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A Case for POS

May 15, 2013

A proposal featuring creative, yet easily-implemented, recommendations for building a positive work culture won the Center for POS’s first case competition, which was open to all University of Michigan students. Christy Vanek (BBA, 2014), Bridget Labe (BBA, 2014), and Zarin Singh (BA, 2014) comprised Team Sunbeam, and took the $1,500 first prize. Their recommendations were all based in POS research, and included a spotlight on the importance of expressing gratitude and its positive impact on mood.


The Joy Factory: A Visit to Menlo Innovations

April 30, 2013

For an “out of the box” experience for our April 2013 Positive Links Speaker Series session, we toured Menlo Innovations, an Ann Arbor-based software development firm nationally know for its innovative work practices. Menlo CEO Rich Sheridan and his team welcomed us for a visit that included these insights:
Honest estimates: Menlo supports a culture of honest estimates of how long it will take to do a given project – there are no penalties for the actual time needed being more or less than originally estimated. They tell clients that 49% of jobs come in under the estimate, 49% come in over, and only 2% at the estimated time.
High Tech Anthropologists: Menlo sends teams to the client site to observe and learn firsthand about their culture and practices, to better inform their work for the client. In one case, this resulted in solving a mystery about why a piece of electronic equipment kept failing – workers in the field were unknowingly damaging it.


Compassionate Organizations Quiz

April 15, 2013

Here is an opportunity for you to contribute to research on compassion in organizations. The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, partnered with research collaborative CompassionLab to develop an online quiz to measure the level of compassion in an organization. The 23-question quiz is based on more than 10 years of research on compassion and organizations by members of CompassionLab and the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship.


Positive Links Hits 80!

March 15, 2013

“Really, there’s no charge, and anyone can come?” This is often the response when I describe our Positive Links Speaker Series to someone who has not yet attended. Presentations of cutting-edge research and practices by leaders in their fields? Opportunities to network with an eclectic cross-section of academics, students, and practitioners? Plus, pizza? Yes, yes, and yes.

As we approach the 80th session, it’s a good opportunity to shine a spotlight on our flagship series . . .


Rebecca Beagan’s Transformative Journey

February 15, 2013

“Do you happen to know of any research opportunities for undergraduates this summer?” In 2011, the answer led Rebecca Beagan (BBA 2013) on a journey she says, “changed my life forever.” At Lynn Wooten’s urging, Rebecca applied for the 2011 POS Summer Fellows Program at the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship; she was accepted, and worked with Professor Wooten. The experience helped Rebecca develop her project management skills and contributed to her understanding of diversity and social justice, and informed her work as a then-new resident advisor at the largest all-freshmen dorm on the University of Michigan campus.


How to Change the World and Still Pay Your Bills

January 22, 2013

“You MBAs are the root of all our financial troubles,” an old friend told me after the market collapse in 2008—shortly after I had quit my job and enrolled in a full-time MBA program.


Engaging Students in POS

January 15, 2013

Betsy Erwin brings a great depth and breadth of experience in Career Development to her new role building CPOS Labs, a program for student engagement at the Center for POS, as well as a deep appreciation for what POS can bring to the students, and through them, to the world. Some of the program’s ambitious goals are already being realized as the first cadre of students work on projects to expand our social media presence, assist faculty in translating research concepts into marketable tools and white papers, and investigate the viability of new degree programs.


A Passion for Hope – Visiting Scholar Oana Branzei

August 21, 2012

By Janet Max

Oana Branzei is an associate professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. She is Visiting Scholar at the Center for POS for the 2012-13 academic year.

The Center’s new visiting scholar, Oana Branzei, is passionate about the overarching theme of the positive function of business in society, and is drawn to learning about what people in extreme situations think that business can do for them. “They see business as almost a salvation. Often, they learn to imagine the future through the business itself,” she notes. “It’s really hard for someone who has been marginalized or traumatized to imagine a better life. Hope is an essential part of lifting them up.” Oana focuses on the dynamics of hope: dreams of better lives, and actions needed to achieve them. Her field work in areas such as Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda, Peru, and Bangladesh documents the incidence and resilience of enterprise under extreme scarcity, adversity, and conflict. Oana also researches the emergence and evolution of pro-poor business models in North America, Asia, and Latin America.


Hope in Hopeless Settings

August 21, 2012

By Oana Branzei, Western University

Poverty. Conflict. Draught. Death. Hunger. Domestic Violence.

Not giving up.

Understanding how one summons and sustains hope in the face of scarcity and adversity stretches the straightjacket of organizational theories to make room for understanding life at its extremes—and reconnects us to the people living full and inspiring lives despite overcoming significant hurdles, every day.


Teaching Leadership in a Relational Context: Using Action Learning Teams and Projects

August 21, 2012

By Kathy E. Kram, Boston University

About five years ago, I began using relational learning as a centerpiece for the infrastructure of “The Leadership Challenge,” an MBA elective I teach at the Boston University School of Management. In a significant change last fall, we introduced Action Learning Teams and Action Learning Projects, in which students would be expected to practice specific leadership behaviors and attitudes that they identified through the 360 assessment that they completed at the outset of the course. My collaborator in this was Jeffrey Yip, who is an advanced doctoral student in Organizational Behavior, and formerly worked at CCL (Center for Creative Leadership). He was instrumental in the design and implementation first time around.


In relational learning environments, students and instructors collaborate to learn and share knowledge. “The Leadership Challenge” is designed to include cognitive, emotional, and relational learning opportunities that together enable students to build new leadership capabilities.


Inaugural Meeting of the Newly-Invigorated PRW Microcommunity

August 21, 2012

By Elana Feldman (Boston University), Kathy Kram (Boston University), Emily Heaphy (Boston University), and Stephanie Creary (Boston College)

What happens when a group of scholars interested in positive relationships at work meet in one place? They forge new connections, rejoice in old friendships, help each other tackle current challenges, and plant the seeds for future collaborations. And this was indeed the case in March, when approximately 30 researchers gathered in Ashland, Massachusetts, for the launch of the newly invigorated Positive Relationships at Work (PRW) Microcommunity.