Innovation and Leadership 2.0

From students in the classrooms to business professionals in the boardroom, everyone appears to be “staying in the know” using their PDAs and iPhones. Although social technology and collaborative software advancements continue to evolve, leadership practices, on the other hand, appear to be stuck in the epistemic mire of the transactional-transformational charismatic preaching caveat emptor in a business as usual corporeality creating significant barriers to market entry. It is indeed unfortunate but management’s reception to collaboration and socio-technology thus far, appears to have been approach-avoidance, at best, diminishing opportunities for innovation other than clever recordkeeping. Further complicating the advancement of collaborative technology is, not all collaborative platforms are true Socio-technical systems. True STS are self-regulating systems and this approach threatens the current leadership paradigm. As such, to date, the adoption of collaborative technology is often closely regulated by management. And strict regulation inhibits buy-in and participation from organizational members. Accordingly, socio-technology disrupts the generative dance of leadership’s sublime endeavor; pursuing personal power, authority and wealth. Nevertheless, socio-technical systems are not a socialistic ruse for redistributing wealth but rather, STS present brilliant opportunities for organizational learners to co-create a cycle of sustained innovation for competitive advantage. The twenty-first century organizational leader will need to acquire skills that align with the social-technical environ; These skills include a commitment to authentic, honest and open evaluation, communication, education, collaboration and innovation.
What do you think?

Comments:

MarkLED501
October 5th, 2009 at 7:37 am

Mark Turner:
LED-501-ONA7 Fall 2009
Week 7: Devotion/Affirmation
There is a profound relationship that must occur to become the leader that I desire to be. Additionally, as I walk each day, I desire the wisdom to advise, counsel, and make decisions. I also must overcome my inner personality to increase my compassion for others in a way that is pleasing to God. Charles C. Manz says that, “there is a call for a wise and compassionate leader”. He was describing the desire we all have to gain practical knowledge that will allow us to walk with Jesus. He later says that, “The first step to becoming an effective leader is to look in the mirror and master the art of leading yourself to lay the foundation for helping others do the same.” This insight provides vision towards the goals that I have set for myself and the aspirations of my subordinates and peers. Though I can be pragmatic at times, I always try to find the good in people and learn their abilities and constraints. I have devoted a lot of time and effort trying to relate job performance to individual preferences in order for others to be placed in the right position for future success. My devotion is to be a “light” at my job and a friend that follows “The Great Commission”:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Throughout my time in this course I have had to overcome certain challenges. However, I have had the support and understanding of my family while I kept the kitchen table occupied and engaged in a number of late night school efforts. I have gained and understanding of leadership theory, team dynamics, transactional-transformational leadership, ethics, change management, collaboration, communities of practice, leader-member exchange, and the components of the new leadership paradigm. Each of these topics have given me ideas and pieces to the leadership puzzle to help develop not only my own characteristics, but a vision to include Godly wisdom in all that I do. Therefore, my affirmation prayer is simple, yet direct:
God… Thank you for the grace and mercy that you provide to all your children. Thank you for the things that we take for granted and do not understand. You are worthy of our praise and worship in all that we do. Forgive me of my transgressions and allow me to seek favor in your eyes. Help me to become the person who you want me to be and grant me wisdom when I am in need. Provide me with the tools to be of assistance and help me to recognize the conflicts that tear us apart so that I may seek your Word for guidance and resolution. Show me the way and bring me safely to the other side. Bless those that struggle daily, as I do, and bless their families for their understanding and support. Allow me the privilege to work in your kingdom and the time to make my efforts bear fruit. Give me strength when I am weak and forbearance in times of chaos. Touch those that have been a light unto me and bring peace to their heart and to the world. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen.

One last thing… To my classmates: I hope to be with each of you in LED502 so that we can continue to share our fellowship while providing feedback to each other. It has been an honor to receive notes from you and I feel blessed to have gotten to know you albeit via text. I wish the best for you and God’s blessing on you and your families. Thanks!
Mark

MarkLED501
October 5th, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Mark Turner:
Week 7: Walk the Talk Blog
Reflexive learning response to Making Quality/Ethical Decisions in Times of Change posted by John on April 5th, 2008 on http://www.walkthetalk.org under Ethics.
Chris McDonald, Ph.D. comments that, “Anyone who talks about business-ethics as if it’s conflict-free, or as if it’s just about achieving ever-higher levels of niceness in commerce, is glossing over some very important questions” (McDonald, 2009). Dr. McDonald contends that there are many questions still out there concerning ethics in today’s business environment; an environment fueled by the influx of data and external “white noise” created by human social patterns. A summary of a walkthetalk.org blog on business ethics, as it relates to quality decision making, and the current environment of expanding socio-technical systems (STS) will show that people, not technology, will be the agents of future change.

“Transformation” is synonymous with alterations or changes in the technical environment. Even though we have gone through a number of evolutionary changes in technical systems, we have ultimately managed the flow of information through restructuring or system adaptation. The walkthetalk.org blog post entitled “Making Quality/Ethical Decisions in Times of Change” notes that “we are bombarded with stimuli including, email, instant messaging, voice conference calls, webinars, net meetings, text messaging, and cell phone calls” (Walkthetalk.org , 2008). It is also true that decisions from the team level all the way to corporate management have also changed from single discussion-based decision-making to adhoc multi-tasking of this stimuli, which has deteriorated some aspects of business ethics. However, emerging technologies, sparked from new forms of competitive advantages, are leveraging new and innovative information systems to increase productivity, reduce decision cycle time, and match ethical policies. This need for increased speed has become a contention for most, suggesting that when decisions are needed quickly we lose quality thinking along the way. Good decision-making relies on the knowledge, experience, and wisdom of the decision maker. Additionally, the decision maker must have a forum of like-thinkers to infuse communities of practice to validate the decision hypothesis. However, as noted by the walkthetalk.org blog post, “decisions are of lesser quality due to time pressures, coupled with the expectation that decisions must be made quickly… preventing the focus on one issue at a time to allow more time for thought, reflection, and consideration of alternatives.” (Walkthetalk.org , 2008). Though these assumptions are correct, most STS are being forged to allow for collaboration and mutual decision-making to react to the same concerns. Basically, as needs change for people and business, the technical systems that support them must also change. Therefore, transformation is related to how people must interact in the “hyper-busy” business environment and how the STS must adapt to meet those challenges using open systems and knowledge sharing.

The psychology of new and emerging open systems and e-learning (knowledge sharing) have been based upon studies arranged under the precepts of cognitive, social, and developmental needs of the future (Yan, et al., 2003). Socially, we have become entrenched in our abilities, through online technical applications, to make connections and network with people around the world. These connections have allowed us to share thoughts and ideas in a collaborative environment as well as participation in virtual learning experiences; thereby maximizing cognitive learning. John W. Aldridge, Ph.D. (2004) suggests that virtual learning along with collaborative decision-making, self-regulation, and workgroup autonomy provide an open system that appears as a STS under the design and title of “distributive learning”. These environments have become the “new organizational paradigm” and have created a medium for increased quality in decision-making. Additionally the STS are finding their way into mainstream content management systems (CMS) and document management systems (DMS) where developers have added tools for collaborative manipulation of tasks and development of new employees. The effect of these new information systems is a benefit over concerns of quality/ethical decision-making in the walkthetalk.org post. Regardless, software that includes an integrated or open-platform social networking software package facilitates knowledge sharing and grants leaders and managers with the ability to pursue corporate decisions quickly, but with an adequate level of reflection and ethical comparison when used as a collaborative system.

In conclusion, this summary of business ethics, as it relates to quality decision making, and the current environment of expanding socio-technical systems (STS) has shown that people, not technology, will be the agents of future change. These socio-technical connections will grow exponentially as globalization expands. Globalization has created “growing interconnectedness reflected in the expanded flows of information, technology, capital, goods, services, and people throughout the world – as an overarching ‘mega-trend,’ a force so ubiquitous that it will substantially shape all the other major trends in the world of 2020 (CIA, 2004, p.9). As we transform society, we must expect a transformation in business and new challenges towards decision-making and quality ethical practices. Though we have seen ethical breakdowns in recent years, the social and technical environments are merging towards collaborative decision-making and shared leadership, which will create positive connections in our search for effective socio-technical organizations of the future.

References:
McDonald, C. (2009). Barriers About Talking About Doing the Right Thing. The Business Ethics Blog. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from http://www.businessethicsblog.com/
Walkthetalk.org. (2008). Making Quality/Ethical Decisions in Times of Change. Walk The Talk Blog. Retrieved October 5, 2009, from http://walkthetalk.org/blog/?cat=4
Zan, Z. et al. (2003). The Psychology of e-Learning: A Field of Study. Journal of Educational Computing Research. 29-3, 285-296.
Aldridge, J. (2004). Information on Socio-technical Systems. Encyclopedia of Distributive Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
CIA. (2004). Mapping the Global Future [Executive Summary Extract]. Report of the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.

Dan Westermann
October 9th, 2009 at 12:34 am

Session 7 Devotion/Encouragement
Thank you to all of those whom have contributed to the discussions in an intelligent and thought-provoking manner. It has challenged me to think outside the preverbal box, and consider many other opinions that I have never considered before – even on topics that I felt I was relatively confident in. The entire learning process is just that…a process. This is only the beginning and I wish everyone the best as they go through this MBA program here at CCU.
“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”
-William Barclay

Becky
October 10th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

This class has been very beneficial for me and my current job situation. I have shared many thoughts and ideas with my boss who has also allowed me to speak with his boss about the information that I am learning. I have shared the LMX survey with them as well and thought it was very interesting with the scores that they did come up with and helped them also change the ways of how they treat the employees and their coworkers around them. Being able to bring the information that I have learned into my work environment has helped a lot. My relationship with my boss is slowly getting better; it will be ending soon for I have been recruited by another company that I am pretty positive I got the position. It has been a great experience in this class to take work environment and also in the social settings.
I will continue to pray that we all can learn more and more in our classes as we either finish our grad program or continuing getting out degree. Thank you all for being so open and allowing us to learn and get closer to God.
Becky

Steven Gillette
October 11th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

LED 501 course was my first course from coming back to school since I graduated with my BS about 2 years ago. Although the beginning classes were difficult for me to get in a rhythm I do believe it has showed me what needs to be done in order to push through and receive my degree. My work schedule, although very hectic, has slow down some and is very understanding to what I am doing. I hope that with LED 502 and all my other classes that I can make more time not just for reading and school work but also more for family and friends. Thanks for making this first course a great introductory course back into the graduate degree life.

Jason
October 11th, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I am grateful for the blessing that this class has been to me. I appreciate the facilitation of Dr. Chad and the participation of each of my classmates. My prayer is that we are leaders that change the world.
Here are a few lyrics from a Nickleback song that touched my life this week:
If everyone cared and nobody cried
If everyone loved and nobody lied
If everyone shared and swallowed their pride
Then we’d see the day when nobody died
Check out the impactful music video @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..eature=fvw
As Ghandi said: Let us be the change that we want to see in the world.
God bless us as we love and lead others!

sugarcones
October 11th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Leadership has been in existence since the time of Adam. Theories for leadership are much more modern. Learning and practicing several types of leadership theories is impractical for the everyday person. However, since mothers, fathers, and almost anyone take roles as leaders at one time or another. Therefore, it is important to at least understand in some capacity in order to interact with followers in a way that makes the relationship and outcomes of the relationship more effective. All leaders should understand the differences and similarities shared between humans of different race and gender. According to Forsyth, as mentioned in Leadership Theory and Practice, having a diversity of people in an organization improves the likeliness of increased productivity. This seems to be a logical outcome- often the prettiest pictures are painted in many colors. I am thinking of a great leader who showed no prejudice against any man and used a note worthy leadership method. His name is Jesus and he used Servant-leadership methods. Servant-leaders accomplish tasks set forth by first giving priority attention to the needs of their followers. Jesus, the son of God, used this technique and asks us to use it to for 1 Peter 4:10 states

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”.
Again, everyone can learn a lot by learning a little bit about business theories. We probably all have followers- even if we don’t know who they are!

