NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Rutgers University's School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) has awarded the first Bill Nobles Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year to Professor Jody Hoffer Gittell of Brandeis University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The Bill Nobles Fellowship was established this year in order to support case studies and research about corporations where the goal is to create a work environment that departs from strict hierarchical control and where employees receive the encouragement and authority to grow. The studies explore workplaces where employees are encouraged to take risks and to learn from mistakes as they expand their contributions to enterprise success while managers principally lead and coach. The fellowship was created with a generous contribution by former ExxonMobil Corporation executive Bill Nobles with a matching grant from the ExxonMobil Corporation.
The first Bill Nobles Fellow, Jody Hoffer Gittell, is an associate professor at the Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management and Acting Director of the MIT Leadership Center at the Sloan School of Management. She has a doctorate from the Sloan School. She will be conducting several case studies on corporations that rely on coordination and commitment rather than command and control. She is the author of the book, The Southwest Airlines Way (McGraw Hill, 2005) in which she analyzes these questions.
The Bill Nobles Fellowship is part of an interdisciplinary fellowship program at the School that examines corporations, the economy, and society. "The School of Management and Labor Relations is pleased to have the first fellowship that focuses particularly on the important role of corporate culture and a corresponding management philosophy of leadership as part of its program to study cutting edge ideas in the organization of the corporation."
Bill Nobles earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Mississippi in 1961 and had a long Exxon career in a variety of management positions. His interest in academic research grew from post-retirement research with his colleague Paul Staley into why and how his trial and error culture transformation of a 500 person internal services company produced positive results for Exxon, its managers, and its employees. Bill and his wife Connie are residents of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
Commenting on the fellowship, Mr. Nobles said: "Many management theorists recommend changes within the traditional management philosophy without considering a replacement for hierarchical control. I believe that some organizations have undergone a leadership paradigm shift away from "hierarchical control" to "vision-led freedom" or "freedom-based management." This paradigm needs to be more intensively studied and understood. Such research has an important role to play in University education about the corporation and I am really impressed with the group of young and seasoned scholars SMLR has pulled together to study the future of the corporation." Mr. Nobles discusses the evolution of his ideas on his personal web site, http://freedom-basedmanagement.com/.
There are now fifty fellows in total in the Rutgers fellowship program which includes two national conferences annually in order to bring the scholars together to present their research and collaborate. For a list of all current and past fellows, see: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/research-and-centers/fellowship-programs and for more information on the new Bill Nobles Fellow, see: http://smlr.rutgers.edu/billnobles-fellows at the School's web site.
SOURCE Rutgers University's School of Management and Labor Relations