Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Finish Line represents the successful completion of my studies and graduation from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership. My final college course that concluded my undergraduate degree at NKU was LDR 480 - the Capstone course for the leadership program in which we took a reflective look at our collegiate journey and assessed our learning experience. 

The Finish Line

"'Failing forward' is the ability to get back up after you've been knocked down, learn from your mistakes, and move forward in a better direction."   ~ John Maxwell

The circumstances that drive a person to alter the course of their lives are often wrought by personal hardship or failure. The realization that, in light of the current unemployment crisis, my decades of business experience had very little value without a college degree was terrifying. The anxiety that I experienced upon returning to the classroom for the first time in over twenty years felt like a public announcement of personal and professional failure. This process was not unlike a caterpillar entering a cocoon; and the transformative process and leadership development that ensued culminates in a metamorphosis of equal proportion.

This description reflects my experience over the past several years, which has been nothing less than miraculous. It has changed my personal perspective and worldview through practical leadership and personal development. I have been both humbled and inspired. Experiential learning made it possible for me to self-assess and grow. Active-learning enabled me to apply what I was learning and develop as a leader. Group project presentations became an opportunity to teach. Honest feedback and professional mentorship affirmed my decision to embark on a new career in academia. I believe leadership education is applicable to every profession and beneficial for every person. My plans to continue my education align with my aspirations to teach leadership in higher education.

Building Character and Leadership

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved."  ~ Helen Keller

My knowledge has evolved. Through a retrospective lens I have been able to use my most traumatic experiences to analyze myself in particular situations. This became a personal case study that progressed through each course. Equipped with new knowledge and understanding, as well as feedback from professors and fellow students, my failures became very valuable life lessons. This approach exemplifies experiential learning, "A process through which a learner constructs knowledge, skill, and value from experience" (Luckman, 1996, p. 6); and resulted in a new level of self-awareness. Northouse (2013) provides an excellent explanation of self-awareness:

                             Self-awareness refers to the personal insights of the leader. It is not an end in itself but a
                             process in which individuals understand themselves, including their strengths and
                             weaknesses, and the impact they have on others. Self-awareness includes reflecting on
                             your core values, identity, emotions, motives, and goals, and coming to grips with who
                            you really are at the deepest level. . . . Other people see leaders who have greater self
                            awareness as more authentic. (pp. 263-264)

This level of authenticity is achieved only through honesty with oneself as well as openness to seeing through the lens of others, resulting in acceptance of our own imperfections and the need for change.

In leadership education, deep reflective learning requires students to consider the underlying dynamics of power and to question basic assumptions and practices (Jenkins, 2011, p. 73). Jenkins’ words resonate with my learning experience thus far. Reflection is important for leadership development as it can provide leaders with a variety of insights into how to frame problems differently, to look at situations from multiple perspectives or to better understand followers (Densten & Gray, 2001). I have learned the importance of caring leadership that determines needs in light of the particular situation, circumstances, and people involved in a way that is considerate of others. The following foundational leadership principles support this knowledge:
1.      Leadership is a concern of all of us.
2.      Leadership is viewed and valued differently by various disciplines and cultures. A multidisciplinary approach to leadership develops a shared understanding of differences and commonalities in leadership principles and practices across professions and cultures.
3.      Conventional views of leadership have changed.
4.      Leadership can be exhibited in many ways. Different settings might call for different types of leadership. Pluralistic, empowering leadership values the inclusion of diverse people and diverse ideas, working toward common purposes.
5.      Leadership qualities and skills can be learned and developed. Today’s leaders are made, not born. Leadership effectiveness begins with self-awareness and self-understanding and grows to understanding of others. Identifying your core values and strengths and maximizing those in your leadership are key components in your leadership development.
6.   Leadership committed to ethical action is needed to encourage change and social responsibility. 
      (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 2013, pp. 6-7)

These principles provide an overview of the depth of understanding and knowledge that is encompassed in my leadership studies. My knowledge of different leadership styles and theories has resulted in a deep understanding of the need for flexibility on behalf of the leader and the effectiveness of eclectic leadership.
The ability to be flexible and follower-focused as a leader necessitates a broad knowledge of leadership theory as well as practical service learning experiences in leading. Service learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities intentionally designed to promote student learning and development (Jacoby, 1996, p. 5). I feel fortunate that the Organizational Leadership program included this type of learning and enabled me to apply the concepts being presented in real leadership situations.
            The most poignant knowledge I gained was the realization that leadership is something that can be taught and that it continues to develop throughout one’s life. Leadership is complicated. It is personal and involves relationships with others. Leadership development is an initiative that is both interpersonal and intra-personal. Burns (1978) describes leadership as one of the most observed and least understood phenomena, and proposes that one of the most universal cravings of our time is a hunger for compelling and creative leadership. This truth remains relevant today.

Learning Leadership Skills

"Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it."  ~ Henry Mintzberg

My skills have been expanded and enhanced. Many skills from my business experience served me well in my studies - this includes graphic design and computer skills, such as my expertise in Microsoft Office programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. My educational experience included active-learning (Fink, 2003), through which many other skills were honed and developed. The Organizational Leadership program is unique in that it has relevancy in all professions as well as in personal relationships. It quickly became evident that not only is the leadership program comprehensive, but it is also effective, and it has passionate and caring professors. I believe the signature pedagogy of leadership could be a model for other disciplines. Fink (2003) describes "good" courses as those that:
1.      Challenge students to significant kinds of learning.
2.      Use active forms of learning.
3.      Have teachers who care – about the subject, their students, and about teaching and learning [not just research].
4.      Have teachers who interact well with students.
5.      Have a good system of feedback, assessment, and grading.

