Recommended Books

If you are a partner and you would like to include a book on this page, please contact RCRCinfo@brandeis.edu

Jody Hoffer Gittell

Professor of Management, Brandeis University and Executive Director, RCRC

Gittell's research is published in a wide range of scientific journals and in five books including Transforming Relationships for High Performance (Stanford University Press, 2016). 

Books by Jody Hoffer Gittell

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth - Amy Edmondson

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent—but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of “fitting in” and “going along” spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought, and the interpersonal climate must not suppress, silence, ridicule or intimidate. Not every idea is good, and yes there are stupid questions, and yes dissent can slow things down, but talking through these things is an essential part of the creative process. People must be allowed to voice half-finished thoughts, ask questions from left field, and brainstorm out loud; it creates a culture in which a minor flub or momentary lapse is no big deal, and where actual mistakes are owned and corrected, and where the next left-field idea could be the next big thing. 

This book explores this culture of psychological safety, and provides a blueprint for bringing it to life. The road is sometimes bumpy, but succinct and informative scenario-based explanations provide a clear path forward to constant learning and healthy innovation.

  • Explore the link between psychological safety and high performance
  • Create a culture where it’s “safe” to express ideas, ask questions, and admit mistakes
  • Nurture the level of engagement and candor required in today’s knowledge economy
  • Follow a step-by-step framework for establishing psychological safety in your team or organization

Shed the “yes-men” approach and step into real performance. Fertilize creativity, clarify goals, achieve accountability, redefine leadership, and much more. The Fearless Organization helps you bring about this most critical transformation.

Cover of Bo Vestergaard's book

Relational Coordination in Practice – Methods for Better Decisions and Coordination

– Bo Vestergaard

How can you help groups make better decisions and act coordinated? Relational Coordination in Practice describes concrete methods and provides step-by-step recipes and variants of methods.

The theoretical foundation is a new linking of the research in relational coordination, psychological safety and collective intelligence. It creates a clear practical-theoretical framework to facilitate groups to succeed with a complex common task.

The book is relevant for

  • Managers, project managers, coordinators and consultants who help groups succeed when the joint task is characterized by unpredictability and mutual interdependence
  • Groups and teams, who would like to know what behavior makes it likely that they can jointly make smart decisions and act coordinated. And what common behavior the participants should minimize or completely avoid
  • Management students who want to know how the research insights from relational coordination, psychological safety and collective intelligence can be transformed into valuable practice.

“Vestergaard has accomplished exactly what he hoped to accomplish with this book – to make relational coordination highly accessible to people who must coordinate their work every day with others. It is full of actionable theory and effective methods.

This book will help you to use the principles of relational coordination to lead effective meetings for the benefit of your clients. It is absolutely true that research can make a real-world impact when people know how to use it. As a partner in the Relational Coordination Research Collaborative, Vestergaard has done his part with this book to turn research into action!” - Jody Hoffer Gittell, Professor, Brandeis University, Heller School, Executive Director, Relational Coordination Research Collaborative

Humble Leadership, Schein & Schein

Humble Leadership

– Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein

Bestselling author and father of organizational behavior, Edgar Schein and Peter Schein trail-blaze with a creative perspective on leadership that encourages vulnerability and empathy as a form of strength.

The more traditional form of leadership that is based on immobile hierarchies is growing increasingly outdated and ineffective. Without the ability to actually communicate with their peers, leaders become alienated from their followers and productivity and quality are sacrificed. Authors Edgar Schein and Peter Schein recognize this reality and call for a reimagined form of leadership that coincides with emerging trends of relationship building, complex group work, and diverse workforces. Gaining a deeper understanding of the constantly evolving complexities of interpersonal, group and even intergroup relationships requires shifting our focus towards the process of group dynamics and collaboration. The humble leadership paradigm stresses the importance of studying how things are being done through collaboration and humility. This space of collaboration is often where invention and brand-new ways of getting things done are created, rather than in the tunnel vision of new ideas of products, markets, or production methods. The future of leadership is dependent on working relationships that are trusting and open. Humble leaders don’t shy away from human connection in the workplace but rather see it as an opportunity for growth and success.

Challenging Perspectives, Fitzgerald and McDermott

Challenging Perspectives on Organizational Change in Health Care

– Louise Fitzgerald and Aoife McDermott

This volume provides theory and research on organizational change and predominantly features the application of these ideas to the health care domain, broadly defined. It addresses enduring issues in advancing to an effective health care system. The aim of this book is to offer an accessible and readable text aimed at provoking thought and questioning, and aiding creativity. It proffers arguments and ideas which are firmly based in empirical data and evidence, so that the reader may make informed personal evaluations.

This book is designed to furnish a comprehensive theoretical basis for understanding organizational change in health care, as well as selected core issues of contemporary and future importance to the provision of effective care within sustainable systems. A series of coherent themes are addressed throughout the book from differing perspectives. However, every chapter has been written to stand alone and be read independently. Each offers resources relevant to its focal topic, in the form of references, case studies and critique.

Setting out a future research agenda, the book will be vital reading for organizational change researchers and practitioners in the healthcare industry.

Bridging Silos, Vestergaard

Bridging Silos – Leadership Processes that Create Coherence/Flow for Patients, Citizens and Customers

– Bo Vestergaard

Silos must not be torn down. Silos can do something good: build solid and deep professionalism. This is what we need as citizens and patients. We should build instead a “bridge” between the silos in the form of new workflows, so citizens get the right help when THEY are ready –  not only when the organization is ready. This enhances the quality of citizens and reduces the total resource requirements of the organization.

Practical and research-based, the book shows: 1) how bridging solves the quality and efficiency paradox in the public sector, and 2) the specific management processes that have distinguished themselves with an unusually high success.

Leading Change in Healthcare, Suchman et al.

Leading Change in Healthcare: Transforming Organizations Using Complexity, Positive Psychology and Relationship-Centered Care

– Tony Suchman, David J. Sluyter, Penelope R. Williamson

The challenge of transforming organizational culture is at the heart of many key movements in contemporary healthcare, and understanding culture change has become a core leadership competency. However, much current practice is based on antiquated and psychologically unsophisticated theories, leaving leaders inadequately prepared for the complex task of implementing change. Leading Change in Healthcare presents relationship-centered administration, an effective new evidence-based alternative to traditional culture change methodologies. It integrates fresh insights and methods from complexity science, positive psychology and relationship-centered care, enabling a more spontaneous and reflective approach to change management. This fosters greater organizational awareness and real participation, improved productivity and creativity, as well as staff recruitment and retention. Case studies drawn from primary care, hospitals, long-term care, professional education, international NGOs and other settings, rather than emphasizing the end results, are demonstrations of how to apply relationship-centered administration in everyday practice. Leading Change Healthcare is a key resource for all practitioners, students and teachers of healthcare management, medical educators, and leaders in all areas of healthcare provision.

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