The week of Sept. 16 was a busy one for the Fox Global MBA program and the students from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá who came to immerse themselves in the Temple/Philadelphia experience. 

Students in front of Rock Statue
Students sightseeing Philadelphia

The program is designed for professionals with significant work experience who are seeking career mobility and enrichment, as well as a collaborative learning experience with a closely-knit cohort of colleagues. Temple has partnerships with universities in Beijing, China, Bogota, Colombia and Tokyo, Japan. The modular format of the Executive Program MBA curriculum also means that students have the ability to take two courses at a global partner location. For Javeriana students, this meant taking a trip to the City of Brotherly Love. 

Students visiting 76ers headquarters
Students on a corporate visit to the 76ers

The week-long visit included four days in the classroom, sightseeing activities like a walking tour of Old City and visiting corporate headquarters in the city. Over the course of three days, the group visited Philadelphia Port Authority, Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), the Philadelphia 76ers, Comcast and Subaru. 

“It has been a great experience; I really love it,” says Yaquelyn Peña Moreno. She is a director of internal audits (controller), with more than 18 years of experience in the provision of professional audit services. “Yesterday, we went to GSK and it was wonderful. The people who ran the meeting were so open with us. They told us about their careers and explained all the different perspectives of the company. I can take these lessons both in my professional career and my personal life.” 

Despite their busy schedules, the cohort still had time to take in the campus and reflect on how their experiences will impact their careers at home in Colombia and beyond. 

“We have been given the opportunity to understand how students of Temple live day-by-day,” says Juan Carlos Rodriguez Rozo, chief operations officer/supply chain director at Fundacion Cardioinfantil, a top hospital in Bogota. “And we are going to bring a lot of insights back to our companies. Not only about the latest trends in global management, but because we can talk to local students and people during corporate visits, we can better understand how U.S. companies are operating.”

Students at Independence Mall
Students visiting Independence Mall

This September, the Fox School kicked off it’s Fox on the Road alumni event series with its first stop in New York City. The event gave attendees the opportunity to network with fellow alumni and Fox leadership, and get an inside look at the future direction and mission of the school from Dean Anderson. The featured speaker, Anthony Viglietti, BBA ’04, COO & CFO of theSkimm, spoke to guests about his journey to the U.S., tech disruption and changes to the workplace. We sat down with him afterward to hear more about his experience as an undergraduate student at the Fox School and how he got to where he is today.

Photo from Fox On The Road event
Anthony Viglietti, BBA ’04, COO & CFO of theSkimm

Q: You spoke about moving from your hometown of Lyon, France to the UK and eventually ending up in the U.S. How has your journey affected your approach to your career?

A: The reason I moved around a lot is that I had this idea of what I wanted to do and I was determined to do it. And it didn’t always work out, but I don’t have regrets because at the time it felt like the right thing to do. It’s made me massively determined. My first job I was 24, so I was kind of old when I entered the workforce, but I was determined to prove people wrong. And I still have that chip on my shoulder.

Q: What drew you to Temple University as an undergraduate student?

A: I was at a school in France that had five partner schools. My two favorites were Temple and Northeastern. I liked the recruiting team at Temple, they were my favorite. There was also a bit of grit about Temple, which was in my background. When you’re a student the real world seems tough, but Temple gets it. They toughen you up to get you there, and that’s what drew me to it.

Q: Are there any skills and/or lessons you learned during your time at the Fox School that you have carried with you throughout your career? 

A: There’s been a couple of times in my life where it’s helped me with organization and prioritization. I was on the varsity soccer team, so every day I was playing soccer and every day I was working. It really helped me from that perspective. I can’t always pinpoint them, but I remember certain moments about Temple, and I like going back there. 

Q: What advice would you give to others who are looking to work their way up to a position like yours? 

A: There are two ways to answer that question. The extreme answer is: I believe in work-life balance, and I believe in working to live not living to work, but I would say in the first five years of your career just work really hard. The other piece of advice is whatever the scope of your role is, do the extracurricular stuff and take it out so that your scope could be applied to much bigger things. You’ll become much more versatile and much more useful to the business. That’s a big lesson that I’ve taken from my entire career. I’ve always gone above and beyond. This doesn’t necessarily mean working harder, it just means knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, understanding how it impacts business, and understanding how people operate, so you that you become a partner to them. 

Interested in attending the next Fox on the Road event? Make sure your contact information is accurate and stay tuned for the next invitation!

Mary Tang headshot For someone so early in their career, Mary Tang, BBA ‘18, MAcc ‘19, understands leadership.

Most recently, Mary was named the Atlantic Regional Alumni Representative for Beta Alpha Psi (BAP), an international honor society for accounting, finance and information systems students and professionals. She also served as the president for the Temple chapter of BAP during her time at the Fox School. 

Her role as president of BAP, as well as her tenure as the ASCEND president during the 2016-2017 academic year, helped her develop professionally. She participated in a variety of leadership programs during her time as an undergraduate student, including PwC Explore, RSM Pathways, Baker Tilly Spotlight, KPMG Global Advantage, EY Emerging Leaders Program and more. She also interned at KPMG, which allowed her to gain audit experience. After her internship, she was offered a full-time position as an audit associate in the Philadelphia office. 

