The POS Summer Fellows Program is available for University of Michigan undergraduates to gain research experience and to deepen their knowledge of the field of POS and its application in organizations. The POS Summer Fellows assist in research projects of Center for POS faculty members.
View profiles of each of the 2012 POS Summer Fellows below.
The challenge to bring POS into prominence by making it more available and accessible to organizations and individuals is one that the Center for POS currently faces. This summer I have the privilege of working with Dr. Kim Cameron in finalizing the development of some of his POS tools, specifically Everest Goals and Personal Management Interviews (PMI). Our goal is to create and organize his work on Everest Goals and PMI into a usable tool that can be available to those seeking to achieve the fullness of their individual and organizational potential.
I was drawn to the POS Summer Fellows program because of its direct relation to both my interests as a student and for my future career aspirations. As a Master’s student in the Higher Education Administration program at the School of Education, I am particularly fascinated with the organizational structure and operation of academic institutions. I feel confident that understanding and internalizing organizational theories, particularly those focusing on positive deviance, will prepare me for effective leadership in higher education as well as my personal life. I see limitless connections between the scholarly work done by the faculty of the Center for POS and the best practices of higher education administration.
I moved to Ann Arbor about a year ago with my wife, Kelli, and year-old son, Liam, from southern Utah so that I could pursue my academic goals of obtaining a Master’s degree at the University of Michigan. Our time here has been a great experience for our family in many ways. In addition to having the opportunity of interacting with exceptional individuals within the Center for POS, I am a research and curriculum analyst intern at Oakland Community College’s Office of Assessment and Effectiveness. I also serve as a Graduate Student Ambassador for the School of Education where I have the opportunity meet prospective students and share the many wonderful educational experiences I am having at the University of Michigan.
Under Shirli Kopelman’s direction, I am investigating the psychological processes that mediate an individual’s comprehensive perception of career satisfaction known as a Career with a Heart. The theory posits that a career with a heart has three components: the career is driven by a protean orientation, meaning it is self-directed and aligned with personal values; the career generates positive emotions, meaning the individual’s engagement is fueled, sustained, and energized by their career; and finally the career fits with the individual’s overall life, meaning that all the pieces of a person’s life complement and nourish each other. The pursuit of such a career requires a capacity for mindful negotiations, which means the individuals is able to make objective decisions that benefit the their long term career trajectory. More specifically, an individual’s decisions will actively promote a protean orientation, positive emotions, and a fit with their overall life. To effectively identify how these processes interact with each other, I am interviewing professionals in regards to their perception of their careers. Once this is done, I will be establishing a interactive tool that identifies the magnitude with which these processes exist in a user’s life and ultimately determine whether or not they meet the criteria for a career with a heart. Use of this tool would theoretically allow a user to identify shortcomings in their career, in terms of the presence of protean orientation, positive emotions, and fit with overall life, thereby providing a guideline for the acquisition of a career with a heart. Such a tool would be a significant academic and professional contribution consistent with positive organizational scholarship values.
I was drawn to the POS summer fellows program by a desire to branch out from theory-based research to applied research. This program allows participants to take concepts, which have historically been limited to academic literature and classrooms, and integrate them into strategies designed to aid a professional workforce. I personally enjoy the diversity of backgrounds present at the POS group meetings. The groups combined perspective predicates effective dialogue, which promotes optimal development of ideas and strategies.
Outside of the POS Summer Fellows program, I am an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. I am in my senior year studying behavioral science and intend to continue my academic career with the study of social psychology at a graduate level. I have worked in several research labs and am currently a member of the Ideas Lab at the University of Michigan department of Psychology. Outside of school, I am the founder and current president of a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called the Michigan Urban Farming Initiative. I also teach a high school level neuroscience course at Community High and coach the Skyline High crew team. I have a strong commitment to my community and believe that all aspects of my life should enrich my environment and those in it. I am looking forward to using the skills learned at the POS Summer Fellows program to become a more effective leader and steward of my environment.
I have been working with Jane Dutton on her high-quality connections research, with a particular focus on understanding the impacts, causes, and challenges with high-quality connections between consultants and their clients. Last summer, I began with a literature review of the existing subject matter and transitioned into conducting 24 interviews with managers of client relationships from a firm specializing in environmental consulting. Following the data collection phase, I helped with analyzing and coding data based on themes and discovering what major impacts and processes distinguish high quality client connections. This summer I am writing a set of cases focused on learning and growth in high quality connections, and we are collaborating on writing a paper for practitioners that summarizes this research.
My involvement in the 2012 POS Summer Fellows program is a continuation of the experience I had last summer and my investment in the ongoing research project. Initially, I was drawn to the program because of my overall passion for studying organizations and was particularly intrigued with the Center’s focus on energizing organizations. At the beginning of last summer, I didn’t know the first thing about organizational research, but I became hooked on POS and kept working with Jane throughout the school year. The fact that I have been able to really see a research project grow from the ground up has been an amazing learning experience.
I recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies and Sociology. This fall I am moving to Chicago to start a new chapter of my life as an analyst with a healthcare-consulting firm.
The only thing that excites me more than the concepts of transformational change and leadership is the opportunity to discuss them with like-minded peers. The Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) Summer Fellows program is highly attractive because it not only allows interested individuals to work directly with thought leaders in the field, but it also convenes faculty and students to share thoughts, learnings and experiences for growth. In this regard, I am ecstatic to be working with Bob Quinn on two projects that could help further propel POS principles into practice:
- Exploring the wealth of content housed in the Lift Blog to offer initial ideas for potential book chapters that could emerge from the collection of blog entries
- Reconciling quotations/excerpts in a forthcoming manuscript (focused on the transformational work of the top 1% of teachers) with qualitative interview data collected
Outside of the POS Summer Fellows program, I work as a Marketing & Communications Manager for Denison Consulting—a local firm committed to improving organizational culture and leadership. In this role I’m focused on raising the visibility of Denison and the critical impact that strong culture and leadership have on organizational performance.
I am currently enrolled as an international student at the Ross School of Business and recently completed my first year of the MBA program. Prior to business school, I worked in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and India as a change management consultant. This is a field I am passionately interested in and wish to remain in. It was for this reason that I came to Ross, believing that I could best further my general business skills as well as expand my horizons in change management at a school with an internationally recognized Management & Organizations area faculty.
Participating in the POS Summer Fellows program was a natural choice for me, because it allows me to work with several subject matter experts towards the goals I wish to achieve during my time here. My experience in the POS Summer Fellows program has already exceeded my expectations, as I have the privilege of working with several Professors, including Gretchen Spreitzer, Kim Cameron, Shirli Kopelman and Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks. This exposure, combined with the projects I am working on to improve accessibility and practicality of existing POS knowledge, is broadening my view of POS and its application in organizations.