4 ways to talk about well-being at work

Well-being at work is a slippery and, at the same time a somewhat boring concept.  I mean, we do talk about how different aspects of well-being should be taken care of in organizations, and most often, we do that in a severe tone. Well-being is serious business. Lue loppuun


Kognitiiviset harhat organisoitumisessa, osa 1

Tämän lukuvuoden teemana TSEpustuksia-blogissa on kirjoittajien omien tutkimusten esittely. Olen sekä uusi kirjoittaja tässä blogissa että vanha  tohtorikoulutettava johtamisen ja organisoinnin aineessa. Teen väitöskirjaa työnimellä ”Kognitiiviset harhat organisoitumisessa”. Tämän edellisen lauseen olen sanonut eri yhteyksissä uusia ihmisiä tavatessani joitakin kymmeniä kertoja kuluneen neljän vuoden aikana. Lähes poikkeuksetta lauseen sanottuani olen kuullut kysymyksen ”mitä kognitiiviset harhat ovat?”. Tähän kysymykseen olen onnistunut antamaan hämmästyttävän erilaisesti rönsyileviä vastauksia. Vastausteni monipolvisuuteen nähden kuulijoiden reaktio on ollut mielenkiintoisen samankaltainen: kohtelias hymy tai vaivaantunut hiljaisuus. Olisi herkullista uskotella itselleni, etten kohtaa penaalin terävimpiä kyniä. Tämä saattaa toki olla tottakin, mutta toisaalta olen jo vastaukseni puolivälissä useimmiten niin hukassa, etten muista mitä sanoin juuri äsken. Sanat vain pulppuavat suustani samalla kun toivon, että niistä muodostuisi jokin järkevän kuuloinen lause. Joskus, tosin äärimmäisen harvoin, onnistun antamaan jonkinlaisen kuulijaa tyydyttävän vastauksen. Sen kerran tai parin jälkeen, kun tämä on tapahtunut, on jatkokysymys yleensä ollut ”miten kiinnostuit tuollaisesta aiheesta?”.  Aloitan kirjoitukseni optimisesti vastaamalla ensin tähän jatkokysymykseen, jonka jälkeen yritän suurella tahdonvoimalla selkeyttää ajatukseni ja kertoa mitä kognitiiviset harhat ovat. Tämän jälkeen voin toivottavasti jatkossa tokaista, että KVG tai ainakin, että KVTSEpustuksia. Väitöskirjani työnimen organisoitumisosan säästän tämän kirjoituksen keväällä ilmestyvää jatko-osaa varten. Lue loppuun

Are there really high-end Disruptive Innovations?

A colleague recently raised interesting questions about the notion of high-end disruptive innovation and that has inspired me to write this blog post. While I have my opinion on this topic, this is by no means a definitive post. Your comments and opinions are also welcomed.

Before you read further, take a pause and consider if you can come up with 2-3 examples of high-end disruptive innovations.

  • .Example 1…?
  • ..Example 2…?

Not easy hun? Let me guess, Apple had something to do with one of the examples you came up with, right? Almost everyone I have asked gives one Apple product as their example. If Apple was not one of your examples then that’s impressive or rather, I’m very curious. Lue loppuun

Avoidance economy

As a young man I occasionally played the Space Invaders computer game, that simple computer game where one tries to escape and shoot ugly looking invaders from the space. The reason why to play was not clear to me at that time, but now I understand the value of the game: it was a crucial learning element towards the modern society that I call avoidance economy.  We live nowadays in avoidance economy, where being able to avoid different things is a key skill, competency and resource.

As a simple first example, take direct dialogue campaigning, made for example by Greenpeace and many other organizations.   If you in city settings want to proceed without delays, and avoid being brain-washed and finally cashed out of your money, avoidance skills are crucial. Lue loppuun

Futile tasks

jonna-jarvelainen-pieniOn Sunday, Helsingin Sanomat, the leading newspaper in Finland, published an excellent article about futile work tasks. Journalist Anna-Sofia Berner had asked from readers to post stories about their work tasks that seemed to be useless, due to bureaucracy or to the fact that somebody else does the task also etc. The conclusion was that there are a lot of futile meetings, reporting or work tasks due to poor organisation or – poor information systems. For example some teacher had to report to a system before a lecture the topic of the lecture, and then after the lecture again the contents of the lecture. Lue loppuun

