Rod Githens, Ph.D.

Employee-Initiated Organization Development

Organization development and change doesn’t always start with formal organizational leaders.  As part of a larger study, I looked at how organizational members can seek change by working together to bring policy changes in their organization.  In the case study, I examined a nearly 20-year effort by employees in the University of Illinois System to attain domestic partner benefits.

Throughout the effort, the group of employees used different “social organizing strategies.”  In other words, they brought people together using different organization methods differing goals, and differing motivations. Read More

How to Approach Diversity-related Change?

In workplaces, community groups, and other settings, we oftentimes seek to make things better for people from diverse backgrounds.  Sometimes we will benefit directly from those changes and sometimes we’re working with others to attain changes that will benefit society or an organization in general. Read More

Four Principles in Educating For Diversity-Related Change

How do public sector employees successfully seek LGBT-friendly changes in their workplaces?  I conducted a case study of a 20-year effort to attain domestic partner benefits in one large state university system.  The public sector has always lagged behind large private sector employers in offering employee benefits and other policies that are equitable for LGBT people. Part of that study looked at how employees educated the public, state officials, other employees, administrators, and board members to support the changes.

The four most relevant findings for others seeking such changes in public sector organizations are: Read More

Coworking…Telecommuting 2.0?

As telecommuting has become a fixture in many workplaces, some have started to look for alternatives.  There’s a yearning for somewhat regular face-to-face interaction and a need for spaces that foster creativity and idea sharing. Traditionally, such sharing has been spawned through chance encounters at the “water cooler,” talking in the hall, or talking in the breakroom.  Read More

Does Lack of Professional Experience Discourage Participation in Online Learning Settings?

With online learning in professional settings for adults, instructors often wonder whether their less experienced students feel comfortable participating.  A study I conducted several years ago suggested that in online professional development courses, novices were actively observing online discussions but made few contributions.  In other words, novices “participated,” but were in the background.

However, this new research I conducted Read More

What the Research Says on LGBT Workplace Issues

Issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in workplaces are common diversity topics today.  It is widely accepted in many workplaces that LGBT employees should be made to feel as welcome and included as anyone else.  Workplace inclusion, employee affinity groups, and LGBT-specific diversity initiatives are commonly addressed by U.S.-based HR and diversity practitioners. Read More

Three Key Findings About Online Occupational Education in Community Colleges

Online course offerings are a major part of community colleges’ workforce development efforts. These courses are key in providing access for people who need job training, but cannot attend traditional face-to-face programs either because the program isn’t offered in their geographic area or because of work/family commitments. Read More

Five Barriers to Knowledge Sharing in Franchising Organizations

The flow or transfer of knowledge is critical in a decentralized franchisee organization.  In these organizations, innovation often happens at the local, franchisee level.  Tacit knowledge is the informal implicit knowledge Read More

Mindfullness as Leadership Development Approach: Four Key Principles

Polly LaBarre writes in the Harvard Business Review Blog about a leadership development program that brings about organization change by transforming “the hearts and minds of people” rather than “changing systems and processes.”

This program, from biotech firm Genentech, utilizes four principles Read More

Does the US Government Need to Encourage Manufacturing?

The New York Times Magazine ran a story today about the Obama’s administration’s experiment with “industrial policy,” encouraging certain industries with start-up funds to increase their initial viability.  Compared with other countries, particularly China and Japan, the U.S. has largely avoided such policies in recent decades.  Read More