The Week 4 of Organizational Behavior (OB) examines one of the most important yet most difficult to manage employee’s attributes – creativity. In the modern knowledge and innovation-based economy, employee creativity and the organizational innovations that followed dictate the sustainable competitive advantages of the organization. Yes, the process of creativity is largely tangible and relies on employees' intrinsic drive. To further complicate the issue, the outcome of creativity (e.g. whether the idea is finally adopted, whether the creator has been paid respect or rewards) would significantly affect the motivation of employees to further engage in creative tasks. All the intricacies are demonstrated in the assigned case about the tension between designers and business managers in a popular multinational fashion brand company.
During the class discussion, students were guided by the instructor Dr. Kuok Kei Law to analyze the different goals and motivations between the designers and the business managers and how such differences resulted in the conflicts as described in the case. The case, therefore, not only brought new OB knowledge to students regarding creativity and tensions but also requires students to integrate and apply what they learnt previously, including self-identities, motivation, and conflict resolution. Towards the end of the discussion, students were asked to provide suggestions on how to manage or resolve (if possible at all) the conflicts. Different students chose to provide priorities to designers vis-à-vis managers. Such a diverse thinking is often appreciated and desired in the case study approach of learning where students could feel free to generate their insights and have them tested by receiving constructive feedbacks from fellow classmates.
Before the end of the class, the instructor had the changes to have one-to-one conversation with each of the students for providing feedback on their performance as well as collecting information about their learning progress. Constant and constructive feedback has been proven to be useful and indeed necessary for enhancing people's commitment and performance, and it is even so during this pandemic period during which supervisors and workers as well as teachers and students are distant from one another. Dr. Law thus not only articulates OB concepts to his students but actually turns them into actions. While the students were waiting for their turn to have the conversation with the instructor, they were asked to read and analyze an article about stress and struggle felt by healthcare workers during COVID-19 from the OB perspective and provide suggestions for improvement accordingly. It is always NUCB Undergraduate School's emphasis to bring in the latest phenomena and trends to students' learning so that they can succinctly connect their classroom learning with the actual world.