This site is built as a compendium of information about the Organizational Behavior class to convene at Furman in January-February of 2007.

There will be 21 class sessions, each lasting a couple of hours.

21 Posts will follow, each corresponding to a class session. The order of presentation will likely change.

Day 1: Introduction to Organizational Behavior

We will start with a quick overview of the field of Social Psychology.

There are two viewpoints that Social Psychologists use as lenses for examining the world. We can study the way individuals perceive and understand their social environment. Or we can study people in groups and seek to understand behaviors in the context of the social setting. In our OB class,we'll take both perspectives.

Topics to cover on this day include:

  • Kurt Lewin and field theory
  • Solomon Asch and conformity
  • Stanley Milgram and obedience to authority
  • Henry Murray and the TAT
  • David McClelland’s nAch, nAff and nPow
  • Irving Janis and groupthink
  • Robert F. Bales and SYMLOG
  • The Story of Kitty Genovese

On Day 1, we'll also discuss therules of engagement for the class, how we'll use technology, and what the group project will be about.

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The Milgram Study

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Poem about the Dutton and Aron study, called Rope Bridge, by Nan Cohen.

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The famous Solomon Asch Study on Conformity.

Day 2: Group Dynamics and Group Facilitation

Topics include:

  • Groupthink, the Bay of Pigs, the NASA Challenger disaster, the war in Iraq

  • Robert F. Bales, fantasy chains, group facilitation

  • The here and now concept

  • Stages of team development

  • Group polarization and the risky shift phenomenon

Articles and Books:
Personality & Interpersonal Behavior, by Robert F. Bales.
Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals (about the Lincoln admistration)
Groupthink, by Irving Janis,.
Emotions Revealed, by Paul Ekman.

Unmasking the Face, by Paul Ekman
Telling Lies, by Paul Ekman.

Interview with Doris Kearns Goodwin about Lincoln's leadership style.

Click here for a website featuring a collection of articles about the concept of metaphor. Understanding how metaphors work is the key to understanding group process.

Day 3: Decision-Making

Topics include:
Four phase decision-making model:

  • Framing your decision

  • Gathering intelligence

  • Coming to conclusions

  • Learning from experience
The even swaps method
Biases in decision making
Selection and hiring systems in organizations
Decision traps
Analytic versus intuitive decision making

Three types of organizational decisions:

  • Strategic decision making

  • Operational decision making

  • Tactical and micro decision making
Articles and Books:
Even Swaps: A Rational Method for Making Trade-Offs, Harvard Business Review, 1998, by Hammond, Keeney & Raiffa.
Sources of Power, by Gary Klein.
Decision Traps, by Russo & Schoemaker.
Groupthink, by Irving Janis.
The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin.
State of Denial, by Robert Woodward.
Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq by Thomas E. Ricks
Strategy & Decision, Chapter 1: "The Strategic Decision," by Mark Rhodes.
blink, by Malcolm Glaser.

Day 4: Organizational Systems Design

Some case examples:

  • Enron

  • Southwest Airlines

  • Furman University

  • Starbucks
Organizations as open systems

The Organizational Systems Design (OSD) Model

  • Mission and purpose

  • An organization's external environment

  • Oganizational culture

  • Desired outcomes

  • Guiding principles and values

  • Strategy to influence the external environment

  • Goals & objectives

  • Technical and work systems

  • Organzational structure

  • Decision-making and information systems

  • People systems

  • Reward & Recognition

  • Renewal and organizational learning
Articles & Books
Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind

Day 5: Leadership and Interpersonal Influence

Leadership - what is it?
Changing minds
Influencing others:

  • The rule of reciprocity
  • Commitment and consistency
  • Social proof
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

How Abraham Lincoln changed the world with words

Articles and Books:
Getting Things Done When You are Not in Charge, by Geoff Bellman.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini.
Lincoln at Gettysburg, by Garry Wills.
Lincoln on Leadership, by Donald T. Phillips.
On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis.

Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds, by Howard Gardner.

Day 5: Personality and Aptitude

Understanding Personality

  • Freud, Jung, Rogers and others
  • The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument
Thinking About Aptitude

  • The theory multiple intelligence
  • Assessment instruments

Article and Books

Frames of Mind, by Howard Gardner.
Extraordinary Minds: Portraits of 4 Exceptional Individuals and an Examinination of our Own Extraordinariness, by Howard Gardner

The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler.

Day 7: Creativity and Innovation in Organizations

Innovation in Organizations
Metaphor and thought
Steps in the creative process
Rollo May and the Courage to Create
Poincare, Salvador Dali and the Theta experience
The role of sleep in the creative process
Lateral thinking and the Six Thinking Hats

Shipping Up to Boston. The Dropkick Murphys.