The Organizational Leadership program excels in each of these areas, but also emphasizes skills such as team building, communication, and critical thinking. These skills, in particular, have become personal strengths.
According to Moorhead and Griffin (2010), teambuilding emphasizes members working together in a spirit of cooperation and generally has one or more of the following goals:
1.      To set team goals and priorities.
2.      To analyze and allocate the way work is performed.
3.      To examine how a group is working – that is, to examine processes as norms, decision making, and communication.
4.      To examine relationships among people doing the work

Effective team building activities require participants to reflect on these experiences as a guide to becoming a leader in a collaborative environment. My leadership educational experience has improved my team building skills immensely. I value collaboration and have witnessed the increased level of success resulting from an effective group, as opposed to that of an individual. The importance of building trust and respect through interaction, especially conflict, is a critical competency that I have learned. “Leadership happens through relationships among people engaged in change. As a relational process, leadership requires the highest possible standards of credibility, authenticity, integrity, and ethical conduct. Ethical leaders model positive behaviors that influence the actions of others” (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 2013, pp. 6-7). Group projects – especially those in online courses – presented the greatest challenges, but also resulted in the greatest growth. I found that my inter-personal skills and genuine concern for others, combined with the technical skills that I possess, enabled me to emerge as a group leader. I also learned that I had to relinquish control, engage everyone in the group, and truly collaborate in order to achieve the best results.
            Communication is an aptitude that is universal in its importance, and it subsumes both oral and written forms. My communication skills have improved considerably due to in-class participation and presentation, which included research and written assignments. Learning activities where students actively research a leadership theory or topic and present findings in oral or written format are critical to developing communication skills (Allen & Hartman, 2009). As I embark on a path that is focused on teaching I will need to continue to improve my communication skills. I am seeking positions that will enable me to teach and/or tutor in order to hone my oral communication skills. Graduate school will provide ample opportunity for growth and development of my written communication and research skills.
Communication skills are honed through the type of learning explicit to the Organizational Leadership program, and have been instrumental to my personal transformation. Communication (the ability to listen and give feedback in transformational leadership) is connected to what Mezirow (1998) posited as a critical requirement of transformative learning. This is reflective of transformational leadership, and is especially important when considering a teaching career. As the role of leader shifts from authoritarian to teacher and coach, transformational leaders are able to facilitate learning in others and use their capabilities to bring self-awareness to others, while continuing to be an active learning participant, “. . . this represents a synergy of communications, caring, follower-centered, and creative leadership behaviors and characteristics” (Gabriel, 2008, p. 30). I have been the benefactor of many different teaching styles, but the transformative learning (and the synergy mentioned herein) was consistent and apparent in every course.
Critical thinking is an essential leadership skill, and one that my studies have strengthened immeasurably. It involves discipline and truth-seeking. It is important to have an open mind and a rational thought process. This might imply that emotions are not involved, but that is incorrect. Critical thinking involves gathering all available data and facts, of course, but in regard to leadership decisions this will include the emotional state of the people involved. “Exercising critical thinking is a key to furthering your understanding about leadership” (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, 2013, p. 6). The decisions made by leaders affect everyone; thus, it is not only important to think critically, but also to reflect on previous decisions and actions critically. Critical reflection is a way to integrate and reintegrate meaning, experience, perspective, and information; it facilitates cognitive and moral development by “attending to the grounds for one’s beliefs” (Mezirow, 1994, p. 223). Critical learning is built through student-centered experiential learning (Moore, Boyd, & Dooley, 2010), which is central to helping students develop as leaders and bridges thinking with action (Jenkins & Cutchens, 2010). Leadership education is inherently designed to improve critical thinking by cultivating self-regulatory judgment through the interpretation, analysis, evaluation and inference of a leader’s own decisions and actions. Critical Reflection, therefore, is a behavior that integrates personal experiences with new learning and understanding to engage and mobilize students to act on new ideas, and to challenge conventional thinking in both theory and practice (Reynolds, 1999). In my past, I had a tendency to rush decisions and was often quick to assess a situation and pass judgments. Although my intentions were good, my decisions were often bad. The critical thinking skills I have developed have made me a more effective leader.
Empowering Others Is Its Own Reward

"The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born -- that there is a genetic factor
to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities
or not. That's nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather
than born."
 ~ Warren G. Bennis

My vision has been inspired by my educational experience. As my undergraduate learning concludes, and I reflect on this life-altering experience, I am amazed at the transformation. I have a newfound passion for leadership and lifelong learning, and feel a profound responsibility to continue this development and utilize my leadership skills to empower others. In my limited experience thus far, where I have been able to help others and witness their success, I have realized personal joy and satisfaction that is priceless. Leadership matters, and it transcends the organizational context.
Leadership matters for society, higher education, and students. In recent years, a growing number of scholars have asserted that American society is in a “leadership crisis” and, in turn, there is a compelling need for more and better leadership from diverse people. A growing number of leadership programs in higher education pave the way for higher education to better prepare its graduates to exercise leadership. (Eich, 2007, p. iv)
People are at the heart of leadership. Within the context of leadership for college students, Komives, Lucas, and McMahan (2007) define leadership as a “. . . relational and ethical process of people together attempting to accomplish positive change” (p. ix). Leadership, therefore, relies on relationships, ethics, people, and change. Leaders are made, not born; everyone can learn to lead. My personal journey culminates with a broader viewpoint, a global perspective, and an honest realization that I still have a lot to learn.

Leadership and Learning

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."  ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I have a new perspective regarding leadership and how it is applicable in all areas of life and society. The humbling transition that has occurred in less than two years reflects the excellence of the Organizational Leadership program, and the efficacy of my professors. Those who have taught me have provided the leadership and support that enabled me to be successful in failing forward; they have also inspirec my aspiration to teach and pay it forward.

Reflecting on my first classes, I can relate to the stereotypical viewpoint of college students; I simply wanted to get the piece of paper I needed as quickly and painlessly as possible. Studies indicate that students typically hold hierarchical views of leadership when they come to college. These perceptions are more consistent with traditional leadership approaches as trait, behavioral, and situational theories where “leadership” and “leader” are interchangeable concepts. However, once they start to view themselves as interdependent with others, they shift their view of leadership to something many in a group do and as a process among people, which is more consistent with the post-industrial view of leadership (Komives, Dugan, Owen, Slack, & Wagner, 2006, p. 412). I found this to be true across generations as I interacted with students of all ages and from all backgrounds in my classes. Effective student leadership development is an intersection of student development and relational leadership. Once students begin to understand their roles as leaders and as part of a relational process, they have achieved the final stage of integration and synthesis (Jenkins, 2011, pp. 59-60). I don’t believe we ever stop learning, and therefore viewing this type of leadership achievement as a final stage may be short-sighted. I can relate, however, to the transformative process whereby students participate as collaborative students and leaders in such a way that their views and perspectives change.

