Thursday, August 9, 2007

Eric Flamhotz Receives Distinguished Ph.D. Alumnus Award from Michigan

In 1979 I took a course called "Nu-cleus" taught by Professor Eric Flamhotz at the UCLA Graduate School of Management, now the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Professor Flamholtz described the course as emphasizing "decision making" or "d/m" and he utilitzed a wide range of experiential methods, including case studies, role playing games, class presentations, a real-life consulting project and two films, Twelve Angry Men and The Outrage (the Hollywood version of Kurosawa's Rashomon that starred Paul Newman and Claire Bloom.) For the real-life consulting project three fellow students and I did a consulting report for Robert Poole's Reason Magazine and the Reason Foundation in Santa Barbara. The course was one of the great educational experiences of my life, and along with Dominique Hanssens' statistical modeling and times series courses, one of the three best classes that I took as an MBA student at UCLA.

Twelve Angry Men (also here) is a great teaching tool for subjects like group dynamics, interpersonal skills and power and influence, and I have shown it ever since I began teaching organizational behavior, management skills and management. The Outrage wasn't as strong an adaptation of Rashomon as Rashomon deserved. (The Magnificent Seven did justice to The Seven Samurai, but the Outrage did not do justice to Rashomon. Although Claire Bloom's performance is wonderful, Paul Newman's Spanish accent is terrible. There is a very cool pre-Startrek appearance by William Shatner as the preacher, but the film just is not on the level of The Magnificent Seven.)

The last time I saw Professor Flamholtz was when he was visiting New York City in September 2001. We had breakfast on the morning of September 11, 2001 at a restaurant in the Times Square area of Manhattan. Leaving the restaurant, I read about the 9/11 attacks on the electronic news headline board on the Times Square/Dow Jones Building.

I just learned that Professor Flamholtz, who was a student of Rensis Likert, is the seventh Ph.D. alumnus of the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business to receive Michigan's Ross Business School's distinguished Ph.D. alumnus award. Michigan must be a great school to have had six people get the award before Flamholtz.

Although I had Flamholtz when I was a first-year MBA student in 1979, he influenced my teaching when I started 12 years later in 1991 (and ever since) because he focused on teaching management skills and competencies. Flamholtz was a pioneer in that area, as the subject had been under discussion for less than 10 years. I searched for several years to find a framework that would match Flamholtz's creative, competency-based style, and finally found Whetten and Cameron's textbook Developing Management Skills by David A. Whetten and Kim Cameron (Whetten teaches at Brigham Young and Cameron at Michigan). Over the past sixteen years I have taught o.b. and management skills using methods derived from Flamholtz's course and Whetten and Cameron's textbook and teaching model.

Flamholtz is a truly great professor who excels in teaching as well as research, and he deserves the Michigan award.

Dr. Eric Flamholtz Receives Award from the Ross School of Business of the University of Michigan.

>"On April 23, 2007, Eric Flamholtz received the Distinguished Ph.D. Alumni Award from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. He is the 7th recipient of this Award, which is "in Recognition for his Contributions to and Excellence in Management and Organizations." He also delivered the Keynote address to the Ross School's 2007 Ph.D. graduates as well as faculty, the Dean and Associate Dean of the Ross School, The Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and current Ph.D students. Also in attendance was Professor Paul McCracken, who twice served on the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and who was Professor Flamholtz' instructor on economic policy issues during Flamholtz' first semester at The University of Michigan in 1966. In his address, Dr. Flamholtz thanked his mentors at the University of Michigan, including the late Rensis Likert, developer of the "Likert Scale" and founder of the world renowned Institute for Social Research, where Flamholtz worked as a Research Assistant during his doctoral studies. While in Ann Arbor, Flamholtz made a pilgrimage to Michigan Stadium where he first learned to enjoy big time football and where he has a brick celebrating Michigan's 1969 classic upset victory oven then No. 1 ranked Ohio State."

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