Finding the Positives in Your Failures

October 3, 2014


Chris Myers–the Center’s Doctoral Research Fellow–on the positives of failure:

“We experience failures and setbacks quite regularly at work, and the question of how to make these negative events an opportunity to boost resilience is an important one. The environment that we create at work can have a tremendous influence on our ability to ‘bounce back’ and respond resiliently to a failure.”

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Does Testosterone Make People Greedy?

October 2, 2014


Dave Mayer–the Center’s Faculty Co-Director–quoted on the link between testosterone and high levels of greedy behavior:

“From the Lausanne study, it’s not clear whether testosterone levels control corrupt behavior, or whether high levels of it are linked to the presence of some other physiological feature that does. But even if it were definitively the case that testosterone is the root of greed, some are skeptical that anything can be done with that information.

“David Mayer, a management professor at the University of Michigan, points out that this research is similar, in spirit, to fMRI studies indicating which parts of the brain light up when a certain decision is made. But establishing these physiological underpinnings does little to solve the problem of antisocial behavior. ‘I wonder how these findings can be used to help leaders be more ethical,’ he says.”

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The Opportunity of Management

September 2, 2014


Managing Director Chris White in the Huffington Post:

“But it is not all doom and gloom. At the Ross School of Business, our mission is to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. We define “positive” in this context as creating economic value, building great workplaces, and being good neighbors. While the three are completely interrelated, the work of the Center for Positive Organizations at Ross emphasizes the catalytic importance of architecting places where people can bring their best selves to work. We look primarily at the organizational architecture: how structures, systems, strategies, processes, practices, and culture can all be re-imagined to help people thrive. Financial success and impact on our communities are two other sides of this virtuous triangle of Positive Business.”

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Why workplace diversity efforts struggle

August 19, 2014


Writing for Fortune, Anne Fisher quotes CPO Faculty Co-Director Dave Mayer on the difficulty of achieving true workplace diversity:

“People have all kinds of assumptions about what ‘affirmative action’ or ‘diversity programs’ mean,” notes David Mayer, one of the study’s authors, who teaches management at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “Unfortunately, plenty of employees think it’s about hiring people who are less qualified, just because they’re a member of a minority group.”

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Leadership Through Hope: Lessons From Reggae Music

July 31, 2014


In her leadership column for Forbes, Ruth Blatt mentions Oana Branzei’s chapter in Jane Dutton and Gretchen Spreitzer’s new book, How to Be a Positive Leader:

“Leaders who are able to truly have a long-lasting influence are those who give us hope. In a chapter in the recent book How To Be A Positive Leader, professor Oana Branzei of the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University defines hope as the belief that people and situations can and will change for the better. Political leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela or religious leaders like Mother Theresa and Archbishop Ddesmond Tutu had their powerful impact because they convinced others that a better future was possible and doable.”

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POS at AOM! Gathering of POS Scholars and More

July 15, 2014


By Janet Max Are you a POS scholar?  Are you attending the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management? AOM 2014 features more than 25 sessions with elements related to Positive Organizational Scholarship.  Sessions include  “Thrive! Energizing Ourselves and Others as Academics,” “The Conditions for Compassion,” and “An HR Perspective on Coping and Stress […]

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Opening the books: should all staff understand company finances?

July 9, 2014


The Guardian | Amt Westervelt

Open-book finance has the ability to break down the divide between workers and management, and to increase productivity. Wayne Baker, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, teaches open-book finance, and says that over the past few years, there’s been increased interest in understanding this practice. He explains that “It’s a big change, but companies that do it achieve efficiencies and engagement at such a high level that it’s really worth it.” Ari Weinszeig, co-founder of Zingerman’s, explains how this practice has helped his company immensely — “When people know what the game is, they play better,” because when you teach everyone in the company how the business works, they “pay attention in different ways,” because “they feel like they’re part of a team that helps that work.”

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How Paying It Forward Can Help Your Company

July 7, 2014


Inc. | Will Yakowicz

Wayne E. Baker, professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and Nathaniel Bulkley, who consults on organizational effectiveness issues for Innovation Places, have done research that proves the success of using two types of generalized reciprocity at work to create a cooperative culture. “Pay it forward, where someone helps another person and that person assists a third, and reputation rewarding, where a person who is known to pitch in receives more from co-workers than less helpful colleagues.” They conducted this research on MBA students, and found that after the initial required assigned to “pay it forward” and help fellow students, along with asking their own questions, the students continued to use this practice. “Over time, rewarding reputation and paying it forward may have created a virtuous cycle of cooperation,” the two write. Many other companies have also started to use this strategy, and the results show nothing but success.

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At Zingerman’s, Pastrami and Partnership to Go

July 5, 2014


The New York Times | Jennifer Conlin

The unique business model that focuses on employee’s wellbeing and engagement, used by Zingerman’s, has been studied by many people, including Wayne Baker, professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, who has turned this research into four case studies. The longstanding successes Zingerman’s has had, and their employee and customer satisfaction, has proven that their business model is one that companies should strive to adopt and implement. This business model is “one that has produced impressive growth while engaging employees who enjoy the opportunity to help run the businesses and even to start new ones.”

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The dark side of workplace happiness

July 1, 2014


The Guardian | Amy Westervelt

A focus on workplace happiness and engagement is becoming more popular as companies are starting to discover the benefits of having happy employees. Professor Kim Cameron explains, “Money follows positive, virtuous practices.” However, there needs to be a balance to make sure keeping positivity in the workplace stays professional.

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The Paying-It-Forward Payoff

June 30, 2014


HBR | Gretchen Gavett

Research done by Wayne E. Baker, a professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and Nathaniel Bulkley of Innovation Places’, shows the power of “paying it forward.” “Essentially, paying it forward is cognitively easy, at least compared to remembering who is helpful, and how often. ‘The sole requirement [of paying it forward] is that a participant be aware of his or her own experience,’ they write.”

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