Leadership Discussion Questions

Pages: 5 (1410 words) Published: January 23, 2011
Over the last three weeks we have focused very much on leadership, power, organizational culture, and organizational change. The Cultural Change Situation article from Human Resource Planning (available in the Doc Sharing) is a great synthesis piece that addresses all of these topics through a detailed study of firm’s attempted move to team-based management.

As you read through the report, pay close attention to the discussion about Harley-Davidson and Shelby Die Casting, and their eventual conclusions about how to manage resistance to change.  Also, keep in mind our OCI material from Week 6 and think about the process from a cultural change perspective. And of course, pay close attention to the lessons for top management presented at the end.

A few opening topics for this week's discussion:

      1. Assess the process from the model for planned change presented beginning on page 353 in the text.               a. What did the company do right?                b. What more might have been done to prepare for the change?       2. What are your thoughts on Harley-Davidson’s resolution for resistance to change?               a. Do you support the conclusions of the management team? Why or why not?       3. Share with the class what you found most interesting about the article and why.              a. Compare and contrast the case study’s findings with our discussions and the information from our text.

As always, but particularly given the synthesis nature of our discussion this week, be certain to read, consider, respond and probe your classmates’ thoughts and ideas. This is a great opportunity for us all to weave together many of the topics we’ve covered this session.

Everyone - Transference

If you gain nothing else from this class, be sure to remember what I am about to tell you on the topic of transference...

Let me tell you about a FASCINATING experiment in group psychology. I believe it was done at Boston University in the early 80s.

A psychology professor got 100 student volunteers together. He told them to come back to campus the following Friday evening for a party in Conference Room A. "There will be food and music but here is the catch" he said. "Be miserable. It does not matter if you just won lotto, got all A's and are in love. ACT MISERABLE".

He then met with another group of 100 students and told them to meet in Conference Room B for food, music, etc. However he told these people to act happy. "It does not matter if you're getting divorced, failing all your classes, and coming down with the flu. ACT HAPPY" he said.


Friday came around and the students gathered in their respective conference rooms. The conference rooms had identical decor, identical food, even identical music playing. The only difference was the way people were acting. At the close of the evening he turned the lights up, stopped the music, and gave each person a survey that asked them to describe very candidly, how they feel about their life. It was a basic survey asking, "How's life going for you? How's school? How's your home life? How do you feel about your future? etc.

The results were fascinating and they proved something we now call "transference".

What do you think the results were from the surveys? You guessed it - the people in the "miserable room" reported a more negative outlook on their lives than the people in the "happy room".

Everyone - Transference Continued

The old adage is true - misery loves company.

In fact to take it a step further now that we understand transference, we can safely say that misery does not only love company, but it also breeds and creates company.

What kind of workforce do you want to build as a future business owner or leader? Watch out for infection.

In the consulting I used to do, when I am brought into an office one of the first items I would look into is what I call the "emotional temperature" of the work environment. Most industry leaders,...
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