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Value-based management: learning to create high performing organizations by putting man before money

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Teaching methodology 2 – assignments, exercises and interaction

Written assignments and other exercises

As a part of the course, the students had to write and hand in a number of assignments and other exercises. These assignments were done in groups of 2-4 students, except for number 3 which was completed individually. The five assignments were:

  1. Write down and discuss the effectiveness of at least five methods to make your associates more self-managing.
  2. Write down what you consider the six most important points in this course, and explain why you have made this particular choice.
  3. Complete the list of your personal values, ranked in order of importance, and the evaluation of how much you actually live each value in your life.
  4. Describe organizations you know based on the ideas of this course. You may describe companies, non-profit or humanistic organizations, public organizations (e.g., the armed forces), sports clubs, circle of friends, school classes, and nations…
  5. Write down and explain the most important core values you would use if you were to start your own business. It is important that the personal values of all the group members are in accordance with the values of the proposed company

The additional exercises included a description made by each student of examples of fortunate coincidences or good luck in their life, plus ethical dilemmas.

Each written report was reviewed and commented upon by the teacher. In addition, all group members of all groups had to participate in the presentation of each report to the whole class.

Free expression of individual points of view

In all these interactions, the students were encouraged to express their own points of view freely, and the teacher did not 'edit' these replies – in accordance with the principle in value-based organizations that it is acceptable to make 'honest mistakes'. In this way the students had the opportunity to assimilate the knowledge and to explore and put words to their own values and attitudes.

"This course has stimulated the use of my own reflection, and my ability to open up, freely to present my thoughts. It has been important and gratifying to dare to express personal experiences, points of view, and attitudes. There has been an air that permits one to make a fool of oneself, but that it is OK anyway. What we say has not been the most important thing, but that we say something and that we are engaged."

– Christopher Reusch, Student

Obviously, the size of the class is important for a courses based on extensive dialogue amongst the students and between the students and the teacher, i.e., the smaller the class the easier it is to have two-way communication and exchange points of view. Everything worked well the first time the course was run, since there were only 30 students in the class. However, next year with 400 students, there will obviously be challenges. To overcome these challenges, the 400 class will be divided into four parallel subclasses of about 100 students, each subclass with their own workshops and tutorial sessions.