Pedagogical Innovation and Paradigm Shift in the Introduction to Management Curriculum

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Elizabeth Christopher of Macquarie University, Joe Roberts of Webster University, and Oliver Laasch of the University of Nottingham, China. They recently published a paper in the Journal of Management Education entitled, “Pedagogical Innovation and Paradigm Shift in the Introduction to Management Curriculum,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Christopher and Roberts reflect on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

JME_72ppiRGB_powerpointWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

E- Identifying a need for improved introduction to management education, emerging from a complex global business environment of socio- economic challenges for managers.

J- Identifying innovative pedagogical approaches to teaching Intro to Management concepts across campus as interdisciplinary courses.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?

E- The 20th century was characterized by a resurgence of 19th-century concepts of management associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism that persists to this day. Managerialism is the organizational form of neo-liberalism that implicitly endorses the concept of educating managers to be market-led. Education along these lines is defined in terms of human capital acquisition, skilled for the economy.

If the principles of neoliberal, market led, introduction to management education are not examined, educators run the risk of overlooking contemporary demands for managerial social ethics and responsibility for the environment. This Special Issue is an attempt to respond to this challenge on behalf of university faculties and students and on behalf of curriculum designs.

In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?

E- It is innovative in its recognition that contemporary western management thought, all too often, is based on outdated assumptions of what ‘good’ management should be, but that have become profoundly inadequate to address pressing challenges of managerial sustainability, responsibility and ethics.  The research reveals the extent of the need for new approaches to introduction to management courses. The JME is a widely read and highly regarded journal, therefore the research findings should have an impact on the field.

J- As the managerial function has become more entrepreneurial in nature the question of ethics has become extremely important and should be integrated with pedagogical approaches to teaching Intro to Management concepts.

 

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Does Public Service Motivation Always Lead to Organizational?Commitment?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Wisanupong Potipiroon of Prince of Songkla University. Potipiroon recently published a paper in Public Personnel Management entitled, “Does Public Service Motivation Always Lead to Organizational Commitment? Examining the Moderating Roles of Intrinsic Motivation and Ethical Leadership,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Potipiroon reflects on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

PPM_C1 template_rev.inddIt is widely accepted that individuals with high public service motivation (PSM) are more likely to join, feel emotionally attached to and remain in public service organizations. Although we concur with this prevailing notion, our observations and anecdotes from street-level bureaucrats indicate that this is not always the case. Although it is true that public organizations can provide considerable opportunities to employees to do good for others and to be useful to society, we know from experience that service-minded employees often end up working in jobs that do not allow them to put their motivation to use effectively. Indeed, not all jobs are created equal: Some can be less interesting or challenging than others. This may form part of the reasons why many talented workers may decide to leave public service in the first place.

Well, this is precisely what we found in our data which were drawn from a large public organization in Thailand. We found that the relationship between PSM and organizational commitment was dependent upon intrinsic motivation—the extent to which one finds enjoyment in the work even without rewards. When task enjoyment was high, we found that the effect of PSM on organizational commitment was positive. When task enjoyment was lacking, however, the effect of PSM became significantly negative. This indicates that low levels of intrinsic motivation could undermine the achievement of the opportunities inherent in meaningful public services.

Interestingly, we also learned that highly motivated individuals put a great deal of importance on the extent to which their leaders are ethical. In particular, the highest level of organizational commitment was observed when there were high levels of motivation and ethical leadership simultaneously. This suggests that ethical leaders play an instrumental role in fulfilling employees’ needs to act on their motivation. In the public sector, ethical leaders are those who place great emphasis on making an outward, societal impact and showing concern for the common good while also providing a supportive work context that allow employees’ motivation to flourish.

Our study findings underscore the fact that PSM may not offer infinite benefits in every type of settings because PSM effects will likely depend on the whole range of contextual factors including job characteristics and leadership styles. Indeed, public managers should be aware that highly motivated workers could develop a particularly unfavorable view of their organizations if their prosocial needs go unmet.

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What Can Leaders Learn from Rock Climbing?

25285219503_a885d3f520_z[We’re pleased to welcome Diane Bischak and Jaana Woiceshyn. Diane and Jaana recently published an article entitled “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing” in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.]

