Globalization, outsourcing and ever-changing technology – all are issues challenging businesses as they evolve to stay competitive. At the same time, managers are working to keep the team at top performance amid growing concerns about specialization and job security. A new book co-edited by two University of Cincinnati researchers takes a psychological approach to addressing these challenges.
The book delves into three key questions involving globalization and the workplace:
Klein explains that one of the obstacles of the modern workplace is that time’s too short to focus on anything other than getting the job done. “People are hired by companies to be very good problem solvers. They have engineering degrees, MBAs and technical skills. But there isn’t enough time to think and there isn’t enough time to listen,” he says.
The book is a resource for leaders in industry, government, health and education. The book’s nine chapters examine actual case studies, contributed by authors in the United States, England, Australia and India. The cases vary, such as the family in France that’s using high technology to save the family farm, but it’s looking more like a business and less like a farm every day. Or, there’s the builder in England who’s torn between either buying local or paying less for steel abroad, putting him at a disadvantage with English manufacturing companies.
Klein writes about a top team with a Midwest company, struggling with a member who’s accused of falling short on the job amidst his drinking and womanizing – pulling down the entire team. Brought in as a consultant to address the situation, Klein found that every team member was struggling with personal issues, but projecting the qualities they disliked about themselves onto this one team member.
Perhaps one of the most profound case studies centered on an executive whose company was located on the 87th floor of the first building of the World Trade Center. Everyone on that floor was killed in the World Trade Center attacks, including the executive’s brother, brother-in-law and entire board of directors. The only reason the executive was alive was because he had gone down to the first floor to get a haircut. The CEO lost 39 percent of his company’s employees in about eight seconds.
Besieged with this great personal loss and also struggling with his business, the CEO had to call his remaining employees together. “He couldn’t arrange a meeting anywhere in lower Manhattan because of the tragedy,” Klein explains. “So he rented an aircraft hangar in New Jersey, called his employees together, and spoke of what it meant to him to lose the board of directors, his brother and his brother-in-law. And then he cried. He advised his employees to mourn their losses, but continue with their work, and by acknowledging his own loss, he became more credible.
For more than 30 years, Klein has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, health and governmental agencies on issues relating to leadership, executive development and organizational dynamics. He joined the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Psychology in 1975 and earned his PhD in psychology from Columbia University.
Relatedness in a Global Economy
Chapter One: Applying Systems Psychodynamics in an Organizational Consultation
Author: Edward B. Klein
Chapter Two: Whose Globe Is It, Anyway?
Authors: Rosemary Viswanath, consultant in change management and organizational development, Bangalore, India, and Gouranga P. Chattopadhay, organizational consultant, Kolkata, India.
Chapter Three: The Dance of Globalization: Learning, Thinking and Balance
Author: Kenwyn K. Smith, professor, University of Pennsylvania
Chapter Four: Coping with Unpredictability and Conflict: Managing in a Global Economy
Author: Lionel F. Stapley, director, Organization for Promoting Understanding in Society (OPUS) and chair, editorial management committee, Organizational and Social Dynamics: An International Journal for the Integration of Psychoanalytic, Systemic and Group Relations Perspectives
Chapter Five: Management’s Fear of Market Demands: A Psychodynamic Exploration
Authors: James Dalgleish, director, Australia Consulting Group; Susan Long, professor of management, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
Chapter Six: Global Identity and the Superordinate Task
Author: Larry W. Penwell, associate professor in the Departments of Business Administration and Psychology, Mary Washington College
Chapter Seven: C’est la Vie: Creating a French Family Business to Serve the Global Information Society
Author: Faith Gabelnick (deceased), former president, Pacific University, Forest Grove, Oregon, and the A.K. Rice Institute
Chapter Eight: The Complexity of Leadership – The Complexity of the Organizational Self
Authors: Marc Maltz, managing principal, TRIAD Consulting Group LLC, New York, and co-director of the Organization Program at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychology, New York, NY, and Kenneth Witt, senior associate, TRIAD Consulting Group LLC, and director of applied research of the Organization Program at the William Alanson White Institute
Chapter Nine: Rethinking Leadership in a Global Economy
Author: Amy Fraher, director and principal consultant, Paradox and Company, San Diego, and a United Airlines pilot