Organizational Change in Franchises through Advisory Boards

How do franchise organizations build momentum around change and an atmosphere of trust? Franchising brings a unique set of challenges in achieving organizational change.  The main challenge is that franchise organizations actually consist of various firms (called franchisors and franchisees).  One solution is fostering a healthy relationship with franchisees through franchise advisory boards.  At their best, franchise associations and advisory boards help ensure that franchisee voices are heard and that collaborative relationships exist between the franchisor and franchisees.

Continue reading

Online Learning & Centralization of Commuity College Systems

Workforce development training is an important part of the mission of community colleges.  Increasingly, students need and expect online courses to be an option for some or all of their programs.  I conducted a study looking at why some community and technical colleges offer more online programs than others.  Continue reading

Expanding Apprenticeships in the U.S.

Although common in other countries, apprenticeships are not widely known in the U.S.  Despite their lack of widespread use, they provide a cost effective training model that leads to middle-class jobs.  Apprenticeships provide cost advantages to employers utilizing these programs as a source for developing skilled talent.  Many other methods of attaining or developing a skilled workforce are more expensive or less effective. Continue reading

Eight Areas to Rethink in U.S. Higher Education

I just finished reading The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out, written by Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring (2011).  Christensen is the noted expert on innovation from Harvard Business School.

The basic premise of the book is that higher institutions education in the U.S. have attempted to emulate the model of Harvard, with several distinctive and very expensive features.  Colleges and universities have developed cost models that are unsustainable and most need to re-evaluate their practice and consider adoption of new models in order to be sustainable.   Continue reading

Google’s Re-imagining of the Workplace

Most of us have heard about Google’s generous employee benefits…gym memberships, free gourmet food, bowling alleys at work, nap rooms, etc.  However, it’s not just all of those perks that have resulted in the company creating one of the best places to work in the world.  It’s in Google’s DNA to create work environments that foster freedom, flexibility, and employee voice.   Google has taken thrown out many traditional assumptions about management/supervision and HR practices. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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: Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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.  Continue reading