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Dr Janine Bosak, Senior Lecturer in the HRM and Organisational Psychology Group at Dublin City University Business School, has been awarded the prestigious James M. Flaherty Visiting Professorship by the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF).

Dr Bosak will teach and conduct research together with Professor Denis Chênevert at HEC Montréal, one of the leading Business Schools in Canada, on the topic of reducing costs of burnout for individuals, patientcare and hospital performance using evidence from Canadian and Irish hospitals.

The ICUF aims to encourage and facilitate links between scholars in Ireland and Canada. As part of this the ICUF supports up to two Irish professors of any academic discipline travelling to Canada and up to two Canadian professors of any academic discipline travelling to Ireland.

As we approach the end of 2015, we look back on some of our highlights on our Executive MBA programme. Why not take a look here!

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The greatest tragedy in life is that we only understand it backwards yet we must live it forwards – Kierkegaard

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A metaphor commonly used to represent organisations is that of an iceberg. The part of the iceberg we can see,  that piece above the water line, represents the formal aspects of organisations – its rules, procedures, practices, reward system, protocols etc.  These are regarded as the rational aspects of an organisation. The piece below the waterline is made up of those elements which are less objective in nature, more open to interpretation and considered as the informal side of organisational life.  These include cultural norms, patterns of behaviour and the attitudes, values and emotions of employees.

Manfred Kets de Vries, the Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change at INSEAD, and rated by The Financial Times, Le Capital, Wirtschaftswoche, and The Economist among the world’s top 50 leading management thinkers has long been an advocate of exploring organisations ‘below the waterline’. He regards the more common approaches to understanding organisations as often inadequate oversimplifications and proposes that we ignore other elements at our peril [1]. The danger, he suggests, lies in perpetuating patterns of dysfunctional and problematic behaviour because their roots lie below many executives’ level of conscious awareness and may ultimately cost the organisation its livelihood. Many other experts agree that these are among the  casual factors behind many corporate failures including the downfall of Enron, Parmalat and Long Term Capital Management [2].

To address this issue and avoid such outcomes, Kets de Vries applies a clinical paradigm in his 30+ year career of working with blue-chip multinational organisations and their leaders.  This means he pays attention to three issues.  Firstly, he considers the critical role of a leader’s ‘inner theatre’ as the starting point of many of their actions and decisions. This ‘inner theatre’ constitutes the script by which we understand ourselves and which acts as a guide to our interaction with others.  Evolving through early interactions with parents, caregivers, teachers, and other influential people, it constitutes the foundation of an individual’s personality and sets us up to engage in certain ways with the world.  The problem is that many leaders are oblivious to this ‘script’ which has shaped them as it commonly operates below their level of conscious awareness.  They fail to recognize that patterns of behaviour acquired in the past, which may have been functional then, are dysfunctional now but continue to strongly influence present and future behaviour.

Secondly, he encourages us to recognize that there is rationality behind every act of irrationality.  Somewhere, somehow, seemingly irrational behaviour makes sense for the individual. The job of leaders is to identify the source of their irrational behaviours, interrogate them deeply and use the insight gained as a starting point for developing more functional approaches to the world.

Thirdly, he emphasizes the role of unconscious drivers of behaviour. This psychodynamic approach to organisations (enacted professionally by members of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organisations, of which Kets de Vries was a founding member in 1983) acknowledges that people are complex and contradictory and that their behaviour is a function of multiple, often contradictory, influences. It recognizes that workers are subject to unconscious, unresolved conflicts that they carry with them which then play out in the relations and interactions workers have with each other, often with problematic consequences.  Modern neuroscience has confirmed the role of the unconscious in our behavior with studies illustrating that decisions originate in the unconscious [3]. As the human brain can only consciously process 40 of the 11,000,000 pieces of data it is bombarded with every second, a question remains concerning the impact of data below our level of conscious awareness [4]. Thus the psychodynamic view rejects the purely rational and economic view of work and encourages us to acknowledge that statistical analysis of big data does not tell us everything we need to know about the behaviour of people in organisations.

However, few organisations welcome attention to such matters. They prefer to regard themselves as rational and objective rather than consider these murkier domains as explanations for performance and effectiveness. But this paradigm has illuminated accounts of what may appear irrational behaviour  amongst some of the world’s most successful business leaders including Henry Ford, Samuel Goldwyn, Jack Welch, Michael Eisner, Conrad Black and Martha Stewart [5].