Lifelong Learning and Teaching

"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."  ~ Gandhi

The trials and tribulations that turned my life upside down and left me jobless, without any prospects for viable employment, no longer conger up negative emotions; in my rearview mirror I can see the broken road that led me to this place of accomplishment, and appreciate the silver linings. I am appreciative of the experiences that have re-formed my perspective, and especially of those who have led by example, paving the way to achievement and opportunity. Through self-awareness and leadership development, I have become confident and self-assured. 

When I teach I will emulate the action-learning modeled by my professors in the Organizational Leadership program - in part because it has been so successful for me, but research also supports this type of teaching as being most effective:
“. . . instructors teaching leadership to undergraduates are using discussion pedagogy as well as a collection of other pedagogies including projects and presentations, self-assessments and instruments, and critical reflection. Holistically, these pedagogies all emphasize and model inclusive, relational, and interactive processes. High-quality leadership programs should practice this kind of inclusive, empowering, purposeful, ethical, and process-oriented leadership for the positive change that they advocate to their students. (Eich D. , 2008)
I have had the opportunity to practice the skills that I have added to my repertoire through group projects in both traditional and online learning environments. These projects have become one of my favorite activities. More often than not, my fellow students did not share my enthusiasm for group projects. Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee (2001) state this is common:
Many students tell us they dislike group projects, but unless you learn the skills required for working effectively with others and building common purpose with others, including handling frustration when things do not go well, you have not practiced collaborative leadership. Most great things were not accomplished by an individual acting alone. Even when one person is singled out for credit, there were usually many others who contributed or collaborated to make that accomplishment possible. (p. xiv)
It was within these small groups that I was able to put into practice the things I was learning in my classes. Fink (2003) describes this as active learning, which involves students doing things and thinking about the things they are doing, where doing refers to activities such as group projects, presentations, and case studies. Thinking refers to reflections about the meaning of what students learn or about the learning process itself. He incorporates these methods into course design and instruction (teaching and learning) in a model of integrated course design that emphasizes a “significant learning” or learning-centered approach where faculty decide first what student’s can and should learn in relation to the subject and then figure out how such learning can be facilitated.
This type of significant learning is evident in the Organizational Leadership program, especially through the effective use of group projects and the inclusion of peer feedback. Experiencing this type of practice and subsequent feedback in the classroom has shown to produce leadership development in undergraduates. Hess (2007) calls this the “classroom practicum approach” to develop leadership skills – where student learning is enhanced by integrating a greater emphasis on the transfer phase of the learning process. By engaging students in opportunities for extended practice and informed feedback, student learning is improved. When the classroom becomes the setting for each student’s leadership experience, they are afforded a significant opportunity to lead a project and to receive detailed feedback on their effectiveness. The practice opportunity is of complexity and duration sufficient to require the exercise of a broad range of leadership skills, from providing direction and support to managing conflict and achieving consensus. At the same time, the conditions are required for competent feedback are also met in that feedback is received within a few days of practice, and all team members are trained specifically to provide feedback that is concrete, specific, descriptive, balanced, nonthreatening, and constructive (Hess, 2007, p. 204). This detail aptly describes my experiences during group projects and presentations.
Future Growth and Learning

"Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders."  ~ Tom Peters

As I end my undergraduate career I will immediately begin the next step by entering the Graduate Program at NKU. One of my lessons learned is the importance of having a vision of where I want to be, and then creating a plan to get there. My vision is to earn a doctorate degree and teach at the college level, so graduate school is the next step in my plan. I am also seeking out every available opportunity to teach along the way. I will continue my relationship with those who have mentored me thus far, and look forward to expanding my network as I continue this journey. 

I have become passionate about lifelong learning and anxiously anticipate opportunities to continue the personal growth and leadership development that I have begun. Throughout my first career and entrepreneurial endeavors I viewed leadership as a superior position that created followers. My naivete and misunderstanding regarding the true concept of leadership contributed to most of the failures I have experienced in the past. My perspective has indeed changed. My  new goal in life is to utilize the knowledge and skills that I acquire to create more leaders. My reward will be witnessing others' success and marveling at the impact they will have in the world.


Allen, S., & Hartman, N. (2009). Sources of learning in student leadership development programming. Journal of Leadership Studies, 3(3), 6-16.
Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.
Densten, I., & Gray, J. (2001). The links between followership and the experiential learning model: Followership coming of age. The Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(1), 69-76.
Eich, D. (2008). A grounded theory of high-quality leadership programs: Perspectives from student leadership programs in higher education. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 15(2), 176-187.
Eich, D. J. (2007). A grounded theory of high quality leadership programs: Perspectives from student leadership development programs in higher education. Ann Arbor, MI: Proquest.
Fink, L. D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Gabriel, P. (2008). Personal transformation: The relationship of transformative learning experiences and transformational leadership. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.
Hess, P. (2007). Enhancing leadership skill development by creating practice/feedback opportunities in the classroom. Journal of Management Education, 195-213.
Jacoby, B. (1996). Service-learning in today's higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Jenkins, D. M. (2011). Exploring instructional strategies and learning goals in undergraduate leadership education. Ann Arbor: Proquest, LLC.
Jenkins, D., & Cutchens, A. (2010, July). Think, act, and lead critically: An informal look at applied critical thinking in an undergraduate studies course. SLPKC: Official Newsletter of the Student Leadership Programs Knowledge Community of NASPA.
Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (2013). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Komives, S., Dugan, J., Owen, J., Slack, C., & Wagner, W. (2006). Handbook for student leadership programs. National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs.
Komives, S., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. (2007). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Luckman, C. (1996). Defining experiential learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 19, 6-7.
Mezirow, J. (1994). Understanding transformation theory. Adult Education Quarterly, 44(4), 222-232.
Mezirow, J. (1998). Cognitive processes: Contemporary paradigm of learning. In P. Sutherland, Adult learner: A reader (pp. 2-13). Stirling, VA: Kogan Page.
Moore, C., Boyd, B., & Dooley, K. (2010). The effects of experiential learning with an emphasis on reflective writing on deep-level processing of leadership students. Journal of Leadership Education, 9(1), 36-52.
Moorhead, G., & Griffin, R. (2010). Organizational behavior: Managing people and organizations. Mason, OH: South-Western.
Reynolds, M. (1999). Critical reflection and management education: Rehabilitating less hierarchical approaches. Journal of Management Education, 23(5), 537-539.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Leadership is essential at every level within the organization, especially in regard to teamwork, which is the, “. . . common organizational structure today” (Lussier, 2013, p. 333). Teams involve different types of leadership that can be generalized as either assigned or emergent. Regardless of the type of leadership, effectively leading others involves relationships and relies upon a foundation of trust. Trust is essential to all relationships; it must be developed, earned, and nurtured. Trust isn’t something we have or possess – it is something that we earn based on behavior within a relationship and over time. Leaders must be aware of the complexities involved in developing and maintaining trust – and take a multi-faceted approach focused on the behavior of trust.

