Thursday, February 27, 2014

Innovative Organizations as Capable Cognitive Systems: Development and Validation of the Innovation Quotient Inventory (INQ-I)

Brett Richards, Fielding's School of Psychology

This study examines theoretical factors that influence an organization’s ability to innovate and presents as well the development and introduction of an empirical tool called the Innovation Quotient Inventory (INQ-I) which assesses, in practice, an organization’s overall innovative capability.
Organizations are viewed as uniquely positioned cognitive systems striving to achieve intelligent action. The presence of an underlying cognitive architecture is examined through the introduction and quantitative examination of a new theoretical model used to uncover an organization’s cognitive, or archic style. Distinct from individual and group cognitive styles, an organization’s archic style is studied to determine how it might influence an organization’s ability to innovate.
The findings demonstrate that the INQ-I offers a reliable and valid approach to assessing an organization’s innovative capability. Viewing innovation as a whole-system phenomenon offers organizations a unique perspective to understanding the factors that influence its overall innovative potential.
The findings also point to the presence of an underlying cognitive architecture which serves to shape and direct an organization’s approach to innovation. Further, the results indicate that it is possible and instructive to make an organization’s cognitive architecture explicit through the expression of its archic (cognitive) style.

Key words: Organizational innovation, cognition, cognitive styles, cognitive strategies, organizational systems, open adaptive systems, cognitive complexity, organizational change, innovation and affect, organizational effectiveness.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Triggering Transformative Possibilities: A Case Study of Leaders’ Quest in China

Kenzie Lau-Kwong, Fielding’s school of Human &Organization Development

This study explored the nature of transformative learning experiences among global executives who participated in Quest program, a learning journey program designed to facilitate shifting mindsets and worldviews through one-week intensives in countries such as China. A mixed methods, multiple case study approach was employed. First, a secondary analysis of existing documentation on China Quest participants yielded ten particular individuals who displayed convincing evidence of what one might describe as “transformative learning.” Next, semi-structured interviews were conducted to uncover more fully the nature of each participant’s experience, and possible triggers, which might have elicited transformative learning. Participants from seven countries of origin (five men and five women) reflected both business and non business societal sectors.

The analysis revealed that seven of ten participants clearly displayed transformative learning emanating from their China Quest experiences. The nature of their experiences is displayed through an application of selected concepts that arose from a critical review of transformative learning (TL) theory, intercultural inquiry, and critical reflection through the lens of Confucian thinking. The overarching outcomes are organized as an illuminated understanding of self, and illuminated understanding of others, leading to significant shifts in participants’ belief systems and worldviews. The findings highlight the relevance of private and open reflection, cognitive, affective, and deeply connected experiences. It is evident also that contextual precursors (such as a safe place to share, and vulnerable moments) were essential factors in fostering the possibility of a transformative experience.

The empirical evidence challenges the current attitude within TL theory that such shifts are either epochal or incremental. The study shows that it is the feeling of time as compacted rather than total time on task that mattered. The research also reinvigorates critical reflection as a regular practice and the value of reflecting in silence, a central component of Confucian teaching.

The study concludes by advancing a new model for Leaders’ Quest learning journeys that includes informative learning, bracketed time, and lived experience as emergent components, which are not well developed in transformative learning theory. This reflects the efficacy of applying rigorous empirical case study to topics relevant to emerging scholar-practitioners.

Key Words: adult and transformative learning, intercultural experience, critical reflection, lived experience, case study, Leaders’ Quest, model of learning journey, transformative triggers, Confucianism

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Teaching Music as a Cross-Disciplinary Approach to Reinforce Academic Skills in Grades 6-12: A Study of Integrated Instructional Strategies

Enetta Nelson Rose, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change

Instructional strategies or pedagogical methods are essential components of a teacher’s quality and effectiveness in increasing student achievement while meeting the diverse learning needs their students. The mandate of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 emphasized improving curriculum standards and instructional strategies, which has resulted in decreased opportunities for the arts. The movement of the Common Core State Curriculum Standards (2010) initiated the utilization of cross-disciplinary instruction through transferring concepts from one discipline to the next. Research (Catteral, Chapleau, & Iwanaga, 1999; Smithrim & Upitis, 2005; & Spelke, 2004) integrating the arts and academics has demonstrated the academic benefits of cross-disciplinary pedagogy. “Preparation of educators for cross-disciplinary pedagogy is an area that needs development” (Mosseri, 2006, p.1). This study will focus on pedagogical strategies as an approach to integrated instruction between the music and the academic disciplines. This study employed an action research mixed method design. The quantitative data consisted of 303 Survey Monkey responses to a questionnaire from music teachers in Texas. Qualitative data consisted open-ended questions on the questionnaire and 10 interviews with music teachers. Results indicated a positive attitude toward interdisciplinary instruction with respect to teaching music. However, teachers reported a lack of training in pre-service university courses and professional development regarding interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary instruction. They also reported a lack of support for interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary instruction within the schools and school systems with which they worked. Recommendations for practice and teacher preparation are included.

Key Words: Effective pedagogy, cross-disciplinary instruction, interdisciplinary instruction, pre-service teacher education program, professional development, teacher evaluation, integrated instruction, authentic literacy, learning communities.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Faculty Experiences, Perceptions, and the Factors that Influence the Use of E-learning Technologies in the Classroom

Rosalina Burgos-Gil, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change

The rapid growth of e-learning technologies in higher education challenges university faculty to make their teaching relevant in these new contexts. As e-learning technologies are widely available, faculty members integrated them to their teaching repertoire. Several researchers discussed the impact of e-learning technologies on teaching and learning from the students’ perspective, but few studies addressed the faculty point of view. This qualitative study fills this gap by sharing the experiences of faculty members who use an open-sourced learning management system in their face-to-face courses, their perceptions of its impact on teaching and learning, and the factors that support or hinder its integration. The study took place in a small campus from the public university system in Puerto Rico, with a group of 13 faculty members. The research methodology consisted of semi-structured interviews that helped gather information regarding the participants’ experiences and perceptions integrating Moodle in the classroom. The interviews were digitally recorded and a research assistant was hired to transcribe them. After reviewing each transcript multiple times, I coded and analyzed those using descriptive codes to link text passages with ideas and developed a codebook to ensure consistency applying the codes. The analysis process confirmed some of the ideas explored in the literature review, and new themes emerged, with questions for future research. The study findings demonstrate that (a) the majority of the participants use Moodle for the distribution of documents and resources, some use it for evaluation and others for teaching, but only three participants use it also for community building beyond the classroom; (b) the participants find Moodle useful in the teaching process and to enhance learning, but they need additional knowledge and skills to foster interactive, collaborative learning; (c) the participants’ personal and professional dispositions are the internal factors that promote engagement with Moodle; and (d) the most important external factors that influence the use of Moodle in the classroom are related to the students’ lack of technological literacy in the academic context and the limited institutional support that is available. In conclusion, the participants do not use Moodle to its full potential, most of them use it from a teaching-centered perspective, and they need further institutional support structures and resources to encourage the kind of teaching and learning expected in the 21st century. The limitations of the study are included, along with implications for practice and further research.

Key Words: e-learning technologies, blended learning, faculty perspective, technology in the classroom, higher education, internal factors, external factors

Thursday, February 13, 2014

No Stranger Danger! Immediate and Short-Term Effects Of Infant Social Referencing

Karim Afzal, Fielding's School of Psychology

The following questions in the infant social referencing literature are examined: What are the immediate effects of happy-stranger/neutral-mother and angry-stranger/neutralmother dyadic interactions on infant behavioral reactivity? What are the short-term retention effects of the stranger-mother dyadic interactions on the infants’ subsequent behavioral reactions towards the stranger they observed? Twenty 14-month-old infants (10 girls, 10 boys) were examined for their behavioral reactivity towards a neutral (control) stranger who attempted to engage the infants in a play activity (Neutral Stranger-Infant Episode). Next, in a social referencing paradigm, infants were examined for their behavioral reactivity towards happy (i.e., positive) or angry (i.e., negative) stranger expressed emotions directed at their mothers, while their mothers responded neutrally (Emotional Stranger-Mother Episode). Lastly, following a delay of 30 seconds, infants were examined in their behavioral reactivity towards the stranger they observed (happy or angry) when the stranger attempted a play activity (Emotional Stranger-Infant Episode). Mixed between-within MANOVAs were used to evaluate measures of infants’ behavioral reactivity, including their attention (e.g., Stranger, Neither), proximity (e.g., Play/stranger, Mother & Table), and affect (e.g., Very Positive, Neutral, Negative). For attention, proximity, and affect, results revealed no interactions or between-subjects main effects, but there were repeated measure main effects for the episodes. Further, infants’ attention towards Stranger was highest during the Neutral Stranger-Infant Episode, followed by the Emotional Stranger-Infant Episode, and then by the Emotional Stranger- Mother Episode. Infants’ proximity within Play was highest during the Emotional Stranger-Infant Episode, followed by the Neutral Stranger-Infant Episode. Infants’ Positive affect was highest during the Neutral Stranger-Infant Episode, followed by the Emotional Stranger-Mother Episode. Taken together, the implications of these results are that infants exposed to angry-stranger/neutral-mother versus happy-stranger/neutralmother interactions are not affected differently in their behavioral reactivity, and both groups of infants are likely to engage with their respective stranger.