“Being involved with student professional organizations (SPOs) like BAP taught me that the classroom doesn’t necessarily teach you how to get a job,” she says. “Since learning that, I’ve taken that lesson on to how I do my work at KPMG. I am constantly wanting more—whether it be audit work or extracurricular activities in the office and beyond.”

In her new role as the Atlantic regional alumni representative for BAP, Mary will work with alumni representatives internationally on initiatives to improve the value that Beta Alpha Psi brings to members. Mary will be the voice of students in the region in order to ensure that their perspectives and concerns are addressed. 

“I will be able to have an outreach to chapters beyond Temple and Fox,” she says. “By being a regional representative, I have exposure to students from schools all over the Atlantic Region. I can learn about what worked and did not work for them, and hopefully expand their networks and minds as well by introducing them to different chapters to connect.” 

Mary is bringing her leadership skills and a unique perspective to her new role. Since entering the world of public accounting and corporate America, she noticed that there is a serious lack of diversity. As a first-generation Asian American college student, the subject is near and dear to her heart. 

“Though being in BAP as an alumni representative will not change this overnight, I think my background at a diverse university can help start conversations on what we can do to increase our membership with more diverse students which will then funnel into full-time employment with these firms,” she says.

Professor Ravi S. Kudesia
Professor Ravi S. Kudesia by Joseph V. Labolito

In recent years, mindfulness has become a highly desirable quality both professionally and personally. Mindfulness gurus have emerged in popular culture, and companies have developed programs such as Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” to promote mindfulness in the workplace.

Ravi S. Kudesia, assistant professor of human resource management at the Fox School, is interested in how mindfulness is used in the workplace to develop personal agency and employee problem-solving. There’s only one problem: Mindfulness, as a term, is not easy to define. And the way we intuitively think about mindfulness as highly individualized may need to be rethought as well.

In his paper “Mindfulness as Metacognitive Practice,” Kudesia targets the ambiguity in the term mindfulness to isolate its usefulness and applicability. “We lack answers to even the most basic questions,” says Kudesia. “What is mindfulness? How does mindfulness training operate? And why might it matter for organizations?” 

Moreover, without understanding what mindfulness is, how can employers hope to harness its potential in the workplace? In fact, the kind of mindfulness that companies promote may be less useful than they hope. While many have suggested that mindfulness is a kind of individual skill – and that if enough employees have this individual skill, their organizations will change for the better—Kudesia suggests that this view is naïve. Instead, he suggests that mindfulness can be best understood as what he calls a “metacognitive practice.”

“When seen as metacognitive practice,” Kudesia writes, “mindfulness entails the coming together of expertise embedded in perception and concepts, enabling beliefs about information processing, and the crucial human ability to step back and monitor one’s mental activity—all of which jointly shape how people engage with situations.”

By linking mindfulness to concepts and expertise in specific situations, Kudesia invites us to think about mindfulness at the system level. He gives the example of product engineers who, siloed off from data on customer feedback, must nonetheless figure out why a product is unexpectedly breaking in massive quantities, leading it to be returned under warranty. The default assumption is that it is an issue with the product’s structural integrity. An engineer, in this case, might practice mindfulness to gain a more nuanced view of the issues with the product, but they also remain limited by system-wide information flows—engineers simply do not have access to customer feedback. 

“[W]hat if an engineer gains access to customer information and enacts metacognitive practice to doubt the structural integrity diagnosis? The engineer may introduce a new concept of ‘product aesthetics’—the product breaks not because it is weakly designed but because customers find it uninspired and, thus, take poor care of it … This new concept would cue a different routine related to product redesign: making the product beautiful rather than making it stronger.”

Yet, along with this new diagnosis and new concept may arrive new problems. If one engineer believes in the new diagnosis while another engineer insists that the issue lies with the product’s structural integrity, the original source of enlightenment may become a source of consternation.

“One person may seize upon doubt, seeking to transform situations, while others seek to reproduce established responses,” writes Kudesia. He describes this communication breakdown as fragmentation, the notion that mindfulness in an individual cannot always resolve system-level problems; in fact, sometimes it can exacerbate them. While mindfulness allowed them to diagnose a problem, their social reality determines whether they can enact a solution.

This should not dissuade companies from encouraging mindful practices, but it should encourage them to think more broadly about what mindfulness truly is. Instead of merely trying to instill mindfulness as a psychological property in individuals, Kudesia suggests that we should foster environments in which people can better practice mindfulness together. When engineers face an impasse like the one described above, how do they incorporate this new information into the fold? Do they create new processes? Do they confer with new individuals who can provide insight into the problem? If both engineers are engaged and open, they can transform the risk of fragmentation into opportunities for growth, incorporating new concepts into their routines and crafting new solutions out of them.

“You don’t instill mindfulness in individuals and call it a day,” Kudesia explains. “We engage best in mindfulness when we are in spaces that are conducive to mindfulness.”

Headshot of Dean Basu
Sudipta Basu

2019 has been an extraordinary year for Sudipta Basu.

