Archive for December, 2009

ACT: Transcending Yourself and Others

The article “Changing Others Through Changing Ourselves” by Quinn, Spreitzer, and Brown initially had me feeling like this was going to be a very interesting article about helping business leaders get beyond typical human functioning and learn how make the office a better working environment.  However, as I delved further and further into the article it became less about the business of business leaders and more about how leaders such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and even Jesus are to be emulated in the spirit of transcending themselves to help others.  It was at this point the article began to lose me in how it relates to current business leaders and practices.

I am not saying that I do not believe that ACT’s 10 principles are not something that business professional can use to begin the process of office change but I do believe that their references to those power and influential leaders was a bit over the top.  Furthermore, for the article to expound all this information about how wonderful these principles are and how they were used by Gandhi, King, and Jesus only to later contradict itself and say that ACt actually leads to failure is misguiding. 

The theories behind ACT do have some validity in the workplace.  There are definitely some core principles in the ACT theory that i do believe can help business leaders transcend the typical business leader persona.  However, the article was unclear as to how to actually apply these skills and make the cross over to the corporate world.

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Sounds of Silence

This article by Morrison and Milliken is an interesting article amount something that i think is the most difficult office relationship to overcome.  That is silence among the employees when dealing with the manager.  “Organizational Silence” can be extremely detrimental to the success of the team and the company that it operating with it.  Organizational silence can lead to serious problems with the workplace, such as: reduced employee motivation, withdrawal, high turnover, and cognitive dissonance. 

These actions and results all stem from a few major organization theories.  The first is that top manager fear hearing negative feedback from subordinates.  obviously if they were a good manager they would be encouraging their subordinates to give them feedback so that improvements can be made.  Also, be encouraging feedback they are building a trusting relationship between the manager and the employee.  Next is that managers believe that most employees are self-interested and untrustworthy.  This again goes with the idea that managers want to build a trusting relationship with the employee so that they feel that they have some ownership or stake in the company.  Also, this creates a tension between the employee because they feel put down and undervalued. 

In general, there is never a good silence in the workplace.  However, there are ways in which managers can begin to counteract and eliminate “organizational science”.  They can begin by continuously encouraging employees to give feedback.  They also need to positively reinforce people giving feedback so that is no longer has a negative connotation around it.  This is not an easy process or one that can be fixed quickly.  This takes time and a lot of effort to regain and that trust.