Bobbie Malone
October 11th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

What was once understood about leadership has now changed. The company’s future is no longer the focus of senior management, but it is in everyone’s interest to do what they can to ensure the company has a future. Today, organizational managers who support socio-technical systems look for opportunities to create enabling constructs using information systems to accelerate communication, learning and knowledge sharing.

Today, many organizations are developing KM systems that are intended to increase the flow of knowledge at multiple levels: in the workplace, at home, and in the broader community. With the introduction of the Internet, our work experiences continue to transform from production-oriented to knowledge-centered, from competitive to collaborative. IT and KM provide the technical framework for knowledge sharing while allowing supervisors to manage the boundary conditions of the workplace environment. As such, autonomous work groups have once again emerged everywhere freeing its members to flexibly manage their own activities.

Claire
October 11th, 2009 at 8:37 pm

As a new paradigm leader, I can influence and lead change by
unleashing my God-given potential professionally and spiritually in my immediate workplace. It’s important for me to realize when I’m a servant leader, I’m serving my Lord. Also this is a quote from a leader I admire, Mr. Green, founder and owner of Hobby Lobby,
“We do not have to be corrupt to be successful,” Green said in response to a question on the recent perception of corruption in corporate America. “We have to realize that we as leaders are being watched by others all the time on how we handle things. Integrity is totally engrained in our culture. It is who we are.”

http://ChristianNews.Christian…..289115.htm

Mr. Green is the founder and owner of Hobby Lobby, where solid Christian values are openly displayed, and the retail establishment has always honored the Sabbath by being closed on Sundays.

Kelly Carbone
October 11th, 2009 at 8:57 pm

When asked to differentiate between management and leadership, many are unable to tell the difference. But, leadership embarks a variety of practices beyond just the simple organization of different human and material capital. One thing to remember when beginning your leadership development is that to be a good leader it takes heart.

A leader is able to do what is best for the group as a whole. Through this the leader gains the support of the group – and together is able to accomplish greater things.

To be a good leader, on must learn to be flexible. Different situations warrant different leadership styles, a good leader learns to be diverse.
The new paradigm leader demonstrates a higher level of ethics in their practices. When ethical expectations are set and practiced by a leader, then the organization as a whole is able to practice set ethics.

And finally, a good leader is able to promote knowledge sharing. Again, the biggest competitive advantage an organization has is through knowledge. A leader is able to incorporate technology to boost the organization’s knowledge base.

rschutt00
October 11th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

I would like to thank first of all my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me the favor of man to be able to study at CCU. Then to my wife Christine and daughter Abby, thank you.

This past 9 months for me has been such a tremendous blessing to me and my family. I began in CCU with the 4 classes for my PM Certificate which I completed with a (THANK YOU JESUS) 4.0, my next two classes were my first two emphasis classes in Corporate training and still maintaining a 4.0 GPA, I am not bragging on myself, I did not have the dedication during my BSBA and my final GPA showed that, However since enrolling in CCU, I have taken each and every lesson seriously. Even working many hours per week at my job, assisting my daughter in her school homework, being a father, husband and Spiritual Leader of my home, I still am showing my God, my family and my school that I am dedicated.

This would not be possible without my Lord, my wife and my daughters understanding and patience.
Thank you also class and Dr. Chad for your wisdom and insight into the leadership roles we must play in business today.
I look forward to LED502 with each of you.

Blessings on each and every one of you in the name that is above every name Jesus Christ.
Richard Schutt

rschutt00
November 27th, 2009 at 8:40 am

Business and Government are they the same?
In this class LED502 at CCU, I have seen many changes in the business and governmental worlds from my view point. Are private business and the US Government one in the same?
Private companies rely on the practices of the US Government officials to survive and the US Government replies on the same sort of practices of the private companies. In this I refer to money, the US Government cannot handle its trillions of dollars of debt, yet it gives away billions to foreign companies that we are in a war with. Why is the US in Afghanistan? Why after so many years are we still in Iraq? How much money have we spent in Iraq and Afghanistan?
When we are trillion in debt, why are we still spending billions?
If a private company were in the governments shoes, they would have filed bankruptcy years ago and reemerged as a new company as many do. Change the company name the CEO and walla a new fresh company has emerged, only to get back in debt because its mentality has not changed.
It does not matter if you are
Trillion in debt with billions coming in….
Millions in debt with thousands coming in…
Thousands in debt with hundreds coming in…
Hundreds in debt with only dollars coming in…
It is still debt. How can we as a nation be so far in debt and have some much more than other nations?
We did today, the stock market take a 200 point loss because Dubai Bank has defaulted on billions of dollars in loans?
Is the stock market really an overseas entity on US soil?
I really need to see a change in the financial world of business to see myself successful in business. How can we as an up and coming generation of Christian Businessmen, take over business and run it properly?
Besides Prayer, it is reliance on the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the smart business sense of a clean and pure heart and mind…and most of all… a desire to help and not get for ourselves.

rjwinter83
November 29th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

In today’s society, I keep seeing the government getting involved with our businesses. In some instances it is perfectly fine, but whatever happened with the “free trade” act? I have been reading more and more about banks who are lending money to people when they don’t even have the funds themselves. Why would you want to “steal” or make false statements in a business. I grew up in Greeley and one of the hometown banks who lent millions and millions of dollars to businesses has been closed due to the fact they were doing it illegally. Car dealerships, dairy farms, restaurants have all gone under due to the fact this banks lent them money that wasn’t “real”. You wander why we are in a economic recession it’s because of the fact we have “fake” money, banks lending money, credit cards etc that are all getting us into a huge debt hole.

ErnieFlames
November 29th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Business culture: I have many times heard small business leaders says their staff or employees are like family. As businesses seek knowledge workers, larger corporations must turn to such a work environment also. How can a business leader go about instituting such change so that workers feel comfortable, encouraged, and empowered to share their ideas for better change within an organization? Perhaps, the simply culture of a family may hold some keys. In a family, whether by Christ or ancestry, persons will share the same values and beliefs. For example, the family may believe that Jesus is the head of the household and all members should be servants to one another in honor and respect for each other as family. Out of service then comes the value of hard work and desire to share efficiency and quality. For example, family members may want to share quality time with each other after a shared meal but also want to clean the kitchen immediately for better comfort and peace of mind. From the value of hard work, they strive to do the cleaning and through mutual reverence the family collaborates and gets the job done faster. During holidays, many families naturally divide labor and service to better enjoy their time together while ensuring everyone’s needs are met in the process. Close families do this out of a natural reverence for each other’s lives as embedded in the family culture through the strong leadership of a mom, dad, or other rock of family. Most importantly, the strong leader creates a base from God’s word such as Isaiah 26:4 which say “Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is eternal Rock.” When a business leader can change the work culture to model such a strong family culture, the business will then have the base for truly empowering knowledge workers and producing innovation. May God guide leaders to strive to create an empowering work culture that truly has a reverence for employees’ lives.

Joyce Baker LED 501
February 10th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Despite that communication is one of the biggest challenges for any organization. There can never be too much communication and with technology provides many challenges to effectively and ineffectively communication. However, the ability to acknowledge and openly admit that something was done wrong is part of vulnerability, but ultimately creates a climate of trust. People are more than willing to give people another chance if they openly acknowledge mistakes and are taking action to correct them. Trust is the foundation for the success or failure of a leader or organization.

Tania Blackwell
February 13th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I think that leaders need to embrace technology of today as it is the where the future is taking us… Being able to reach all your employees via the internet/intranet to express the company goals and the expectations of the employees makes it easier for the employees to have a clear understanding of what is needed from them. Being able to reach out the clients as well letting them know what to expect as a client and making them feel they are priority makes for better business and a better ROI return. I know many banks and credit unions especially are reaching out to their clientele more using networks like facebook and myspace to try and keep them informed of new products that could be of benefit to them.

Tania Blackwell
February 13th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Furthermore, examples of failed leadership like Enron, was more on a selfish standpoint. They didn’t think about the employees and what their needs were but more of how they could and the company could make more money so that they could stay on top and be recognized as the top of all other organizations.

BoundaryGirl
February 13th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

There are many different perspectives of leadership and by learning them we are developing skills to become effective leaders. Increasing organizational effectiveness can be achieved when wise individuals live by example because they motivate employees to do better. They are not satisfied to only know what they know at that moment, instead they dig deeper and continue to learn everything they can.

Leadership has demonstrated the law of sacrifice in many different roles and the sacrifices made are different to each person. For example, traveling might be ideal for a single employee but for a married employee with children, the time away for travel is considered a sacrifice. Some leaders such as Lee Iacocca sacrificed retirement in order to save their company from going under. He provided the leadership required to turn Chrysler around and enhance confidence of the employees. His sacrifice turned into a success for the company. Other leaders have made negative sacrifices in their integrity, for example, the executives of Enron. For those leaders, it was all about them gaining their own bottom line.

It is important to understand there are different people in this world and they respond in different ways to the events they experience. As a leader, many decisions need to be made and different factors affect what we ultimately decide to do. Every day we deal with different people whether they are customers or co-workers. All of them can experience the same event but from different perspectives, number one because of the role they play in the situation and two because of how they respond to it. Our job is to understand that our decisions impact others and ensure that we take them into consideration to be able to explain what we are attempting to achieve. Effective leader’s desire knowledge; have the ability to establish and explain their goals; influence others to follow; and gain the trust of others by instilling good ethics.

Clint H. Harrison LED 501
February 14th, 2010 at 10:59 pm

 Since I have been at CCU, I have wished that I had known about the adult education programs when I was looking to obtain my Bachelors degree. Having been able to take some undergraduate classes from CCU before I began my MBA, I was amazed with the presence of God in the classroom, and a willingness to have open conversations about the role of Christianity in business. I have since come to believe that I have been blessed to obtain my undergraduate degree from a secular college, as it has given me a perspective that is invaluable. It is so important to know what knowledge is given through secular business training, in order to know why business has turned sour. True ethics is not taught in the classroom; biblical ethics is far more powerful a driving force than is “business ethics”. Placing biblical principles ahead of short term profit is the only way for modern businesses to obtain long term success. Often, those principles are put into place in the background. There are Christians in business. It is a tremendous shame that they must hide in the shadows. I am pleased to be part of a new generation of Christian business leaders; we who are proud of our faith, and wish to provide guidance throughout our organizations.

Jorja Harrison
February 14th, 2010 at 11:24 pm

LED 501 Spring 2010
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for his “organization.” He gave his unconditional love and a way to eternal salvation. What was his bonus? He was whipped, beaten, placed on a cross, stabbed with a spear, and killed all the while feeling forsaken by his God/father. He had no Golden Parachute but a crown of thorns. It would be nice to see any of today’s leaders with an ounce of that same dedication to the little guy. My boss is on call 24/7. She expects to know what is happening at all times. Sometimes, it is irritating to have “big brother” always watching but at least we know who will take the fall for us if such a thing needed to happen. I have heard her say on several occasions that it is her license that is at stake; certainly, she does not make the big bucks and that is an asset which cannot be compensated for if lost.

akunovi
February 15th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

The topic of discussion reminds me of the words of Jesus in Mathew 20:26-28 “….. but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many”. Cleary Jesus preached and practiced servant leadership. These days most people will rather be served than serve.