In July, Basu was appointed the Fox School’s new associate dean of research and doctoral programs. He was also honored to be named the American Accounting Association’s inaugural Yuji Ijiri Lecturer on Foundations of Accounting. The prestigious lectureship, sponsored by five global accounting associations, recognizes thought leadership from around the world. Basu presented his Ijiri Lecture, “How Robust are the Foundations of the Conceptual Frameworks?” at the annual American Accounting Association meeting in August.

Throughout his career, Dean Basu has established himself as a thought leader and now he will help chart the direction of academic research at the Fox School moving forward. To understand his vision, he discussed the past, present and future of research at Fox.

Can you share a bit about your background? Why were you originally interested in accounting? 

I grew up in big cities all over India (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta and Delhi in that order), earning a BA (Honours) in Economics at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University and an MBA in economics, finance and accounting at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. My family members have many PhDs including a grandfather (mathematics), uncles (statistics, history and English) and first cousin (astrophysics), so an academic life was always considered a respectable—and even praiseworthy—choice.

I first studied accounting in grades 9 and 10 and found it quite hard to follow initially. But once I realized how double-entry bookkeeping worked, and that simple algebra revealed the intangible value created by transactions, I was hooked.

What are some of your major goals as dean of research and doctoral programs?

Fox produces lots of high-quality research and one of my main goals is to make our research more visible locally and internationally. 

I would also like to collaborate with the Digital Scholarship Center at the Temple library to introduce our students and faculty to new cutting-edge digital tools that could help them stand out in the research world. Most importantly, I want to change our research culture so that we can talk about how our new ideas improve people’s lives and not merely about where they were published. I want to focus on explaining the who, what, when, where, why and how of a particular research project’s impact. 

What role has research played in shaping your career?

For me, research is a vocation rather than a career, meaning that I enjoy and value its creativity and life-long learning aspects so much that I largely ignore the future monetary and status rewards. As my wife puts it, I often go to sleep thinking about research and wake up in the morning still thinking about research. I pursue big questions that excite me, such as why accounting exists or what our world would be like if double-entry bookkeeping had not emerged, even if this research cannot be published in our top journals. I am constantly scanning blogs, conferences and journals for questions and tools that I can use in my research, so I am a big consumer of research, not just a producer. 

How would you like to see Fox School research evolve in the future? 

As its former research director, I strongly support the Translational Research Center’s efforts to make Fox School research more relevant to all our stakeholders—other academics, practitioners, students, policymakers and our local communities. I would like more of our faculty, students, alumni and staff to engage in research and to describe their findings in top academic journals AND in less traditional venues such as op-eds, letters to the editor, blogs, TED talks, undergraduate and practitioner journals, etc. Ultimately, I want Fox School faculty, staff, alumni and students to be more widely regarded as thought leaders in business research.

What role does research play in business schools?

Most business schools promote faculty and student research to increase our shared knowledge. Business schools’ missions usually shape the type of research they support. At research-intensive schools like Fox, rigorous empirical and theoretical research takes pride of place. At teaching-oriented schools, pedagogical and practice-oriented research is valued more than theoretical research.

Where is the largest intersection of research and industry in the future of work? 

Researchers dream up the technologies, products, business models and organizational forms of the future. Every technological advance frees people from doing some kinds of routine work, which are delegated to animals, machines, and now computers. The freed-up workers can better use their minds to make higher quality and unique products and services that were too earlier too costly to market. 

How can companies work with Fox School researchers?

Companies can learn from the new ideas developed by Fox School researchers and conversely inform them about changing realities in the marketplace. Ideally, we would develop a virtuous cycle wherein firms identify emerging problems, researchers propose alternative solutions, firms try these out in practice and observe how well they work and provide feedback, which in turn lets researchers refine their prescriptions.

This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.

Sept. 4 to 6 were three very special days for the Fox School of Business. Nine students from the joint EMBA program of Temple and Renmin University of China and their family members arrived in Philadelphia to participate in their immersion program and to celebrate the huge accomplishment of graduating from their Fox-Renmin dual EMBA program. 

The students had three busy days, starting with a warm welcome to Philadelphia and Temple University from Dean Ronald Anderson. They also participated in a special workshop on Innovation and Business Models by Professor Thomas Fung and a corporate visit to the Philadelphia 76ers. The students had the opportunity to go on a private tour all throughout the city of Philadelphia led by Sophia Wang, secretary-general for the Greater China Chapter of the Temple University Alumni Association. 

All four global EMBA programs, including those from China, Japan, Morocco and Colombia, attended an International EMBA Reception at Positano Coast on Thursday evening. Friday, Sept. 6, was the big day at Temple Performing Arts Center (TPAC) on Broad Street when they put on their caps and gowns and walked on stage as their names were called for having completed their Executive MBA program. The ceremony was followed by another celebratory event in Mitten Hall accompanied by family and friends. 

Congratulations, class of 2019 graduates!

Day One: 第一天

Welcome reception led by Dean Ronald Anderson and Former President of Ford China David Schoch and the workshop on international business model taught by Professor Fung. 

