conceptual and pedagogical challenges in teaching OB/HR

Reflections of a teacher (?)
conceptual and pedagogical challenges in
teaching OB/HR
Prof. Bholanath Dutta
Agenda for the session
► Challenges
in teaching OB/HRM in MBA
► Conceptual limitations
► Pedagogical limitations
► Alternate methods and forms
► Integration and realignment
► “being a learning self”– redefining the role
of being a facilitator
Challenges in the MBA program
► Young
graduates – not aware of
organizational realities
► Expect tools and techniques – to take away
► Believe that “hard subjects” like finance and
marketing are more important than “soft
subjects”—peripheral subjects
► OB/HR seen as a “feminine discipline”
Challenges in teaching OB/HRM
► Reality
more complex and integrated–
classification of OB/OT/HRM not
representation of reality
► Roots being different --- OB comes
dominantly from psychology or social
psychology; OT coming from sociology and
anthropology or management science,
HRM – atheoretical
Changing organizational contexts
► Dominant
logic : rational, resource
dependence not normative
► Espoused values about people to reality –
divergence high
► Organizational cynicism among practitioners
high about HR
► Increasing pre-occupation with the short
term – market driven
Conceptual challenges
► Assumptions
about human nature – nurture vs.
nature –our bias
► Levels of analysis – micro, meso and macro
► Universality vs Specificity in human behaviour
► Interaction effect of variables – what is
dependent, independent?
 Eg does motivation lead to job satisfaction or does
satisfaction lead to motivation?
 Does leader create culture or culture select leaders?
Pedagogical challenges
► Content:
OB syllabus is organized around
research areas (leadership, power,
motivation, communication) whereas HRM
syllabi is organized around functional
activities (training, performance
management, employment laws)
► Textbooks: often need to be customized
with readings
Pedagogical challenges
► Objective
of the course vs methodology
Create awareness
Build understanding
Enable analysis
Foster application
Encourage synthesis
Apply judgment
Arrive at a decision
What does business expect from HR
► Mastery
over a body of knowledge
► Critical thinking skills – HR is always gray,
therefore the need to find alternate solutions
► Understand business and the organizational
► Building relationships and developing people
► Project management, when you have outsourced
the function
► Consulting skills
Stimulating and retaining attention
► Align
with student interests – career,
identity, perceptions, motivation – recognize
the constellation of logics in an youngster’s
► Use strategy, marketing or finance cases to
teach OB/HR
► Organize courses around
problems/challenges --
Alternate methods and forms
► Group
activities – projects, assignments
(need to process this information as we go
► Interview an HR executive or a line
manager with a reporting authority
► Use of games, simulations and videos
► Use of exercises, tools, cases,
► Learning dairy – what did I learn?
► Use
of movies “twelve angry men”, “Erin
Brokovich”, Matrix, The corporation, lagaan,
modern times, My fair lady, Gandhi
► Use of autobiographies, Gandhi, Lenin,
Newton, Plato, Socrates, Hitler, George
Washington, Lincoln
► Use of innovative newspaper items
Challenges in discovering self
► Never
offer the same course with the same
structure the next year. You will become
► What is working well, don’t tinker. It can’t
get any better
► Challenge yourself conceptually????
► Be willing to accept that you could be wrong
and that there could be many rights…..
An old model
Conceptualizing leadership
► As
a trait
► As a style
► As a contingency behaviour
► As an influence process
► As followership
► As decision making process
► Change agent
► Psychodynamics
Seeing organizations
► Rational
logical systems
► Machine
► Bureaucracy
► Chaos
► Power
► Organic
► Networks
and rules