Robert Lussier (2013) presents a very simple definition of human relations as, “. . . interactions among people” (p. 4); such interaction results in relationships between and among people. Developing relationships can be a challenge, but is necessary in order to gain trust in one another – and trust is essential to teamwork. The lack of trusting relationships result in a lack of cooperation (creating an uncooperative climate), which results in lack of task cohesion. “Teamwork always depends on trust” (Nemiro, Beyerlein, Bradley, & Beyerlein, 2008, p. 9). Since trust is a complicated issue it is important to understand the different types (or levels) of trust – especially as relating to team leadership – and focus on developing trust, earning trust, nurturing trust, and repairing trust.

Dimensions of Trust

There are different levels of trust. In the book Human Relations in Organizations, Lussier (2013) describes three levels of trust as including deterrence-based, knowledge-based, and identification-based (p. 225). In reference to establishing trust within a team setting, studies have also identified institutional-based trust (which assumes employees already trust the organization and/or leader) and task-based trust (Nemiro, Beyerlein, Bradley, & Beyerlein, 2008). As relationships develop, leaders should be aware of the different levels – or dimensions – of trust and how they can be proactive in their behavior to elicit trust from others; to instill trust in one another.

When teams are developed, or new employees added to an open-ended or departmental team, it is the responsibility of leadership to clearly communicate why each member was chosen for the team. What skills and experience does each member bring to the table that makes them ideally suited to perform their role on the team? Leaders should emphasize the equal importance of every member to the team. Kimble et al. (as cited in Nemiro et al, 2008) states: “Identity plays a crucial role . . . because knowledge of those with whom one works and communicates is necessary for understanding and interpreting interaction styles” (p. 9). A leader must clearly demonstrate the trust the organization has in each member. As a result, members will initially adopt the organization’s trust in one another, building upon the team’s foundation of trust. This is known as “institutional-based trust”, as per Scott (as cited in Nemiro, et al., 2008), who states: “It . . . explain[s] how we are able to trust those with whom we have never had any prior experience or knowledge. Institutional-based trust reflects an individual’s trust in the organization with which the other members are affiliated” (p. 111). This also translates to the potential for initial trust in leadership based upon a foundation of trust in the organization – and emphasizes the necessity for organizations to value and develop trust throughout the all levels of the organization.

Although trust can initially be established by members adopting the leader’s trust in team members through institutional-based trust, long-term trust ensues as a result of members identifying with one another, and from their experiences, as they rely on one another for task completion. Leadership plays a significant role not only in building trust one-on-one with each member, but in fostering trust between and among members of the team. How the leader assigns and manages tasks becomes very important, as reported by Nemiro, et al. (2008), “Trust . . . can be developed from positive, ongoing experiences among members of the team . . . members’ keeping their commitments to each other and therefore making only commitments they can and will keep” (p. 10). This statement is reiterated by Lepsinger & Derosa in the following statement: “Task-based trust is one of the factors that differentiated top performing teams” (2010). Researchers’ recommend task-based trust and convey that trust is a big concept and that it is important to start with small steps, such as individual tasks (Derosa & Lepsinger, 2010, p. 56).

Leadership has a responsibility to aid in the development of task-based trust. Leaders who hold members accountable – who establish timelines and deadlines – create a framework for task-based, mutual trust, and confirm the initial gift of adopted trust, as both members and the leader fulfill commitments and earn the right to be considered trustworthy. Trust results in unity within the team. “Teams that know they can rely on each other to get the job done will have more cohesiveness and be more efficient”, therefore the leader should “ . . . help the team create good practices . . . [which] soon become routine”, once this trust is established, “. . . members can all help to keep each other accountable to the team’s shared expectations” (TechSource, 2008, p. 30).

Lussier (2013) presents the Three Levels and Five Dimensions of Trust (p. 226). The first level is deterrence-based trust, which illustrates the beginning or initial trust due to lack of experience or knowledge of another person. This level is the most fragile and consistency is critical. Behaviors at this level are cautious on behalf of all involved. “The relationship is based on fear of reprisal if the trust is violated. So we try to avoid being untrustworthy; we are on our best behavior when we first meet people” (p. 226). It is during this early stage of relationship that institutional-based trust can be beneficial; as individuals get to know one another it is natural to be guarded. Breaking trust at this level can be very difficult to repair; it can have very long-lasting effects, and can even damage the trust one has in the organization as well.

The second level is knowledge-based trust, which Lussier (2013) describes as, “. . . the most common organizational trust. Trust is based on experience dealing with the other person. Based on our knowledge, we can predict the other person’s behavior. “The better we know people, the better we can predict their behavior – and trust them” (p. 226). Orginizational-based trust differs from institutional-based trust in that it is based upon personal experience, direct or observed, forming the basis of trust, as opposed to adopting the trust that the institution or leader has expressed in the individual.

The next level is identification-based trust. This level of trust is only possible through relationship and, “. . . implies an emotional connection – friend rather than just coworker” (Lussier, 2013, p. 226). Trust has been earned and is expected at this level based on the relationship. Lussier (2013) indicates that the higher the level of trust, the less fragile it is:

               Unlike fragile deterrence-based trust, knowledge and identification-based trust are not broken by
               inconsistent behavior. If we incorrectly predict behavior and are disappointed or taken advantage
               of in some way, often we can understand the violation, accept it, forgive the person, and move on
               with the relationship. (p. 226)

Through relationship we are able to accept minor and/or infrequent infractions because there is a solid foundation that tells us this is the exception to the rule – the mistake was in the one incident, not in trusting the individual. We are able to give them the benefit of the doubt, and as long as the anti-trust does not become a recurring behavior the relationship can be maintained.