Renmin Immersion group with Dean Anderson

Temple University Campus tour, visiting NBA Basketball Team 76ers’ headquarters to learn the business of basketball and going to the house party organized by a Chinese-American entrepreneur. 

The cohort visits the 76ers headquarters

Day Two: 第二天

Joining the city tour on the historical trolley car, visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art and attending the Global EMBA Banquet with students from America, Japan, Morocco and Columbia. 

Renmin students on trolley tour

Group at EMBA Banquet

Day Three: 第三天

Graduation ceremony

Graduation ceremony

collected photos of interviewed subjects
From left: Dan Tedesco, Carey Gallagher and Garrett Frankford (contributed photos)

It’s not always easy to get business professionals to quickly reach a consensus.

But in the case of three MBA graduates from the Fox School of Business, they all agree the Fox Management Consulting (FMC) capstone course put them on a career path that continues to evolve.

“A lot of people use their MBA to leave their current positions, but I was able to pivot within the company where I worked,” says Dan Tedesco, MBA ’15, a strategic planning manager at Essity, a global hygiene and health company headquartered in Sweden. “I used my Fox Management Consulting experience to change my role to more of a business strategy one. The experience paved the foundation of everything I’ve done since in my career.” 

The capstone course provides an experiential learning experience to MBA students by integrating corporate strategy and marketing consulting projects within the curriculum. The process often allows students an opportunity to explore a variety of industries and topics that are new to them.

Prior to getting his MBA, Tedesco used his mechanical engineering background in a product development role. Now he’s responsible for the strategic planning process of the B2B business unit at Essity.

FMC has a team of project executives who are senior-level career professionals who work with the student teams to deliver results to clients.

“Our project executive, Wayne Rosengerger, was always encouraging us, making us believe in trusting the process and watching how things would evolve. It’s those little things, that diligence, that stay with me now,” he says. “I tell people about this program and how it is a phenomenal experience that can change the path of your career.”

Garrett Frankford, MBA ’18 used his MBA to change industries while remaining in the same line of work. He believes part of the challenge in consulting is knowing you could be working in an unfamiliar business landscape.

 “Some of it was completely different from anything I had done before and the projects caused many of the students to step outside their comfort zone,” the customs compliance manager at Carter’s / OshKosh B’gosh says. 

His team worked with a client to develop a market entry strategy around a personal mobile safety app. Part of that work included financial modeling, a skill Frankford says he didn’t believe he would need.

“Just knowing the type of jobs I was applying for, I didn’t think I would use that experience,” he says. 

He quickly realized otherwise.

“My FMC work gave me the skills I needed to direct a presentation to our CEO about tariff changes that directly affect the organization. Financial modeling was a skill I didn’t think I’d use, but within three months, I did.”

In addition, Frankford says he now thinks differently about the challenges before him. “I’ve gone from a technical thinker to a more strategic thinker because of this experience.”

It’s the complexities of business that remind Carey Gallagher, MBA ’08, of her international MBA experience at the Fox School.

“There are so many ways to get things done in business, there are no right or wrong ways,” she says.

Currently a partner at C-FAR, a management consulting firm with offices in Philadelphia and Boston, Gallagher focuses on culture and change in healthcare. She describes the work as “focusing on complex problems in complex organizations.”

As part of her MBA program, Gallagher worked on projects that took her to India, Ireland and Temple’s Japan campus. 

“Having a glimpse of different countries helped me understand all the complexities of how business is done,” she says. “There is so much more than you realize and the experience helped me get a better understanding of it.”

It’s come full circle for Gallagher, who now combines her Fox MBA experience and her professional expertise to serve as a project advisor at FMC.

“I thought what better way to get involved in the conversation about changing business needs and also help support the learning process for other MBA students than by joining this effort?” she says.

“It’s exciting because I don’t work on just one type of project and that’s significant. It’s really valuable to me to be around people who are all working in the same direction.”

For more information about Fox Management Consulting, click here.

For more stories and news, follow the Fox School on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

B. PHL—Philadelphia’s first citywide innovation festival—will take place from October 15th-17th, aiming to build the city’s reputation as an innovation hub and highlight entrepreneurial organizations ranging from universities to Fortune 500 companies to individual entrepreneurs. Spearheaded by several of the city’s leading corporate innovators, including Independence Blue Cross, Comcast, and Visit Philadelphia, B.PHL will offer 150+ events featuring hundreds of speakers across three days—all intended to inspire festival attendees and create connections that will move Philadelphia’s innovation efforts forward in big ways.

Temple University will serve as an official location for the festival, hosting nine unique events across campus in partnership with the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute, the Temple University Office of Research, several University schools and colleges (including the College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Technology, College of Engineering, Fox School of Business, and Lewis Katz School of Medicine), and the brand new Charles Library. The University’s B.PHL efforts are being lead by IEI Executive Director, Ellen Weber, and Temple University Entrepreneurship Academy Director, Alan Kerzner.

“Temple University has always made entrepreneurship and innovation central to its mission,” shares Kerzner. “The school was founded by an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship can be found everywhere on campus, and, along with other Universities in the city, Temple has been an integral part of the innovation community here in Philadelphia.”

