From the Editor of the Special Issue: Frontiers in Management and Organization Development

By Thompson, Kenneth R. | Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, May 2010 | Go to article overview

From the Editor of the Special Issue: Frontiers in Management and Organization Development


Thompson, Kenneth R., Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies


Diversity of thought and perspectives seems to be the unifying element when attempting to define the domain of management and organization development. In the academic environment the search continues to define a quality learning experience. Measures that assess student satisfaction as a surrogate of student learning just do not serve the discipline, students, employers, or other stakeholders. We need to effectively assess learning and build curriculum and design courses that will increase student learning in academic institutions. We must better prepare students for the challenges of the job market that they will face. Classes must engage students in the learning process regardless of the technology employed. As others have indicated, we who teach in the field may be complicit in degrading the experience because we do not challenge the students. That may be the result of the reward system, a lack of support from administration, or other causes. However, the faculty members in the classroom have the final responsibility to create a learning environment and carefully assess the quality of learning that occurs.

Management education and development in the professional world has some of the same issues. How do we know what should be covered and how should it be provided? How do we know if the training program was really successful? What on-the-job measures would be most effective? Management or leader development programs seem to be focused on two dimensions: what behaviors are important to create the desired culture in the organization and what structural elements are essential in building a performance-based work environment. Regardless of the emphasis, the historical measures of training effectiveness through hours spent or the satisfaction of those attending the program are inadequate for the development of tomorrow's leaders. Assessment of the learning and the ability to transfer the training to the work environment in addition to assessments of the difference made in operating efficiency and effectiveness will be essential given the cost pressures organizations face.

The following articles are an eclectic mix of different concepts, ideas, and research that explore the different dimensions in the frontiers of management education and development from the academic to the applied settings. The Goldman and Casey article spans both academic and organizational training. It focuses on the need to develop leaders that can think strategically. One can manage the day-to-day issues, but strategic thinking is needed to look more at the long-term consequences related to decision making; be they decisions in marketing, operations, or workplace engagement and motivation.

The Arbaugh article looks toward understanding the different elements that are important in building a more effective learning environment for undergraduates using an online technology. Arbaugh analyzes student, instructor, course design, and technology characteristics and compares that with classroom-based courses. The conclusions provide direction for program designers and educators that go beyond just the issues of online learning to the review, assessment, and development of any education and training program.

The D'Abate article looks at the value of adding a developmental component to an academic program such as an internship, mentoring, or collaborate projects. She advocates these approaches are a means to help students have a better understanding of what will be required in the work environment and how to navigate the different situations that a new worker may find. …

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