Keywords: Infant social referencing, social-emotional development, stranger

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Making Meaning of Existential Perspectives: Pentagon Survivors Share Stories of September 11, 2001

Jeraline C. Shields, Fielding's School of Human & Organizational Development

This study examined the experiences of Pentagon employees who survived the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on their workplace. Six participants provided individual stories of their human experiences. One-on-one interviews were used to gather data, which was analyzed using thematic analysis. Findings indicated that survivors who did not sustain physical injuries also had not received psychological evaluation or care. Social trauma of that magnitude required my awareness of the impact on participants to revisit elements associated with the experience. Unexpected traumatic experience through survivors’ stories added to literature descriptions and meanings of individual employees in the United States. Trauma experience stories by people of various cultural development uncovered their support systems, coping techniques, and delved into stories which surfaced questions about the psychological and sociological impact of unexpected trauma on human life beyond this study. Patriotism, employee group cohesiveness, family support, and grief, duty, and dedication to the employees who died and were physically injured were responsible for Pentagon employee survivors’ resilience to immediately pick up the pieces after the attack and beyond to continue to carry out the mission of the United States government.

Key Words: terrorism, trauma, resilience, terrorists, psychological aspects, Pentagon

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rumi’s Poetry: The Journey Toward Meaning And Transformation

Fariba Enteshari, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change

This research examined how Rumi’s poetry impacts the lives of individuals who study his teachings, written 800 years ago in his masterpiece, Mathnawi. After teaching Rumi for the last 15 years, I was aware of positive changes in my students’ lives but wanted a more in-depth understanding of what drew the students to Rumi’s poetry and the impact of studying the poetry on the students’ lives. Fourteen experienced students, and 14 students who were new to the study of Rumi participated. I used a grounded analytical approach to analyze the new students’ reflections written during a study workshop as well as in-depth interviews with all students.

The findings show that students drawn to study Rumi’s poetry were searching for more meaning and understanding of themselves and their lives. As they engaged with the core concepts of Rumi’s poetry, they felt validated and comforted by the affirmation they received. Students were able to reconcile their religious beliefs as they incorporated Rumi’s teachings into their lives. They also felt moved and enriched by the beauty of the language and imagery of the poetry. Students were able to understand themselves and others better and find a deeper meaning in their lives. Students need continuity in practicing what they learned to stay in touch with the wisdom that they gained during the lectures.

Key Words: Wisdom Studies, Sufism, Persian Poetry, Jala Al Din Rumi, Rumi’s teachings, Rumi’s poetry, Islamic Iranian Mysticism, Transformational Learning

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Lived Experience of Very Long-Term Cancer Survivors: Meaning-Making and Meanings Made

Joan Marie Frye, Fielding's School of Psychology

The purpose of this research was to understand the lived experience of very long-term cancer survivors, adults living past a cancer diagnosis for more than 10 years. The aims were to learn how very long-term survivors identify in relation to cancer, how they have changed, both positively and negatively, and how they make meaning of their cancer experience.

Interpretative phenomenological analysis, successfully used in health psychology research was the chosen method. Six very long-term cancer survivors, with various types of cancer, participated in a semi-structured interview to provide the data for the analysis.

Four meta-themes emerged: Cancer as Trauma, Relationship with the Medical Profession, Normality in Cancer Survivorship, and Cancer Changed Me. The four subthemes included in Cancer as Trauma were Diagnosis and Treatment, Facing Death, Cancer and Stigma, and Need for Support. Relationship with the Medical Profession included Trust and Distrust and Taking Control. Normality in Cancer Survivorship included Cancer as Context, Not Defined by Cancer, Aging through the Lens of Cancer, and Learning to Cope. Finally, Cancer Changed Me included Meanings-Made, Positive Growth, and Negative Effects.

Four meanings were categorized in the Meanings-Made subtheme: A challenge/ just part of life, A demanding teacher, A wake-up call, and I’m not in charge. Five themes were categorized under the subtheme Positive Growth: Increased appreciation for life/gratitude, Changed priorities and keeping things in perspective, Growth in personal strength and self-confidence, Increased caring for others/altruism, Increased spirituality, and Taking care of oneself and improved health behaviors. A mini theory of very long-term cancer survivorship was developed which clarified interconnections and relationships among the primary findings A graphic illustration of this mini theory was presented.

Generally, very long-term survivors reported living a fairly normal life with little impact of cancer. However, three female survivors of breast cancer and one male survivor of prostate cancer reported experiencing stigma related to body changes and loss of physical functioning. Aging, noted as a concern by all the survivors, was often difficult to distinguish from the effects of cancer. All of cancer survivors reported making meaning of their cancer experience, as well as experiencing posttraumatic growth.

Key Words: cancer, cancer survivor, very long-term, identity, posttraumatic growth, meaning-making, lived experience, phenomenological, interpretative phenomenological analysis