Events hosted by Temple University during B.PHL will include the League for Entrepreneurial Women, a conference focused on female leaders in the entrepreneurship space; a speaker session on Empowering Innovation through Intellectual Property Strategy featuring Aon’s Chief Commercial Officer, Brian Hinman; a talk on the Future of Libraries featuring a tour of the new Charles Library; and an Oktoberfest Beer Garden in Temple’s 1810 Accelerator highlighting entrepreneurship in the brewing and craft beer industries.

Stay tuned for more details on Temple University’s B.PHL programming, and visit the B.PHL website to learn more about the festival.

Community Center Building
The Crane Chinatown Community Center is part of Crane Chinatown, a $75-million, 20-story apartment and mixed-use complex located at 10th and Vine streets in Philadelphia. Photo by Karen Naylor

When the doors of the Crane Chinatown Community Center officially open in October, the foundation of both the facility and its future will be in place.

Because in addition to the steel, bricks and mortar, the much-anticipated center has a framework for a sustainable business plan, thanks to a team of MBA students and their professional advisers at Fox Management Consulting (FMC) at Temple University’s Fox School of Business.

The community center is designed to be a vibrant cultural center of wellness, education and recreation for the Chinatown community. It is part of Crane Chinatown, a $75 million, 20-story apartment and mixed-use complex located at 10th and Vine streets in Philadelphia. The residential portion of the complex opened earlier this summer.

“The community center has been the goal of the past 20 years of work,” says Cecilia Moy Yep, founder of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation. Since 1969, the organization has been advocating for the interests of Chinatown.

“The community has been growing but the recreation facilities have not grown along with it,” Yep continues. “The community center will allow us to have programs we never had before and be a safe environment for children to go to for recreation.”

The impact that consulting services provided by FMC can have on an organization, both for-profit and nonprofit, can be of great value. 

“Many of these organizations are passionate about their cause and sometimes could use additional help with business strategy and financial implications to be successful,” says FMC Project Executive Louise Tritton. “It’s definitely a win-win for students and clients.”

At the request of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC), the

Chinatown Iconic Sign
The community center is designed to be a vibrant cultural center of wellness, education and recreation for the Chinatown community. Photo by Karen Naylor

consulting team worked to identify sustainable revenue streams that align with the center’s mission and the community’s needs.

“Financial stability for the center is going to be hard to figure out,” Yep says. “There are costs, including administrative, that need to be covered. We are looking at ways to accomplish that so the center is here for a long time.”

Having a concrete project for students to work on brings to ground the lessons and experience FMC is trying to deliver.

“I work hard with the students to differentiate between an academic paper and a report to a client,” Tritton says. “Those reports involve clear thinking, good logic and professional effort. Oftentimes students say they won’t do consulting work (in a future job), but I point out they are always going to be part of a team where they will need excellent communication skills, writing skills and preparation. I stress to them consulting work is important and has an impact.”

MBA student Taras Smerechanskyy believes his FMC learning experience stretches far beyond what most people expect when working on a business plan.

“There was a deeper meaning on many levels,” he says. “We were helping the community retain its culture and identity, and that was a powerful thing. The stakes were high. This wasn’t just about a business and its finances; it was a project that really has an impact and creates something new for Chinatown. Everyone working on the project understood how important the work being done was to this community.”

The community center, with its focus on bettering the lives of all Chinatown residents by providing social, educational and recreational opportunities, brings great satisfaction to Yep.

“To me, it’s the completion of what this community needs; it’s the epitome of our development projects,” she says. “In the past, there has been a lot of focus on housing in the community. It became time to think of recreation. Now we will have a safe environment for children to go and enjoy.”

Leadership Perception illustration
Illustration by Scotty Reifsnyder

 

As the way we do business evolves faster than ever, leaders need to be prepared. Employees look to their senior executives for confidence, guidance and direction—especially in times of change. But being a leader means nothing unless people choose to follow, and people generally choose to follow those in whom they believe. “It all hinges on the leader’s credibility,” says Lynne Andersson, associate professor of human resource management at the Fox School. 

The Power of Perception

Andersson’s previous research started by identifying behaviors that make employees cynical towards their leaders. She identified two key factors in credibility: perceived competence and perceived trustworthiness. Both elements are dependent upon outsiders’ viewpoints—whether or not they believe in the leader’s skills, knowledge, values and dependability. 

“These perceptions are extremely important in the digital age,” explains Andersson. With so much information available to be collected and scrutinized, from social networks to artificial intelligence, people may have concerns about who is in control. “Employees want to know that those who are managing them and assessing their performance are competent and trustworthy.” 

After having started the research around the question of cynicism, Andersson reversed the point of view. She and her colleagues conducted research studies, gathering feedback from blue- and white-collar workers located all over the country over the course of three years, to identify specific actions that leaders can take to improve credibility with their employees. 

Building Credibility, Projecting Competence

Leaders who emphasize the future were seen as the most competent by their employees. “Creating clear plans for future success is different than simply stating a strategic vision or setting performance targets,” Andersson notes. “It involves mapping out, in detail, how the organization will achieve its goals.” Keeping on top of industry trends, predicting upcoming changes and having clear ideas of how to respond to both are other ways for leaders to demonstrate their visions for the future. 