Kets de Vries encourages us to acknowledge that organisations cannot perform successfully if the quirks and irrational processes that are part and parcel of the leader’s ‘shadow side’ are ignored. In his work with global corporations, he encourages leaders to act as sleuths in making sense out of their behaviour and actions and to build a greater understand the critical dimensions that make up their inner script.  He advocates an approach to leadership that encourages reflection and leads to insight which can help them avoid getting stuck in vicious circles and becoming prisoners of their own past. Wise leaders, he says, realize the extent to which unconscious, irrational processes affect their behaviour. Those leaders who fail to take their irrational side into account, however, are like ships’ captains proceeding into icebergs where the greatest danger lurks below the surface.

On the DCU Business School Executive MBA programme, we hone the skills for practice that enable today’s leaders to inspire action through a two-year leadership and career development programme. Action-based projects, workshops, team and facilitator feedback, and self-reflection develop self-awareness of our participants’ leadership style. This process deepens emotional intelligence, enhances leader behaviours, and untimately leads to both personal and organisational success.

Find out more about the DCU Executive MBA here or email mba@dcu.ie

Dr Melrona Kirrane is an Organisational Psychologist and lectures predominantly in the areas of Organisational Psychology, including Selection and Assessment, Leadership & Decision-Making, Employee Well-Being and Change Management on our MBA programe. She maintains an active research agenda and is currently carrying out work in the areas of personality at work, successful change management changing and work-family conflict.



[1]Kets de Vries, M. (2001). The Leadership Mystique. Prentice Hall
[2] Long, S. (2007). The Perverse Organisation and its Deadly Sins.  Karnac, London
[3] Damasio, A. (2006). Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain. Random House
[4] Wilson, T.D. (2009. Know Thyself. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 4, 384-389
[5] Maccoby, M. (2003). The productive narcissist: The promise and peril of visionary leadership. Broadway.

Dr Paul Davis, Head of the Management Group at DCU Business School has been awarded the 2015 International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management President’s Award.

This internationally prestigious award recognises Dr Davis’ major and extensive contribution to the development of the profession over many years.  He has led the IFPSM initiative to develop the Global Standard accreditation process and standard for education programmes at degree or equivalent level.  As Chair of the IFPSM Global Standard Board for 5 years, he has ensured that the standard has been developed, maintained its rigour and independence while ensuring that it remains relevant . Through Dr Davis’ leadership the IFPSM Global Standard is now accepted internationally as the benchmark against programmes within the procurement and supply management profession can be benchmarked against.

Dr Davis has not only offered his expertise but also his time on a purely voluntary basis over many years to the Global Standard project but also to the purchasing and supply management community globally. He has supported the association members of the Federation across the world particularly in Africa and Asia.

Mr Søren Vammen, IFPSM President, said that he was delighted that Dr Davis had been nominated to receive the award and he was thrilled to be in the position to recognise his professionalism and contribution to the profession.  Dr Davis commented, “I was delighted to receive this award.  It took me completely by surprise.  It is of course a great honour to receive the prize but it has only happened due to the great work and support of both past and present members of the Global Standards Board.”

As the business world continues to recover from the ravages of the recent recession, many experts now warn that we are far from returning to a business-as-usual scenario. Whether it is Rita Gunther McGrath of Columbia Business School telling us that we have entered a new “transient advantage” era, Joseph Badaracco of Harvard calling it a new “Schumpeterian” recombinant economy or Scott Anthony of Innosight (Clayton Christensen’s consultancy arm) terming it the “great disruption,” few expect the old assumptions and formulas that brought success in the past to continue to be effective in the coming decades.

Richard Dobbs, James Manyika and Jonathan Woetzel of McKinsey have just published a new book called No Ordinary Disruption (New York: Public Affairs, 2015) in which they have identified “the four global forces breaking all the trends.” The four are (1) the shifting locus of economic activity and dynamism to emerging markets like China and India, and, more particularly, to about 400-500 cities within those markets, in what they call a “new age of urbanization”; (2) the acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of technology, where the effects of ongoing, rapid advances in processing power and connectivity are being amplified by the big data revolution, the mobile Internet and the “proliferation of new technology-enabled business models;” (3) global demographics and the aging of the human population, where more than 60% of the world’s people already live in countries with fertility rates that have fallen below replacement rates; and (4) ever-increasing global economic interconnectedness and the  expansion in the flows of capital, people and information associated with it, where “south-south” flows between emerging markets have doubled their share of global trade over the last ten years. Taken together, these four shifts are producing “monumental change.”

To take just three examples of how rapidly and radically the world as we have known it up to recently is being transformed, in December 2014 “Cyber Monday” generated $2.65B in online shopping, but just a few weeks earlier on November 11th, China’s “Singles Day,” Alibaba recorded the world’s highest ever single day e-commerce trading total of $9.3B; earlier, in February 2014, Facebook acquired a 5-year old start-up for an amazing $19.3B, and in September 2014, the Indian Space Research Organization successfully put a spacecraft into orbit around Mars, and for a total cost of only $74M, less than it took to produce the award-winning film, Gravity.

