Thursday, May 30, 2013

"A Case Study Investigating the Development, Implementation, and Perceptions of Transformational Leadership Practices of the Clinical Nurse Leader"

Elizabeth Smith Houskamp, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

The hospital setting is a complicated, challenging, and complex environment in which to deliver high-quality, lower-cost care. It is particularly vulnerable to what is often termed “care fragmentation.” The Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL), the first new nursing role advanced nationally in decades, is an innovative strategy uniquely positioned to address teamwork and strengthen leadership at the bedside to improve patient outcomes for a reduced cost at the microsystem level. The CNL is less than 5 years old and limited research has been conducted, particularly around the development, implementation, and perceived transformational leadership aspects of the role. Consequently, to address the research gap, this study investigated the above aspects on 5 inpatient units. Qualitative findings regarding the role reveal the perception and alignment of a complex role for complex times, and the “pull of polarity” on multiple levels (organization, unit, staff and each other). Quantitative results suggest licensed personnel and those with higher educational preparation as group perceive the transformational leadership practices of the CNL to be higher than those unlicensed personnel and those with less education. Furthermore, it generally appears the longer the CNL has been practicing on the unit, the higher the perceptions of their transformational leadership practices.

Keywords: clinical nurse leader, transformational leader, Leadership Practice Inventory

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"From Desert to Destiny: Saudi Organizational Leadership: Within the Saudi Arabian Cultural Context"

Mark Charles Bechtold, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

This qualitative study examines the ways in which Saudi Arabian organizational leaders and followers describe their experience of the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of organizational leadership within the context of the Saudi Arabian culture. A categorical content analysis of 15 organizational leader and follower responses indicates that effective Saudi Arabian organizational leaders are able to adopt culturally sensitive leadership styles and organizational development approaches that serve to enable, develop, and empower Saudi Arabian employees. The key themes informing this leadership style include relationships, leader-follower roles, the principles of Islam, and governmental support for business. A literature review on organizational leadership, Middle East Arab culture, Saudi Arabian culture, Middle East Arab organizational leadership, and Saudi Arabian organizational leadership serves as a basis for this study.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

"Classical Horsemanship: A Phenomenological and Dramatist Study"

Dan Maxwell, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development


This study examines the essential features of human-equine interaction as present in classical horsemanship. The method I used to explicate this interaction is a variant of kinesthetic empathy, a phenomenological approach to human-animal studies developed by Ken Shapiro and grounded in the continental philosophical tradition, Merleau-Ponty specifically. The analysis presented in this study is based on my interaction with three classical riding instructors and three horses, as captured on video during five riding lessons. Using the video as a starting point, I first wrote a series of lived experience descriptions, one for each performance, as well as a biography of each of the agents who participated in the study. I then analyzed this initial round of writing to create a set of phenomenological vignettes which deal with the various somatic and existential dimensions of human-equine interaction.

My findings are reported at three levels: the somatic or biological, the existential, and the cultural. Each level presents a unique form of physical or existential intertwinement, as reflected in the wide variety of discovered themes. The themes presented in the findings chapter vary widely and include discussions of anatomical fit between horse and rider, asymmetrical bodies, clothing and tack, biomechanics, balance structures, horizontal and vertical planes, the classical horseman’s precise frame of mind, freedom, reversibility between intertwined species, and the acquisition of perceptual grip.

The analysis presented reveals a highly nuanced and multi-faceted interactional space between horses and humans. Indeed, the findings advanced in this dissertation ought to be considered provisional, awaiting further confirmation by future researchers working in this area. At least two things, however, are clear from this study. Merleau-Ponty’s conceptual framework provides an ideal set of concepts for analyzing human-animal interactions, especially in situations where communication across species lines is mediated via the body. And second, phenomenological approaches such as kinesthetic empathy work well in human-animal studies, provided one has a good grasp of animal behavior.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Assessing the Viability of Team Learning with Remedial Students in a Lecture Based Japanese Higher Education Culture"

Brent Duncan, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development


Despite a culture with cooperation as a core value, (Nagao, Takashi, & Okuda, 2011) Japanese higher education generally uses rigid lecture–test teaching models that neither support nor condone small-group learning methods in the classroom. As a result, Japanese college students usually work outside the classroom to develop the collaborative skills necessary to contribute effectively at work and in society (Tsuneyoshi, 2001; McVeigh, 2002). To assess the viability of team-learning methods foreign to Japanese higher education, a mixed methods action study project was conducted with remedial students in a Japanese college.

Called Team Hachi Project, the research found support for the assumption that Japanese college students could increase academic learning and performance through interdependent learning methods. In addition, Team Hachi Project found the following: (a) Group gains can be at the expense of individual accomplishment, however, equitable practices and effective leadership can foster high levels of satisfaction for high-performing individuals in small-group learning environments; (b) strong barriers inhibit the viability of team learning in the college classroom, including traditional context, static method, and lecture-bound instructors.

Team Hachi Project results are significant for higher education because they offer the following: (a) a practical framework for aligning classroom practices with student needs and cultural values; (b) methods for enhancing student ability to contribute at work and in society; (c) illumination of barriers to adaptability in a turbulent environment; (d) approaches for enhancing student performance and satisfaction through interdependent learning processes.

Keywords: team learning, higher education, group dynamics, Japanese higher education, system theory, leadership, organizational behavior, social psychology, change management.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Performance Variation in Assessment Center Simulations"

Patrick James Smith, Fielding's School of Human & Organization Development


This study presents a review of how variation in assessment center (AC) ratings has been regarded among AC scholars and practitioners. The author reiterates the prevailing paradigm within I–O psychology that treats individuals as objects (Weiss & Rupp, 2011) and thus may limit our ability to develop a deep understanding of individual performance (George & Dane, 2011; Mischel, 2004; Orom & Cervone, 2009) that could benefit organizations, AC participants, practitioners, and scholars.