Employees value leaders who demonstrate a focus on organizational outcomes but who also attach those outcomes to an individual’s job. “It’s important to convey that an employee’s work affects the whole organization,” Andersson advises. “Employees attribute competence to leaders who can make those connections.” 

Competent leaders also look for ways to improve their organization’s operations. “You can consider eliminating unnecessary reporting structures, reducing spending waste, establishing new roles or investing in technology that improves business effectiveness,” Andersson says. 

She also advised against putting too much emphasis on credentials. “In our meritocratic world, we love credentials—but people in our study did not equate credentials with competence. Leaders had to prove it through their actions or behaviors, not their resume.” 

Proving Trustworthiness

The most important step to take when trying to project trustworthiness is speaking and acting consistently. “To begin, it means making decisions that aren’t contradictory,” says Andersson. “But it also means behaving in a way that aligns with promises, explicit or unspoken.” Leaders should deeply understand all of their stakeholders’ needs in order to prevent potential conflicts. 

Leaders that embody the organization’s vision and values are also regarded as highly trustworthy, according to the research. “Employees want to see consistency between the walk and talk.” Andersson encourages senior executives to be mindful of both their professional and personal values, as employees are watching closely to verify authenticity. 

According to the research, employees were more trusting of leaders who valued them. “While you may prioritize your employees in your words, make sure that employees are recognized,” says Andersson. “Show how important your employees through things like rewards and plum assignments.” 

Insights for Better Leaders

How can senior executives apply this research on the job? Andersson notes that leaders should be cognizant to two main points. First, the good outweighs the bad—sometimes. “When regarding competence,” says Andersson, “people tend to weigh positive information more heavily than negative information.” This means that one competent action may be a good signal of reliability to a leader’s employees. However, the opposite is true for trustworthiness; one dishonest statement or unethical action can make employees lose faith. 

Second, restoring credibility is difficult, but not impossible. “To regain lost credibility, leaders must reestablish positive expectations,” Andersson advises. “This means they must repeatedly engage in trustworthy acts since a single act won’t mean much.” By focusing on the actions outlined by Andersson and her colleagues, leaders can slowly build back that relationship.

Credibility in Action

Actions speak louder than words, and according to Andersson, these are the most important things leaders should do to increase their credibility amongst employees. 

What Do Competent Leaders Do? 

  • Emphasize the future 
  • Prioritize employees
  • Take action and initiative
  • Communicate effectively 
  • Gain knowledge and experience

What Do Trustworthy Leaders Do? 

  • Communicate and act in a consistent manner
  • Protect the organization and employees
  • Embody the organization’s vision and values
  • Consult with and listen to key stakeholders
  • Communicate openly with others
  • Value employees

This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.

Temple sudents on campus

The first week of class is one of the most grueling weeks that college students will have to endure. Between meeting up with old friends and familiarizing oneself with all the new things campus has to offer, getting back into the swing of things can be difficult. 

Fortunately, Temple University understands what students are going through and strives to make the campus a welcoming environment that encourages students to succeed and explore their personal interests. Temple University’s constant drive to create new opportunities for undergraduates to engage in every semester can be seen across campus.

Studying gets an upgrade

The recent completion of Charles Library on campus shows how Temple is evolving the way students engage with their studies. The Temple News spoke with Julia Mullin, the university’s associate director of construction, about the library’s exclusive features. The building, which replaced Paley Library, features a student success center, more than 40 study rooms and a digital scholarship area which includes advanced computers and 3D printers,” Mullin says. These resources will contribute to students’ success on campus with resources exclusive to Charles Library.

Getting involved made easier 

At the beginning of the semester Temple holds Temple Fest, a festival that brings together all of Temple University’s clubs and organizations. A campus with about 40,000 students may seem a little terrifying at first, but Temple’s variety of clubs and organizations work to establish a sense of community on campus. For example, the Black Student Union strives to bring Temple’s black student body together through volunteer initiatives and on-campus events that work together to shed light on the injustices that are disproportionately affecting the black community. 

The Feminist Alliance is an organization that highlights intersectional feminism that will contribute to the betterment of its members, on-campus life and in the surrounding community. Whether getting involved in local protests or facilitating one right on campus, the Feminist Alliance encourages students of all gender identities and sexualities, to think critically about how social, economic and political issues affect not only themselves but the world around them. 

To get connected with the Fox School community as a freshman and throughout your time at Temple, students can join Fox student professional organizations, like the American Marketing Association, which focuses on professional development, networking and building skills like communication and leadership. 

Through innovative technology and organizations that work to make a difference on and off-campus, Temple’s ongoing initiatives show that it values student’s success and their impact on the community. Regardless of their status on campus, Temple will be there every step of the way.

Research Impact illustration

“If you see something, say something.” As intuitive as it may seem, speaking your mind is hard—especially within the boundaries of an office environment. Most employees face the fear of retaliation and the social costs that come with speaking up to management in difficult situations.

