August 2008
Volume 2 | Issue 2  
[From the Editor]

As children, many of us daydreamed and marveled at the numerous shapes the clouds would form as they moved across the sky. How we saw the world then was, and even now, is usually a matter of context and point of view. When we adjust our context or point of view, sometimes an entirely new picture unfolds. We see the greater possibilities rather than through a glass dimly.

In this issue, each author, in different ways, discusses how our thinking and context can shape decisions and actions as business leaders that will impact our organizations in vital ways. Dr. Matthew Kutz introduces a new intelligence for global leaders and Freda Powell compels human resource officers to employ values-based approaches to meet the needs of remaining employees after the fallout of downsizing. In a fresh outlook on product development and innovation, Dr. Gary Oster discusses how observing compensatory behavior in customers yields a wealth of market research information. Finally, an engaging article by Daryl Green and Dr. Gary Roberts on strengthening decentralized organizations offers business leaders practical considerations to shape culture and maintain performance.Enjoy the read!


Contextual Intelligence: An Emerging Competency for Global Leaders
By Matthew R. Kutz

Organizations and their leaders have a growing pool of stakeholders with a growing chasm between individual stakeholder values. This, accompanied by global diversity and constant pressure to innovate gives rise to continually changing contexts.  In turn, these phenomena require executives and leaders to respond and adapt to quickly changing contexts. The purpose of this article is to assimilate the concepts of context, intelligence, intuition, and experience, and present a conceptual model for contextual intelligence. Contextual intelligence involves the ability to recognize and diagnose the plethora of contextual factors inherent in an event or circumstance then intentionally and intuitively adjust behavior in order to exert influence in that context. As a concept, contextual intelligence may help to delineate inherent leadership skills as the intangible element that keeps so many managers from reaching their leadership potential.
Dealing with the Downs: Downgrading and Downsizing
By Freda Powell

The turbulence caused when companies downsize places unusual demands on human resources personnel. For their efforts to be successful in such an environment, these professionals must understand the challenges and effects of downsizing on the survivors. With a looming economic recession in the U.S. market, downsizing remains an escalating issue as companies increasingly employ downsizing as a strategic business decision. To effectively deal with employees during downsizing engagements, companies should employ value-based management that provides an authentic focus on the people remaining in the organization. Managers should center on certain values such as altruism, honesty, trustworthiness, open communication, autonomy, human dignity, social justice and integrity. This article addresses the topic of downsizing and downgrading based on a focus of value-based management practices that can help to effectively manage change.
Divining the Need: Compensatory Behavior of Customers
By Gary W. Oster

Customers frustrated by the inadequacies of products frequently engage in compensatory behavior by altering the original form or use of a product. Some companies ignore or disdain the improper use of their products. Conversely, companies who use the direct observation techniques of empathic research gain game-changing knowledge by engaging this cost-effective research and development accomplished by consumers.  By continually providing prototypes of revisions in products to customers, companies may accelerate the review and development of new products.  The competitive advantage gained though tenacious study and use of compensatory behavior is enormous, and is crucial to corporate viability.
Strengthening and Guiding Decentralized Organizations
By Daryl D. Green and Gary E. Roberts

More and more companies are moving toward partially or fully operating in virtual environments. Whether from expansion into global markets or the need to mitigate increasing costs, a growing number of companies are functioning in decentralized organization structures and are experiencing the challenges that come with it.  Despite the relative novelty of this trend, there is guidance from among the most ancient of texts for leaders in today’s companies about principled approaches to effectively strengthen and guide their decentralized organizations. In this article, the role of organizational structure is examined from the perspective of the early church and provides contemporary business leaders with principles for leading in decentralized structures.


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