Service leadership is rarely seen in my country, and since I have not worked in this country (US), I would like to refer to what I have seen in Ghana, where leaders give up nothing when they come into leadership position, but are in for their own personal gain. The ‘golden parachute’ leader is seen in our government as well as in cooperate leadership. You will hardly see the type of service leadership that Northouse described where leaders are attentive to the concerns of their followers, empathized with them and take care of or nurture followers (p. 348), in my country.

t_runner
February 28th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Tiana Nelson
Week 7 Discussion – 2/28/10
Management and leadership can be seen as two very different things, but they can also be intertwined quite well. Management has a connotation as a more of a dictator role than leadership, as leadership can be practiced by people who are not managers and sometimes people who are manager are not good examples of leadership. The social-technical leadership approach is beneficial to real-life application because it notes that leadership is a relationship building structure, which is based on the collaboration of team members and often in successful situations, the leader is not a person who tells others what to do, but a person who rather facilitates change. In fact, the most effective leaders are people who are able to help others create positive ideas and help those individuals grow and learn to create ideas that will benefit the organization, as well as themselves. Today’s leaders use the tools around them to create opportunities for their followers and they recognize that when people have ownership over ideas, it creates a positive work environment for employees, which in turn creates fewer turnovers for the company and allows the company to be more successful in its endeavors. In the STS model, people work in strategic groups to accomplish company goals and are allowed to be creative and individualistic. In turn, the STS model produces much better results than a more demanding and top-down leadership approach.

Nancy Gorham
March 2nd, 2010 at 7:20 pm

“Management has been reluctant to give up the power and authority they have worked so hard to establish. Indeed, STS challenges the traditional management taboos that of sharing information and knowledge with subordinates on a need to know basis only.” This is a quote from the STS white paper article we just read. I think that the biggest difference between a manager and a leader is that managers hold positions of power within organizations. Leaders may or may not hold these same positions of power. Leaders see that sharing information with their team will make a better team. While managers worry that if their team knows too much or performs too well, they will lose their position. I realize that some managers are, in fact, leaders. I am only speaking here to the managers that have leadership because of their position, not because they are leaders.

JeferS
March 2nd, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Week 7 Blog Assignment
In order to progress smoothly in this new collaborative environment, leaders need to be able to embrace the potential of socio-technical systems (STS). Highly successful managers may not be able to continue to function with their normal routines or leadership styles. While they cannot change their personalities, they will need to work on new character development in order to create buy-in for new web based processes and procedures. Employees, especially those from Generation X and the Millennials are entering the job market with new ideas and visions that will best be shared in collaborative environments. They will come into the workplace expecting companies to have access to new technologies and web based development in progress. In order to tap into the value that these employees will bring leadership teams will need to provide knowledge sharing environments and take down obstacles that will prevent their staff from creating necessary and vital change in the organization. They will also need to offer their wisdom in knowledge to the employees and not contain all that information in one level. This will not contribute to a healthy, vibrantly growing organization.

Joyce Baker LED 501
March 4th, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Social-technology has not only enhanced productivity, but in many incidences it has taken the human error out of processes. Industries are focusing on ways to improve productivity and they have found that when there is the human element in any situation there is a margin of human error that ultimately results in delay of productivity. If processes can be improved that are driven by technology, removing the human error potential and improving productivity.

On the flip side, it has dramatically reduced the number of face to face communications that are impactful to the production, so when such communications are needed it can be less than ideal due to the impact that technology has on decreasing the employees knowledge base, skill set, while altering their personal values, and reflective attitudes. In the long run communication is the corner stone to success and if communication is impacted, then there will be an ultimate reduction in productivity and success.

BoundaryGirl
March 5th, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Companies are only as strong as their strongest leader. Leaders gain strength with collaboration and knowledge management of an empowered team of players. Management had been viewed as a carriage driver dangling a carrot in front of the employee while holding a stick to inflict punishment if the employee fails. While some companies still operate with top-down management, many now understand the importance of collaboration and sharing ideas. Strong leaders encourage employees at every level to express their knowledge and present their visions in order to establish empowerment and job satisfaction. As technology advances, so does the ability to communicate on a new level. STS incorporates the interaction of people with technology to increase shared knowledge, productivity, and empowerment of members to ask questions and be part of making decisions. A company that effectively incorporates this system will increase their effectiveness to become a strong team, thus making a successful company.

Ross M.
March 6th, 2010 at 8:07 pm

Socio-technical leadership has allowed for leadership practices to be more effective in general. Embracing the socio-technical experience eliminates one of the classic leadership formats; vertical hierarchy. Socio-technical leadership allows leaders to create or enable “movement” within sectors of varying size. Leaders who try and fuel or sustain change, under vertical hierarchy struggle to communicate the desired change indicators amongst key change agents within the organization. With the use of a socio-technical leadership system, individual leaders can communicate vital ideas quickly amongst key change agents. Adaptation of a socio-technical leadership system allows for an organization to be more nimble and reflexive within their industry or organizational focus. That is one of the greatest attributes of socio-technical leadership; the nimbleness to change with the industry and not get left behind.

Donna H
March 8th, 2010 at 11:37 pm

There is strong support of an inherent need in humans to work and produce something and this is evident in the definition of socio-technical systems (STS): the interaction of people with tools and techniques. We progress through this technological and virtual based society, yet many workers still cling to conventional workflows and means of communication. As stated, when the STS Champion departs where no leadership steps in, an “organization regresses to conventional patterns of interaction.” I would argue that regression is not the theme here. As human thinkers and communicators, we are driven to people first before technology; technology being a tool, not a characteristic. Leadership who inspire and motivate the human worker will gracefully acknowledge, accommodate and incorporate technology, yet will work with and lead his followers.

JeferS
April 18th, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Collaboration. This term is becoming a buzz word in today’s society. It is applicable in all aspects of life, from professional to personal, from business to church, from marriages to families. As I near the completion of LED 502, I realize that I can be a leader of collaboration in my organization. I realize that I need to be a change agent in this area. It will take time and organization to implement, but according to all my studies, it will be well worth the effort.

Joyce Baker LED 502
April 20th, 2010 at 5:17 pm

The Marathon effect notes that people accept change at varying paces, and it depends on where you are at in the chain of change on how far along you are in accepting the change.

Those who are in the forefront and directly impacting the change will be leading the race and already know what it up ahead. Those who have been introduced to the change will be in the middle of the pack, knowing that there is something up ahead and a bit apprehensive on what will be around the next bend or at the bottom of a hill. Those at the tail end of the heat will only see all the masses ahead of them and be constantly rushing to keep up. These individuals will feel that all they are doing is reacting to change, rather than being proactive. They will always feel like the last to know.

As a good leader it is important to acknowledge that people accept change based on where they are in the race. The more communication and encouragement that is provided the increase potential that people will transition through change with less resistance and more confidence no matter where they are in the race.

BoundaryGirl
April 21st, 2010 at 7:41 pm

The concept of Christian Leadership is challenged with incorporating Christian values into leadership skills and decisions. Leading by example is the best strategy to incorporate good ethics and Christian values. When faced with unethical practices or uncomfortable situations, the Christian Leader needs to know who to confide in and who they can trust to seek guidance. Leaders need to receive prayer as much as they need to spend time in prayer to find direction. Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Christians working in secular leadership positions face the challenge of upholding the gospel in this complex and difficult world. When leaders put their trust in God they are able to perform things they cannot do on their own and gain strength, which inspires others to follow. This is how Christian Leaders earn trust and success in an ever-changing and complicated world.

Ross M.
April 24th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Christian leaders seem to be increasingly scarce in the modern business realm. Secular society seemingly feeds on the negative; I find the news in general to be fairly depressing. Fraudulent leaders gambling on certain economic sectors to fail in order for large profits to be accumulated are disheartening. The strongest and most evident form of Christian leadership in my mind is: servant style leadership. Servant style leadership is the only way I see individuals leaders removing themselves from attitudes that value the dollar and societal approval. Recently a friend of mine who is an educator at a junior college was asked to clean the women’s bathroom after an annual event they held because of recent cutbacks in the janitorial staff. My friend responded in somewhat of a negative manner initially at the request; ill pleased with the idea of having to clean the restrooms. Then she realized that the department chair; her boss who had asked her of the favor would simultaneously be cleaning the men’s bathroom. My friend was then under the mindset; “well surely I can clean if he will be doing the same thing.” Servant leadership breaks down harmful organizational discrepancies and promotes togetherness. I believe if leaders would involve themselves frequently in the tasks that consume their subordinates they would exceedingly fuel organizational commitment and employees drive to succeed. “It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew, 20:26-28).”

Gary Bell
October 4th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

While I do agree that organizational leaders will need to have skills that align with a social-technical environment, there is a reason why collaborative technology is closely regulated by management. The social technology especially in the public domain is still very much in its infancy. It has not yet reared its ugly head of the negative connotations of the communications paradigm. Some companies are jumping on the popular bandwagon and trying to get as much publicity as the new free medium can achieve. Smart leaders will take their time and continue to evaluate the evolution of a corporate presence on the social networks. There is going to be a point in time in the near future when some information is going to leak from an internal source to a social network about something that will bring about a lawsuit. At that point in time, corporations will completely revise their policies on social networks. I believe that when companies have to run all social network information past their compliance or legal departments that it will be much easier for a company to ban it altogether. Companies should take the same approach to social networks as they would in responding to the request from the news media to run a story.

Exodus 20:16 – “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor”. This is the general premise of why social networks should be self-governing. People should be able to converse without slander or false statements. While Christians follow adhere to these guidelines, there are others that do not. Social networks are an ideal place for Satan to divide people and turn people against one another. Caution should be taken when making conversing on social networks.

Janean LED 501
October 4th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Socio-Technical Systems (STS) refers to how people interact with tools and techniques. STS focus on the relationship between perception and action. Group decision making and communication is necessary in-order to successfully use the system. In addition to communication, these systems develop learning and knowledge sharing. By developing learning and knowledge sharing, organizations will be able to start thinking collaboratively. Through collaboratively normal work patterns, flexibility, and competitive advantage is produced.

Conscious and unconscious interactions can begin to help form the group’s decisions. Challenging each other and sharing ideas will occur with and STS. Technology does play a role in STS development. Changes in values, cognitive structures, lifestyles, habitats, and communications will occur because of technology. The internet is a well-developed technology tool that is extremely influence in organizations and groups. Knowledge can be gained through the internet and is key characteristic with STS.

In conclusion STS are extremely valuable and organizations need to consider implementing them. However, we need to remember that it is not just the technology that makes these systems successful but also the people. Developing groups of quality, trustworthy, honest, and hardworking people is necessary in-order to create a successful STS.

Brian V LED 501
October 5th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

The world is becoming increasingly smaller and larger all in one. Smaller in that communication and people can travel all over the globe at speeds that 110 years ago would have been unheard of. It is becoming larger in that people rarely live in the small communities and are unaffected by the happenings of the world around them. We are all interconnected. Business is interconnected. Businesses are now spread out over vast regions. The technology is available for information to travel from the ground floor to the CEO’s office within minutes. It is important that businesses take advantage of these advantages and work on developing good communities within their businesses that engage in constant two way communication. Too often business slip into top-down communication because they do not want to deal with the ideas their ground-floor employees have. They like to think of themselves as more educated and intelligent and thus not in need of the ground workers advice. The problem is that nobody knows a certain segment of the business like that ground-level employee. Only he or she knows exactly how their equipment works and what are ways of improving it. Businesses need to grab a hold of these new technologies and work them into their company’s culture and utilize them for better communication throughout the organization.

lefitasi
October 6th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Modern society is geared towards new technology. This technology includes socio-technological systems, in my opinion, decrease the amount of time people spend in personal face-to-face relationships. The more modern we become, the less able we are to deal with one another on a face-to-face basis, possibly making leadership a very difficult concept to grasp the further into technology we become involved with. Leadership is about interaction and how we interact with others, how will one learn great leadership if the world is based on new technology. Now, technology is not altogether bad but it should be limited. I may be biased as I see facebook and similar sites to be a host for a new online high school scene. Though they may serve well for some businesses, I suggest, If used for such services that the focus be on the service and never to lose the quality of face-to-face interaction and the value of a real relationship with other individuals, less we lose who we are as God’s people…..Jesus sent out his disciples to preach from village to village, from town to town because there is power in the presence of your teaching when you teach face to face. How can an unbeliever see the spirit of Christ within you when you are on the internet, they cannot. This is not to say the internet should not be used but there is strength in your teaching when you teach person to person. Just as we do not become Christ-like overnight, we cannot expect humans to be saved through our teachings on the internet alone. Practice leadership as Jesus did, walk the earth and proclaim the kingdom of God, show everyone what beauty you possess inside through Him and may the world know that though technology is the new way of the world, you still stand for valuable face-to-face teachings like that of Jesus.