Leora Eisenstadt, assistant professor of Legal Studies, and Deanna Geddes, professor of Human Resource Management at the Fox School, delve deeper into these emotional situations in their interdisciplinary studies. The researchers discuss the implications of expressing anger at the workplace and highlight two problematic legal doctrines that disincentivize employees from making any complaints—thus costing companies.

A Cycle of Discontentment

When employees suppress anger at work, it not only affects their mental well-being but also their attitudes—often resulting in lowered productivity. “When employees fear the consequences of retaliation by management,” says Geddes, “they tend to either suppress it by keeping silent, or express their frustration to their peers, who usually have no power to respond or effect change.” These negative discussions often spiral into increasing discontentment among employees that impact the overall health of the workplace. 

Reactions vs. Retaliation 

In the face of perceived discrimination, employees may turn to the courts for help in resolving disputes. However, Eisenstadt argues that current legal frameworks may negatively affect employees’ willingness to speak up in the judicial system. Currently, judges use the following two legal doctrines in an effort to promote consistency across similar cases but frequently end up disenfranchising employees. 

  • The “Objectively Reasonable Belief” doctrine protects only those employees who complain about behavior that the courts would regard as unlawful. Given that employees do not typically understand the nuances of court decisions, this may make employees hesitant to come forward because they are unsure if their complaint will be protected by the law.
  • The “Manner of the Complaint” doctrine supports employers who claim the reason for firing an employee was the ‘inappropriate’ way in which the complaint was raised, without serious consideration to the details of the complaint itself.

Eisenstadt argues that the consequences of these court-created approaches are clear. “Employees, upon seeing how these doctrines play out for their co-workers, choose to keep silent,” she says. This not only hinders the goals of the law, which is meant to protect employees from workplace discrimination but the culture and worker productivity at the workplace also suffer.

A Call For Change

Not all emotions at work lead to discord, says Geddes. “Psychological research demonstrates that expressions of anger to management in any form—whether it be in respectful complaints or in emotional outbursts—is healthier and more productive for both the worker and the workplace overall.” 

So what happens next? The researchers advise that companies build a culture of open dialogue within their organizations to promote expression up and down management lines. Nonhierarchical, team-based structures, leadership’s encouragement of meaningful debate and clear channels for expressing opinions all help employers address emotions while the employee is still in the workplace. 

Eisenstadt and Geddes also suggest that the court system rethink its implementation of the existing retaliation doctrines. They propose that the judiciary take an approach that considers the circumstances that led to retaliation and view the scenario from all relevant perspectives, not just the employers. “This more global approach would undoubtedly create a greater sense of security in employees,” says Eisenstadt.

This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.

Illustration of robot boss providing information for workers
Illustration by Scotty Reifsnyder

Will robots replace humans at work?

As technology evolves, this question has been on the minds of many. For repetitive jobs, some are already automated. But managers and supervisors, whose jobs require higher levels of cognitive ability, should be safe—right?

Xue Guo and Zhi Cheng, two doctoral students in the Fox School’s Department of Management Information Systems, studied how the new technologies like TaskRabbit, a leading online platform to find immediate help for everyday tasks, have affected managerial-level jobs. 

In analyzing data from the housekeeping industry, Guo and Cheng found a 2.9 percent decrease in the total number of offline full-time workers after the platform’s introduction—a drop mainly driven by a decrease in the number of frontline supervisors and managers.

Effects of Digital Management 

The evolution of the gig economy—and the subsequent digital platforms—has created new opportunities for those searching for work. ‘Gigs’ allow people to be more selective about the employers they want to work for, receive relatively higher pay and choose from a field of work options. Even employers enjoy the flexibility of recruiting extra help as needed, reducing fixed labor costs and presenting them with options for specialized skills. 

So how do these platforms change the rules of the workplace, especially for management? 

To answer that question, the researchers integrated data from TaskRabbit, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau, aiming to better understand the impact of the gig economy for routine cognitive workers versus manual workers. 

“After the entry of TaskRabbit,” says Guo, “we observed a 5.5 percent decrease in first-line managerial jobs.” Manual workers, such as cleaners and janitors, were not as affected. This suggests that the platform mostly affected middle-skill management, whose primary tasks were to arrange and schedule service in the housekeeping industry.

Managers Moving to TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit reduced the demand for offline managers in the industry by directly connecting some of the tech-savvy cleaners to their clients. According to Guo, the detailed information about clients’ requirements and workers’ qualifications “allows them to connect with each other at lower search costs.” 

Not all managers who left the industry were replaced by robots, however. Supervisors who were skilled in using technology could move to these digital platforms, giving them more freedom in an online role. “On TaskRabbit, managers could recruit and supervise regular cleaners more efficiently,” reasons Guo. “The platform also provided more flexibility and autonomy, incentivizing them to move online.”

Laborers Grapple with Technology 

The researchers found that TaskRabbit increased the productivity of manual workers by efficiently planning schedules, monitoring their performance and solving disputes, subsequently driving market demand. The platform also attracted workers of different skills and backgrounds while increasing labor supply and accessibility by reducing the barriers of entry to get a job. 

