Organizational Dynamics Working Papers

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Stankard, Martin F. (2011) "Learning to Lead from the Middle", Presentation to INFORMS Northeastern Regional Conference May 6-8, 2011, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts


This slide presentation describes the origin, approach and deliverables of course Org. Dynm.633, on “Leadership from the Middle” (LftM). Course participants were middle managers taking responsibility without authority for producing results in uncertain organizational environments, under high pressure. This course involved students in analyzing their current organizational challenges and realities and then in designing an idealized leadership approach in class. Between classes students adapted the class idealized design to their own opportunities and challenges. The course had two phases; analyzing the current reality followed by the design of an idealized general LftM process. After using the nominal group technique to define class learning objectives; the current reality analysis involved using system thinking tools to analyze, and project a base case of the opportunities and challenges assuming no change in trends. The idealized design involved using group facilitation techniques such as brainstorming, affinity diagramming, process mapping, nominal group technique, prioritization matrices and others to design and validate the version 1.0 LftM process against top priority requirements. Based on the validation results, the class added and dropped elements of the idealized design to produce a version 2.0 idealized LftM process design. The presentation includes a flowchart of the third and final LftM process design and identifies next steps for further development of LftM.


Leadership, Mid-organization, Legitimacy, Idealized Design, Systems Thinking, Power, Influence, Organizational Change, Process Design



Date Posted: 09 June 2011