BCerros
October 7th, 2010 at 7:01 pm

The Socio-Technical Systems of today are far more advanced than yesterday. Many telecom corporations depend on socio-technical system advancements, which better communicate with first line management and field organizations that do not reside within the same geographical location. Highly technical global organizations seem to be very accepting of the socio-technical paradigm. They realize the benefit of distance learning and collaboration. Tools like GoToMeeting allow a corporation to tap distant talent and the benefit of remote learning can also support talent retention. Socio-technical Systems may not be the ideal work structure for every industry or business but for the industry or business that could benefit from the STS style of operation it could drastically improve the organizations bottom line.

Gaye Lynn – LED 501
October 9th, 2010 at 10:20 am

As the economy becomes increasing global and companies seek to tap into markets outside of their geography, the need to adopt socio-technical systems (STS) becomes greater. Communications and connections with business partners around the world, the ability to be responsive to changes in markets and the need manage knowledge across global corporations requires the use of tools that provide real time connectivity and the ability to share ideas and innovation from all levels within the corporation.

My current company is working through the issues of power control and the need for us to be innovative and client focused. We are a large (38,000+ employees) global medical device company that has operated in information silos of each division for many years. The company set a new initiative to align the processes and technologies of all divisions to provide knowledge sharing among all divisions and geographies; however it is a slow painful process getting the buying from all areas. The need to be more customer focus became high priority when our customers told us we were difficult to deal with because we had too many levels of leadership to go through to get critical, time sensitive decisions made.

Many collaborative systems have been put in place in the two years I have been at this organization. Integrated communications and messaging, a global shared contract management system, an employee connect site where information is shared from all functional groups and a internal social network where employees can connect with others to share information and innovation.

Chris Cobbs LED 501
October 9th, 2010 at 5:31 pm
I think the article is right in saying that future leaders are going to have to gain skills that deal with communication, collaboration, and innovation. It seems like everywhere I turn, I see new technology that comes out that can help business leaders communicate with each other. This is especially important for global businesses. STS systems can help leaders. These were put together to help productivity through psycho-social means. Aldridge gives a simple definition of an STS by saying that is the interaction of people (a social system) with tools and techniques (a technical system). They help organizations share, transfer, and leverage knowledge. Aldridge says, “Today, organizational managers who advocate socio-technical systems seek to create enabling constructs using information systems (IS), for instance, to accelerate communication, learning and knowledge sharing. STS represent an interpretive process made possible by optimizing the “goodness of fit” between technology and human systems.” The challenge for leaders in the present and future is to figure out how much regulation is going to be put onto these systems. Communication is great in organizations, but leaders need to be aware of the risks involved.

Chris Cobb

rwibben
October 10th, 2010 at 11:49 am

A socio-technical system is the interaction of humans and technology in a workgroup setting that allows the group to work independently and efficiently outside of the bureaucratic norms of organizational structures. These systems simply allow the group to make decisions with-out consulting someone outside of the group. They are given the knowledge, tools, and resources to complete a task without the need for outside supervision or control. It has been stated that this system makes managers uncomfortable because of the lack of control. There is software called Hyper-office that allows for employees to utilize the web in a fashion that appears to make it a socio-technical system.

The software is an online collaborative environment that allows members to be effective – online document management, email, intranet/extranet workspaces, online calendars, task management, group calendars, shared contacts, database applications, web forms, forums and much more. This freedom allows employees and group access knowledge and information on demand allowing for faster and more immediate response times. The software truly allows for interaction among group members without the need for management or non-group members to be involved.

There is an obstacle to overcome. The perception will be that management is in control of the system. This perception will make by-in difficult there is nothing in the software that does not allow management to control or monitor information this can hinder the organismic nature of the socio-technical system and prevent the bottom up information flow. Managers and supervisor should embrace the system and allow the groups to partake and by-into the system. The results could far outweigh their concerns.

Sarah LED 501
October 13th, 2010 at 8:51 am

Socio-Technical systems have two major components, people and technical systems. These are two major components of an organization, since we rely heavily on each to get the, job done. The way people behave contributes to their beliefs and values. These aspects are all inter-related with one another, which in turn creates a Socio-Technical System. Thus, collaboration in work groups is crucial in optimizing job attainment.

Bret Bridgewater
November 25th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Technology is ever changing, and in order to stay on top a business must continue to change and adapt to ever changing technology.
According to Charles Greer, “Strategic Human Resource Management” (2001), management trends include but are not limited to the following: Diversity, work teams, virtual teams, outsourcing, open book management, and total quality management. The question is how do these types of trends affect the human resources practices and policies in the automobile industry of the future? I think the best way to show how each of these affects the policies and practices is to break each one down individually.

  • Diversity: With the ever changing world managers must be aware that the proverbial white male in his mid-thirties is the prime candidate for employment within the company. In my experience, there are individual of diverse backgrounds that offer and do a better job.
  • Work teams: This is a great tool for managers to use because as the saying goes “two heads are better than one”. Managers who stay with the thought that each individual must accomplish something in order to get credit on their own merit are not using the full potential of the team concept.
  • Virtual teams: Virtual teams are necessary when your manufacturing plant/supply chain is located in another country. Managers can use the online environment to connect individuals together to go over things such as; day to day operations, ways for improving processes between manufacturing plants and figure out what may or may not be working in terms of overseas sales.
  • Outsourcing: In terms of outsourcing, managers need to be actively engaged with the outsourced operations to ensure they are meeting the intent of the company. While a manager who works for, let’s say Chevrolet, doesn’t have direct control over the outsourced operation/people he or she is responsible for making sure the outsourced is being done in accordance with Chevrolet’s high standards.
  • Open book management: If employees feel as though they owned part of a particular company or were at least privy to the financial information it might help to make a manager’s job easier in the future. For example, my father bought me a car when I was younger and told me that I had to pay half of the cost. I could understand why he would do that when all of my friend’s parents were paying for their cars completely. I soon became clear, my friends didn’t take care of their cars like I did because I had a vested interest in my car and they didn’t. The manager in this scenario was my father. By having me pay for half the car he was able to make me feel as though I should take care, thus had a vested interest in the outcome.
  • Total Quality Management: When this book was written TQM was the model being used to improve operations and make employees feel as though they were part of the team. Since this time, there have been numerous models which have been implemented which assist managers in helping to improve the overall process in a company.

41 Comments

Leave a Comment

  1. Beck says:

    I think that twenty first century managers will absolutely have to embrace STS in order to be effective. Children of the Y generation will demand the incorporation of technologies that they are accustomed to using and they use social networks for both work and play. These are our future leaders, therefore, we must learn from them as much as we teach them in order to stay apace with modern technology and to have an effective influence on our and their future.

  2. Laura Parkhurst says:

    I believe that there is a lack of trust and a false-sense, or need to control everything and everyone for us as managers. I feel that we not only distrust others, but also our own abilities. By not allowing others to complete the requirements for their job, we are doubting our judgement in our training as well as our sourcing and hiring of top talent. If we trust in the Lord and his word:
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
    then we can trust that we are exactly where we are suppose to be and can trust in the ability of our staff. This type of thinking will encourage empowerment and allow others to take ownership and make thier own mistakes and learn from them. This is better than trying to control everything.

    “Jesus embodies the ultimate example of someone who fostered collaboration and strengthened individuals” (Kouzes,& Posner, 2006). While Christ first responsibility was leadership, he left by giving his power away (Kouzes, & Posner, 2006).
    -Laura

  3. Joe Yokum says:

    I believe there is never enough communication and if we can come up with ways to more openly communicate and ultimately collaborate to allow organizations to grow or become more effective, then success will have already been realized. In this technologically advanced world, there are people recreating the wheel repeatedly and if we chose to work together on similar efforts, then I believe we can advance technology further into the future. Information sharing can allow many positives to occur, from finding the missing formula to an “impossible” mathematical problem to finding a cure for cancer. If our society removes the self-worth aspect of being known as the one that conquered the world, then being satisfied as a member of a cause would lead to true success.

  4. Jon H. says:

    Social technology in the work place is now a fact of business life. The original blog seems to indicate that Socio-technical systems (STS) are a threat to leadership within the organization and that traditional leadership is focused solely on personal power and gain. What the author fails to acknowledge is that no human involved system is or can be self-regulating simply because of our human nature. We need someone to provide us with purpose, direction, and motivation lest we resort to fending solely for ourselves. I do not intent to denigrate the positives of an effective STS, but we need to understand that a complete lack of monitoring and moderating stands a good chance of disintegrating into chaos. Reliance on the humanity of mankind to maintain decorum is like trusting a fox to guard the hen house.

  5. Wally Y says:

    I agree with over the past six months I have been unemployed and have had a hard time trying to even get an interview with a company. I am a project manager and have the qualifications, but found out many employers use tolls such as LinkedIn or face book to even apply. There was even a seminar I attendee were they said employers today scan you your resume for key words before it even hits their inbox.
    Great points.

  6. Vill Villanueva says:

    I agree that the 21st century organizational leader needs the skills to align with the STS environment, but we must not allow the technological aspect overshadow the leadership role. As I watch the generation ahead of me retire, I can see, in many of them, the joy of not having to deal with that “stupid” computer and its “stupid” programs. Many of these folks came in to Civil Service way before the advent of computers. However, when technology took hold they somehow managed to get by. Even though I’m in my early 50’s, I too have struggled with emerging technologies. I am by no means a technical wizard. But what I have learned from the generation before me is we need to balance new technologies with old-fashioned leadership skills. By being a good leader we can learn from our peers and younger generations on ways to apply emerging technologies. It seems for some of us the older we get the less interest we have in new technologies. There was a time I played video games with my children, now and then, when they were much younger, but I noticed as they became older they suddenly added more control buttons to the game controller. I believe this is the same phenomenon the older generations felt when their typewriter was replaced by a computer. As I stated before, STS and emerging technologies ARE important to businesses and the new economy. But lets not forget, leadership and how we apply it, is just as important.

  7. Joe Y says:

    Social Technical System (STS) is a method for individuals, both inside organizations and out, to utilize technological efficiencies to collaborate and further develop ideas, which can lead to process improvement. A properly constructed work group dedicated to process improvement or program enhancement can lead to many successes.

    There has been a trend in the past that management had not approved of the idea of information sharing or collaboration due to the risk of proprietary information being shared. However, STS has too many benefits to deny its benefits to today’s society. The advancement in technology continues to aid in idea sharing and the ability for the development of additional avenues of information sharing.

    If leadership chooses to allow resources to be placed towards the development of a solid STS program, the organization is more likely to see growth in technology and advanced knowledge sharing throughout the levels of leadership. If society can embrace the thought of STS being a model for success, then society will continue to recognize the necessity of information sharing and collaboration in our times of uncertainty and financially-constrained environment.

