Positive Links Speaker Series
Organizational Miracles–The Role of Positive Organizing in Recovery from Crisis
April 13, 2016
Reception Immediately Following
The Colloquium, 6th Floor, Ross Building, Stephen M. Ross School of Business
Session Description: The prevailing wisdom on crisis management is that crises and their aftermaths are best addressed by a small team of people that carefully manages and controls information and that operates with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. In this session, Davis-Blake will explore the recovery of the Ross School of Business from a significant crisis that included strategic, financial, and academic elements. By inverting the rules of crisis management (e.g., sharing information widely, including many people, allowing roles and responsibilities to be emergent), the Ross School achieved seemingly impossible results. Davis-Blake will explore the potential generalizability of the case of the Ross School to other organizations.
Alison Davis-Blake is the Edward J. Frey Dean of the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She is also the Stephen M. Ross Professor of Business. Davis-Blake is a higher education leader at the forefront of developing, promoting, and implementing positive business practices and foreseeing the changing educational and workplace needs of the next generation of business leaders.
Upon becoming dean of Michigan Ross in July 2011, the first female dean in the school’s history, Davis-Blake brought a new focus and mission to the school: to develop leaders who make a positive difference in the world. Her belief that business can be economically prosperous and a force for good has resonated with students from around the world who desire to study at Ross, one of the top business schools in the country, and to learn how to develop and lead companies that create value for both shareholders and society.
Davis-Blake is building on Ross’ prestige and tradition of excellence to position the school as a leader in lifelong business education through analytic rigor, a boundaryless approach to learning, action-oriented lessons inside and outside of the classroom, and the school’s global leadership position in positive business education.
As dean at Ross, Davis-Blake has led academic innovations including reframing undergraduate business education through a new BBA curriculum focused on preparing millennial learners for the jobs of tomorrow, the creation of a new Master of Management Program, and expanding the top-ranked Executive MBA Program to Los Angeles.
Under her leadership, Ross has experienced global growth, with expanded activities in India, China, Southeast Asia, and a living business model in Africa. As the dean of a top global business school, Davis-Blake has increased international learning opportunities for students by 89 percent and formed 17 new partnerships with universities around the world.
Her efforts to expand the breadth of faculty thought leadership have resulted in 25 tenure-track faculty members and 30 lecturers, constituting 27% of the teaching faculty at the school. During her time as dean, Ross has been recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek as having the highest proportion of female faculty who are tenured or on the road to tenure of any top 10 business school and the highest percentage of tenured women professors.
During Davis-Blake’s deanship, Ross will raise more than $400 million in private support to advance academics, scholarship, and faculty research; and complete the business campus of the future, spearheaded by a $100 million gift from Stephen M. Ross in 2013, one of the largest single donations to a business school in history.
Davis-Blake is a recognized thought leader, with media outlets throughout the world including the Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Guardian, South China Morning Post, Crain’s, and others seeking her perspective on the future of business education, positive business, educational trends, leadership and more.
Prior to joining Ross in 2011, Davis-Blake was dean of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota from 2006 to 2011, where she was also the first female dean. From 1990 to 2006, Davis-Blake was a member of the faculty and senior associate dean at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas (Austin), and prior to that she was a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University’s business school.
Davis-Blake is an expert on strategic human resource management and organizational design. She obtained her PhD in organizational behavior from Stanford University and her undergraduate and masters degrees from Brigham Young University. Davis-Blake is married and has two sons. She is a native of St. Paul, Minn.
Free and open to the public.
The Center for Positive Organizations thanks Diane and Paul Jones (Ross School of Business MBA 1975), for their generous gift in support of the 2015-2016 Positive Links Speaker Series.