The AC results of 2,968 participants were reviewed to derive a purposive sample of co-researchers in a rarely studied Saudi Arabian leadership population to explain performance variation. The author interviewed 14 AC performance outliers, 13 males and one female, with ages between 28 and 49, who have been with the company from 3 to 22 years. The co-researchers had anywhere from a high school diploma to a medical degree. Each co-researcher had an empirical performance increase (≥95%) or decrease (≤5%) indicated by the simulation vector (simvec), a statistic devised by the author that indicates magnitude and direction of simulation performance reminiscent of the personality signature (Fournier, Moskovitz, & Zuroff, 2008, 2009) and complements the overall assessment rating (OAR).

This study contributes to the literature by answering the call for a creative and more person–centric direction in I-O psychology research (Weiss & Rupp, 2011) to advance understanding of individual (Allport, 1937; Fleeson, 2001) AC performance variation in non-Western cultures (George & Dane, 2011; Lievens, 2002; Phan, 2007; Rupp, Snyder, Gibbons, & Thornton III, 2006; Thornton III & Rupp, 2005). The explanatory sequential mixed method design used in this study addresses the criticism that most research in I-O psychology has been descriptive, not explanatory (Orom & Cervone, 2009). The author further responds to the charge that ACs are a-theoretical (Lievens & Christiansen, 2012) by explicating empirical incidences of performance variation from the perspective of andragogy (Knowles, 1984) with theories such as reflective learning, whole person studies, discriminative facility, interactionism (Hellervik, Hazucha, & Schneider, 1992; Lance, 2008; Phan, 2007; Weiss & Rupp, 2011), and self-theories (Dweck, 2000).

Key Words: Assessment center, AC, performance variation, performance inconsistency, mixed method, reflective learning, transformative learning, whole person studies, person-centric, episodic memory, autobiographical memory, autonoetic awareness, conscious experience, mindfulness, intrinsic motivation, motivation, flow, discriminative facility, interactionism, trait activation theory (TAT), the cognitive affective personality system (CAPS), self-theories, social-cognitive theory, incremental theory, entity theory, simulation vector, simvec, adult development, Saudi Arabia, industrial-organizational psychology.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Evolving Reasons High Technology Firms Outsource: From Cost Saving to Competitive Advantage"

Ly-Huong Thi Pham, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development


Outsourcing is a common management practice in the high technology industry. However, there is no clear consensus about the reasons why firms outsource beyond the generally understood reason of cost saving. There are fewer studies to understand the long-term benefits of this management practice.

This research study offers new insights about the long-term effects of an outsourcing decision by high technology firms. Of particular interest is how this decision influences a high tech firm’s ability to innovate in order to sustain or develop its competitive advantages.

This research is a qualitative study conducted using a hybrid longitudinal panel case studies strategy to analyze the annual reports of seven US high technology firms for a 14-year period from 1997 to 2010. These seven firms are within the top 25 largest public companies, ranked by their market capitalization, listed in the NASDAQ-100. The study proposes a conceptual model, the co-creator index (CCI) to answer the research question: Can outsourced operations that were initially outsourced for cost saving, eventually become competitive advantages themselves? It identifies the underlying factors that may contribute to the evolution of outsourcing decisions within firms and how these factors may link to firms’ competitive advantages. To understand the effects of outsourced activities on firms, the CCI offers a model to explain the evolving reasons from cost saving to competitive advantage by categorizing the four stages of firms’ outsourced activities: sole-creators, subcontractors, collaborators and co-creators. The model also suggests three characteristics that influence the speed in which firms expand outsourcing activities: accelerator, beliefs, and context. The four stages help management to be more aware of the implications of having appropriate internal processes to maximize the benefits of the outsourced activities and the use of internal resources, manage the relationships with outsourced partners, and preserve the value of firms’ know-how as they trade off between the level of control of and reliance on their outsourced partners to deliver firms’ goals.

Keywords: Outsource, offshore, strategy, subcontractor, collaborator, cost saving, innovation, resource allocation, competitive advantage, co-creator index.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Enacting Work Space in the Flow: Sensemaking about Mobile Practices and Blurring Boundaries"

Loni Davis, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development


An increasing portion of the contemporary workforce is using mobile devices to create new kinds of work-space-flows characterized by emergence, liquidity, and the blurring of all kinds of boundaries. This changes the traditional notion of the term workplace. The present study focuses on how people enact and make sense of new work space boundaries enabled by their mobile practices. A unique method of data collection—the use of cultural probes—was adapted to an online format to facilitate participant reflection and documentation of mobile practices. Coupled with in-depth interviews, this methodology enabled the thick description of how individuals enacted spatial, temporal and psychosocial boundaries of work spaces through their mobile practices. Key findings include (a) evidence of the increasing individuation of work space enacted through mobile devices, (b) an observable collapse in the boundaries between work and personal and/or leisure domains, (c) diversity in an individual’s sensemaking about reconstituted lifespace, and (d) evolving social norms as prior office-based norms are called into question. These findings contribute a more accurate picture of the contemporary workplace by providing insight into what kinds of work space, time, and psychosocial structures and flows are emerging through mobile practices—insight that bears on designing, developing, and managing the workplace under conditions of mobile technology use.

Keywords: enactment, mobile practices, boundaries, workplace, emergent organization