Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Critical Issues for Corporate Board Rooms

This AOM session was conducted by some of the successful business authors and consultants of today including Jay Conger (Claremount McKenna College), Dan Dalton(Indiana University), Edward Lawler (USC) , Richard Leblanc (York University) and Michael Useem (Wharton).

The major issues included: 1). The separation of CEO and Chairman (usually they are the same person), 2). Selection of Directors, and 3). The evaluation of Directors.

1). There were conflicting views concerning the separation of CEO and Chairman. View A argued that the Chairman should be an outsider because they will be less conflicted and have an unbiased perspective when it comes to making decisions and setting compensation. This should be a genuine outsider not the former CEO or connected member of the community. Then the outside Chairman and current CEO should work closely to make decisions and guide the board of directors. View B argued that this separation will lead to a disconnect in thought and ideas. The outside Chairman would not be able to obtain a sufficient amount of information to adequately guide the board. Dan Dalton discussed this view and stated that there needs to be a unified front.

2). All agreed that there should be a list of all of the needed competencies for a board. That list of competencies should then be matched to the current directors. Competencies lacking directors representation should illustrate selection criteria for new directors. I thought this sounded all good and great until I talked with the current CEO of a international retail organization who told me that they did just that. According to best practices this should have produced the best and most effective board. However, it did not. The board is less effective because ever issue is argued upon. There future plans involved maintaining some diversity while reducing the total size of the board. This goes to show that best practices don’t always work in the real world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

AOM Conference

While in Chicago I attended several symposiums, paper sessions and discussions concerning research and practice in organizations. Some of the sessions are not worth talking about because they were too uninteresting to even sit through (although I did).
Moral Self and Spiritual Attributes:

This session was extremely interesting because it focused on two major topics in today’s business world. First, the authors discussed ethical leadership and values orientated workers. With all of the current scandals taking place throughout our nation I found this extremely relevant. Denise Daniels from Seattle Pacific University presented empirical research examining why some people seem to find ethical tension in many situations while others don’t. She modified the criteria from Richard Niebuhr’s “Christ and Culture” to examine how people viewed God in the real world. Her results illustrated that moral identity moderates the relationship between moral self and ethical sensitivity. So, if you view that the world is good and you experience good around you will be less sensitive to ethical issues than if you view the world as good but experience lots of ethical issues.

James Westerman of Appalachian State investigated if the type of God you believe in impacts the workplace. You could have a view that God is engaging and supporting or God is judging. The results illustrated that if you view God as engaging and supporting than you were more conscientious with your work and performed better than if you viewed God as judging. Further results illustrated that if you viewed God as benevolent you would have a low external locus of control and a view of an authoritarian God elicited the most unethical behavior among all views of God. I thought this was really interesting because we as Americans are always trying to be so politically correct and separate work from religion. This research empirically illustrates that we can’t separate the two and more importantly our views of God affects our work and our employees work.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Surprises around every corner!

I had a great day interning today. The boss started me on a great project reviving and developing an additional product that they want to add to their tool box. One of the PhDs met with me to introduce the project. I had not met this PhD yet and it was great. Were we so engaged in idea generation and discussion that we caught ourselves in this meeting for 2 hours. Plus the surprise was that this man started working here sense I was born and when he laughed his mouth and sound reminded me of my grandma (God bless you soul). It was wonderful because he laughed a lot during our discussion and each time I was reminded of her. I think it is so surprising because I can’t even describe my grandmother’s laugh or smile or teeth but there I was seeing it in him. It immediately made me like everything he said.

So go forth and look for surprises in people and maybe you’ll surprise yourself in the processes.