Monday, February 21, 2011

Organizational development and quality of work life

What are important elements needed for organizational development and high quality of work life for employees?

  • Strong leadership. Here is a link to a thought provoking article in the American Scholar on solitude and leadership.
  • Shared collective purpose and goals
  • Good management of "assholes" ( a term used by Dr. Sutton from Stanford)
  • Prevention of "organizational silence"

Climate of silence

  • Climate of silence is detrimental to organizations' ability to change and develop in the context of pluralism.
  • Climate of silence also has destructive outcomes on employees:
  1. Employees' feelings of not being valued
  2. Employees' perceived lack of control
  3. Employees' cognitive dissonance
  • If you experience fear every day, it drags you down and you become cowardly.
  • After my suggestions were ignored, the quality of my work was still there, but I wasn't.
  • See the Figure from Morrison and Milliken's (2000) article below on the negative effects of organizational silence on organizational decision making, organizational change, employees' feelings, cognition, etc.

From Organizational Silence: A Barrier to Change and Development in a Pluralistic World,
Morrison and Milliken, Academy of Management Review, 25( 4), pp. 706-725

Private affair

  • Statistics are irrelevant to the journey one travels alone.

  • Research tools and concepts are inadequate to describe the fullness and complexity of the profound human experience that is grief.
From the New York Times readers

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Freedom is a basic condition of happiness.

The Buddha


I see a clear blue sky but it is not available to me.

I hear beautiful music but it is not available to me.

I smell fragrant flowers but it is not available to me.

I eat delicious food but it is not available to me.

I feel the wind softly touch my skin but it is not available to me.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quotes of the day

"He lost his ability to think" said Superman

"One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me ‘Superman’ did not exist…she thought I was crying because it’s like Santa Claus is not real. I was crying because no one was coming with enough power to save us", Geoffrey Canada

"The status quo can be changed, but it takes a lot of outrage and good examples", Bill Gates

From the documentary "Waiting for Superman"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The waiting places

This is a follow-up post on Dr. Seuss's "the waiting place". I believe that there are so many waiting places these days.

  • School system: Waiting for Superman
  • Higher education system: Waiting for meaningful reform
  • Financial system: Waiting for moral behaviors
  • Economy: Waiting to move beyond wealth accumulation as a measure of progress
  • Individual: Waiting for meaningful life experience

Words of wisdom from Dr. Seuss

I am re-reading words from "Oh! The Places You'll Go" again. Here are the words/phrases/sentences that jump out to me:

  • You'll look up and down streets. Look'em over with care. About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there." With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you're too smart to go down a not-so-good street.
  • You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly-perch. And your gang will fly on. You'll be left in a Lurch.
  • You'll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you'll be in a Slump.
  • And when you're in a Slump, you're not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
  • The Waiting Place ... for people just waiting.
  • Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.
  • Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So .... get on your way!

Monday, February 14, 2011

America broadband plan

It looks like President Obama is on tour to promote his vision of "investing for the future". According to the recent article in the NYTimes here, President said the followings:

  • “This isn’t just about a faster Internet or being able to find a friend on Facebook. It’s about connecting every corner of America to the digital age,” the president said. “It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers can monitor weather across the state and markets across the globe. It’s about an entrepreneur on Main Street with a great idea she hopes to sell to the big city. It’s about every young person who no longer has to leave his hometown to seek new opportunity — because opportunity is right there at his or her fingertips.”
Some of the goals are: securing high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of all Americans within five years.

Some of the immediate action items are:
  • high-tech wireless public safety system (nationwide wireless broadband network) that would tie cities and towns together in the event of a national emergency like the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Hopefully, these dreams will come true ....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Does any of these pictures describe your relationship with your computing device?

All the pictures are from the articles "Who's the Boss, You or Your Gaget?", The New York Times

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Does the U.S. have secure power grid?

A recent Audit report from U.S. Department of Energy entitled "Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Monitoring of Power Grid Cyber Security". Click here to obtain a full report.

So, what is the conclusion of the report? Do we have a secure power grid in the U.S.? In case, you wonder what the U.S. power grid looks like. Follow this link for a visual representation of the power grid.

The answer is not really. The audit report found several problems with the security protection of the power grid. But before we go any further in details. Let's define a few terms and get some basics fact down.
  • The Energy Policy Act of 2005 passed by Congress gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the responsibility to oversee the bulk power system also known as the bulk electric system or power grid.
  • What is the bulk electric system? It consists of roughly 1,600 entities operating at 100 kilovolts or higher.
  • The Comission asked the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) cyber reliability standards for all entities to comply. These standards and their enforcement are the core of this audit report.
What are some of the (alarming) findings?
  • The standards did not clearly define "a critical asset" that needs to be protected. Therefore, entities were given a discretion to choose what, according to them, are considered critical assets. The bottom line is they believe that these operators under-reported their critical assets.
  • Some security practices prescribed in the standards are quite lax compared to the effective standard practices. For example, the CIP standards suggest that passwords be a minimum of 6 characters and changed at least annually. Compared this suggestion with the commission's internal policy: passwords to be at least 12 characters and changed every 60 days. Wait... That is not all. Other access controls that are commonly recommended were not addressed in the standards: limits on the number of unsuccessful login attempts and a session lock for inactivity, among others.
  • The report also mentioned other problems related to delays in standard development, the inadequate monitoring of the performance of NERC and other regional entities resposible for the power grid.
What are some of the recommendations to improve the security of the power grid?
  • Continue to work with Congress to obtain authority appropriate to ensure adequate cyber security over the bulk electric system
  • Work with NERC to refine the CIP standards to include risk-based requirements and cyber security controls to help minimize vulnerabilities to the power grid
  • Ensure timely development and approval of the CIP standards including communication with NERC and electric industry entities during the process
  • Ensure the Commission adequately monitors the performance of NERC and the eight regional entities responsible for security over the bulk electric system
  • Ensure that cyber security performance metrics for NERC and its regional entities are developed and utilized that enable the Commission to effectively monitor and assess program performance.
Perhaps, the Commission will benefit by looking at NIST's risk management framework to protect information assets below: