How Managers Perceive Real-Time Management

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Pernille Rydén of the Technical University of Denmark and Omar A. El Sawy of the University of Southern California. They recently published an article in the California Management Review entitled “How Managers Perceive Real-Time Management: thinking fast & flow,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, they briefly describe the inspirations and challenges of this research:]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

We first met in 2014 when Professor El Sawy was giving a talk as part of the Renowned Scholars Seminar Series at the Department of Digitalization at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Here, we connected and discovered a common research interest in studies of the impacts of digitalization on management. In February 2015, at the University of Southern California, our second conversation ended up as a philosophical brainstorming session lasting several hours. The research idea was born.

Our motivation was sparked by a general curiosity on time as a resource and the many assumptions that relate to real time management strengthened by Professor El Sawy’s profound knowledge on Time Issues, gained from his PhD dissertation, teachings of MBA class on fast response management for almost a decade, plus a new course on real-time management. We then embarked on answering the open question of “what is real-time in the minds of managers?”

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

The profound societal changes triggered by technological disruption also influence our relation to time. We noticed how real time becomes increasingly important for the value proposition of enterprises and their ability to develop and innovate technology-driven products and services. At the same time, we see how people and societies are challenged by this acceleration of time demands. The “faster is better” seems to have severe consequences for people and societies in general and apparently sometimes for the worse, not the better. Many people cannot cope with the accelerating pace of technology and risk suffering from stress and burnout, which eventually slows down business productivity. Thus, there seems to be a need for critically considering how we approach time and the value assessment of real time.

What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?

Since this took of as an explorative study we did not know in advance what direction the study would take. Instead of defining hypotheses and using them as constraining light posts we decided to let the data speak to us, hoping that surprising findings would appear from the data. We tapped into the knowledge potential there is in the “go with the flow” of inductively conducting this type of research. Luckily we were rewarded with surprising empirical as well as theoretical findings. The results indicate that faster is not always better, and that flow is an alternative way to go.

This study embraces the product focus as well as the customer focus to address this paradox (expressed by the famous Henry Ford quote) “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” even though the faster horses eventually will kick them off. The quote is meant to highlight that real-time management is about understanding the underlying drivers of accelerating time and be able to navigate managerial practices accordingly. Those who are able to harness that may stand a better chance of creating lasting value with digital technologies for customers and business.

For more from the journal click here!

The Psychology of Diversity Resistance and Integration

[We’re pleased to welcome authors Christine Wiggins-Romesburg of the University of Louisville and Rod P. Githens of the University of the Pacific. They recently published an article in the Human Resource and Development Review entitled “The Psychology of Diversity Resistance and Integration,” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Ms. Wiggins-Romesburg reflects on experiences that inspired this research:]

hrda_16_4.coverIn my prior career as a human resource management practitioner, I worked in a mid-sized corporation where executives were credibly accused of sexual harassment, and it was left to me to address the complaints. I thought that, given the mutual respect I had with the men accused and our shared interest in protecting the organization from lawsuits, I could convince them to discontinue any offensive behavior. Much to my dismay, my efforts resulted in a deepening of biased attitudes and an apparent escalation of harassment that placed the business at increased risk, and ultimately had a negative impact on the careers of the targets and on my own career. I was floored. This experience left me to wonder, “What I could have said or have done differently to produce a better result?”

Although this happened more than ten years ago, today we find countless examples in the media and other recent events where people are called out for their biases and treatment of others. While such behavior may justly earn public condemnation, treating biased individuals this way can be divisive, and provoke defensiveness and shame. As this paper shows, this can increase resistance to change and lessen the chance of a positive outcome.

One possible solution might be taking a softer approach to dealing with biased individuals that is more caring of the needs of those whose behavior we hope to change. This approach is further applicable in situations where the biased individual is in a position of power. The findings were counterintuitive for me personally, and have left me with many more questions that I will continue to investigate.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from the Human Resource and Development Review and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

 

 

Discover the Hidden or Not-So-Hidden Implications of ‘Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Knowledge Management’ That Facilitate Management of ‘Organizational Change’

BMC coverChange is constant in a business environment. Survival of the fittest is all about adaptability to a changing environment and adjusting to new competitive realities, in short ‘agility’.