  8. Kyle Joern says:

    I beleive that with organization becoming as large as they are. it is impartive that leaders start to adaprt to STS. STS allows for small groups of people to make decisions that normally need to pass through the “line of power” within the organization. Leaders now should be the overseeing guidance of an organization, but should give power to the employees in order to get the “best fit” for the organization. Technology is a every present factor in the work force today, and it will continue to be a driving force for all busniess, it is important to incorportate work groups that are dedicated to being innovaters for the organization.

  9. Reggie Selby says:

    I have resisted embracing STS in the workplace because I have seen first hand the miscommunication resulting from e-mails, lost productivity associated with trying resolve issues that should have never been a issue in the first place, duplication of effort, hurt feelings, etc. I am not saying that STS does not have it’s place in business and in our personal lives, but when e-mail and texting becomes the primary means of communicating we are inviting a disaster. My challenge to all is rather than send an e-mail to your cubicle partner, try standing up and speaking face to face with them and see if you enjoy the interaction and immediate feedback. And who knows you may gain a friend in the process.

  10. CPerry says:

    I agree with the post when it says that leaders will have to acquire skills that align with Socio-technical Systems (STS). In the future I wouldn’t be surprised if many colleges start to offer more class in this area specifically for leadership and management positions. I think that many social network environs can be beneficial for a company but I also believe that its take more then being able to use technology and knowledge base sharing to be a great leader. There are many other skills that they must master before becoming a good leader. I think that servant leadership would be the most effective in a company. Making sacrifices and helping employees to reach their full potential is going to be the most influential and make the most impact to an organization for productivity.

  11. John Higgins says:

    When I first started looking for examples of sacrificial leaders of the last decade I was very dishearten to see that most of the searches I did online came up with article about big Oil Companies wanting the American people to make sacrifices so they could keep their tax breaks. It was not until I came upon an article in Business Week from January 2008 about Chip Conley, the owner of a boutique hotel chain in San Francisco, California that I had hope that there still were CEO’s and leaders of companies exhibiting the qualities of a sacrificial leader. According to the article, Conley was at the top of his game in 2000, his hotel chain, Joie de Vivre Hospitality, was the third largest boutique chain in the United States and his hotels were filled with venture capitalist and dot-com investors. With the popping of the dot-com bubble and then the events of 9/11, Conley’s company was in financial trouble. His investors urged Conley to let go of the bottom personnel but Conley refused to. Conley had built his business around a strong sense of community and as part of that he gave salaried employees the option of a sabbatical every three years and paid for English classes for the mostly immigrant back of the house hotel staff.

    First Conley quietly stopped taking a salary but soon realized that more would have to be done to save his company. While his investor wanted Conley to purge from the bottom, Conley felt the best way to survive the difficult times were to start at the top. While the executives at the top of the company were nervous at first taking 10% pay cuts and having a pay freeze on salaried employees, this allowed the company to offset the losses from the economy and after six years Joie de Vivre Hospitality had not only regained were they were before the events of 2001 but had tripled their annual revenues from 2001 to 2007. And all the top executives that were that in 2001 were still with the company in 2007.

    It is this type of corporate culture and this type of leader that the United States needs to regain our position as one of the most productive countries in the world. Not leaders like Kenneth Lay from Enron and Tony Hayward from BP who both did corrupt and illegal things but also endangered thousands of Americans with their actions and still received “golden parachutes”. I believe that sacrificial leadership is the only way for companies and the United States as a whole to prosper in the upcoming decades.

    Everyone is this class has given one or two great examples of sacrificial leadership but that means that we only found twenty to forty leaders of businesses and organizations in the last decade that exemplify this type of leadership. What do we as Christians and as business leaders need to do to make this the norm not the exception to the rule of take as much as you can from your position of power? My challenge to whoever reads this is to be a sacrificial leader as Christ was. I challenge you to first think of the betterment of your organization and your employees before you think of yourself. As Jesus said to his disciple:

    “ Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:23-25)

    We as Christians and leaders must set the example for others so that in ten to twenty years from now when others take this class, sacrificial leadership will be the norm not the exception.
    McGregor,S. (1/14/2008) The Issue: When a CEO’s Sacrifice Isn’t Enough. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/managing/content/jan2008/ca20080110_972231.htm

    Life Application Study Bible. (2005) Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  12. Colleen Suitt says:

    As baby boomer, I have caught up slowly with computers and cell phones. I have barely dipped my toe into the social network scene and resist what I see as sites that are prone to gossip and information that I can live without. However, as I have been studying about social-networks in the context of business and more specifically about values-aligned principles, several ideas come to mind that might be considered positive aspects of this method of communication.
    First, if we consider that the stories of fraud and deceit within businesses is often times due to top-down leadership, holding all the cards close to the vest by CEO’s, CFO’s, etc., socio-technology could become a natural element for openness, stakeholder participation, and the sharing of organizational information. Its utilization could change a culture that is a result of bad leadership into a learning organization that promotes individual transformation. If Beyerlein, et. al. (2003) are correct that half of the leaders throughout every level of organizations are failing (p. 122), it is makes sense that this collaborative opportunity could promote leaders throughout an organization.
    Secondly, as has been mentioned before in this blog, one of the advantages of socio-technology is that it is self-regulating. This inherent feature would promote honesty and push against the temptation of fraud. The advantages of teamwork, collaboration, and the exchange of ideas should naturally filter out schemes and the desire to make a profit by unethical methods.
    Third, socio-technology is a viable forum for promoting transformation through action learning. Target-use socio-technology, within an organization, could be used to help teams to examine their interaction with one another, analyze their performance, and reflect on the outcomes. This would benefit each member as a leader/follower in any group within the organization.
    Socio-technology must be the wave of the future if an organization wants to exist for more than the 40-50 year typical life-span. The effectiveness of leaders is dependent upon a learning environment that collaborates and takes advantage of the collective and tacit knowledge of its stakeholders. It is a brave new world that has thrown the doors open to creativity and knowledge that may usher in a time where top-down leadership will no longer exist and the collaborative learning organization will be the norm.

  13. Reggie Selby says:

    Is Knowledge Power?

    This is a great question. I believe that knowledge is necessary in order to gain a proper understanding of the world we live in, but I do not believe knowledge is power in the sense that it can be used to have power over someone else. What I believe is that knowledge can give you more power and understanding of how to live your own life. I also think that the knowledge of the Holy One and a healthy fear of God is what gives us this insight (wisdom). Trust me on this one. I have a lot of education but nothing compares to knowing and loving God. There is no amount of education that can substitute for knowledge that comes from knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

    Reggie

  14. Tim 'Doc' Maranville says:

    Innovation and Leadership 2.0 is an interesting idea–that of reinventing leadership. The first post, back in 2009 described a team leadership approach–teams leading teams. Still, three years later we still discuss traditional approaches to leadership. I believe servant leadership encompasses all of the above and has been around since the first servant leader, Jesus Christ. Recently, our class was polled for thoughts on sacrifice leaders make and if this service kind of leadership contrasted with “golden parachutes.”

    My thoughts are that service (or Servant) leadership is not about sacrifice. Sure, if sacrifice is the exact right thing to do to serve the people being led, then it is the right thing to do. The sacrifice of servant leadership is denying your flesh. Denying the temptation of getting rich at the cost of others and/or being thought of as the “most successful” at the cost of the people being led.

    I did not find specific stories about a specific sacrifice that propelled someone to national prominence (face it; it’s not fashionable in business). I did find a terrific article/blog on modernservantleader.com where the author sites top companies in the country (according to 2011 Forbes Magazine) that are practicing servant leadership. Half of the top ten are on the list including: SAS, Wegmans Food Market, Zappos.com, Nugget Market, and REI are engaged in servant leadership. Companies outside the top-ten included The Container Store, Whole Foods Market, QuikTrip, Balfour Beatty Construction, TD Industries, Intel, Aflac, Marriott International, Nordstrom, Men’s Wearhouse, CH2M Hill, Darden Restaurants, and Starbucks (Lichtenwalnes, 2012). This list provides a rounded sample of companies that thrive by sacrificing the temptation to pursue profits over people—to be servant leaders.

    Regarding the “golden parachute”, I don’t feel the two are related. A severance deal is entered into as a contract and has little to do with the style of management. CEO jobs are high risk with a multitude of variables. CEO’s have a desirable market value and often have a short shelf life. I think it is perfectly acceptable to negotiate a softer landing. On the other hand, I think some of the parachutes are unbelievably ridiculous and that the board that approves such contracts should be held liable by the stakeholders.

    By the way, I read some undocumented commentary about a person that didn’t take pay as volunteer campaign worker, didn’t take pay for 8 years as an intern for a governor, and didn’t take pay for 10 years as a bishop and state president of a church. For three years he was minus a paycheck by his choosing as president of the Salt Lake Olympic committee. As a governor he took no salary for four years. He gave his entire inheritance to charity and just last year he donated nearly 20% of his income to charity. If all this is true, then he would qualify as possible servant leader. His name is Mitt Romney. Despite my leaning toward Mitt for president, the list of “sacrifice” is impressive.

    Reference:

    Lichtenwalnes, B. S. (2012, March 11). Modernservantleader.com. Retrieved from Servant Leadership Companies List.

  15. Craig H says:

    Socio-technical systems (STS) are difficult for seasoned managers because it represents change and loss of control. Change is difficult for many people and can represent instability for the leader. Managers spend a great deal of time finding a style of management that is effective. STS removes the narrow-mindedness of top-down leadership and allow for a collaborative way to make better decisions. IDC (2012) reports expected growth of enterprise social software applications from $0.8 million in 2011 to $ 4.5 billion in 2016. This huge shift in enterprise collaboration will push seasoned managers to adopt enterprise collaboration through STS. Seasoned managers have an opportunity to learn from younger leaders and early technology adopters. Cloud computing, knowledge management (KM) applications, enterprise social networking, and online project management tools aid socio-technical action.

    The goal of organizational leaders is to offer a competitive product that is valued by the customer. With the rise of socio-technical systems, getting the organization as a whole involved with new ideas will be important to the future success of the organization.

    IDC. (2012, June 27). Worldwide enterprise social software forecast to grow to $4.5 billion by 2016, according to IDC [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23567712

  16. Doc Maranville says:

    I am fascinated with the fact that the original blog post is nearly three years old and still relevant. The resistance of STS integration into the everyday business model is now, in many cases, missed opportunity. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social network offerings have taken the lead for social interaction. This online social interaction has also grabbed important interactive time that well could have been a huge leap forward for business and opportunity. On the other hand, larger companies have attempted to adopt STS but continue to practice top-down execution—defeating the purpose. Software developers continue to crank out solutions but most miss the mark by creating nothing more than re-packaged tracking software.

    On the other hand, Microsoft, IBM, and Google have developed flexible tools that are, at the very least, attempting to meet the company and users at their level—a step forward. Given the proper vision for all STS can do, these software solutions are appropriate for developing and realizing the best that STS has to offer on a company-by-company basis.

    I do have one issue with the original post regarding leadership and management. I agree that STS is an outstanding opportunity to allow people to grow (leaders and followers) and organizations to flourish; however, I do not agree that groups are completely self regulating and will magically align with and attain or exceed an organization’s goals without strong leadership and vision. It takes a leader and a risk taker to start a business—rarely randomly formed groups linked together by STS responsible for staring, managing, and driving a business. Today, as it has been in the past, that takes a leader with vision and the ability to understand the importance of individual people and groups as it relates to life and the health of an organization.

  17. Leah Reeve says:

    A socio-technical system, (STS), occurs when people come together to use different tools and techniques that increase their overall productivity. (Aldridge, 2004) This technology has evolved to include social networking and other online innovations that improve communication. Social media platforms can be considered as STS’s if the members all agree to use it for information sharing and not just for surface content or a way for the management to keep track of employees.