The big implication from No Ordinary Disruption is that all CEOs and corporate strategists will have to learn to “reset” the intuitions that up to now have been guiding their perceptions about future opportunities and challenges. “We have to rethink the assumptions that drive our decisions on such crucial issues as consumption, resources, labour, capital and competition.” According to the McKinsey authors, the era we have already entered is full of promise, but also more volatile and “deeply unsettling,” and for business leaders, the intellectual integrity to be willing and able to see the world as it really is, and the humility and persistence to keep learning, have never been more needed. The recent past is no longer a reliable guide to even the next 5 to 10 years, and imagination, not just experience, is now at a premium.

Professor Brian Leavy is a Professor of Strategic Management at DCU Business School and teaches strategy on the Executive MBA programme. Prior to his academic career, he spent eight years as a manufacturing engineer with Digital Equipment Corporation, now part of Hewlett Packard. Brian’s teaching and research interests centre on strategic leadership, competitive analysis and strategy innovation, and he has published over 80 articles, chapters and book reviews on these topics, nationally and internationally. 

To learn more about the Executive MBA click here

To attend our upcoming taster evening click here

We met with Emerson Burke Murphy, a former Vet from UCD (2009) who graduated from the Professional Diploma in Accounting (PDA) (2010 First Class) to discuss the change from veterinary to accountancy and his exciting career path which followed.

Why did you choose to change career to accountancy after veterinary medicine?

Veterinary medicine has a very high employment rate due to the small number of graduates each year so this was never a concern of mine. I was always going to specialise in veterinary (equine surgery or equine reproduction) but I came to realise that the opportunities in veterinary at this level were very limiting. I am someone who enjoys understanding the bigger picture of what they are involved in and being removed from this would have frustrated me in time as a vet. Chartered Accountancy appealed to me as a profession involved in some of the most diverse aspects of business.

How did you hear about the Professional Diploma in Accounting (PDA) in DCU?

I graduated from veterinary (UCD) and commenced the PDA in September, graduating in 2010. I secured a training position with KPMG during the 2008 Milkrounds. As part of my interview preparation I was aware of the wall I might face when seen to be making such a dramatic change in direction. To this end, I carried out my own research and through this, became aware of the PDA and its merits. My firm were also very encouraging about the PDA as they had seen good results with it previously. I had the option to begin my training contract in 2009 but stuck with my decision regarding the PDA.

How did the PDA help you with your accountancy exams?

I wanted to complete the PDA as I felt it would ensure I was making the right move and would also give me a head start in KPMG rather than worrying about the most basic accounting concepts during my first audit busy season. The PDA was an incredible help with the CAP2’s as I felt that the PDA syllabus (particularly financial reporting) covered far more than the CAP1 syllabus. One particularly helpful aspect of the PDA structure was all-day tutorials on a Friday. Accounting is best learned through experience and the range of issues tackled during these sessions was very helpful.

How did the interdisciplinary mix in the class help your mind develop?

I still have some very good friends from the PDA who are continually developing professionally. The mix of disciplines was refreshing, particularly coming from such an intense and focused discipline like veterinary. Some of the most memorable participants in my class were the science graduates and the law graduates. This mix is something that the firms look for when recruiting.

Why did you choose Corporate Finance? Do you feel that being a non-relevant graduate gave you added insights in this field and why?

Audit was fundamental in my training and is a great way to understand the detailed financial (and to an extent operational) workings of clients. However, I always wanted to move in the corporate finance direction as the variety of work and the satisfaction from being much more involved with clients and their commercial needs (rather than the regulatory requirement of audit) relates back to my initial reason for choosing Chartered Accountancy.

When I first came to London I expected people to be mystified or resistant to my differing academic background. The reality has been that people see it as an asset as the range of issues dealt with is so diverse and challenges to the normal ways of thinking are always welcome.

After completing the Professional Diploma in Accounting in DCU, Emerson qualified as an accountant (ACA) in 2013 and worked in KPMG for 3 years but is now in Deloitte UK as an Assistant Manager in Corporate Finance and is studying for a Diploma in Corporate Finance via the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments.

Find out more information and apply for the Professional Diploma in Accounting in DCU here!

On May, 28th 2015 DCU Business School hosted the first of three ‘Employee Engagement Roundtables’ which will be spread out over the course of a year.

The roundtable was organized and led by academic experts in the field of HR and engagement, Professor Kathy Monks, Dr Edel Conway, Dr Yseult Freeney and Dr Janine Bosak (all DCU Business School staff members). It brought 17 HR directors and managers from a range of non-competitive organizations together in order to explore the concept of employee engagement and the various definitions that are being used by practitioners, discuss best practices in assessing engagement and jointly tackle issues of employee engagement using an evidence-based approach.

