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About Michael Elmes

With regard to my teaching I believe in designing systems and processes into all my courses that invite students to experience the complex dynamics of organizations, the role of power and influence in how they evolve, the challenge of communication across political and cultural barriers, and the importance of self-reflection in understanding the adaptive challenges that our students will face in the workplace. I believe that students are primarily responsible for their own learning. As such, I see my role as a designer of the classroom-as-organization, facilitator when conflict arises or the class gets stuck, and as mentor in providing feedback in the students’ digital stories that reflect on what they have learned in the context of the course.
With regard to my research most recently I have started to look at food security issues to better understand leadership and governance of the commons from a place-based perspective. Other scholarly work has drawn on critical, critical realist, narrative, aesthetic, and communications perspectives to investigate IT implementation as it pertains to paradox and organizational change, forms of resistance in organizations, the May ’96 Everest climbing disaster, mentoring in organizations, and the hegemony of “pragmatism” in environmental management discourse. I have also written on strategy as narrative, diversity management, resistance to management training, the historical origins of empowerment in religious and spiritual beliefs in the United States, as well as the psychodynamics of group and intergroup behavior in organizations.
In 2005, I spent six months in New Zealand as a Fulbright Senior Scholar studying stakeholder views about biotechnology. Taking into account New Zealand’s unique natural history, I examined how competing constructions of “nature” and “place” in New Zealand informed by the attitudes, hopes, aspirations and concerns about the role of genetic engineering in New Zealand’s cultural, economic, and political future.


Present Professor, School of Business, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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Contact Information

Washburn Shops, 203
Phone: +1-508-831-5182
Fax: +1-508-831-5720