Author: Valerie L. Myers, PH.D., Copyrights 1999, 2011, 20013
This business case reveals ancient wisdom for modern organizations.
It integrates three ancient narratives and historical information to trace the trajectory of one person’s calling from birth to death. The case is divided into three parts:
Part A - Insights from Joseph's Journey introduces Myers’ cross-cultural theory of calling and examines how the core dimensions of one person’s calling evolved -- its twists, turns, setbacks and successes. It also explores different responses to the calling to leadership and the implications for organizations and society. Core themes: leadership, aspirations and ambition, teams, diversity, attrition, rankism, positive regard, character strengths, mentoring, institutionalized differences, service, innovation, crisis management, cross-cultural collaboration and an organization's social responsibility.
Part B - Our Better Natures explores how core dimensions of one’s calling are cultivated and the role that leaders and other social influences play in that process. Core themes: Leadership, implicit biases, Pygmalion effects, deviants, B-players, ethics, character strengths and talent development.
Part C - Legacy concludes by providing concrete examples of latent character strengths and the capacity for people to change. It reveals the importance of leaders, social support and an internal compass to ascend in a calling at any life stage -- even in late adulthood. Core themes: Leadership, latent talents and strengths, mid-life changes, legacy, and social impact.
In addition to exploring calling, this case covers every major topic in Organizational Behavior.
"The Power of a Calling" can be used as a capstone business case. As such, it can be taught in one session, across multiple sessions or as an 8-12 week course.
Custom programs are available.
Teaching the Case
This suite of business cases is ideal for teaching the concepts from Myers' book "Conversations About Calling" to a variety of different audiences including young adults, established adults, leaders and special populations. The book provides in-depth analysis and insights about key concepts in the case as well as concrete examples beyond those in the case. Together, the book and teaching note (forthcoming) guide instructors about how to teach the case.
“The Power of a Calling” has been successfully taught in graduate management courses at the University of Michigan, with students from various disciplines (e.g., MBAs, Engineering, Information Technology, Hospital Administration, Health Sciences and Social Work). In the university classroom, we do not discuss religious faith, but instead focus on core themes that are germane to any modern organization, including religious tolerance (see above). The content and lessons have resonated with atheists, Hindus, and people who consider themselves spiritual but not religious, as well as religious adherents who are surprised by its relevance to modern life. The content may also be customized to explicitly emphasize connections between faith and work, and to facilitate cross-cultural dialogue and enhance interfaith understanding.
(The original case and teaching note "Calling and Talent Development: Not Your Average Working Joe" were published in 2011. This revised case was released after the publication of Myers book, "Conversations About Calling: Advancing Management Perspectives.")