Developing Trust

Trust is complex – it is often seen as an attribute an individual possesses (such as when one says another is a trustworthy person); but in actuality this trustworthiness is earned through action and is thus a behavior. Brothers, and Reina & Reina (as cited in Nemiro, et al., 2008) confirm this fact: “Extensive research shows that trust is built behaviorally” (p. 156). Leaders and team members can, therefore, develop trust through relationship by adopting specific behaviors.

“Trust is the positive expectation that another will not take advantage of you” (Lussier, 2013, p. 225). Behaviors that will establish this trust will result in others viewing you as a person of integrity, competence, consistency, loyalty, and openness – which are the five dimensions of trust outlined by Lussier (2013, p. 226). This involves spending time together – for leaders this means you will have to, “. . . get away from the desk or office . . . meet with, spend time with your people . . . build a positive employment culture” (Carpenter, 2010). Leaders also have a responsibility to nurture trust within teams or work-groups. A well rounded approach would include the following: leaders should make every effort to have frequent face-to-face meetings with team members. If there is a specific project the leader should have a meeting focusing on developing or confirming trust in the abilities of team members, clearly demonstrating their confidence in each member’s ability, and their trustworthiness. Once members trust the leader, and the organization, they will adopt the leader’s trust of other members.

Leaders can expedite the formation of task-based trust by establishing timelines with check points, where accountability will elicit trust relationships among members as both the leader and team members fulfill their commitments to one another and the team. The fragility of this initial trust makes it imperative that leaders and team members earn trust through their behavior.

Earning Trust

Earning trust takes concerted effort and thoughtful action. Lussier (2013) presents five dimensions of trust that will help, “. . . develop trust so that you can achieve the identification-based level of trust” . . . the dimensions include:
      1. Integrity – being honest, truthful, and sincere
      2. Competence - having technical and interpersonal knowledge, ability, and skill
      3. Consistency - using the same behavior in similar situations
      4. Loyalty - looking out for the interests of others.
      5. Openness - accepting new ideas and change.
        (pp. 226-227)
Observable actions and behaviors will result in building a trusting relationship with people. Lussier (2013) presents a model of the Five Dimensions of Trust (Figure 1), and notes that integrity is in the center, holding the other four dimensions together. Without integrity, trust falls apart (p. 226).

Figure – 1: Five Dimensions of Trust
 ©2013 Varidyn
“People who have integrity are honest and sincere. Integrity and dependability are the most important dimensions when people assess another’s trustworthiness” (Lussier, 2013, p. 226). It is important, therefore, that individuals who are trying to establish trusting relationships are honest in everything they say and do – especially when they do not think anyone is watching. Sincerity is also important, saying one thing but acting another way can destroy any possibility of earning trust based on insincerity and/or hypocrisy. Treating others fairly is also emphasized – Lussier quotes Joe Lee (CEO OF Darden Restaurants), who says, “. . . integrity and fairness are the important core values to business. Perceived unfairness causes distrust and a desire for revenge, restitution, and retaliation” (p. 226). People are keenly aware of any perceived injustice, or feeling that they have been treated unfairly. At this fragile stage of development such behavior could destroy any chance of building a trusting relationship.

Competence is translated as being capable; having both the experience and the skill to perform. “To trust, respect, and have confidence in you, people need to believe that you have the skills and abilities to carry out your commitments” (Lussier, 2013, p. 226). Competence alone is not good enough, however, you also have to be your best and perform to your potential. Lussier (2013) lists additional tips to illustrate competence:
    • Be conscientious! Do the job to the best of your ability.
    • Know your strengths and limitations. Volunteer to help others when you can, and seek assistance when you need it. Don’t commit to doing something that you cannot deliver on.
    • Admit your mistakes and apologize. Others will think, “I can trust you”
      (p. 226)
In order to identify with other team members, individuals need to trust that each member has the skills to perform their tasks; and that they will follow through on commitments. Technological tools or procedures that are introduced to the team present an opportunity to demonstrate competence, and illustrate members’ expertise by participating and helping train other team members. The interaction in this type of training focuses on those perceived as the early adopters of the group is empowering (TechSource, 2008, p. 28). [Special Note: Rouse (2007) defines an early adopter as, “a person who embraces new technology before most people do”]. As early adopters experiment with the available technological tools presented for use by the team, they can aide in the selection of the most appropriate tools as well as in peer-to-peer experimentation (training) along the way. This communication and open discussion among team members helps build camaraderie and cohesion amongst the team. This type of activity displays competence and goes a long way toward building trusting relationships.

Another dimension of trust is Consistency. Lussier (2013) states that consistent people use the same behavior in similar situations; they are predictable – and he gives tips to develop consistency, which include:
    • Keep your commitments. To trust you, people must believe that you are dependable. Promises made must be promises kept. You’re only as good as your word and commitments, so if you say you will do something, follow through. 
    • Practice what you preach. Walk the talk, because actions speak louder than words. People who say one thing and do another lack credibility.
      (p. 226)
Repeatedly following through on promises creates a pattern that others can rely on in the future. Others know they can count on someone who is consistently reliable and always follows through on commitments. Consistent behavior is also important and illustrates that you are sincere and have values.
Loyalty is how trust is reciprocated. Lussier (2013) indicates that loyalty is interpreted as looking out for the interests of others – and he gives the following tips for creating loyalty:
    • Maintain confidences. When someone tells you something in confidence, that person is being vulnerable in trusting you, so don’t tell others. One time could be your last.
    • Don’t gossip negatively about individuals. If people hear you gossip about others, they may assume you do the same behind their backs. Follow this rule. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.
      (p. 226)
Loyalty means you do not take advantage of others or of situations. When one is loyal toward others they prioritize the needs and best interest of others; by displaying loyalty, people know that your motives are honorable and don’t have to worry about by making themselves vulnerable when they invest trust. “Loyalty requires identification-based trust” (Lussier, 2013, p. 226). Thus, loyalty takes time to develop. “Recognize great work and give awards as appropriate” (Carpenter, 2010). Giving others recognition and credit for ideas and accomplishments will also contribute to loyalty and developing a higher level of trust.
The final dimension is openness, which Lussier (2013) describes as being open to accepting new ideas and change, but also being truthful with full self-disclosure and transparency. He gives the following tips in regard to openness:
        Figure 2: Johari Window - a model divided into 4 quadrants
        that represent your self-awareness and awareness from others.
        © 2012 The Start of Happiness