    More companies will need to make use of STS’s and embrace the use of Transformational leadership (Northouse, 2013) to inspire employees to to their best. Conversely, Transactual leaders will lose critical employees because this type of leadership discourages innovation and employee satisfaction. STS’s will continue to evolve as more knowledge workers learn to use non-traditional, long distance means to become more educated. (Aldridge, 2004)

    Reference

    Aldridge, J. W. (2004). Socio-technical systems. (Online paper reproduced from Sage
    Publications.). Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning. ISBN: 0-7619-2451-5. Retrieved from Argos press website: http://www.argospress.com/Resources/team-building/socitechnisistem.htm

    Northouse, P. G. (6th Ed.). (2013). Leadership theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Productions Inc.

  18. Ryan W. says:

    Socio-technical systems

    The use of socio-technical systems is becoming an important standard with team collaboration in the modern business environment. Combining the social and technical aspects is integral in order to move forward and compete against other leaders in their respective industry. While is concept has been researched for nearly 50 years, there is still a slow process from management to “let go” and allow for STS to happen between team members, leading to better open communication and cooperation. There is great benefit with STS is allowing working teams open communication, without the delay of management getting the information to them first.

    There seems to be an apprehension regarding STS with upper level management, as they struggle to give more authority to team based concepts. This idea is still living in the old-school top-down management style, which leaves communication slow and results unproductive. STS challenges the ideas that top management have all the answers to solutions and problem solving, when in reality, much of this comes from employees not yet promoted to a management role. STS is not a replacement for management, but an opportunity for management to lead others, instead of getting caught up in the daily chores of business. By incorporating STS within a team, it establishes the ability for teams to lead themselves, and managers to act more as leaders to teams. This opens up the collaboration process, and can lead to great results.

    In the end, it is the social system that will change the way companies share and manage the knowledge within their respective organization. The technical aspect will now always be present, but this will change as technology allows. Technology is only as good as the users to implement it. STS is a strong candidate for forward motion in the modern business climate.

  19. Roche TerBlanche says:

    True socio-technical systems (STS) are self-regulating systems and this approach threatens the current leadership paradigm. Socio-technical systems present brilliant opportunities for organizational learners to co-create a cycle of sustained innovation for competitive advantage.

    In his white paper, “Information on Socio-technical Systems,” originally published in the Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning (2004), John W. Aldridge states that “a new generation of socio-technical systems is igniting the e-learning revolutions.” An example of such a revolution is the MOOC. Standing for “Massive Open Online Course,” this disruptive STS is threatening the current leadership paradigm in Higher Education. MOOCs are free and open to anyone. They are massively scalable with essentially unlimited enrollment. MOOCs are self-regulating, i.e., lectures are typically “canned,” quizzes and testing are auto-mated, and student participation is voluntary. They are primarily offered by high-prestige name-brand universities, and are often taught by high-profile faculty on popular topics. MOOCs combine technology and culture in a way that is creating new energy around e-learning.

    While this emerging STS is widely considered to be a disruptive e-learning technology, initially it will most likely be adopted as a supplement to existing in-seat classes. MOOCs will allow faculty to create “flipped” classes where the online lectures are the homework, and class time is used for student interaction and collaboration. Eventually, however, massive online courses will take full advantage of the price-slashing economics of the web. Just as free “news” apps are putting newspapers out of business, MOOCs will put significant economic pressure on expensive colleges. After all, why go to an expensive college when you can go online and learn from the best subject-matter experts in the world? This is a wake-up call for Higher Education, and the dawn of a new generation of e-learning technologies. Now is the time to pursue innovation and seek competitive advantage…for the times, they are a changing!

    REFERENCE
    DiStefano, A., Rudestam, K. E., & Silverman, R. J. (2004). Encyclopedia of distributed learning. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications. http://www.argospress.com/Resources/team-building/socitechnisistem.htm

  20. 0306684 says:

    Is Facebook considered a socio-technical system? Technically, yes, because “…socio-technical systems evolved along with the open systems notion of self-regulation and what the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy referred to as equifinality, meaning different paths leading to the same place, that is, systems somehow linkup and influence one another” (Aldridge, 2004).

    Thanks to the Internet, “Online collaborative tools are another kind of socio-technical space, where people may interact with each other, share information, exchange digital files, and collaborate” (Rallapalli, 2012, p. 63). Companies are embracing this technology by forming virtual teams to capitalize on pooling top talent from across the world in accomplishing its goals, and maximizing profits, while at the same time reducing expenses.

    However, communicating in a virtual world brings its challenges, especially when trying to articulate a statement via email or instant message. Therefore, “Since many of the traditional nonverbal cues used in communications are lost in electronic interchanges, virtual team members benefit from training in how to make more linguistic precision in their communications (see Townsend, DeMarie, & Hendrickson, 1996)” (Beyerlein, McGee, Klein, Nemiro, & Broedling, 2003, p. 197). This can help reduce miscommunications, wasted labor hours, and hurt feelings. Using the correct medium to pass along information is equally important. When possible, “…hard data is best transmitted in written form through email” and “…information with emotional context is best communicated face-to-face or via telephone…” (Beyerlein et al., 2003), or by computer microphone.

    Using online socio-technical system tools does not come without its dangers, because “While millions of web users leverage web based sociotechnical systems, equal number privacy agreements are presented to the web users for their approval prior to proceeding any further on these systems” (Rallapalli, 2012). Many users click accept these privacy agreements without really knowing how their personal information is going to be shared by the software’s manufacturer. Truth is, some people are clueless to what a privacy agreement entails, such as when “…a 2007 study…found that ‘“75% of consumers think as long as a site has a privacy policy it means it won’t share data with third parties,”’ confusing the existence of a privacy policy with extensive privacy protection” (Rallapalli, 2012).

    Bottom-line, socio-technical systems are valuable to collaboration and mission accomplishment when utilized properly, but without proper training and awareness, these systems could seriously damage a businesses’ reputation.

    References:

    Aldridge, J. W. (2004). Information on socio-technical systems. Encyclopedia of Distributed Learning. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

    Beyerlein, M.M., McGee, C., Klein, G.D., Nemiro, J.E., & Broedling, L. (2003). The collaborative work systems fieldbook. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

    Rallapalli, M. (2012). Privacy policies considerations in socio-technical systems. Technology and Investment, 3(2), 63-67. Retrieved April 21, 2013, from http://ezproxy.ccu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1020905220?accountid=10200

  21. peppermint patty says:

    Your concerns for privacy while using online STS are very valid. This is why many organizations today block their employees from accessing public social networks from the enterprise intranet. On the other hand, many STS tools are being marketed today to enable private enterprise social networks.

    Private social networking software allows an organization to host and run their own social network. Yammer is one of the more sophisticated private social networking tools that facilitates member profiles, team conversations, content collaboration, search features, administration, and integration with applications such as sharepoint. Yammer is reportedly used by over 200,000 companies and by 85% of Fortune 500 companies.

    Other more full featured Socio-Technical tools such as Confluence by Atlassian offer complete Concept-to-Launch and Product Support life cycle management. Reportedly, 22,000 customers use Confluence to create, share, discover, and discuss innovation. Both private and public document sharing and knowledge base search capability are supported. Open architecture allows for a large variety of plug-ins such as social media gadgets, mock-up widgets, workflow and approval management, and many others.

    There is no lack of IT tools to support self-regulated action-research within an organization to improve the efficiency and intellectual capital. However, as in any socio-technical system, the members must decide how to best use the tools. As discussed by Storey and Barnett (2000), successful knowledge management initiatives require a complete program architecture with ongoing top management sponsorship to address specific strategic business objectives. KM should be “used as a basis for a shift in the kind of services and products offered to customers”. Otherwise, it will only be nice to have and may be dropped when challenged by competitive market-driven pressures.

    I have seen both Yammer and Confluence used in the workplace. One tool was released to the work groups with very little structure or management direction yielding very little value in terms of “getting the job done”, and when time pressures happened, usage dwindled substantially. On the other hand, the other tool was released in alignment with project management in a way that supported product delivery. This was received as supportive to the organizational goals, and continued to be used for work team collaboration in a way that would be difficult to replace. People saw the second tool as being necessary to deliver services and goods to the marketplace.

    Yammer (2013) [computer software]. Retrieved from .

    Atlassian (2013). Information on Confluence [computer software]. Retrieved from
    .

    Storey, J. and Barnett, E. (2000). Knowledge Management Initiatives: Learning from Failure. In S. Little & T. Ray, (Eds.), Managing Knowledge (pp. 234-235). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

  22. Sherri LED512 says:

    The true challenge will be communicating with employees (think Millennial’s, GEN Y or younger) and employees communicating with each other while some have had handheld devices and technology readily available all their lives. This has also presented them with access to live information. After all, one could have watched the twin towers topple to Ground Zero in real time. I remember when PDA was an abbreviation for a behavior (Public Display of Affection) not condoned between uniformed armed service members and now it is identified as something entirely different. My tween-aged nieces and nephews lack the ability to articulate which was demanded of me at their age. The reason for a “caveat emptor” attitude among management may not be due to their receptiveness (or lack thereof) but perhaps their inability to lead younger counterparts or employees whom demonstrate superior technical skills to their own. Management may be afraid to share and collaborate because they are unsure of the potential of STS let alone how to integrate and then align integration.

  23. Tyler Schlaegl says:

    Information overload can be described as being able to find anything anywhere at any time. That we are able to pull up the latest Rockies score on our IPhone, or check what the stock market is doing on a real time basis. This is information that has overloaded our life and at time controls our life. I think that this is what information has the ability to make the person using it disconnected from the time that they are in the world, like sitting with a bunch of people at dinner and looking on at their phone the whole time, or to get a feeling of abandonment when out phones are not with us. How can a device that in the soles idea is to connect two people together, but now it’s a computer in your hand, with endless possibilities. That is the problem I think, that information is endless, and it can have the best and worst in people. Information makes us feel smart, yet when it disconnects with the world around us, and controls or overloads out lives that when it is considers information overload.

  24. mcdanielsteve says:

    Information Overload
    “With the advent of modern computers that the ability to create, duplicate and access vast amounts of information has created Information Overload amongst the general population” (“Information Overload,” n.d., para. 5). Information Overload affects one’s ability to process, understand, and dissipate information. If one employee is unable to discover and consolidate the important parts of a communication, then they are more likely to pass the entire communication throughout the organization. In this way, Information Overload is contagious. Organizations can combat Information Overload by instituting clear guidelines on communication. By focusing communications on single tasks and bullet pointing key parts, it can help employees more quickly weed through the information to find the key takeaways.

    References
    Understanding information overload. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.infogineering.net/understanding-information-overload.htm

  25. Harbinger2 says:

    As supreme leader of the organization of tomorrow, you must deftly facilitate effective collaboration and communication using the latest technology. However, this technology is not without its dangers; you must also guard yourself, and loyal team members, from becoming info-zombies, with possible side effects of inbox-ification, info-comas, and the dreaded memo-mortis. Humor aside, information overload is a serious problem, with real impacts, that must be addressed in order to productively foster honest, open, and authentic communication within an organization.

    A 1996 survey of managers by Reuters revealed that approximately two out of three experienced increased tension, lower job satisfaction, and relational problems due to information overload. Almost half of senior managers reported negative health impacts associated with information overload (Rogers, Puryear, & Root, 2013). Communication technologies have come a long ways since 1996 with share-point sites, blogs, wiki’s, Twitter, and Facebook. The potential for information overload has grown exponentially. According to a 2010 survey of knowledge workers conducted by Basex, 94% had, at some point, experienced information overload to the point of incapacitation (Rogers, Puryear, & Root, 2013). Information overload leads to multi-tasking as we deal with a mountain of information from multiple sources. Multi-tasking has been shown to hamper creativity, increase stress, and reduce productivity by as much as 30% (Dean & Webb, 2011).

