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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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Reflecting on the Summer Fellows Program

August 1, 2014

By: Allison Sheehan


One of the things that I value most about the Center is the people. As I wrote in my initial blog about first impressions, right away what caught my attention about the Center were the bright-colored walls and the collaborative set up of each room. However, I quickly realized it’s the interesting people and conversation that make this place so unique. It has only been eight weeks since the Summer Fellows started at the Center, but I have built high quality connections with my fellows much faster than I have in any of my other jobs. I think this is due to the focus on recognizing and sharing positive identities with one another, and our weekly celebrations at the beginning at every Lunch and Learn.

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What Does Mentoring Look Like in Today’s Context?

July 31, 2014

By: Kathy Kram, Wendy Murphy


Today’s career environment is very different than it was two decades ago. The pace of change is ever increasing. Globalization is inevitably requiring most of us to work effectively and learn from individuals who are from different countries and ethnic backgrounds, requiring well-honed communication skills. And, technology has significantly changed the way we work and the way we create and sustain relationships with others. These trends make us all novices over and over again, as we necessarily move to a new job, new organization, or new country. It is almost impossible to be an expert for very long.

So what does mentoring look like in this new context? Our review of three decades of research and our own observation and experiences clearly indicate that rather than seek out one mentor who can provide all of the guidance that is needed at a particular point in time, we all need to build a network of developers that can help us to continuously learn, innovate, work with others, and realize our goals.

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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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One Size Doesn’t Fit All

July 25, 2014

By: Allison Sheehan


I’m always amazed when I walk into a store and read the label on a piece of clothing to see the size, and the tag simply reads “one size fits all.” I specifically remember the first time I saw one of these labels–I was young, with my mom. The piece of clothing was a Disney nightgown, and there was only one size that claimed to “fit all.” I remember looking up at my mom, wondering how this gown could possibly fit both her and me. There was no way it was going to fit her adult body and my eight-year-old body. The only way she could describe it was that there was only one size made for everyone to fit into, and it would just fit everyone differently, or realistically, some wouldn’t fit into it at all.

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Three Leadership Lessons We Can Learn from America’s Best Teachers

July 21, 2014


While debates over education reform pick up steam across the country, Ross professors Robert Quinn and Gretchen Spreitzer hope to add a little analytical rigor to the discussions with their new book, The Best Teacher in You, out this month from Berrett-Koehler in partnership with Battelle For Kids.

In the book, Quinn and Spreitzer (along with co-authors Mike Thomas and Katherine Heynoski of BFK) explore interviews, workshops, and studies with more than 350 highly effective teachers from across the country and reveal some interesting details.

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Finding the Light in Darkness: The Heliotropic Effect

July 18, 2014

By: Allison Sheehan


If you walk into a dark, unfamiliar room, what is your first instinct? Probably to find the nearest light and turn it on. If you’re stressed and under a lot of pressure at school or work, why do people say, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel?” And why was there an Oprah quote on my Starbucks cup today, telling me to “know what sparks the light in [me],” and to “use that light to illuminate the world”? Finding “the light” is a common thing that people are searching for.

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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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