Laborers could also take advantage of the options for flexibility and mobility. “We observed that, even though the number of jobs has reduced, we could see an increase in self-employed workers,” says Guo. “Later studies may look at the actual wage differences, but TaskRabbit can support the option of self-employment of both managers and laborers.” 

Learning To Keep Up 

Thanks to technological changes like these, the dynamics of the traditional workplace are continuing to shift. Generalizing to other industries, Guo mentions that these platforms increase productivity and allow for more efficient business models, but may come at a cost to the less computer literate. 

The researchers, however, are positive about this emerging economy in the future of work. “The barrier to entry of TaskRabbit is not very high,” says Guo. While this skills-biased technology change is happening in the workplace, it can create new opportunities—particularly for those entrepreneurial workers willing to learn. 

This article is a sneak peek of the next issue of On The Verge, the Fox School’s flagship research magazine. For more stories, visit www.fox.temple.edu/ontheverge.

Inside Out Stock photo

The challenges of communicating a program’s impact to stakeholders is the focus of “The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program: Impact on Stakeholders,” a case study published this month by Fox Management Consulting Managing Director and Fox Professor TL Hill, Fox MBA alumna Rebecca DeWhitt, current Fox student Claire Thanh Tran and Fox Associate Professor Lynne Andersson.

The case revolves around the question of how to satisfy funders’ demands for quantitative measures of the impact of specific types of prison education being provided by The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, an international network of educators who facilitate university-level courses in prisons. The courses serve combined classes of incarcerated individuals and university students.

Achieving the goal of quantitative measurement is difficult, the case explains, because program results have long been based not on available statistics but rather on stories gathered from student surveys and anecdotes from correctional institutions revealing improved behavior and increased leadership. 

The Inside-Out Center recognized the need for measurement in order to secure a steady stream of funds in an increasingly competitive environment. It also sought to find a cost-effective and culturally appropriate way to measure and communicate the program’s impact on its many stakeholders.

The case, suitable for both undergraduate and graduate-level classes, provides the data necessary to help students learn and apply impact measurement tools such as the logic model of change and the social return on investment (SROI) to the management of mission-led organizations.

It also provides a context to discuss stakeholder management and the roles of measurement and storytelling in aligning stakeholders with conflicting interests and agendas. Finally, the case provides an opportunity to discuss some of the thorny ethical and economic issues surrounding prison policies and practices.

To obtain a copy of the study for class use, go to: https://www.iveycases.com/ProductView.aspx?id=104742

photo of Shannon Siriano Greenwood
Photography by Sandy Swagger Jones

One night a few years ago, Shannon Siriano Greenwood and her husband made a pinky promise: the next day, they would quit their jobs.

In 2010, Greenwood, BBA ’04, was stressed, unhappy and burned out managing operations at a chain of eight salons in the Washington D.C. area. After fulfilling her end of the deal, over the next few years, Greenwood worked as a social media contributor, marketer, co-founded a boutique cycling studio (which she later sold) and worked as a consultant. 

In 2017, she founded Rebelle Con, a three-day women’s conference that brings speakers from across the country to discuss topics such as wellness, money, community and creativity. She also works as a freelance moderator/EMCEE and event curator. 

“I lept and let the world catch me,” she says, laughing. “I started my first business basically out of boredom. I found it all out by doing.” 

Greenwood and her team discovered that what attendees wanted out of a conference was to build community while learning skills that they could apply for personal and professional fulfillment. After the success of two conferences, Greenwood created Rebelle, an in-person community with local chapters in Richmond, VA and, most recently, Lancaster, PA. Rebelle hosts monthly events including mixers and panel presentations at local women-owned business offices. She was perhaps inspired by her work with the “Boss Babes” collective, a community of entrepreneurial businesswomen. 

Shannon Siriano Greenwood photo
Photography by SoulVision Magazine

Some of the best feedback Greenwood received was in response to a session called “The Quitters.” It was a panel of successful businesswomen talking about the things they have quit, whether that be giving up a marriage, a six-figure job or owning a home in order to set out on their own path. The discussion was anchored in topics that people would not necessarily want to open up about in a large group, Greenwood says. But attendees loved it.

In another session, Carrie Sue Casey, founder of Oodaloop Co and former Department of Defense employee, taught a brainstorming technique to the group using “how to make friends as an adult” as the primary problem they were working to solve. “It has been interesting to see what people think they want and what they actually want,” Greenwood says.

It took her a long time to figure out what she wanted. A self-described “recovering work-a-holic,” she puts self-care at the forefront of her life and career and emphasizes that the Rebelle community does the same. While self-care can look different for everyone, Greenwood explains that her brand is relatively simple: being kind to herself and watching her stress levels. She works at a comfortable pace, versus trying to prove herself to other people and has found success in that. Napping is great too, she says. 

“I want to inspire other women, pay my bills and drink chai lattes,” Greenwood jokes. 

In addition to launching the Lancaster chapter of Rebelle, Greenwood plans to launch even more branches in 2020. Attendance for the fall RebelleCon is doubling in size, and the team is working on a host of new programming for women.