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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

Why Organizational Culture is Important

Posted by Michael Urick on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 15:09 PM

Creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values all employees is crucial for organizations (and society as a whole). Yet, we constantly hear news of racism, sexism, bigotry, discrimination and other forms of marginalization in our country and in our organizations.

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Topics: workplace culture, organizational culture, multicultural organization

The Role of Experts

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 @ 10:08 AM

This summer, I’ve been quite busy working on projects and presenting at conferences related to the topic of intergenerational interactions at work, my primary area of academic research. While attending the Academy of Management annual meeting in Atlanta, the most prestigious international conference for management academics where a Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence student (Alperen Arslantas) and I presented on this topic, we interacted with many other experts in the broad field of management.  Throughout this and my other experiences this summer, I’ve been contemplating the role of experts.

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Topics: experts, influencers, teachers, knowledge, learning, growth

The Importance of Heroes

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Jul 17, 2017 @ 10:07 AM

In popular culture, we have been bombarded by superhero movies featuring characters such as Wonder Woman and Captain America.  Yet, heroes aren’t just fictional characters and they don’t all wear capes.  In fact, I was inspired to write on the topic of heroes after my band performed an opening set for some of my personal musical heroes, a 90’s-era swing band from California named Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, late in June.  My band used their music as an inspiration as we fine-tuned our sound over the years.  I was also inspired to write about this topic after providing a keynote presentation to the Westmoreland Human Resource Association annual conference whose theme this year was “The HR Superhero.” From this conference, I realized that the concept of “heroes” is useful in the workplace.

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Topics: Michael Urick, heroes, managers, disney hero, hercules, workplace

Sailing the Seven Seas of Management

Posted by Michael Urick on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 @ 14:06 PM

Ahoy!  I really enjoy the summer movie season because I love watching big-budget popcorn flicks.  I’m a fan of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise (Walt Disney Pictures, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2017; IMBD 2017), so I was really excited to see the new film, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” that came out recently.

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Topics: workplace culture, Pirates of the Caribbean, management

Combating Workplace Drama

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, May 11, 2017 @ 15:05 PM

Many people love drama, even though some may not want to admit that fact.  Drama is why some viewers are glued to reality TV, social media or celebrity gossip stories.  Even though drama can be entertaining in the media, it can be disastrous if it exists in the workplace.  Yet, workplace drama is so common that several blog readers asked me to address this issue here.

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Topics: Michael Urick, how to deal with drama at work, conflict at work, workplace culture, organizational culture, drama in the workplace, workplace relationships

Why Work: Money or Vocation?

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

For centuries, humanity has grappled with deeply philosophical questions.  What is the meaning of life?  Why am I here?  Perhaps not surprisingly is that organizational behaviorists have asked similarly complex questions.  What is the purpose of work?  Why do people engage in particular tasks for the benefit of their employers?

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Topics: Michael Urick, don quixote, Elaine Hollensbe, vocation of the business leader, moana, beauty and the beast, Working by Terkel, motivation

The Challenges of Being an Introvert

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

Many people who are my acquaintances (that is, we’re friends or colleagues but don’t know each other extremely well on a personal level) are sometimes surprised to find out that I consider myself to be an introvert.  They see me as someone who is a regular presenter seemingly comfortable at public speaking in class or at conferences, often attends social functions where I appear at ease when networking, and has no problem singing or playing trumpet in front of a group of people with my band.

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Topics: networking, Michael Urick, mentoring, personalty traits, introverts

Three Paradoxes of Organizational Leadership

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 @ 15:02 PM

A paradox is something unexpected – a phenomenon that, at its surface, may seem counterintuitive or even illogical. Many theories within my discipline (organizational behavior) could be considered to be paradoxical in nature, including concepts related to leadership. In this month’s blog, I explore three paradoxes of leadership.

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Topics: Michael Urick, Operational Excellence, leadership, organizational leadership, paradoxes, Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Teamwork in Your Life and in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Posted by Michael Urick on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 @ 11:01 AM

A long time ago (1977 to be exact), in a galaxy not so far away … Tuckman and Jensen developed a famous model of team development that has become popularized in virtually every modern organizational behavior textbook. It’s so well known for a very good reason – it makes sense as every team goes through the model’s stages of forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.

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Topics: Star Wars, pop culture, Michael Urick, teamwork, teams, Rogue One

Understanding the Context of Leadership – Advice from Classic Country and Jazz Musicians

Posted by Michael Urick on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 @ 10:12 AM

As I mentioned in previous posts, music is a big passion in my life and I often try to look for linkages between music and my academic interests related to organizational behavior – including leadership studies.

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Topics: Michael Urick, leadership, Kenny Rogers, Glenn Miller, country music, The Gambler, jazz

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Assistant Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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