The first roundtable was a great success; the second part of this exclusive event will be held on September, 17th 2015 in DCU Business School with over 20 HR directors and managers expressing interest already.

You can find out more about research in HR and Organisational Behaviour at DCU Business School here.

Details of our part-time executive Masters in Work and Organisational Psychology/Behaviour can be found here.

DCU Business School will be hosting an Information Evening about the new part-time executive Masters in Aviation Leadership on the 25th June 2015 at 6.00pm. If you are interested in learning more about the programme, you can register here.

About the Programme:

The MSc in Management (Aviation Leadership) is the first programme of its kind in Ireland. Commencing in September 2015, it will be a two year part-time executive masters with elements of the programme delivered both in Dublin Airport, in its capacity as a live laboratory, and in Castlemoate House, daa International’s academy facility, adjacent to Dublin Airport.

Subject Areas:

  • Aviation Leadership
  • Aviation Governance
  • Aerodrome Operations Management
  • Leadership and Change
  • Delivering Performance Excellence [Operational, People and Financial Performance]
  • Strategy, Organization and Innovation
  • Research Methods
  • Aviation Industry based research project

Aims and Objectives:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the management complexity required to operate the various compnents of Airport Operations
  • Identify the important leadership and management competencies required to plan and execute future aviation industry strategies
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the characteristics, requirements and legal responsibilties of aviation organisations
  • Identify the concepts and skills necessary for conducting business analysis and strategic thinking
  • Develop the ability to lead and initiate professional and/or research activity independently or as part of an aviation management team;
  • Enhance your opportunities to take a leading role in the future development of the aviation industry

Details of the Open Evening:

When: 25th June at 6.00pm

Where: 3rd Floor of DCU Business School, DCU, Collins Avenue, Dublin 9 [Map here]

Register online here

Why attend?

  • Learn first hand about the programme and how it will help to advance your career
  • Speak to members of faculty directly, who can answer any questions you may have
  • Network with members of the aviation industry

Informal Enquiries:

Informal enquiries about the programme can be made via email to pj.byrne@dcu.ie

Register:

You can register to attend online here.

[pullquote]“The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. (Mark Twain)[/pullquote]

Wow! It’s hard to believe that we’ve managed to find our way through semester one of year one of our Executive MBA in DCU Business School.

Three months ago the thoughts of returning to college on a part-time basis was a quite daunting prospect, not only from a work-life balance perspective, which was among the predominant concerns of my fellow MBA classmates, but from an academic point of view, where the very thoughts of “Harvard referencing” sent a shiver down my spine.

Despite the significant consideration that went into applying to commence the programme, the reality is that nothing can prepare you for that first term, when work and college commitments collide, forcing you in the early hours of a Monday evening to question the very reasons you took on the challenge.

A colleague on the course tells a story about how, when he was considering applying, everyone he spoke to including past graduates, spoke in glowing terms about the Executive MBA and recommended without hesitation that he sign-up to the class.

Once enrolled however, the tune changed, where those very same advocates of the course told him that he was beginning a process that may well prove to be the toughest two years of his life!

On both fronts, arguably his advisors got it right. For sure the last 12 weeks of lectures and assignments have tested the staying power, and the Christmas break was like the proverbial calm before the storm, as the January exam schedule loomed large on the horizon and DCU library became almost like a second home for close on three weeks.

But the flip side of these stresses and strains, and quiet clearly why any past graduate would recommend an Executive MBA, has its foundations in the relevance of the modules that we completed during our first semester.

Week on week the professionalism and depth of expert lecturing meant that the theory presented every Thursday evening was almost immediately transferable to the work place first thing Friday morning.

Working in financial services the Accounting for Decision-Making module offered the most relevance from a practical point of view, and provided me with a significant amount of detail on hot topics in business lending and financial ratios. This led to an early morning training session with one of the business teams in North Dublin.

In conjunction with this a number of the assignments were based on delving into past events or assessing current work practices and forced us, both individually and within groups, to apply our learning in the most practical sense. The Organisational Behaviour module opened my eyes to the fact that great leaders aren’t born, but are effectively a continual work in progress who strive to get the best from their people, a simple concept perhaps, but clearly one that is extremely difficult to nail down.

The satisfaction from these submissions (though the process was daunting) lies in the fact that by stretching ourselves to understand a particular event or practice we are in fact responding to what is essentially the underlying current of the Executive MBA; personal development.

So with one semester down and three to go we can approach our second semester in DCU Business School with a little less fear and perhaps a mild sense of calm!

This post was written by Coman Goggins, a first year Executive MBA participant. To download the MBA brochure, fill in your details below:

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