By Oana Branzei
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.
POS Research with Impact
By Elana Feldman, Kathy Kram, Emily Heaphy, and Stephanie Creary
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.
The PRW Microcommunity was revitalized, after several years’ dormancy, through the efforts of a Steering Committee comprising Stephanie Creary (Boston College), Elana Feldman, Emily Heaphy, and Kathy Kram (all from Boston University). The Microcommunity is dedicated to the research, practice, and teaching of positive relationships in the workplace.
POS Teaching with Impact
By Shelley Brickson
If you had the world’s most powerful tool at your disposal, what kind of impact would you hope to create with it?
For organization leaders, this is not merely a pie-in-the-sky thought experiment. Organizations are arguably the most powerful tools ever known to the planet. As nexuses of densely entwined relationships, organizations garner, augment, and radiate influence through their connections with stakeholders—and their stakeholders’ connections with other stakeholders. It is hard to imagine any tool with greater potential to make things happen, to touch lives, to create new possibilities.
In a recent MBA elective, Leading for Impact, my students and I embarked on a journey to better understand the power of organizations—the various kinds of impact they can have and how they achieve them.
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.
Center for POS News & Activities
By Chris White
It is hard to believe that the new school year is about to begin. Soon the corridors of the Ross School of Business will be bustling with undergraduates and MBAs meeting new people and finding their way to class.
A Passion for Hope – Visiting Scholar Oana Branzei
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.”
Positive Business at Positive Links – Fall 2012
By Janet Max
Our Fall 2012 slate of speakers will feature three presentations on the theme of Positive Business. The speakers are Anjan Thakor of Washington University in St. Louis on September 24th, Rick Bagozzi of the University of Michigan on October 8th, and George Siedel of the University of Michigan on November 12th. More information, including title and abstract of each talk within two weeks before each session and video two weeks after, will be posted on the Positive Links Speaker Series page.
Building a Home for Ideas of Positive Business at AOM
By Emily Plews, University of Oregon
This year the early Sunday morning Gathering of POS scholars at the 2012 Academy of Management (AOM) Annual Meeting felt like a homecoming event. This was the tenth POS Gathering, my third, but the first one I attended as a scholar from a university other than University of Michigan. This perspective helped me understand more deeply and anew the value of 90 minutes with the POS community every year. It is a short event, with big results. The gathering’s organizers, Gretchen Spreitzer and David Mayer, built an ephemeral home filled with food for nourishment, seats for grateful faces from all over the world, and most importantly food for thought.