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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Shaping Corporate CultureThrough Leadership

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3 stars
Content Quality: 3 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Apr 19, 2002 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This is an informational site that was apparently created by two undergraduate
business students who were enrolled in Dr. Eliot Elfner?s (300 level)
Personnel/Industrial Relations course at St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI,
during fall 2000. The site provides general overviews of theories and links
relevant to their topic of ?Shaping Corporate Culture Through Leadership.? They
state the purpose of the site is to ?show how corporate culture affects the
development of an organization.? In particular, leadership theories such as LMX
(Leader Member Exchange), Vroom and Yetton?s Normative Decision Making Theory,
and Henry Mintzberg?s studies on motivation are integrated into the module in a
series of pages designed to demonstrate the impact of leaders on corporate
culture.
Learning Goals: As determined by the stated objectives and author?s project summary page, the
primary goal is to enable learners to define corporate culture and relate the
various leadership theories to the development of increased overall business
performance. A specific link entitled, ?Learning Objectives,? outlines several
objectives for students expressed directly by the authors:
1. Students will be able to define the development stage of PRaSTARS.
2. Students will be able to define corporate culture.
3. Students will be able to define the Leader-member Exchange Theory.
4. Students will be able to define Vroom & Yetton's Normative Decision Making
Theory.
5. Students will be able to relate the above leadership theories to corporate
culture.
6. Students will be able to list the results of Mintzberg's Studies on
Motivation.
7. Students will be able to relate the above topics to a case study of an
organization.
8. Students will be able to demonstrate how the theories of leadership,
corporate culture, and Mintzberg's Studies affect the development stage of
PRaSTARS.

Target Student Population: College students. The target population is presumably undergraduate level
students engaged in the study of personnel and industrial relations. However,
the module would be beneficial to those pursuing closely related topics such as
organizational behavior, leadership studies, and human resource management.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: The authors identify none. In our opinion, prerequisites required depend on how
the module will be used. If it is used to introduce a topic, then no
prerequisites are required. If students use this as a primary instructional
piece, they would need background to understand terms and concepts that are
presented but not defined in the module.
Type of Material: Lecture/presentation
Recommended Uses:
Technical Requirements: Standard Internet browser

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The site introduces and provides brief outlines relevant concepts and models
that can relate to the development of employees and organizations.
The sequencing of information (one page leads to another, yet ever-present
navigation buttons allow the random access to the entire site) seems logical,
and well conceived. The personalization of the module through the inclusion of
photos and brief biographical introductions adds a ?warm and user-friendly feel?
that at least one reviewer finds appealing.

One valuable aspect of this module is that it demonstrates students? attempts to
integrate the contributions of several theories and apply these to achieve a
more unified understanding of leadership and culture. In other words, while the
original point of this module?s creation may have been to address the subject
matter at hand, it also exemplifies a prospective ?project assignment? for the
use of educators teaching other courses (or students initiating proposals of
their own). Students would probably find it very motivating to explore a site
created by other students (especially other business students from another
institution!). They would also probably enjoy an assignment that involves
critiquing and elaborating on the site?s content.

This site can also serve as a model for assignments/projects that have students
create web-based information sites for their peers.
Concerns: This site would need to be used within the context of an assignment.
Information is presented at a very cursory level, as the authors probably just
overviewed or repositioned concepts that their primary audience (other students
in their course) already learned in class. The links to more in-depth
information are also limited, as they are either overviews (e.g., copyrighted
PowerPoint presentations that overview key concepts from a published text) or
sites that have academic merit but are not intended for general use (e.g., Vroom
and Yetton link). Also, the relationships between the various topics and
theories are not explicitly explained.

The level of concern is associated with the level of scrutiny that might be
applied: from one vantage point, the module is a nice example of creative
(undergraduate) student work resulting from the use of current (web-enhanced)
teaching technologies. For purposes of serious scholarship, the module is
limited in depth-of-content, context, linkages (both in a theoretical and
navigational sense), and ultimately, conclusiveness. While learning objectives
are specified (a strong point), it is not altogether a certainty that they are
achieved. Because several navigational links were not working, some additional
richness may have been present at the time of the module?s original posting.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: This module can be used to introduce the topic at hand: leadership is widely
acknowledged to play an important role in shaping (and/or influencing) corporate
culture. The module does introduce the idea that leadership, policies toward
employee development, the effective use of motivational strategies,
decision-making styles, and other factors ultimately impact organizational
performance. This module can also be used to stimulate critical thinking; for
example, since the authors assembled various theories from various sources into
one site, instructors can add an assignment for students to evaluate the
rationale and effectiveness of the authors? topic/theory choices and the
organization of their presentation, e.g., why did the authors choose the
topics/theories they did? Are these topics/theories most relevant? Why did
they order the site as they did? Is this order appropriate?
Concerns: The effective use of this site on the part of educators would require an
acknowledgement of its level and limitations in terms of scholarly robustness.
Students must recognize the relative enormity of the topics addressed in this
small space, and appreciate that the material represents a summarized view of
evolving subjects: ?leadership? and its impact on shaping ?organizational
culture.? In sum, this module would not be effective as a stand-alone
instructional module. Although several learning objectives are presented, the
site is not designed as instruction to enable their achievement; there is
limited content, and no practice and feedback designed as part of this site.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The site is ?user friendly? in the sense that it is visually appealing and easy
to navigate.
Concerns: Some links are broken, and some links are to sites that appear to be designed
for non-public use. Since the text of the site is in outline form, it would not
be easy for students unfamiliar with the content to use and understand. Given
the presumption that this module was constructed as part of a course project,
however, and that the course is assumed to be over, it seems somewhat
inappropriate to suggest that anything be ?fixed.? From a usability point of
view (note the concerns about appropriate situations and disclaimers), the
repair of broken links would bring the site up-to-date.

Other Issues and Comments: