Dean Donde Plowman’s recent research on organizational mindfulness was the focus of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal
. Plowman and her colleagues -- Dr. Josh Ray, University of Tennessee, and Dr. LaKami Baker, Auburn University -- surveyed administrators of U.S. colleges of business to examine whether some colleges of business are more 'mindful' than others.
The premise of their study was that business schools, like many organizations, exist in increasingly turbulent environments, making them vulnerable to unexpected events. Making mistakes in such environments is less likely when organizations are ‘mindful’ -- when they pay close attention to what is happening around them and maintain the capacity to act on unexpected signals (Weick & Sutcliffe, 2001). Mindful organizations are reluctant to simplify interpretations, sensitive to operations, preoccupied with avoiding failure, resilient, and defer to experts.
Plowman and her colleagues validated the concept of organizational mindfulness for the first time in their study of colleges of business, which was published in 2011 in Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal