• Professors Collaborate on Research

3/11/2013

Professors Lydia Segal and Mark Lehrer recently explored the challenges of managing large organizations without heavy-handed controls.

Their findings, published in the journal Organization Studies, are based on a case study of the Edmonton Public Schools. Although the school district was highly decentralized and managed a budget over $1 million, there was little abuse. On the contrary, Segal and Lehrer studied how an ethos of stewardship was institutionalized to both enable initiative and forego the usual tight bureaucratic controls.

Drawing on assumptions of human ambivalence, Segal and Lehrer developed a model of the possible choices that managers can make. They showed how the dominant logic of organizations can move from being self-interested to being altruistic.

Segal, winner of the Faculty Research Award last September, began her career as a prosecutor, catching crooks who tried to bribe their way into school principals’ jobs in New York. Fascinated with corruption, Segal has gone from locking up bad guys to trying to unlock the secrets of integrity in government.

She has published several works on corruption in the public school systems in United States, including Battling Corruption in America's Public Schools, which Tom Peters called, “the most important book on education in half a century.”

Lehrer’s work often looks abroad to examine novel or interesting practices in management and innovation. After earning his PhD at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, he worked for two years at the Social Science Center Berlin.

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