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August 25, 2014

The experience and wisdom of the ages remains influential in popular dialogues and literature, and provides scholars with a rich resource of concepts to test through research. 

June 15, 2014
Awareness of individual strengths and weaknesses is a first step toward developing team strategies for more handling inevitable conflicts. By effectively managing conflict we can tap conflict to energize ourselves and others in constructive directions.

KADENA AIR FORCE BASE, OKINAWA -- Members of the Pacific Air Force Civil Engineering Squadron on Kadena Air Base joined Dr. Brent Duncan to discuss building high performace teams in challenging environments. Key topics included:

September 24, 2013

Exploring strategies for building and leading high performance teams in resource-restricted environments.

January 30, 2013

OKINAWA, KADENA AFB, JANUARY 22, 2013 -- As part of the Kadena Air Base Medical Group Professional Development Series, Brent Duncan conducted a workshop on leading individual and organizational change in turbulent environments, and methods for fostering adaptability to enhance human performance and wellness in changing environments. 

 

January 8, 2013

"Degrees will open doors" is a myth that many college students mistakenly accept as entitlement. Students who buy into that myth have a tendency to do the minimum required for earning a degree and fail to develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful at a job. It's like paying for groceries and leaving them at the checkout stand; then expecting to be fed by others once we leave the store.

"I am very disappointed in my choice for a degree. It has left me stranded when looking for work. I am only able to get a $12 per hour job and working two jobs is getting old. Suggestions?"

 

My answer:

March 31, 2012

Brent Duncan's slides and notes for "Leading successful transformation in turbulent environments", the first of two workshops presented to community leaders at the Family Readiness Center on the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.

November 7, 2011

Despite taking an academic tounge lashing for being ineffective, boring, and authoritarian, the  lecture remains the dominant teaching method in higher education. Is it time to retire the lecture for more dynamic methods that develop students for a turbulent environment or does the lecture still have a place in the contemporary classroom? 

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. 

September 12, 2011

Beneath superficial signs of recovery are anxiety and frustration among survivors facing an uncertain future. They are growing increasingly impatient with a government they describe as too slow and without direction.

AP/Kyodo News

TOKYO –  As the world commemorated the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks, Sunday was doubly significant for Japan. It marked six months since the massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11, a date now seared in the national consciousness.
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/09/11/japan-marks-6-months-since-earth...

August 23, 2011

Decades of research into student attrition offers a bevy of conflicting causes and cures for dropouts. However, the consistent factor most research identifies as a key antecedent to student persistence is faculty.

Considering the faculty connection to student persistence, the University of Phoenix College of Undergraduate Business and Management (UBAM or college) conducted internal research to determine best practices for fostering adult-student goal commitment at its San Francisco Bay Area campus. This paper reviews key lessons and limitations the current attrition literature offers for meeting student persistence initiatives in adult higher education environments, summarizes results from focus group research into best practices for helping adult students to achieve academic goals, and proposes research projects for discovering antecedents to adult-student persistence.

Decades   of research into student attrition offers a bevy of conflicting causes and cures for dropouts. However, the consistent factor most research identifies as a key antecedent to student persistence is faculty.

July 20, 2011

A functionally diverse student population has joined the self-directed management-track learners who once dominated adult-oriented universities. Facing classrooms of students with a broadening range of experience, ability and motivation, how can adult educators meet the dynamic needs of individual learners? Integrating contingency leadership models with collaborative learning processes may provide a partial answer that can help adult educators to build dynamic strategies for supporting student performance, satisfaction, and persistence.

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.

July 18, 2011

In spite of living in a society that holds cooperation as a core value, students in the Japanese higher education system typically study in a rigid lecture-test environment that neither supports nor condones collaboration in the classroom. I addressed this cultural cognitive dissonance during a lecture to Hachinohe University faculty about how to use group-learning methods to invigorate student development in traditional higher education.

This article provides the English and Japanese language resources from "Transforming the traditional classroom with team learning: The teacher’s shifting leadership role in collaborative learning environments," a lecture presented by Brent Duncan to the faculty and adminstration of Hachinohe University, Japan on July 13, 2011.

July 16, 2011

Although academic and leadership literature tends to use “team” and “group” synonymously to describe a group of two or more interacting people, proponents of work teams and learning teams generally recognize important differences between groups and teams that can influence how leaders design, implement, and interact with teams. Distinguishing between a team and a group can help teachers to understand the proper leadership for the context.

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.

June 4, 2011

Part 1 of "Perspectives in human development" considers the mechanistic philosophy, which explores questions about what makes people the way they are (Goldhaber, 2000). Those who see through the mechanistic lens see humans as machines (Pepper, 1970) that passively react to internal and external forces over which they have no control (Goldhaber, 2000). Literally, Hunt and Ellis (2004) describe mechanism as "the physics of motion or the study of mechanics", that describes how parts of a system work together to produce phenomena (p. 23). This leads to the assumption that that universal laws of nature govern all natural events, including human development and behavior.  In other words, "We can't help ourselves, it's just the way we are."

Competing "isms" of human development

May 18, 2011

Although general system theory explains how interdependent components work together to make the system more than its subsequent parts (Bertalanffy, 1972), chaos theory explains how tiny variations in initial conditions can have major influence on unfolding events within the system (Capra, 1996; Gleick, 2008) that make prediction a risky, if not impossible process. This essay will explore the nature of chaos theory in systems to discover how the unpredictability of events can be harnessed for real-world applications.

Although general system theory explains how interdependent components work together to make the system more than its subsequent parts (Bertalanffy, 1972), chaos theory explains how tiny variations in initial conditions can have major influence on unfolding events within the system (Capra, 1996; Gleick, 2008) that make prediction a risky, if not impossible process. This essay will explore the nature of chaos theory in systems to discover how the unpredictability of events can be harnessed for real-world applications.

May 17, 2011

Neuroscience is demonstrating that theorists like Freud, Piaget, and Erikson were wrong when they concluded that adulthood marked the end of development and the beginning of decline to death. To the contrary, emerging discoveries are showing how adulthood is a time of new possibility with immense potential to nurture.

May 17, 2011

Presentation given at the Misawa International Education Conference. Addresses the following questions: What are the threats and opportunities for adult development in the emerging economy? How does brain development create personal growth opportunities throughout life? How can being aware of developing brain function and capacity help individuals manage personal development, health, and performance?
 

Presentation given at the Misawa International Education Conference. Addresses the following questions:

May 3, 2011

Dynamic and diverse student needs require that the instructor build a flexible leadership style and a versatile toolkit for building a dynamic learning environment in which learners can recognize value, regardless of their learning stage.

April 29, 2011

Summary

 

April 27, 2011

Exploring the evolution of leadership thought from ancient times to contemporary research provides rich perspectives that provide today's leaders with insight, awareness, and tools for enhancing their ability to influence others.

Note: This post is an excerpt from Leadership Perspectives by Brent Duncan, an unpuplished paper.

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