Let’s face it – 2020 has been a tough year for many people. And so, I’m sure that many people are looking forward to 2021 and hoping that this coming year is better.
In my December 2019 blog, I discussed how Santa Claus uses the management style of operational excellence to travel around the world on Christmas Eve. In keeping with the holiday theme for my December 2020 blog, I will talk about a businessperson who manages an organization and who is often associated with this season: Ebenezer Scrooge.
It is obvious that there have been a lot of challenges confronting people around the world during the pandemic. One specific challenge of COVID that impacts many people is a decreased ability to communicate.
Operational Excellence (OE) is a management philosophy that focuses on improvement, problem solving, and waste reduction in organizations. A strong focus on this philosophy is not too common at many academic institutions and so Saint Vincent is lucky to offer this unique perspective at the undergraduate (minor) and graduate (OE emphasis in the MS in Management) levels. Those schools that do focus on OE tend to have programs in the engineering departments. At Saint Vincent, ours resides in the business department. A reason for this difference is that our program is more focused on people and culture as well as implications of OE throughout an organization.
In a blog that I wrote in September 2016, I discussed why fall is my favorite season. Reflecting on my sentiments from four years ago and thinking about this upcoming semester at Saint Vincent, fall still remains my favorite time of the year though this semester will definitely feel different than prior years for a variety of reasons.
Some people seem to naturally elicit trust in others. If you do a search on the internet for trustworthy famous people, for example, you will find lists that include the likes of Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Betty White and James Earl Jones. Locally in Latrobe, hometown heroes Arnold Palmer and Fred Rogers are viewed as exemplars of trustworthiness. On the other hand, there are also many examples of people that some individuals might consider to be non-trustworthy, but I will not mention them here in order to focus more on the positive.
While at home during the pandemic, I have been fortunate to be able to work on a few big projects related to the academic study of leadership (I am excited to share details of these projects soon). As I have been digging into the research on leadership, I have been thinking a lot about what makes a good leader.
I very rarely talk in my blog about current events but will make an exception this month. The COVID-19 global pandemic impacts each of us. First, I want to share my hope for a quick recovery for those who have contracted the virus. And I would like to express my sincere sympathies to all who are directly impacted by having lost a loved one to this disease.
There has been a long tradition in the academic study of management that considers what makes people engage in work. In my sub-field of organizational behavior, this idea of motivation is one of the most important topics of research. The classic Theories X and Y (McGregor & Cutcher-Gershenfeld, 1960) consider the nature of people when it comes to engaging in tasks.
A person’s task performance is, in essence, how well she or he accomplishes the crucial functions of a role (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). This, of course, can be learning a concept for a student, serving the community in a positive way for a volunteer or doing a major job duty in the workplace for an employee. As someone who studies workplace behaviors, I can attest that it’s crucial for managers to recognize good employee performance.