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, New International Version). I believe this is the key to successfully countering information overload; Organizational leaders must carefully guard against superfluous information and help co-workers stay focused as well. Dean and Webb sum this approach up with three steps: Focus on the task at hand by reducing distractions. Filter incoming information to that which is needed to make decisions. And forget, meaning take mental breaks by exercising, resting, or simply getting outside for a few minutes (Dean & Webb, 2011).

    The info-war is real and growing. Organizational leaders must decide whether to diligently apply countermeasures, helping their organizations efficiently navigate the sea of emails, memos, meetings, blogs, and reports, or fall victim to info-mania.

    References

    Dean, D., & Webb, C. (2011, January). Recovering from information overload. McKinsey Quarterly. Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights

    Rogers, P., Puryear, R., & Root, J. (2013). Infobesity: The enemcy of good decisions [Issue brief]. Retrieved from Bain and Company Decision Insights website: http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/infobesity-the-enemy-of-good-decisions.aspx

    Carl Krueger LED 512

  26. BF says:

    Information Overload
    The ability to stay connected 24/7 has changed the business world. In a positive manor we are now a global society and are able to conduct business with someone on the other side of the world as if they were sitting in the same room. Yet it has also made it extremely difficult to disconnect and have a life outside of work. As a manager I am connected to my team 24/7 and not always able to have a day off without some form of work interfering. This can lead to burnout and stress. Sometimes being connected all the time is not the best thing for a leader.

  27. Rebecca Southern says:

    I believe that in Healthcare, we are adapting to the new tech world in leadership. Electronic Medical Record softwares not only track patient info, but can give us great information regarding how patients are being cared for. It can give us information about efficiency and processes. Most companies also have adapted computer software to manage employee evaluations. This includes goals setting as well as tracking areas for needed improvement. We have not fully integrated the potential leadership into this electronic era, but I do believe steps are being made in the right direction.

  28. Harbinger2 says:

    Organizational leaders must deftly facilitate effective collaboration and communication using the latest technology in order to make open systems work. However, this technology is not without its dangers; such as inbox-ification, info-comas, and the dreaded memo-mortis. Humor aside, information overload is a serious problem, with real impacts, that must be addressed in order to productively foster honest, open, and authentic communication within an organization.

    A 1996 survey of managers by Reuters revealed that approximately two out of three experienced increased tension, lower job satisfaction, and relational problems due to information overload. Almost half of senior managers reported negative health impacts associated with information overload (Rogers, Puryear, & Root, 2013). Communication technologies have come a long ways since 1996 with share-point sites, blogs, wiki’s, Twitter, and Facebook. The potential for information overload has grown exponentially. According to a 2010 survey of knowledge workers conducted by Basex, 94% had, at some point, experienced information overload to the point of incapacitation (Rogers, Puryear, & Root, 2013). Information overload leads to multi-tasking as we deal with a mountain of information from multiple sources. Multi-tasking has been shown to hamper creativity, increase stress, and reduce productivity by as much as 30% (Dean & Webb, 2011).

    “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, New International Version). I believe this is the key to successfully countering information overload; Organizational leaders must carefully guard against superfluous information and help co-workers stay focused as well. Dean and Webb sum this approach up with three steps: Focus on the task at hand by reducing distractions. Filter incoming information to that which is needed to make decisions. And forget, meaning take mental breaks by exercising, resting, or simply getting outside for a few minutes (Dean & Webb, 2011).

    The info-war is real and growing. Organizational leaders must decide whether to diligently apply countermeasures, helping their organizations efficiently navigate the sea of emails, memos, meetings, blogs, and reports, or fall victim to info-mania.

  29. Demo Man says:

    Testing testing.

  30. Ralph McCarthy says:

    Innovation and Leadership 2.01
    Information overload:
    “Everyone appears to be staying in the know.” As we become more technologically savvy we find ourselves inundated with information. Many of us have become “slaves” to our smart devices with some having multiples of these devices. While it is important to be aware of what is going on around us and getting the latest updates on things that truly matter, we must also find ways to filter out the “noise” we also receive. Information overload happens when we are unable to discern what is truly important from what may be “good to know” but not “need to know” from what is simply noise. Too much information can distract and confuse if it is not handled properly and regulated to its rightful place. Organization leaders must decide what they think is the appropriate level of technology that the organization needs. They must weigh the benefits and the risks in making this decision. It is true that technology has made the corporate life much easier and will continue to do so in the future, but the organization must decide if it wants to be technology driven or people driven; does it want to see people interacting or sitting in front of computer screens as the technology does all the “thinking.” We see the effect that the technological revolution has brought to society: people no longer have real conversations but instead send messages to each other even when they are in the same rooms; a lack of face to face social interaction; people out together, but not really, as the talk to and text others. Yes, technology is a great thing and has helped us to achieve, discover, participate, and even be there when we really cannot, but it also has it down sides. It separates, reduce the ability to decide and think, we do not even know how to write and spell any more. How much is too much is for the organization and the individual to decide.

  31. air2ranger says:

    Social Technical Systems (STS) are an inherent threat as well as a powerful tool for managers and leaders alike. They represent information which is perceived by many as power. Those who fear STS’s and seek to diminish, regulate, or directly control the flow of information within them see them as a loss of controllable information and therefore of power. This is obviously counterproductive and almost always results in failure as communication will always find a way to occur in a free environment. If controlled too tightly, participation will simply shift to another system that is more user and collaboration friendly. This is best summed up by Abraham Lincoln in the phrase “Try not to feel insecure or threatened by your followers” (Phillips, 1992).

    The opposite end of the spectrum is those that encourage too much usage and allow the venue to become free range and unguided to a point of information overload. This is when far too much information is presented and available for one person or even a group to assimilate and be effective. This can occur to such an extent that the original meaning or purpose of the collaboration is lost in all of the white noise. This is becoming more of a problem as access to information is so much more readily available that it can be called omnipresent in our lives. So much is being communicated that when something profound or important is shared, there is a high risk of it being lost. Leaders and managers who are sensitive to the phenomena of information overload are better arrayed to encourage collaboration but also try to monitor and steer progress in a meaningful and productive manner. This leaves productivity to the followers and direction to the leader. “When your subordinates come up with good ideas, let them go ahead and try. But monitor their progress. If you are a good leader, when your work is done, your aim fulfilled, your people will say, “We did this ourselves”” (Phillips, 1992).
    It is the sharing of ideas in a constructive and meaningful way that results in the greatest productivity. Leaders must encourage creativity and the sharing of ideas if advances are to be made. “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that chastiseth the heathen, shall he not correct? He that teachech man knowledge, shall he not know? (Psalm 94:9-10, KJV).

    References

    Phillips, D. (1992). Lincoln on Leadership. New York, NY: Warner Books, Inc

    Phillips, J., & Gully, S.M. (2011). Organizational Behavior: Tools for Success. (5th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Publications

  32. Michael Jeter says:

    I think information overload is a real problem when we look at family life and quality relationships. When we talk about always being connected we are also talking about not being able to turn it off. It has been said that telecommuting is great for the individual and them being able to be home but what it seems to be doing is not allowing them ever disconnect from work.
    We are flooded with information, data and constant contact. When do we get to turn it off and be people and connect with families and friends in person. How many who can connect to “work” email at home don’t check it at least once or twice outside of work?

  33. Amanda McCreadie says:

    A trend that seems to be growing alongside all of the technological advances of today is “more is better.” From that has come an attitude that the more information you control or have access to brings with it a sense of empowerment. I believe that this attitude can place leaders and organizations alike on a slippery slope to a place where neither wants to be. Information itself can be a powerful tool when used and applied appropriately. However, when an abundance of information is at hand it can be tough to sort it all out and decide which pieces and parts are essential to the decision at hand. An overload of miscellaneous data can shadow the information that is really needed and lead to poor decision making. In addition, the constant access to information sources via various electronic devices has created two problems that must be addressed by leaders and organizations. The first is that information sources are being updated at a staggering rate causing information gathered to become obsolete in a very short time. End users of that information must be proactive when making decisions and make sure advances and adjustments in the information are carefully factored into the decisions being made. Second is the distraction the actual electronic devices can become in the decision-making process. I’ve been in way too many meetings with coworkers who are disengaged from the meeting going on around them because they are focused on their electronic device. While they could still be engaged in work-related tasks such as answering email messages, it makes it hard to build a team and come to an agreed upon decision if everyone involved is not an active part of the discussion process. Collaboration should be a big part of any organization so that employees can feel that they are an important part of the whole and not just one more cog in the machine. I feel that leaders need to be clear with employees what the policy is on electronic devices. They need to emphasize their effectiveness and efficiency, but cautions must be given to not allow them to become hindrances, especially in making timely decisions. There has to come a time when you must go with the information on hand, while acknowledging that changes may have to be made in the future. If we’re stuck in the mindset of always knowing the latest information on a topic, nothing would ever get done. No decisions would be made or someone else would get the jump on the latest innovations.

  34. MBsLegacy says:

    As a municipality employee and an IT analyst working in the area of Content Management, I see the push daily for more open and transparent government. There are good intentions behind this. There are laws like FOIA (Federal Open Information Act), Open Meetings Act, and the so called “Sunshine” Laws that ensure citizens are aware of meetings that affect their City or State and the right of citizens and the Press to ask for information that is public. Our City’s web team has won awards for their transparency, posting open data and reports so citizens can not only see how funds are being spent, but can write useful (and more award winning) apps against this data, such as maps of parks and bus routes, as well as what time the next bus will arrive. But there is a down side to all this openness too. I watched ABC Evening news tonight talk about the fact (proven in a 30 second segment) that Google and other Search Engine companies have computers that read your emails and based on key words, display an advertisement on the web page you are on. That’s how this student, reading a news journal suddenly sees ads for scrapbooking.com (my hobby) show up on the right side of the web page. Also, just Google your name sometime, you might be surprised what you find. But it gets worse. As IT experts, my business unit has to ensure that software purchased is PCI compliant (Payment Card Industry standard), and that PPI (Personal Private Information) like a social security number or HIPAA (medical information) is encrypted if stored electronically. But this isn’t always enough to keep the hackers, and apparently the NSA, from becoming a threat to one’s identities, or out of one’s private business. Reuters reports that the “National Security Agency has secretly developed the ability to crack or circumvent commonplace Internet encryption used to protect everything from email to financial transactions,” according to media reports on information obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden (Menn, 2013, p.1). Then there are instances of other greedy, disgruntled or otherwise deranged employees who know too much when they leave, or before they leave, a job. Case in point, “Chelsea” Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, who was a soldier in the United States Army. This person leaked over 700,000 classified documents. Thus information “sharing” becomes a threat to our nation’s security. Trist discovered in 1993 that in Sociotechnical Systems (STS), machines (technology) and people are interdependent, social systems or work groups function as a whole and are given control to regulate the technical system (Burke, 2011, p.44). While this was an improvement over managers and experts doing all the decision making, it comes at a cost. Weisbord talks about the Knowledge Revolution and discusses how “machines do the physical better and faster than people do. However, people have to be smarter about using them. Instead of adding energy…factory workers increasingly add intelligence and judgment… Second, knowledge work jobs are growing faster than physical work” (2012, p. 194-195). He discusses the fact that an Airline worker’s job output is both information and customer satisfaction. They must now be “fact-finder, interpreter, diagnostician, judge, adjuster, and change agent…tasks once reserved for managers” (Weisbord, 2012, p. 194-195). Enabling and empowering people to become knowledge experts through sociotechnical systems can be a great thing. Scripture tells us, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7, New International Version). The “God-fearing,” background-checked individuals who work for governments, technology and other customer service businesses everywhere keep commerce rolling and everyone sharing. But systems are only as “good” as the people who run, and protect, them.

