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Content about Academia

December 1, 2011

From a practical perspective, asking if an organization that fits its environment will perform better than an organization that does not seems to make as much sense as asking if an individual who is qualified for a job will perform better than a person who is not. However, in the world of organizational studies, structural contingency researchers give considerable thought to understanding the environmental factors that influence organizational effectiveness, while often failing to prove a connection between fit and performance (March & Sutton, 1997) and not adequately considering managerial choice as a factor driving organizational fit. Contingency theorists argue that an organization that adapts to its environment will perform better than an organization that does not (Donaldson, 1996) and that mismatched characteristics within organizational configurations will prevent an organization from achieving natural harmony with its environment that will lead to better performance (Mitzberg, 1981). 

October 21, 2011

For as long as we have been around, humans have organized to survive, accomplish goals, build societies, and win battles. Even though organizations played an increasingly definitive role in human activity as history advanced, organizational theory did not emerge as a field of inquiry until the mid twentieth century. Since then a confusing array of disparate perspectives have emerged to compete for attention in a fractious field. Some of these competing views seem to prove partially valid in some situations, but most have failed to meet the demands of empirical analysis and increasingly dynamic environments (David & Marquis, 2005). Today, organizational theorists attempt to provide people with ways to understand, predict, and influence behavior in organizations (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005) by adapting flexible frameworks that can explain dynamic organizations in dynamic environments. 

July 20, 2011

Understanding leadership is no longer a matter of isolating elements, behaviors, traits, or situations. In the new science, building blocks disappear and the unseen connections among separate entities become the “fundamental ingredient of creation” 

Even with thousands of scientific studies and unlimited writings on leadership, the complexity of leadership remains a mystifying concept. Emerging thought and discoveries in psychology, neurology, quantum physics, and complexity theory are providing new perspectives that could either illuminate the nature of leadership or illuminate the reasons why leadership is such an elusive process.

June 29, 2011

Organizational development practitioners are shifting from episodic change to continuous change process to enhance adaptability in increasingly turbulent environments. Although some researchers tend to present episodic and continuous change processes as mutually exclusive, both appear to be different perspectives on the same phenomena. Episodic change processes provide a macro level perspective on planned processes leaders implement to address failings, threats, or opportunities. Continuous change provides a micro level perspective on the unplanned changed processes that naturally occur through the dynamic interaction of people, process, technology, and environment. This paper compares analyzes episodic and continuous perspectives on change, concluding that understanding the definition, theoretical foundations, and practical applications of both provides leaders with a more complete picture of change that helps them to more effectively manage adaptability in turbulent environments.

June 28, 2011

Historical approaches to planned change typically offer prepackaged processes for driving changes to achieve organizational goals. However, the complexity of dynamically interacting and divergent forces at work in and around organizations limit the possibility of selecting one single approach for a change intervention. Seo, Putnam, and Bartunek (2004) offer the concepts of duality and tension to explain the dynamics of change and the implications of divergent approaches to change. A dichotomous perspective does not adequately represent reality, but dualities serve a valuable function for helping change practitioners to understand that managing duality is a key to “grasping the complexities and dynamics of planned change” (p. 102). To understand the key perspectives that have guided OD, I will consider key OD perspectives through the concept of dualities. I will then consider central debates and assumptions of OD change approaches against the duality and tension framework suggested by Seo, et al, and will conclude by suggesting that a dichotomous perspective can be limiting, but offers a way to understand how to balance multiple dualities that underlie complex change dynamics.

April 29, 2011



January 17, 2011

The truths in the field of social psychology seem as disparate as those that drive countless ideological perspectives in the traditional realm. This creates a discipline for which “There are almost as many definitions of social psychology as there are social psychologists” (Aronson, 1972,  p. 4). To the outsider, the field of social psychology may seem to be little more than people with competing perspectives applying fancy words to truths that have been known throughout history.