      1. Self-disclosure and the Johari Window. Self-disclosure enhances human relations and is what takes the level of trust to the identification level. The Johari Window was developed by Joseph Luft and Harry Ingram, who called it by a combination of their first names. As shown in Figure 2, the window has four regions representing the intersection of two axes: (1) the degree to which information about you (values, attitudes, beliefs) is known to or understood by you, and (2) the degree to which information about you is known by others.
      2. Based on your understanding of self, we select those aspects of self that are appropriate to share with others; we open the hidden self areas of the window. As we self-disclose, we also find out things about ourselves that others know, such as irritating things we do; we open the blind area. The unknown area cannot be open until we experience a new situation, such as getting laid off, because we don’t know how we will behave until it happens. Thus, to develop trust and improve human relations, we gradually share self-disclosure to open the hidden and blind areas of the Johari Window.
      3. Risk self-disclosure. Developing trust through self-disclosure does include the risk of being hurt, disappointed, and taken advantage of. Although people often fear the risk of self-disclosure, the rewards of improved human relations and personal friendship are worth the risk. If you follow the guidelines above, you can minimize your risk.
        (p. 227)
Being open to others requires the giving of trust. Some are threatened by this level of openness, but such openness to other perspectives and ideas results in personal and professional growth. This openness is also important in the development of trust. “Give trust in other people and realize that you do not have a monopoly on the best methodologies. . . . Ask for input and use the best input or use that input to develop an action plan, . . . and encourage individuals and teams to develop new approaches to problems” (Carpenter, 2010). Openness creates a culture for collaboration and encourages innovation and problem-solving – the cohesiveness of the relationships developed as a result create trust that transcends to the identification-based level.

Nurturing Trust

Trust continues to evolve over time. It is necessary to continue the behaviors upon which trust was built. As relationships grow, nurturing trust is necessary by continuing the behaviors that were responsible for establishing that trust in the first place. The Five Dimensions of Trust should be viewed as cyclical behaviors one should make part of their everyday life.

In The Art of Leadership, Manning and Curtis (2012) speak about job satisfaction and recognize the importance of trust in that equation:

               Today it is a recognized fact that people have greater satisfaction and produce more when they
               are involved in their work, when they feel they are doing something important, and when their
               work is appreciated. Both quality of work and quality of work life are greatest when people are
               treated with trust and respect.
               Trust and respect are the key elements of all good relationships. Trust is expressed by openness in
               sharing ideas and feelings. . . . Without trust and respect, human relations break down.
               (pp. 203-204)

Continuing to be worthy of trust results in good relationships and effective leadership. Nurturing trust means taking care and consideration before acting or interacting; listening and staying connected; and respecting others by continuing the behaviors that earned their trust in you.

Repairing Trust

It takes great effort to maintain the trust relationship. Lussier (2013) notes that, “It is much easier to destroy trust than to build it. Years of trust can be hurt or destroyed with one bad act of distrust. For example, if you get caught in a lie, miss a deadline, do a poor job, or are disloyal, you may hurt your relationship and you might not be trusted again” (p. 227). Although it is best to nurture your trust relationships, perfection is difficult to achieve. Having established a good foundation of trust, however, means slight or infrequent mistakes can be forgiven, and the trust repaired.

Lussier agrees, but with caution: “With knowledge, and identification-based trust levels you may be forgiven, but you may not. Your relationship may never be the same again, or it could end. So be sure to always be trustworthy to avoid having to repair trust” (p. 227). This warning is valid but repairing trust should be viewed as an opportunity to exhibit openness and honesty and the behaviors that others have come to expect from your trusting relationship. Admission of the behavior or mistake and taking personal responsibility is an important first step toward repairing trust.

Sometimes trust is broken without intent. Leaders also need to be aware of any trust related issues within their teams. Listening is an important skill to develop. If there is anything that should be addressed and resolved it will generally be illustrated in body language and/or word choices – for example, someone begins to reference us and them as opposed to we – which indicates there is some divisiveness or conflict. Lipsinger & Derosa recommend that leaders listen for members who are openly negative and don’t view others as credible – the leader needs to work out the trust issues that are apparent. They are careful to recommend, however, that leaders “. . . don’t micromanage – [instead they] empower members to make and act on decisions . . . help people manage conflicts, not avoid them . . . [and] model and reinforce positive behaviors” (2010). Proactive and supportive leadership can resolve issues and further develop trust with individual members while helping them resolve issues amongst themselves, with as little interference as necessary. Leaders can also utilize trust building tools in order to identify whether there are any trust issues.
There are tools available that leader’s can utilize to keep a finger on the pulse of the team and identify changes in the trust relationship amongst members. Nemiro, et al., (2008) identify “The Reina Trust and Betrayal Model” as a useful tool for leaders in establishing team trust (p. 156-160).

               The Reina Trust and Betrayal Model focuses not only on establishing trust, but on identifying and
               working through trust betrayal as an essential function of leadership. The three elements described
               in the [Reina] model help simplify the complexity of trust, and include: Transactional trust . . .
               [which is] reciprocal in nature . . . and created incrementally. [Transactional trust is the same as
               task-based trust discussed previously.] There are three factors of transactional trust: contractual,
               [which] involves mutual understanding between people; communication, in an environment with
               strong communication trust, people feel safe to ask questions, honestly speak their minds,
               challenge assumptions, raise issues, give and receive feedback, or acknowledge that they do not
               understand and ask for help; and competence trust, [which] influences the ability to perform job
               responsibilities. (Nemiro, et al., 2008, pp. 157-159)

Leader’s who adhere to the principles of the Reina model help develop task-based trust as the foundation for collaboration and can recycle behaviors of the Five Dimensions of Trust to repair the broken trust.
When trust is compromised with the leader directly, it is of equal if not greater importance to be proactive. Confronting the person with whom trust has been breached, acknowledging the issue, and sincerely apologizing will help diffuse most situations. Understanding that emotions are common when trust has been broken is important – keeping calm and listening without becoming defensive is the best behavior. Lussier explains the simplicity of this process, “It takes only a minute to give a sincere apology; and apologizing can help develop, maintain, and repair trust that is critical to effective human relations” (p. 238). It is easier to destroy trust than to build it. Careful consideration of the other person’s feelings and perspective is important in the continual development of the relationship and re-establishing trust.