Zen and the Art of Rock Drilling

In year 1974 Robert Pirsig published his best-seller book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.  As any decent doctoral student at that the 1980s, I (was strongly suggested to) read it, and to be honest, I did not like it and still today feel that I did not get much out of it.   In my eyes it was the hype of that time (the word hype was not even introduced at that time).  Maybe I did not like it as I did not find the reference group of motorcycle drivers as in the book to be close to me.  However, in the book’s spirit I now want to share my experiences on rock drilling.

The case is that my otherwise perfect yard was dominated by two ugly rocks, mainly buried under the ground, but anyway visible, and all too far heavy to lift.   I would not like to afford an excavator, and it would have done anyway bad tracks to my yard.   I started to look for solutions.  One was found in non- explosive demolition agent, which would slowly generate pressure and to break the rock. To take use of that effect, you must first drill a lot of holes to the rock.  For that purpose, I bought for myself a very good and rather expensive drill.

Also to drill! During drilling I think I learned a lot and want to share with you my experiences, and extend them to the art of making science.  Luckily I had read before the start of the work, that do not press the drilling machine too much.  Let the machine do its task.   Lesson number one: in science, don’t push too far and fast, but let the scientific system do its task. 

During the drilling, there were moments of desperation: the drill did not proceed at all during some periods. But then, as you were most hesitant, sand began again to come up fluently from the drill.  Lesson number two: to the activity, both drilling and academic, belong both moments of ups and downs.

I got carried away by the joy of drilling, and suddenly understood, that it was already late in the evening, yet anyway much light in the Finnish summer night. I did not understand the pass of time, and saw that it is best to stop my noisy activity for today, not to disturb neighbors. Lessons number three and four: both in drilling and academic activity, to gain results you need time, and in both, do not do harm to your environment and people living or working with you.

During the drilling, the machine got rather warm, and I can just imagine the heath at the top of the drill meeting the hard rock.  When making a pause, my hands continued to tremble as if drilling would continue.  Lesson number five:  Both in drilling and academic work, you and your tools are put under hard pressure.

When I got accustomed to the routine, almost fell to automatic action of just letting the drill run, suddenly my handgrip lost touch and the drill began to circulate.   No big trouble, at the same time your touch on the power button is also automatically lost, and no hazard emerges.  Anyway here we have the lessons number six and seven: be aware all the time, and equip yourself with safe and good tools.  Both are again more than true in rock drilling as well as in academic work.

After several hours and nights of routine drilling, the needed ten holes were finally there.  I was ready to mix the demolition agent with water, and to pour it to the holes.  Here it was extremely important to have the right amount of water: with too much or too less water the demolition agent would not work.  Lesson number eight:  stick to prescribed and tested working and research methods, do not start doing your own experiments.

After six long days, the goal was finally reached: when coming home from work, the stone had gone to smaller pieces, and I could start digging them away from the ground.  A great moment of achievement! The pieces were still too big for one man to lift, but with the help of my sons I could get the stones up from the ground. Lesson number nine: do not hesitate to ask for help when you need it.

After all this rock work, my yard still looks rather devastated at the place of action.  Next spring it is time to finally fill the holes with fresh ground and to seed lawn to the place.  Lesson number ten: do not forget to do the needed afterwork as you have accomplished the first primary goal.  Then finally the lesson number zero, the most important lesson and the mother of all lessons: never leave a learning opportunity unused and unreported.

Conference experiences

This autumn has been pretty busy for me, conference-wise. After being heavily involved with organising one at TSE, I’ve been attending two elsewhere. And although none of the confeafricolarence programs were closely related to my specific research areas, I’ve still gained good contacts, plenty of interesting ideas to use on courses and also new perspectives for couple of articles. Some unforgettable moments and tastes have been experienced too.

In ARES at Regensburg University, Elena Ferrari commented that in social networks you are not the customer, but the advertiser is and you are just the commodity. How well put! My social network considered this to be social media 101, basic information, which is true, but how often Facebook, Instragram, LinkedIn users consider this? Lue loppuun