Graduate Capstone Projects Organizational Change Management

Organizational Change Management Advanced Seminar

The capstone course for Organizational Change Management (OCM) is delivered as a seminar in which students reflect on their academic and professional experiences, identify a compelling topic of deep interest, and write a rigorous research paper to explore it. We aspire to write papers of publishable quality (PPQ) and form a learning community to support our exploration based on professional collegiality.

Capstone Projects 2019-2020

Best Paper Award 2019-2020

“Renewing the Interrogatory Imperative: Hope and Persistence from 20 Years of Interrogating Whiteness in OD”
By Kathryn L. Fong
In 2001, Diane Grimes presented a charge to the field of organization development: that it should “get its own house in order,” by employing an “interrogation of whiteness” to examine the hidden assumptions about race embedded within OD literature and praxis. This paper explores how the field has responded to Grimes’ call to action over the past 20 years and examines how interrogations of whiteness have advanced the field’s capabilities to disrupt white supremacy culture within the discipline and its spheres of influence. A review of literature connects interrogating whiteness with its roots in critical race feminism and the humanistic values embedded in OD’s founding philosophies, then demonstrates significant advancements in the use of interrogating whiteness since Grimes’ original charge.

Key findings support the conclusion that the field is more meaningfully equipped than ever to pursue racial equity within organizations. These findings include the development of new awareness of white supremacy’s impact on diversity management, new lenses through which to conduct interrogations of whiteness, new language to describe the dynamics of white supremacy culture and ways of disrupting it, and new models for integrating interrogations of whiteness into OD praxis. This paper concludes with a renewed call to action, charging the field to apply these findings to an expanded, multi-dimensional disruptive inquiry of oppressive systems, and proposing that to meet a new cultural moment, OD must unbound itself from its factionalized view of equity/diversity/inclusion and strategic values alignment, and recognize liberatory praxis as fundamental to the work of the discipline.

Read about all the Fall 2019-Spring 2020 Organizational Change Management Capstone Projects

Capstone Projects 2018-2019

Best Paper Award 2018-2019

“Embedding Empathy in Technology: Case Studies of the World’s Empathic Companies”
By Juliana Echeverri Arboleda
This Empathy has become a globally-recognized organizational and business imperative. Research suggests that there is a direct relationship between empathy and both the bottom line and employee engagement—which leads to higher retention rates. Trainings and consulting services specializing in equipping leaders with empathic capabilities are emerging in all industries. Among the most widely recognized, the Empathy Index  determines the most empathetic companies in the world and publishes its ranking on Harvard Business Review every year. The 2016 Index revealed that the tech sector is leading the charge as far as the empathy revolution goes, capturing 6 spots out of the top 10. My research identified three companies in the Empathy Index’s top 10—Facebook, Google, and Audi—and examined the extent to which they are able to translate an empathic culture onto their products and services; and consequently, engage consumers in an empathic way. Such companies were of interest as they all claim to be developing products that have empathic capabilities, which is why I focused on Facebook’s Empathy Lab, Google’s Empathy Lab, and Audi’s Elaine concept car. These case studies suggest that tech companies today, are increasingly invested in equipping products that rely on artificial intelligence with empathic capabilities to drive personalization and accessibility. Lastly, my analysis led me to conclude that companies like Facebook, Google and Audi, which serve a global consumer base, are uniquely positioned to not only create empathetic organizational cultures, but also inspire consumers to abide by similar principles.

Read about all the Fall 2018-Spring 2019 OCM Capstone Projects

Capstone Projects 2017-2018

Best Paper Award 2017-2018

“Leadership Development in Higher Education: The Gap in Opportunities for LGBT”
By Nicholas Kruter
The purpose of this paper is to explore the current state of leadership development for openly LGBT individuals working in higher education. In general, there has been a shift towards more inclusive campus climates for students, faculty, and staff, with concurrent under-representation in executive leadership. Despite this shift, a void exists both in the literature that studies leadership development for the LGBT community, and in the opportunities for LGBT higher education professionals to engage in organized leadership development efforts. A review of the literature revealed a lack of research regarding leadership development for openly LGBT individuals working in higher education. Additionally, an overview of three existing, high-impact, leadership development programs designed for other underrepresented populations working in higher education suggests that current efforts can serve as models for future initiatives for LGBT professionals. Finally, an exploratory, collective case study is provided and discusses themes that emerged from interviews with five openly LGBT individuals currently working in higher education. These themes addressed the value of mentoring relationships, informal networks, and intersectional identity groups as sources of support for growth. The need for leadership development programs specifically targeting LGBT professionals working in higher education is evidenced by the clear success demonstrated by the current programs discussed, as well as by the experiences of the interview participants. The advancement and development of LGBT individuals needs to be a priority as campus climates and demographics continue to change, and as long as LGBT individuals are underrepresented in leadership positions.

Read about all the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 OCM Capstone Projects

Capstone Projects 2016-2017

Best Paper Award 2016-2017

Delivering on the Promise of Design Thinking: How Designers and Social-Purpose Organizations Can Improve  Their Chances at Real Change | By Cynthia Warner