We live in volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity world, which is an era of risk and instability. Globalization, new technologies, greater transparency and social responsibility have combined to increase the complexity of the business environment to give many CEOs a deep sense of unease. On the other hand, enterprising CEOs sense great opportunities in this uncertainty and change.

Industry competition has always been a fact of life, but in current business environment, the chasm between ‘relevance’ and ‘obsolescence’ threatens to grow wider every day. To avoid obsolescence, firms must be agile and be able to pre-empt the move embracing innovation. Global competition has become an entirely new game, with a more crowded playing field, with networked economies and a faster clock. In the past, executives could quickly size up their competitors and could anticipate their tactical moves. But now, firms in all sectors have to be on constant alert to face new technology-enabled challengers that are sprouting with surprising speed from unsuspected corners of the globe. Firms need to anticipate geopolitics, globally emerging trends and markets, and be proactive to these new demands with knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship. They also need to be equipped on ‘How to evolve a strategy for coping with unanticipated events, challenges and crises? How does leadership create a work-environment and work-life that not only survives a crisis but capitalizes on today’s frequent and disruptive accelerating changes?’

Knowledge is a strategic resource in knowledge-intensive world, its effective management by the organizations is critical for competitiveness. The culture of innovation which enables continuous pumping of new technologies would have a strong impact on firm’s competitiveness, working life and expected behaviour.

To read in detail about Change Management Drivers and its relationship with Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Management, subscribe to the recent issue from South Asian Journal of Business Management.

Click here to read Change Management Drivers: Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Management for free from South Asian Journal of Business Management.

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.

You can read the full review from Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the research and reviews like this sent directly to your inbox!

Listen to the Latest Podcast from Human Resource Development Review!

HRDR_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Seth A. Jacobson, Jamie L. Callahan, and Rajashi Ghosh, all of Drexel University. They recently discussed their article entitled “A Place at the Window: Theorizing Organizational Change for Advocacy of the Marginalized” in the latest podcast from Human Resource Development Review.]

The broader aim of our work is to theorize organizational change that emphasizes the role of the marginalized. Each of us has an interest in organizational change, and the critical perspective associated with marginalized groups resonated strongly with us as well. The interests of the first author, however, formed the context that gave voice to our collective interest—The Roman Catholic Church, the LGBT community, and the influence of Pope Francis.

Author Seth Jacobson is a gay active Catholic within the Church. The changing rhetoric and tone of Pope Francis on topics related to homosexuality were encouraging to him; but he recognized that those on the front lines of working toward LGBT-friendly changes were still often marginalized. Those individuals were not central to the power structures in the Catholic Church and, while they had meaningful and important roles to play in informing change, their voices were potentially ignored or unnoticed. Seth’s goal, with the support of co-authors Jamie Callahan and Rajashi Ghosh, was to find a more theoretical and systematic way of ensuring that, when we research and seek to understand change processes, we are not neglecting the critical work of the marginalized.

Their work challenges traditional notions of what constitutes an ‘organization’ and opens the door for more explorations of HRD in non-traditional organizations. Following Callahan’s earlier work on social movements as a site for HRD engagement, this work addresses a case of the Roman Catholic Church as a trans-national organization influenced by global social movements advocating for equity of the marginalized. The influence that is manifesting appears to be strengthened by those who have the privilege of ‘insider’ status (resource prototypic, as described in the article) and who empathize with the marginalized (schematically marginal). These individuals think differently than other dominant actors, and yet they have access to the resources of those who hold a ‘place at the table.’ They are able to serve as conduits between the place at the window of the marginalized and the place at the window of the privileged; how they adopt this identity and enact this role is important for progressing our understanding of the marginalized in organizational change processes.