    References
    Burke, W.W. (2011). Organization change: Theory and practice. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks,
    CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
    Menn, J. (2013, September 5). New Snowden documents say NSA can break common internet
    encryption. Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/05/net-us-usa-security-snowden-encryption-idUSBRE98413720130905
    Weisbord, M.R. (2012). Productive workplaces: Dignity, meaning, and community in the 21st century. (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  35. Bryan Kinder says:

    Information overload is technological induced stress that can cripple a leaders ability to maintain focus and delay or impair effective decision making. This can often be self-inflicted stress due to improper use of effective time management skills. While the ability to stay connected through advancements in technology (smartphones, telecommute opportunities, etc…) would appear to bolster efficiency by enabling leaders to multitask, this 24/7 availability often reduces productivity due to continual interruption. People tend to check their email every time a notification pops up, especially if they are waiting for something specific. This constant distraction decreases one’s ability to maintain focus and attention on the given situation. Can’t we pick up the phone or walk down the hall to get the answer we are in search of? This attention fragmentation leading to delays in decision making. In addition, with the amount of information available when making a decision, it often takes away from a leader’s intuition. With information so readily available, this can inhibit their confidence to make a quick decision based on recognition of the similarities to past experience. This abundance of information can also lead to increased alternatives being evaluated when determining the appropriate way forward. While more options may help to determine the best course of action, it also delays the entire process while the group has to evaluate all the alternatives.

  36. yoseph1234 says:

    Protection is the Best Solution
    As we know identity theft is the big problem of this time, especially this day when technology plays a major role in gathering people from every corner of the earth to the networked device. Technology is highly beneficial and effective in the business world, it enhances and refine communication in the organization. Leaders can spread and broaden their messages to all employees within an instant. However, we must recognize and interpret the effects of improper use of the internet. Today, the internet is becoming one of the major identity theft programs’ platform. Cyber attack, internet virus, and hacking are some of the techniques that attackers are using to steal personal information for private purposes. Organization leaders, managers and all responsible personnel have the obligation to keep their clients, customers, and employees personal information safe and secure. Trust is essential between the organization and the public, trust is vital for the development of the organization. According to Phillips & Gully, (2012). Leaders should avoid using internet in delivering bad news to their employees instead one-to-one communication is the best, (p. 439). Furthermore, extreme openness and transparency also plays an important role in increasing our vulnerability to identity theft. Transparency and openness are important in an organization but there must be a limitation of transparency and openness based on the priorities and the core values of the business as well as individual values. Personal values and private security issues must be kept in secure, we must not release them in everywhere with everyone. We must not assume everybody think the same way as we do, or we shouldn’t measure people based on our behavior, priority, personality and orientation but we should respect them but we must not be quicker to trust them. Nevertheless, we should be always careful in the time of releasing private information unintentionally. According to the Bible, we must be effective listeners than talkers, the more we talk the more we lose sensitive data, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19, KJV). Finally, openness and transparency can be the bridge in which confidence is improving and enhancing in the constitution. However, employees should be careful in discussing their personal information over the phone and via email without proper consideration. I believe leaders should focus on deploying identity protection program before getting into crises of security breach, identity theft and information compromised.
    References
    Gully, M.S. & Phillipis, M.J. (2012). Organizational behavior: Tools for success. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.

  37. Terry Moss says:

    Information Overload

    Is your phone a tool or a boss? Yes, a little dry humor there- but really? Are you using it to enhance your tasks and abilities? Or is it bossing you around- telling you when and where to show up? Taking you on unexpected rabbit trails? Or just plain out wasting-your-time?

    Thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, instant messages and texts were sent- in the time you took to read this sentence! We now joke in my family that we need a basket to ‘un-plug’ and put our phones away before we enter my parent’s home for Christmas dinner. While funny at the time- there is truth at the heart of it. What are we to do with the sheer amount of information constantly being thrown at us?

    Cope with coping strategies? Prioritizing, multi-tasking, satisficing (being satisfied with ‘good enough’ solutions), refusing, limiting, queuing, delegating, shifting, escaping, altering, filtering are all now recommended (Bhasin, 2012, figure 2). It makes me tired just thinking of how to deal with the information and I haven’t even read the original e-mail yet! Could this overload cause me to make a poor decision, even worse, no decision? You bet. “People faced with a plethora of choices are apt to make no decision at all” (Begley, 2011, p. 3).

    Information overload or distraction is not a new topic, it just happens to be affecting more of us. Luke 10:38-42 (English Standard Version) states:

    “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was DISTRACTED with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

    All that distraction caused Martha anxiety- sound familiar to anyone? (see Matthew 6:34) Mary chose her course, just as we have the ability to choose ours. We should be careful to not fall victim to something, or in this case, a multitude of things, that divides us against ourselves; making us ineffective in the tasks divinely assigned to each one of us. So, stand with me in awareness and make a conscious decision about what is deemed worthy of your time. “But test everything; hold fast what is good” 1Thessalonians 5:21.

    References

    Begley, S. (2011). I can’t think! The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequence- our overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions. Retrieved from http://lgdata.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/docs/772/652133/I_Can%E2%80%99t_Think_.pdf

    Bhasin, K. (2012). This is how information overload destroys your productivity. Retrieved from
    http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-information-overload-affects-you-in-the-workplace-2012-2

  38. Severiano Carbajal says:

    Identity theft seems to be a long shot of happening to most people, but the reality is, about 9.9 million people a year have suffered from this crime (“Identity theft facts”, 2013). The overwhelming amount of information that is being shared over the internet is the leading cause for this crime. With online shopping reaching new heights, online gaming, and online updates of ever day activities being posted every minute, it makes the opportunities for theft much higher. Almost all of these people who have suffered from this crime are sharing information out of naivety, rather than stupidity. So why are they being taken advantage of? Too often people are willing to give away facts about themselves and their background that people just don’t need to know. Especially in an online platform, transparency is the last characteristic that people should be striving for. The world today has become too “virtual” and not enough “personal”. While information almost has to be put on the internet for different reasons to cooperate with the business world of today, the personal part of each person’s life should stay personal. Instead of sharing your day with everyone online, try sharing your day with one person face to face.

    References

    Identity theft facts. (2013, November). Retrieved from http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/identity-theft-facts.page

    • Terry Moss says:

      Information Overload
      Is your phone a tool or a boss? Yes, a little dry humor there- but really? Are you using it to enhance your tasks and abilities? Or is it bossing you around- telling you when and where to show up? Taking you on unexpected rabbit trails? Or just plain out wasting-your-time?
      Thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, instant messages and texts were sent- in the time you took to read this sentence! We now joke in my family that we need a basket to ‘un-plug’ and put our phones away before we enter my parent’s home for Christmas dinner. While funny at the time- there is truth at the heart of it. What are we to do with the sheer amount of information constantly being thrown at us?
      Cope with coping strategies? Prioritizing, multi-tasking, satisficing (being satisfied with ‘good enough’ solutions), refusing, limiting, queuing, delegating, shifting, escaping, altering, filtering are all now recommended (Bhasin, 2012, figure 2). It makes me tired just thinking of how to deal with the information and I haven’t even read the original e-mail yet! Could this overload cause me to make a poor decision, even worse, no decision? You bet. “People faced with a plethora of choices are apt to make no decision at all” (Begley, 2011, p. 3).
      Information overload or distraction is not a new topic, it just happens to be affecting more of us. Luke 10:38-42 (English Standard Version) states:
      “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was DISTRACTED with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

      All that distraction caused Martha anxiety- sound familiar to anyone? (see Matthew 6:34) Mary chose her course, just as we have the ability to choose ours. We should be careful to not fall victim to something, or in this case, a multitude of things, that divides us against ourselves; making us ineffective in the tasks divinely assigned to each one of us. So, stand with me in awareness and make a conscious decision about what is deemed worthy of your time. “But test everything; hold fast what is good” 1 Thessalonians 5:21.

      References
      Begley, S. (2011). I can’t think! The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequence- our overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions. Retrieved from http://lgdata.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/docs/772/652133/I_Can%E2%80%99t_Think_.pdf
      Bhasin, K. (2012). This is how information overload destroys your productivity. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-information-overload-affects-you-in-the-workplace-2012-2

  39. Sarah Ehambe says:

    LED 512 – Interactive Exercise S3
    Sarah Ehambe
    Colorado Christian University

    I agree with the article that socio technical systems continue to infiltrate our world in the workplace. But I do not see that as a threat to leadership, or something that leadership within companies are not embracing. The author stated that he feels management is “stuck” and using an “approach-avoidance” method to all of this change. I disagree. As the author mentioned in the article, STS is a rapidly growing market that hardly anyone could have predicted. A combination of logic and research has shown that “organizational change is often an overwhelming challenge for business leaders” (Taylor, 2013). Yet the “fundamentals of business remain the same despite these perceptive changes in our environments” (Taylor, 2013).
    So, yes business is being done differently. And yes, that is creating opportunity for our leaders to evolve. But I believe they are doing what they do best, and it is adapting as quickly as any human can, and keeping up with whatever the customer demands. According to an infographic by Invesp, 87% of companies in the world have a presence on Facebook and Twitter (Bennett, 2013). Now, I think that is pretty remarkable! Although the statistics begin going down when you explore how active and responsive they are to customers, the fact that remains, is they are getting involved and evolving. In fact I often find myself frequently feeling impressed with how quickly companies have jumped on the technology band-wagon. . I am not a “the glass is half full” or “the glass is half empty” kind of girl. I am more of a “Praise God we have water” girl. So, yes I have a positive outlook on life, but I believe that this is not me being effected or blinded by that, I believe this is purely rational reasoning, once you begin digging deeper and doing the research. Regardless, this article was a great stimulator for thought. Thank you for the post!

    References
    Bennett, S. (2013). How are businesses using social media. Retrieved from http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-business_b40869
    Taylor, A. (2013). Leading the way. Retrieved from http://thegazette.com/2013/04/14/leading-the-way-organizational-change-can-be-managed/

  40. Terry Moss says:

    Information Overload
    Is your phone a tool or a boss? Yes, a little dry humor there- but really? Are you using it to enhance your tasks and abilities? Or is it bossing you around- telling you when and where to show up? Taking you on unexpected rabbit trails? Or just plain out wasting-your-time?
    Thousands of tweets, Facebook posts, instant messages and texts were sent- in the time you took to read this sentence! We now joke in my family that we need a basket to ‘un-plug’ and put our phones away before we enter my parent’s home for Christmas dinner. While funny at the time- there is truth at the heart of it. What are we to do with the sheer amount of information constantly being thrown at us?
    Cope with coping strategies? Prioritizing, multi-tasking, satisficing (being satisfied with ‘good enough’ solutions), refusing, limiting, queuing, delegating, shifting, escaping, altering, filtering are all now recommended (Bhasin, 2012, figure 2). It makes me tired just thinking of how to deal with the information and I haven’t even read the original e-mail yet! Could this overload cause me to make a poor decision, even worse, no decision? You bet. “People faced with a plethora of choices are apt to make no decision at all” (Begley, 2011, p. 3).
    Information overload or distraction is not a new topic, it just happens to be affecting more of us. Luke 10:38-42 (English Standard Version) states:
    “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was DISTRACTED with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

    All that distraction caused Martha anxiety- sound familiar to anyone? (see Matthew 6:34) Mary chose her course, just as we have the ability to choose ours. We should be careful to not fall victim to something, or in this case, a multitude of things, that divides us against ourselves; making us ineffective in the tasks divinely assigned to each one of us. So, stand with me in awareness and make a conscious decision about what is deemed worthy of your time. “But test everything; hold fast what is good” 1Thessalonians 5:21.

    References
    Begley, S. (2011). I can’t think! The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequence- our overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions. Retrieved from http://lgdata.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/docs/772/652133/I_Can%E2%80%99t_Think_.pdf
    Bhasin, K. (2012). This is how information overload destroys your productivity. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/infographic-how-information-overload-affects-you-in-the-workplace-2012-2

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