Leadership effectiveness is important for every person within an organization – especially considering the frequency of teams that result in emergent leadership by members who are not particularly in a formal leadership position. Human relationships are at the core of successful organizations, and trust is the foundation upon which relationships are constructed. It is evident that it takes concerted effort and time to establish. Initial trust is fragile and results from either observation and work-related experiences or adopted trust based on the trust the organization has in an individual. “Without a relationship of trust in place, it’s hard to ask people to give their best – and even more difficult to have a conversation when performance falls short” (Witt, 2010). Developing trust through the five dimensions (integrity, competence, consistency, loyalty, and openness) over time creates a solid foundation. “When you set up a foundation of trust and respect, you can ask for more from your employees and hold them accountable for delivering on it” (Witt, 2010). Leadership effectiveness and organizational success are linked directly to human relations and this trust relationship.

Lessons Learned

Throughout my career, and especially as I’ve participated within work-teams and small groups for projects, I have valued trust in leadership. Lussier (2013) states that you can’t be a truly effective leader without trust (p. 224). I agree with this statement. I realize how important, as well as how difficult, developing trust can be; how important it is to have a caring and trusting organizational culture; and that it is the responsibility of leadership to nurture trust. In an article titled Employee Relations as a Competitive Advantage, author Scott Carpenter states:

               If employee relations in your organization is excellent then you probably have excellent leadership .
               . . Imagine a company with people who trust each other, rely on one another, communicate freely,
               and exemplify teamwork. That company has an employee relations competitive advantage over
               another company without those traits . . . You may have the best equipment, a top facility, or new
               technology, but it takes people to make these assets work . . . developing excellent employee
               relations will pay dividends through competitive advantage” (2010). It has been my experience
               that trust is a two-sided venture – one must give trust as well as develop trust, and giving trust also
               contributes to the development of trust. “Let yourself open up and trust that others will open up to
               you. (Carpenter, 2010)

In Respect and Trust, Witt identifies with the human relations focus in conjunction with performance as not only possible but desirable: “Many leaders believe that focusing on people versus focusing on performance is an either/or decision. . . . By holding their managers accountable for creating a culture that features trust, respect, and accountability, they drive results and create a culture where people feel cared for”, and he suggests three tips to build a spirit of trust that resonates with me:

               1. Take Time to Connect – Share knowledge as well as personal information about yourself; 
                   create a people-based connection.
               2. Demonstrate Trust – Trust is a key element in any relationship. Cultivate trust by being
                   transparent in your thinking. Demonstrate trust by doing what you say you’ll do. Show that you
                   are consistent and can be relied upon.
               3. Have High Expectations – Expect a lot from your people and encourage them to expect a lot
                   from you in return
                   (Witt, 2010)

I like the simplicity of these three steps in cultivating trusting relationships. Listening and opening up to connect with people is essential as a first step in developing relationships; Demonstrating trust sums up the five dimensions of trust discussed herein; and having high expectations illustrates that people are trusted. I believe firmly in the reciprocation of trust and have never been disappointed when I exhibit trust in others.


Carpenter, S. (2010, July 7). Employee Relations as a Competitive Advantage. Jackson Examiner.

Derosa, D., & Lepsinger, R. (2010). Virtual Team Success: A Practical Guide for Working and
          Leading From a Distance. Jossey-Bass / A Wiley Imprint. Retrieved October 2012

Lepsinger, R., & Derosa, D. (2010, December 7). Virtual Teams Really are Different: 6 Lessons for
          Creating Successful Virtual Teams. Retrieved Oct 2, 2012, from RP News Wire:

Lussier, R. N. (2013). Human Relations in Organizations: Applications and Skill Building (9 ed.). New
          York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Manning, G., & Curtis, K. (2012). The Art of Leadership (4 ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Nemiro, J., Beyerlein, M., Bradley, L., & Beyerlein, S. (2008). The Handbook Of High-Performance
          Virtual Teams: A Toolkit Fro Collaborating Across Boundaries (First ed.). San Francisco, CA:

Rouse, M. (2007). Early Adopter. Retrieved Oct 14, 2012, from Search Server Virtualization:

TechSource. (2008). Best Practices for Working in a Virtual Team Environment. Library Technology
          Reports. Retrieved Sept 28, 2012, from

Witt, D. (2010). Respect adn Trust. Leadership Excellence.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What is a Cooperative Enterprise vs. Corporate Enterprise?

A Corporation has a top-down structure. The simplified pyramid is one where employees take directives from supervisors, who take directives from managers, who take directives from the CEO, who reports to the Board of Directors. The corporation itself has an independent identity that is owned by shareholders, “who are not personally liable for the debts and legal liabilities incurred by the corporation . . . This safeguards assets and properties of the individual shareholders, and as such, is more attractive to potential investors” (Corporation Types, 2013). It seems obvious, therefore, that the primary concern of corporate shareholders is profit. Shareholders elect a Board of Directors (BOD) that is ultimately responsible for the operation of the business, although it is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the corporation. The BOD hires a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to whom all employees report and who is responsible for the daily operations and decisions.

A Cooperative has a bottom-up structure with a similar pyramid structure with the exception being how power is distributed. The employees are co-owners and have equal power and decision making autonomy. As owners, the employees elect members to certain positions of authority but not with the same sort of position power that one would have via promotion in a more traditional corporation – instead, this is a role of leadership whereby the member elected is representative of the owner-membership. In an article titled ‘The Mondragon Cooperative Experience: Humanity at Work’, authors Jose Luis Lafuente and Fred Freundlich provide an excellent overview of the power every employee has within a Cooperative Enterprise:

            The two roles of OWNER and WORKER are somewhat in tension, but they are also
            complementary, two sides of the same coin. When co-owners act as workers, accepting the
            expertise and “local authority” of others, they know that they have ownership rights that they can
            and should exercise to assure accountability and fairness, and this knowledge helps keep things in
            balance. The rights and responsibilities balance helps us promote participation in operational
            decisions and we put a great deal of emphasis on practices that encourage participation and self
            management. (Lafuente & Freundlich, 2012)

As co-owners everyone within the Cooperative is responsible, and thereby liable – this is another critical difference when compared to a Corporation. For example, if the business is experiencing financial hardship, employees in a Cooperative would jointly make decisions like reducing salaries and restructuring to improve the situation and keep the business in operation for the good of all. Mondragon Corporation is an excellent example of a Cooperative Enterprise.

