Monthly Archives: January 2007

Leadership Books

A former (and current!) student (Jenna Camann) asked me if I would supply a list of leadership books for the University bookstore to highlight as part of a leadership series leading up to an event. I was happy to help, and it was great to see a student taking such an active role in the academic and co-curricular life of the university.

She has been working with a Dean form student affairs to develop a leadership program, and they are both interested in building a more solid bridge to the classroom and academics (one that goes both ways). I know “leadership” as a field often tries to integrate academics and practice, with practice winning out maybe more often than not. As Bucknell changes its management curriculum, it will be interesting to see what happens to this leadership program as it is mostly being pushed from outside the faculty.

Here is a list of leadership books that I am suggesting. These mostly reflect two of my own interests 1) leadership of organizations as political coalitions and 2) books I would want to curl up with and spend more time exploring. Also, I tried to add some “classics” to avoid the infatuation with novelty so rampant in most business publishing.

In no order:

Rules for Radicals Alinksy, Saul.

Beyond The Hype. Eccles, Robert; Nohria, Nitin and Berkley, James

The Fifth Discipline. Senge, Peter (This si a new Edition, I am not sure how much has been updated.)

The Lifelong Activist. Rettig, Hillary.

Geeks and Geezers. Bennis, Warren.


Building the Bridge as you Walk On It. Quinn, Robert E.

And, to leaven them all, a great book by Chris Argyris.

Flawed Advice and the Management Trap: How Managers Can Know When They’re Getting Good Advice and When They’re Not. Argyris, Chris.

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First Day Down, 42/14 to go

Back in the saddle for “Six Degrees of Separation” and first time for “Organization Theory.”

Egads, OT is an awful name for a course. Especially since I want to focus on org stories, org data, validating theory. At the least, we should call it org theorizing (genuflect to Karl Weick).

Six Degrees seemed great. Amazing how the second time through makes all seem easier. They read an essay from Chronicle of Higher Education by Jeffrey Nesteruk that links up social capital and liberal education. Just making sure the (clients) students get to appreciate what they are in for.

In OT we had three hours, so lots of icebreakers, a simulation of an org. Read Senge “The Leaders’ New Work.” Leaders need to be designers, teachers, stewards. Me: OK, to develop those roles you need the knowledge and mental discipline of org theorizing.

Tonight: “Rise of the Network Society.”

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Source on Privatization of Intelligence

Heard interview with TIM SHORROCK, an author who investigates privatization of intelligence operations by US.

Democracy now interview.

This is a possible future research thread for me. Critics will say privatization doesn’t work by its own metrics of effectiveness and cost efficiency. Why does it persist then? How is it institutionally perpetuated? A network image springs to mind- there is a thick and lumpy skin of overlaping contractors around the core funding source of US intelligence. There are network questions. There is the revolving door phenomenon. There are also 1,000s of top secret classification analysts who leave government and then install with private contractors at big premiums.

Note to self: x-post with MGMT339 blpog.

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Cute picture of Thea


A ridiculously cute picture of my daughter, Dorothea “Thea.”

Tip to her maternal grandfather.

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Two paragraphs I like from my draft teaching state…

Two paragraphs I like from my draft teaching statement.

I don’t know if they will make the final cut. I don’t know if the amalgam of moments will work, but since writing about teaching usually sounds like airy cool-whip generalities (all the same and all bland), I hope this is acceptable risk.

“Line up in a circle!” The first year students in my foundation seminar (or the seniors in an Organization Change class) pause, look puzzled, and then shuffle with the studied aloofness of adolesence that they have not quite yet shed into something a misshapen ellipse. A simple game follows. I ask students to describe what they have been doing in one word. “Weird. Fun. Chaotic. Unexpected.” These are typical responses. “How is your learning Weird? Unexpected?” They loosen up. They share a story of how they discovered an unspoken norm in the last place they worked. We shift back to our seats. I praise the day’s discussion leader for her astute questions. I ask them: “You are a new manager at an advertising firm. Is it better to have four links to four clusters of four people, or sixteen to links to everyone?” They discuss both in terms of ideas of centrality, effectiveness, and information redundancy using the day’s readings. I continue: “How could we discover which is better? What kinds of questions would you ask?” We record their responses on the board and post them later on a class forum so that they can use these ideas as they pursue their final research or service-learning projects.

In this amalgam of moments from my classes, I am illustrating the three guiding principles of my teaching. These are: the wisdom of social science, experiential cycles, and building a community of learners. To “line up in a circle,” throws my students off-guard. They pause on the way to complying. In a minute way, the pause throws into relief the ability to take the flow of experience, language, and influence that permeates our normal existence and to hold those moments, large and small, at arm’s length. To be in and out of the moment simultaneously is, for me, one of the delights of knowing the wisdom of the social sciences. I point my students towards the unexpected and with readings, movies, activities, humor, or provocative questions.

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