Over the years I’ve published several books, book chapters, and articles related to the workplace including the following:
Corporate Personality Disorder: Surviving & Saving Sick Organizations (2007) describes how organizations can act like a dysfunctional personality, which in turn can make employees both emotionally and physically sick.
A key argument in this book is that people are not inert cogs on a wheel that can be randomly interchanged: that we are driven by emotional needs far more than “logic” and that morale is directly linked to our expectations of a workplace. Although the book was first published in 2007, I have found that dysfunction in organizations is more severe than ever causing record levels of disengagement, low morale, and depression.
The Age of Outrage (2009) is about public protests (how and why they are caused and how police respond to them). It too is loaded with original research and provides a profile of the protesters you see everyday on the streets. What I’ve found is that there are many parallels between social activism, political lobbying and the processes of successful change. I’ve seen this from my involvement in Greenpeace back in 1971 (when it was just getting started in Vancouver, BC) to experiences with dozens of protests, blockades, labor strikes, and demonstrations over the decades.
The Crical Issues Audit (1994) was commissioned by the Issues Management Council, the US-based association of corporations with a strong interest in the field of issues management. This workbook teaches you how to identify and analyze an emerging issue based on best practices and years of experience in the field.
At the time of writing, I was a member of the board of the Issues Management Council, together with representatives from such firms as Daimler-Chrysler, Royal Dutch Shell, and Nike. In 2000 the Council awarded me its annual award for outstanding issues management.
In 2012 I had a chapter published in the in the peer-reviewed book Leading in Complex Worlds by the International Leadership Association published by Jossey-Bass. My study shows that in today’s rapidly changing world, employees want a boss who’s fair and has great communication skills much more than someone with a lot of experience. The results can have a direct impact on corporate hiring and promotion practices.
I asked 620 employees in a large Canadian organization how important 21 different workplace behaviors were to them and how good a job was being done on each. A statistical analysis of the data then compared the results to how the employees rated their immediate supervisor.
At the top of the list of what’s important to employees is a boss who treats all employees fairly, has good communication skills, is trustworthy, is ethical, sets clear expectations, and holds all employees quickly accountable for actions. At the bottom of the importance list is a boss who has a long work history.