krummaker of the University of East Anglia and Bernd Vogel of the University of Reading on December 16, 2012 in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science’s OnlineFirst section. Dr. Krummaker and Dr. Vogel kindly provided the following responses about the article:

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

We wanted to learn more about the competences “behind” successful leadership behaviour. From research on leadership competencies we already knew that competences are not just a collection of skills, but a combination of abilities and willingness/readiness to enact these abilities in a specific context. Thus, we wanted to a) identify facets of leader’s change competency (i.e. the ability and readiness for change) Untitledb) explore what factors are acting as influencing factors/antecedents of leader’s change competence c) learn about the consequences of leader’s change competency are and d) to integrate our findings in a first model of leader’s change competency.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

It was interesting to see that leader’s change competency is not only influenced by what we call competency potentials (leader characteristics) and contextual factors such as the support of supervisors and the perceived benefits of the change for the company, but also by the leader’s “attitude towards the change” which is comprised by the leader’s emotions about the change (e.g. enthusiasm) and thinking (e.g. I am doing something meaningful, I have impact…). Thus, the emergence of a leader’s change competence seems to be a more complex process than we have expected.JABS_72ppiRGB_150pixw

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

Having a first idea of the facets, influencing factors and effects of leader’s change competency, we are now interested to learn more about the generalisability of the concept. Does is differ in/for different change settings, industry of hierarchical levels? Also, we are curious to see how the concept can be tested in a quantitative setting and if our propositions will hold or will be challenged. For our practical work with leaders in MBA programmes and company trainings, we are interested in discussing our findings and to learn more about what this means for particpants’ leadership activities in change. Also, we are thinking about designing training programmes which include a self-reflection on and self-development of leaders’ change competence as well as strategies how leaders can increase the level of their followers change competence.

Dr. Stefan Krummaker is Senior Lecturer (Associated Professor rank) in Organisational Behaviour and Associated Director of Enterprise and Engagement at the University of East Anglia’s London Business School    (UEA London). He received his Ph.D. from the Leibniz University of Hannover. His research interests include leadership, followership, leader-follower relationship building and academic-practitioner collaborative research.

Dr. Bernd Vogel is an Associate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at the Henley Business School, University of Reading, UK. He received his PhD from the Leibniz University of Hannover. His research interests include leadership, followership, co-creation of leadership, organizational energy, and emotions in organizations.

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Looking Back, Moving Forward

JMI_72ppiRGB_150pixwChange happens, and in the academic world it’s crucial for institutions to collaborate for a better future. Charles Heckscher of Rutgers University and Carlos Martin-Rios of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid published “Looking Back, Moving Forward: Toward Collaborative Universities” in the January 2013 issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry. The abstract:

Research universities and faculty face challenges to the very foundations of their legitimacy. Although many factors contribute to these strains, we focus on the organization and culture of universities to suggest that academicians need to rethink their age-old organizing norms to avoid outside pressures for more bureaucratic control that ostensibly seeks to improve institutional efficiency and responsiveness. We contend that these pressures, which are not beneficial for scholars, can only be avoided by opening universities to a wider range of stakeholders and by adopting more collaborative organizational practices. We offer a few reasonable suggestions for such changes.

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