Diane has been an avid participant in rock climbing for many years, a sport which has a very tangible leadership element. She was wondering if the lessons she had learned about leading in rock climbing could be applied to business, which (operations management in particular) she teaches. She asked me, a strategy and business ethics professor, to explore that with her. Having tried rock climbing and also participated in wilderness expeditions both as a leader and a team member, I was immediately interested—because leadership clearly matters, in business and beyond.

The exposed nature of leadership practices in rock climbing makes them highly observable, unlike leadership in business and many other contexts where such practices are mostly opaque to researchers who typically are outsiders to organizations they study. So we pursued our analysis to see what we would find, with a focus on positive practices guided by leadership virtues.

Three findings were particularly surprising. First, the parallels between rock climbing leadership and business leadership are closer than one would think at the first glance, given the strong cognitive component and long-term orientation of rock climbing leadership. Second, rationality, which is often not recognized as a leadership virtue at all, appears to be fundamental to virtuous leadership in rock climbing, and also in business. Third, we did not detect confirmation for the notion of leaders as servants in the rock climbing world. Rather, leaders and JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointfollowers achieve best outcomes (successful climbs over the long term) by trading value for value, instead of leaders merely serving the needs of their followers.

We think our findings suggest practical implications for leaders in business and other realms by emphasizing the trader relationship of leaders and followers, and rationality—adherence to facts by the means of observation and logic—as the fundamental virtue guiding sound leadership practices. Rest of the virtues, such as honesty and justice, are derived from rationality.

As for research, we hope to see further qualitative and quantitative studies of the leadership virtues we identified in the context of rock climbing, including textual analysis and surveys.

The abstract for the paper:

Leadership clearly has an impact on organizational outcomes, and previous research has revealed the antecedents and consequences of leadership styles and the effects of leaders’ personality traits. We focus on an area that has received much less attention: ethical leadership practice and the virtues that guide it. Following the positive turn in leadership research, we examine what constitutes virtuous action of leaders. We draw on observations made in a novel realm, rock climbing, and integrate them with the literature on leadership virtues while drawing parallels to business. We identify six essential virtues at the core of the ethical leadership model we propose: rationality, honesty, independence, integrity, justice, and pride. Three of these—rationality, independence, and pride—are not conventional virtues, but we suggest that they are critical for ethical leadership, as is the standard of human flourishing and the leader’s relationship with followers as a trader of values. Our analysis is summarized in testable propositions.

You can read “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

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Follow the Leader: Leadership Lessons from Rock Climbing

Rock Climber

Although the concept of ethical leadership has not been neglected in leadership studies, it remains a vague and poorly defined idea. A direct consequence of this ambiguity is the challenge of practicing ethical leadership in real-life situations. In an effort to better define ethical leadership and provide leadership principles that leaders can strive for, Diane P. Bischak and Jaana Woiceshyn explore what makes a virtuous leader and outline six essential virtues at the core of ethical leadership–rationality, honesty, independence, integrity, justice, and pride. In their article, “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing,” published in Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies, the authors utilize their observations of leadership in rock climbing to break down the concept of ethical leadership into moral action principles that are easier to define, and thus easier for leaders to apply.

The abstract:

Leadership clearly has an impact on organizational outcomes, and previous research has revealed the antecedents and consequences of JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpointleadership styles and the effects of leaders’ personality traits. We focus on an area that has received much less attention: ethical leadership practice and the virtues that guide it. Following the positive turn in leadership research, we examine what constitutes virtuous action of leaders. We draw on observations made in a novel realm, rock climbing, and integrate them with the literature on leadership virtues while drawing parallels to business. We identify six essential virtues at the core of the ethical leadership model we propose: rationality, honesty, independence, integrity, justice, and pride. Three of these—rationality, independence, and pride—are not conventional virtues, but we suggest that they are critical for ethical leadership, as is the standard of human flourishing and the leader’s relationship with followers as a trader of values. Our analysis is summarized in testable propositions.

