In this special edition of MSLOC's People on the Move, we highlight the story of Beth Seraydarian and Kevin Schneiders, both students in the Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change program at Northwestern University.
Beth came to the MSLOC program interested in transitioning from external human capital consulting to a role focused on internal talent and organizational development. Recently she joined EDSI, a training and consulting firm focused on helping people and companies in transition. Just one year after starting graduate school, she became a Talent Development Specialist at EDSI.
The CEO of EDSI Solutions? Beth's MSLOC classmate Kevin.
It's no surprise that many MSLOC students, alumni and faculty team up outside the confines of the classroom. The curriculum encourages students to engage with one another to collaboratively solve organizational challenges presented in class. Students showcase their creativity, leadership and problem-solving skills while learning with their peers. And they begin to understand the working styles and capabilities of their classmates.
In this interview, Kevin and Beth discuss their journey from being teammates on an MSLOC Foundations team - a course that uses problem-based learning to foster collaboration among students - to becoming colleagues, all the while living in two cities 500 miles apart.
Employees who act as brokers within their organizational networks play a critical role. They serve as communicators, ambassadors, knowledge sharers, interpreters, and innovators of their organizations. They translate across functions and sustain their networks’ overall cohesiveness. By spanning “structural holes” that isolate individual employees, work groups, and business units from one another, research has demonstrated that brokerage yields significant benefits to both organizations and individuals. Savvy organizations, therefore, incentivize and support network brokers. To help organizations to understand the behavioral motivations, personality traits, and organizational structures common among successful brokers, this research surveyed employees using Social Network Analysis and organizational culture typing. The findings indicate that specific characteristics, particularly interpersonal sensitivity, inquisitiveness, and skepticism, higher position levels, and specific organizational structures, particularly hierarchical cultures, impact brokerage.
Do Workplace Learning Groups Have an Image Problem? Individual Mental Models of Organizational Communities of Practice11/24/14 by Sharon Bautista, MSLOC 2014
Large corporations are turning to organizational communities of practice (OCoPs) with increasing frequency to promote organizational learning, as well as innovation and competitive advantage. Consequently, OCoPs are becoming more embedded within these organizations, assuming characteristics historically associated with more formal work teams. Based on interviews with 10 individuals from different organizations and industries, the findings of this study suggest that employees maintain distinct mental models of OCoPs versus work teams for several reasons. For organizations and leaders interested in fostering OCoPs, this study suggests some tactics for conveying the benefits of and sustaining such communities.