Articles and Books
The Courage to Create, by Rollo May.
Creativity in Business, by Ray and Myers.
Mindmapping, by Joyce Wyckoff.
Creativity, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Descartes' Error, by Antonio Damasio
Here is some Japanese art, called The Wave, a favorite of Matt MacCaughelty

Day 9: The Art and Practice of Story Telling

Story Telling as a High Leverage Communication Straetgy
Story Telling as a Way of Leading

The General, by Dispatch. Idea submitted by Tori Lambe

The Hurricane, by Bob Dylan.

Articles and Books:
Connecting with Your Audience, Telling Stories, and Assuaging Terror, by Nick Morgan, Harvard Management Communication Letter.

Story Telling that Moves People: A conversation with Screenwriting Coach Robert McKee, Harvard Business Review, June, 2003. --- Here is a link to info about Robert Mckee:

Days 10 & 11: The Concept of Strategy

The history of strategy:

Sun Tzu
Vegetius, Roman historian
The battle of Cannae
Napoleon's campaigns
Frederick the Great
Jomini and Clausewitz
Chancellorsville and Gettysburg
Preparing for D-Day, WWII

Strategy & decision making during the Iraq wars

Strategic Thinking

Competitive Advantage

Defensive Strategy

Positioning theory and Michael Porter

Emergent strategy and Henry Mintzberg

Articles and Books
Strategy, by B.H. Liddell Hart
Alchemist of War: The Life of Basil Liddell Hart, by Alex Danchev
D-Day, by Stephen Ambrose
Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy, by Shapiro and Varian
Clausewitz on Strategy, by von Ghyczy, von Oetinger, and Bassford
The Art of War , by Sun Tzu (various translations)
Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management, by Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel
Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael E. Porter
Strategy & Decision, Chapter 2: "Thinking about Strategic Thinking," by Mark Rhodes.

Ckick here, for an article relating to trade-offs, a key concept in thinking about strategy.

Day 13: Motivation and Ethics in Business and Organizations

Case Study: Enron
Case Study: Wal-Mart
Counter-intuitive findings about reward systems
Maslow's hierarchy of needs
Infusing work with meaning
Ethical leadership

Articles & Books:
Strategic Pay, by Ed Lawler.
Punished by Rewards, by Alfie Kohn.
Love & Profit, by James A. Autrey
Man's Search for Himself, by Rollo May
Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Rrankl
On Becoming a Person, by Carl Rogers
Toward a Psychology of Being, by Abraham Maslow
Certain Trumpets: The Call of Leaders, by Garry Wills.
The Wal-Mart Effect, by Charles Gishman

Day 14: Measures and Statistics in Business and Organizations

Measuring employee engagement and satisfaction
Customer value analysis
Financial performance metrics
Operational measures
The balanced scorecard
Descriptive statistics
Inferential statistics
Multi-variate statistics

Articles & Books:
Managing Customer Value, by Bradley Gale
The Balanced Scorecard, by Kaplan & Norton
The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton

Day 15: Marketing and Branding

The developer of a blog called Logic + Emotion recently published the following list of books that influence him, along with the picture above. This tells us a little about what a marketing specialist does and thinks about, and a lot about this particular person. Since "personal branding" will be a theme for us, I will ask you to make a similar stack of books, and show how this relates to your own brand.

From Logic + Emotion
A while back [a friend] asked me if I could share "what's in my bookstack". Well, it's not just books—but here are a few paper products that I reference on a fairegular basis.

Passage To Liberty An well-designed book that reminds me of my heritage and the things that my parents faced as Italian immigrants. It helps me to remember where my roots lie. A Whole New Mind An enlightening piece that reminds me to use all the parts of my brain on a daily basis.

Citizen Marketers One of the most comprehensive books on what the "prosumer" movement is really all about.

No Excuses The story of Kyle Maynard, a boy born with no arms and legs who became a champion Wreslter. A reminder that I have no excuses in life.

Made To Stick One of my favorite reads on how to make ideas memorable.

The Myths of Innovation A great way to look at innovation as a process.

The Brand Gap One of my all time favorites. A must have for anyone looking to bridge the worlds of design and branding.

The Laws of Simplicity An interesting read that lays out how complex simplicity really is.

Color Harmony Something I reference when looking to communicate with color.

IDEO Method Cards A wonderful source of inspiration for the creation or mashing up of different methodologies.

Creative Whack Pack The "Anti IDEO Method Cards", I use this as a counterbalance to IDEO's cards. The Whack Pack is less about methods and more about good old fashioned inspiration.