You can read “Leadership Virtues Exposed: Ethical Leadership Lessons from Leading in Rock Climbing” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Challenges in Leadership: Part 3 of 3

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” —Thomas Jefferson

We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on the challenges of leadership. Today’s post is all about leadership and ethics — and with Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week coming up next Monday, be sure to tune in for more related research and insights.

JABS_72ppiRGB_150pixwIn their article “The Role of Moral Values in Instigating Morally Responsible Decisions(Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, March 2013), Richard P. Bagozzi, Leslie E. Sekerka, Vanessa Hill, and Francesco Sguera warn of “the distance between espoused values and values in action” in leaders that can block “the virtuous self”:

If we want leaders to model this competency and build ethical organizations, we must provide them with the tools to understand their values at a root level and how to act accordingly. Putting expectations into action for virtuous human systems means helping people understand how their values may serve as guides to behavioral choices. Without focused awareness and commitment to right action, these values can dissipate. [Read more]

jomIn “Someone to Look Up To: Executive-Follower Ethical Reasoning and Perceptions of Ethical Leadership” (Journal of Management, March 2013), Jennifer Jordan, Michael E. Brown, Linda K. Treviño, and Sydney Finkelstein look into what makes ethical leaders tick:

Despite a business environment that highlights the importance of executives’ ethical leadership, the individual antecedents of ethical leadership remain largely unknown. In this study, the authors propose that follower perceptions of ethical leadership depend on the executive leader’s cognitive moral development (CMD) and, more importantly, on the relationship between executive leader and follower CMD. [Read more]

leadershipAnd in his article “Leading questions: Leadership, ethics, and administrative evil” (Leadership, May 2012), George E. Reed warns of modern organizations’ “diffusion of information” and “fragmentation of responsibility,” noting:

The result is the very real possibility that well-intentioned people who conscientiously perform their jobs will unintentionally participate in systems and processes that produce great harm. Some may not even be aware that they are doing anything wrong; they certainly intend no great harm, and furthermore, those around them would likely agree at the time that they are simply acting in consonance with accepted professional roles and practices. They may also play a crucial part in a larger process that perpetrates harm. [Read more]

What Does Ethical Followership Look Like?

If your boss asked you to do something unethical, would you obey, or would you resist? According to a new article in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies,

Followers face ethical dilemmas when leaders approach them with inappropriate requests, such as asking them to engage in behaviors that are clearly unethical. In such situations, followers must make a decision: They can choose to stand up to the unethical request (e.g., by challenging the leader’s directive, refusing to engage in unethical behavior, or proposing alternative courses of action) or they can go along with the leader’s request, in essence becoming complicit with the unethical behavior. This choice will likely be associated with their beliefs about the follower role and how followers should interact with leaders.

Melissa K. Carsten of Winthrop University and Mary Uhl-Bien of the University of Nebraska published “Ethical Followership: An Examination of Followership Beliefs and Crimes of Obedience” on November 9, 2012 in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

JLOS seeks to advance the theory, research and practice of all aspects of leadership and organizations, covering topics such as organizational behavior, human resource management, strategy, international management, and entrepreneurship. You can get e-alerts about new research from the journal by clicking here.

An Improved Measure of Ethical Leadership

Gary Yukl, University at Albany, Rubina Mahsud, Seattle University, Shahidul Hassan, Ohio State University, and Gregory E. Prussia, Seattle University, published “An Improved Measure of Ethical Leadership” on December 11th, 2011 in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. To view other OnlineFirst articles, please click here.

The abstract:

The appropriate way to define and measure ethical leadership has been a source of conceptual confusion in the leadership literature. Different measures have been developed, but they all have limitations. Some questionnaires are missing key indicators of ethical leadership, or they include behaviors that do not seem directly relevant. In this study, the authors assess the validity of a new questionnaire for measuring essential aspects of ethical leadership independently of other types of leader behavior. The research also examines how ethical leadership is related to leader–member exchange and work unit performance. Although the primary purpose of these analyses is to assess criterion-related validity for the new questionnaire, the results help answer important questions about the benefits of ethical leadership. The authors found that ethical leadership makes a small but significant contribution to the explanation of leader–member exchange and managerial effectiveness.

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