A New Lens of Possibilities: Magnify Program

March 13, 2015


This academic immersion program is a great opportunity for University of Michigan students interested in Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS). Students make tangible contributions and deepen their knowledge of the field of POS and its application. The program is full-time student commitment and runs through spring semester. Selection for this opportunity is competitive and will ultimately bring together a set of students from multiple degree programs within the University of Michigan.

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Negotiating Genuinely: Mindfully and Strategically Leading with Emotions

March 5, 2015

By: Max Branson

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To most, the word “negotiation” conjures a win-lose situation. Professor Shirli Kopelman, however, believes it’s possible to bring to mind an entirely different image—it can be as simple as asking yourself the question, “Negotiate to build what?” In this reframed question, negotiators might imagine themselves as profit architects, which opens up possibilities for people “to negotiate genuinely to co-create resources and build sustainable business relationships in a global economy.”

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Pour Your Sugar On Me

February 22, 2015

By: Madison Romney

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“It is -22 degrees outside and I am bundled from head to toe, trudging through the hallways of Ross, hoping to break a sweat before I brace the biting Michigan air. As I mentally prepare myself to go out into the “great” outdoors, I notice a long line coming from a student led station by the staircase. I slow my pace and an ear-to-ear grin consumes my face as I recognize my kind +LAB friends buzzing with energy. I proudly stand behind 10 people all excitedly waiting to send a +gram.”

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How You’re Making Bias Worse

February 17, 2015

By: Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant


A father and his son are in a car accident. The father is killed and the son is seriously injured. The son is taken to the hospital where the surgeon says, “I cannot operate, because this boy is my son.”

This popular brain teaser dates back many years, but it remains relevant today; 40 to 75 percent of people still can’t figure it out. Those who do solve it usually take a few minutes to fathom that the boy’s mother could be a surgeon. Even when we have the best of intentions, when we hear “surgeon” or “boss,” the image that pops into our minds is often male.

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Stand Apart & Stand for All: Courage at Work

February 11, 2015

By: Madison Romney


“During the fall semester of this year, I was President of a student organization on campus. Many members, including those on the executive board, had been excited to plan an event that I knew would not be appropriate or allowed. While I agreed that this event would be fun, I also knew that the cost of participating would be much greater as it would threaten the reputation of the group. What I needed in this situation was courage.”

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Speaking While Female

February 10, 2015

By: Sheryl Sandberg, Adam Grant

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Years ago, while producing the hit TV series “The Shield,” Glen Mazzara noticed that two young female writers were quiet during story meetings. He pulled them aside and encouraged them to speak up more.

Watch what happens when we do, they replied.

Almost every time they started to speak, they were interrupted or shot down before finishing their pitch. When one had a good idea, a male writer would jump in and run with it before she could complete her thought.

Sadly, their experience is not unusual.

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Resourceful Change

February 10, 2015

By: Max Branson


Recall a time when you participated in an organizational change. Was it a success or failure? What contributed to this outcome?

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Keep In Touch

January 28, 2015

By: Madison Romney

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We all use this phrase: whether it be a cheerful reminder after catching up with past neighbors or a hopeful farewell to soon to be “old” friends when embarking on our journey to college. While saying “keep in touch” in these instances makes perfect sense within our social norms, we don’t actually mean what we say. The “touch” we’re referring to is a form of communication, not physical contact. What we really mean is “Keep the connection” or “Don’t forget to call!” We’re seeking out verbal re-connection. Because of this, we can assume that this phrase cannot be taken literally.

But it can, and it should.

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Sparks of Kindness: How far will the wildfire spread?

January 23, 2015

By: Wayne Baker


Sparks of Kindness are deliberate acts of generosity that makes life better for someone else. As we’ve discussed this week, Sparks of Kindness is also a social movement and Facebook group with lots of practical resources. We’ve talked about the wisdom of small experiments and big experiments, along with the paradox of generosity.

Are you a Spark of Kindness?

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Sparks of Kindness: How about BIG experiments?

January 21, 2015

By: Wayne Baker


First I recommended the idea of starting small—trying a Spark of Kindness as a small experiment in a safe place. This is a good piece of practical wisdom.

But, you can also go big! Sparks can be small or large—any Spark can start a wildfire! Is a big experiment for you?

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Sparks of Kindness: Try a small experiment?

January 20, 2015

By: Wayne Baker


Trying something new can cause anxiety. I teach courses about Positive Organizational Scholarship, and there’s always something new to try at work or home. Many people, I’ve observed, can be hesitant.

What if it doesn’t work? What if I’m embarrassed?

When this occurs, here’s the advice I always give, which I learned from a colleague: Try a small experiment in a safe place. Would this help you Spark kindness?

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