This work is grounded in the concepts of social responsibility and critical theory. It is about challenging and deconstructing a change perspective that largely ignores or under-theorizes the role that marginalized actors can play in advancing change. Change is typically addressed from the perspective of those who hold a place at the traditional ‘table’. However, our approach here recognizes and affirms that marginalized actors have advanced (and can continue to do so) meaningful and significant change from their seemingly constrained positions; in other words, they advance change from a place at the ‘window.’

The window as a metaphor inspires the notion of standing outside, and away from, the core power structures of the organization. And, yet, windows are transparent barriers that can open and provide an opportunity for bounded exchange between the core and the margins. This notion inspired our title, “A Place at the Window: Theorizing Organizational Change for Advocacy of the Marginalized.”

Click here to download the podcast on “A Place at the Window: Theorizing Organizational Change for Advocacy of the Marginalized” from Human Resource Development Review. You can also read the article for free by clicking here.

Want to know about more research like this? Click here to browse all of the podcasts from Human Resource Development Review and here to subscribe to the SAGE Management and Business podcast channel on iTunes. You can also sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest articles from Human Resource Development Review sent directly to your inbox!


PHD-jacobsonSeth A. Jacobson is a PhD Candidate in the School of Education at Drexel University. His research aims to explore resistance, deviance, and change within organizations.

Jamie CallahanJamie L. Callahan is Professor and Program Director of the Human Resource Development Program at Drexel University. Her research applies concepts of learning and development to explore issues of power and privilege in relation to leadership, emotion management and organization contextual issues (e.g., organizational learning, organizational culture, communities of practice).

Rajashi-GhoshRajashi Ghosh is an Associate Professor in the HRD program in the School of Education at Drexel University. Her research aims to explore different factors (e.g., mentoring, coaching, workplace incivility) that can reinforce or hinder workplace learning and development.

Announcing the Winner of the 2013 Best Article Award from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science!

trophy-189659-mWe’re pleased to congratulate Brenda E. Ghitulescu, winner of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science‘s 2013 Best Article Award! Dr. Ghitulescu’s award-winning paper appeared in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and is entitled “Making Change Happen: The Impact of Work Context on Adaptive and Proactive Behaviors.” In honor of this award, the article is free to read for the next 30 days!

The abstract:

The success of organizational change increasingly depends on employees taking personal responsibility for change through effective adaptation to changing conditions and proactive anticipation of new challenges. In this study, we examined JABS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpointhow work context features influence the change-oriented behaviors of adaptivity and proactivity in the workplace. We proposed several direct and moderating effects of job context variables on adaptive and proactive behaviors. We used a multilevel design and a unique data set with 621 special education teachers embedded in 157 urban public schools to test our hypotheses. Our analyses show that adaptive and proactive behaviors are distinct aspects of job performance during organizational change and that different job features have distinct direct and moderating effects on these behaviors. Our results provide insights into how leaders of change efforts can create a work context that encourages employees to actively participate in the change process.

You can click here to read “Making Change Happen: The Impact of Work Context on Adaptive and Proactive Behaviors.” Want to know about all the latest news and research from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and get notifications sent directly to your inbox!

Plan to Attend the JABS Symposium at AoM!

Going to be at the 2014 Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Philadelphia this summer? Make sure to attend the symposium “Fifty Years of Powerful Words: A Retrospective and Prospective Look at the Impact of JABS.”

JABS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpointWho: The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science symposium will be chaired by journal editor William A. Pasmore of Columbia University with discussant Barbara Grey and presenters Philip H. Mirvis, Kim Cameron, Warner Burke, and Richard W. Woodman.

What: This symposium will look at the contributions of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science in the last fifty years, the difference the field has made, and what should be expected in the next fifty years. Topics covered will include the power of words, the scholar-practitioner gap, research topics, communication with global colleagues, and social media.

When: Monday, August 4th from 11:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

Where: Pennsylvania Convention Center in Room 103 B in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Don’t miss out on this event this summer! You can get more information by clicking here. Can’t wait for August? Click here to view the latest issue of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and here to receive e-alerts on all the latest news and research!