Mondragon Corporation is the embodiment of the co-operative movement that began in 1956, the year that witnessed the creation of the first industrial cooperative in Mondragon in the province of Gipuzkoa.

Although the Mondragon Corporation began in 1956 it has made headlines internationally in recent years as in light of the international economic crisis that resulted in many villainize capitalism and the traditional corporate structure that emphasizes profit and has a disproportionate division of wealth within the organization. Journalist Richard Wolff makes this argument in the subtitle of his article, ‘Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the way’, which states: “Why are we told a broken system that creates vast inequality is the only choice? Spain's amazing co-op is living proof otherwise” (2012). Wolff emphasizes that in our modern world we have made the choice to buy-in to a capitalist organization of production, where private owners establish enterprises, select their directors and make all decisions – a handful of people making every economic decision that affect those who do most of the actual productive work. He empathizes with powerless workers as must accept and live with the results of all directional decisions made by the BOD and major shareholders, who select their own replacements (Wolff, 2012). It is obvious that Wolff is anti-capitalism and there are many who share this opinion. Regardless of one’s perspective, however, the example illustrated by Mondragon Corporation is a more than acceptable alternative.

Mondragon Corporation is actually a conglomerate, or network, of several Cooperative Enterprises. Wolff identifies four groupings within Mondragon: industry, finance, retail, and knowledge (2012). This diverse grouping of independent co-ops work together within Mondragon cooperatively as well – which is a very unique business model that continues to grow and thrive 57 years after its formation:

            The network idea was triggered by the first generation of leaders taking the cooperative idea and
            applying it not only inside the business, but among the businesses as well. They felt that their
            dramatically new approach to enterprise was probably not going to be well-understood by
            conventional companies in finance, insurance, research, etc. so they decided to create their own.
            They also believed it would be difficult for what were then small firms to prosper on their own over
            time, that they would not only need these key services, but also that if they joined forces, they would
            find the support they needed during downturns as well as synergies and opportunities during upturns.
            (Lafuente & Freundlich, 2012)

Mondragon’s guiding principles (Figure 1) have proven successful.

It is interesting to consider and even compare the Mondragon Corporation’s network and structure as relating more to a democratic government of and by the people as being more similar in theory than it is to a traditional capitalist corporation.

Figure 1: Mondragon’s Basic Cooperative Principles
© 2013 Management Innovation eXchange

The guiding principles support this supposition:

            The core is occupied by education as the basic principle that nourishes all the others, together with
            the sovereignty of labor, that is, broad employee ownership. These are shielded by the five other
            principles internal to each individual cooperative company; the instrumental and subordinated nature
            of capital, democratic organization, open admission, participation in management and wage
            solidarity. The outer ring features three principles that are related to cooperatives’ external
            projection: inter-cooperation, social transformation, and universality. (Lafuente & Freundlich, 2012)

Mondragon Corporation’s business philosophy is contained in its Corporate Values:

• Co-operation

• Participation

• Social Responsibility

• Innovation

This philosophy is very appealing – it presents an image of a utopian community – but one owner-worker is open and honest in the reality: “We are not some paradise, but rather a family of co-operative enterprises struggling to build a different kind of life around a different way of working” (Wolff, 2012). The people make the difference, and the same can be said for many traditional corporations whose histories tell an inspiring human relations story.

Many corporations today have profit-sharing programs and include owner-workers at every level of employment. They are not Cooperatives, however, but when the founders and decision-makers have a transformational and humanistic vision whereby they empower their employees, improve communities, and are responsible and ethical they can be equally relevant and appealing.

How would the experience of change operate in these two kinds of organizations?

Facilitating change in either environment would present different challenges depending upon the magnitude of the change and who was affected. Within the Cooperative Enterprise, the employee has a certain level of autonomy to make decisions and implement changes that are related to their work and / or customers. In some corporations, empowered employees are also given this sort of authority, but often employees have to get permission from their supervisor. Ina traditional corporation, as the magnitude of the decision increases it is necessary to move higher up the chain of command to get permissions or directives. Major changes within a Cooperative – like restructuring a division, implementing a new initiative, etc. – would take a lot more time and involve more people (everyone in the enterprise if they all choose to be involved). The same change in a corporation would be determined by a small group – the BOD and CEO – so implementation could be much faster. Facilitating change within an organization can be challenging:

            Change agents need to understand the power structures and informal dynamics in their organizations,
            including culture. They must recognize that resistance to change is likely and is not necessarily a
            bad thing – there is potential to use resistance in a positive way. It is important to know the forces
            impacting the organization and the individuals within them, as well as the internal and external
            stakeholders that will impact and will be impacted by the change process. . . . Resistance to change
            is the desire to not pursue the change. Resistance can stem from a variety of sources, including
            differences in information, perceptions, needs, and beliefs. In addition, existing informal and formal
            systems and processes have the potential to act as impediments to change. (Cawsey, Deszca, &
            Ingols, 2012)

Once the change decision is made within a Cooperative Enterprise, however, the buy-in is implicit since everyone affected is involved in the change decision. It should be much easier to implement change, therefore, in a Cooperative even though the approving the change will take more time, effort, and involvement from everyone within the organization.


Cawsey, T. F., Deszca, G., & Ingols, C. (2012). Organizational Change: An action oriented toolkit (2 ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Corporation Types. (2013). Retrieved from Companies Incorporated :

Lafuente, J. L., & Freundlich, F. (2012). The Mondragon cooperative experience: Humanity at work. Management innovation exchange. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013, from

Wolff, R. (2012, June 24). Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the way. Retrieved Feb 20, 2013, from the guardian: