Positive Change Through Rewarding Virtue vs. Punishing Non-Compliance

Men have made millions of laws to punish crimes, and they have not established even one to reward virtue; Virtue being a product not of the command of law, but of our own free will, society has no right whatsoever over it. Virtue on no account enters into the social contract; and if it remains without reward, society commits an injustice similar to that of one who defrauds another of … Continue reading

Leading the Threat of Change

Change: Improvement or loss? Choosing not to change risks failing if change is understood as improvement [1]. In organizations, mainly the investors, but also drivers like competition, globalization, technology, and employees require change [2]. Change always signifies loss that prompts threatening emotions, which cause resistance. Therefore, resistance to change needs to be understood from an individual’s emotional perspective [3]. For example, people mostly don’t alter their change decisions related to … Continue reading

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: Inspiration for the Leader in All of Us

Father of Motivation and Sage of Maui The life and work of author and speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, who died at the age of seventy-five in 2015, provides the opportunity to reflect on leadership from a holistic perspective beyond a specific organizational setting or national politics. Dyer’s many best-selling books on the practical psychology of personal development towards a positive transformation for all of humanity [1] brought him the … Continue reading

Self-Leadership and ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’

Content Self-leadership process and the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ Emotional self-leadership and authenticity Educational, physical, health, stress, and coping benefits of self-leadership Self-leadership competences in leadership development, recruitment, and work performance Self-leadership process and the ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ Modern leadership at increasingly challenging workplaces tends to move away from the mere function of supervising employees but aims to empower the workforce to improve organizational effectiveness, … Continue reading

The Benefits of “Sharedness” in Leadership

Summary. Shared leadership as part of modern transformational leadership style has proven to favorably influence team effectiveness and the achievement of an organizational balance between opportunity-seeking and advantage-seeking innovation, which positively impacts company performance. Mastery goal orientation (i.e., learning and development) rather than performance goal orientation (i.e., competition and social comparison) results in better group performance as required to solve complex problems. Therefore, questioning hierarchy and leadership is critically important … Continue reading

Humor as an Effective Leadership Strategy

Transformational leaders who are utilizing humor are more effective in winning trust and affective commitment from their followers. However, not every leadership style is similarly suited to employ humor as a co-existing leadership characteristic. Several types of humor have to be differentiated, such as, for example, constructive and aggressive humor. Shared laughter avoids conflict, creates teams and sparks innovation. Despite cultural specifics in how followers appreciate leaders’ humor, effective leaders … Continue reading

Leadership Philosophy Illustrated by the Example of Robert Owen, Pioneer of the Cooperative Movement

What are your beliefs and perspectives regarding leadership? What do you think makes an effective leader? Illustrated by the example of Robert Owen, the acknowledged pioneer of the cooperative movement, a leader’s goal, effectiveness, and fellowship is assessed. The brief analysis bases on evidence from research in relevant leadership theories. General Definition of Leadership Many of the greatest villains in history were, in some way, successful leaders when the definition … Continue reading

Escaping (Psycho-)Logic Traps for Better Solutions

Summary. Social traps are situations in which individuals take rational (and often egoist) short-term decisions that, however, lead to negative collective results in the long-term. Some psycho-(logic) traps involve an isolating and limiting view on available behavioral choices. Because everyone needs to feel competent to take future action, the failure trap lets people deny their potential for further learning and engage in task-irrelevant actionism. The sunk cost fallacy is such … Continue reading

Rage Against the Externalized Self

Summary. Inabilities to accept (and therefore recognize) our dark feelings are leading us to externalize our shadow (as Jungians would say) to others, for example to a therefor loved partner. Especially vulnerable narcissists defend themselves against shameful helplessness in cases of separation with a partner (and therefore with a part of themselves) by negating their helplessness. To avoid frustration, rage, and violent defenses in case of uncontrollable separation it is, … Continue reading

The Psychology of Political Helplessness

Summary. Even small daily exposures to oppressive structures of economic and political/social environments influence people’s psychological internalization of observed superiority and inferiority. Conforming behavior provides the necessary practice to develop the tendency to obey the “unavoidable” orders of oppressors in a learned “helpless” manner. The more hierarchical a political system, the more is helplessness learned with the result of uncritical and fearful behavior that is undermining democratic processes. The creation of awareness … Continue reading

Learned Helplessness (LH) and the Need to Promote Hope

mathias-sager-hope

Learned helplessness and some psychological disorders Dogs who experienced repeatedly unavoidable electro shocks learned that they have no control over escaping from such painful events [1], and henceforth developed a cognitive deficit in the form of generalizing the helplessness expectation to other situations [2]. This phenomenon is also considered reduced incentive motivation [3]. Mental patterns of learned helplessness (LH) resemble those of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which associate with depression … Continue reading

Learning from differences and collaborating in diversity according to Lev Vygotsky

mathias-sager-global-learning

Content. (1) Individual embodiment of increasingly global social contexts, (2) Globally influenced mediation of learning, (3) Extension of the proximate to a collaborative zone of development, (4) Integrating differences for rich and demanding learning opportunities

Scaffolding Cooperative Learning

Human interactions don’t lack technical but rather cooperative communication skills. The good news is that pro-social behavior can be learned. Collective argumentation is one means to scaffold learners’ engagement in group work. Also, the negotiation of values is vital for achieving a shared sense of agency and accountability between teachers and students. In computer-enabled learning, consequential engagement in the form of enabling equitability and showing the benefits beyond single contributions, … Continue reading

Individual and Collective Products and Producers of Society

Content 1. Development of agentic power, 2. Forethought, intentionality, reactiveness, and self-reflection, 3. Collective efficacy: shared belief in agency, 4. Applied collective agency

Egocentrism: Who can take whose empathic perspective?

Egocentrism occurs as part of preschoolers’ development in the so-called pre-operational stage and means the inability of a child to differentiate between its own and other people’s thoughts [1]. In other words, children would not realize the suffering of others as such at all [2]. This poses a quite depressive outlook and may not correspond to own experience and observations. Aren’t there more empathy-promising possibilities than such a radical and … Continue reading

How poorly do we understand animal-human (dis-)similarity?

The question of animal-human similarity is essential to decide whether animals should be treated alike [1] and whether animals possess rights [2]. What characteristic determines a human being as distinct from animals? What about people with genetic anomalies or other disabilities on the one hand side, and, for example, especially well trained chimpanzees on the other [3]? Proponents of animals’ legal status as private property that can be exploited by … Continue reading

History and Philosophy of Learning Theory

Behaviorism Introspection as the scientific method had to give place to behavioral psychology in the nineteenth century [1], which opposed mentalist approaches to the study of associative mechanisms in learned behavior [2] with rigorous observable laboratory experiments and animal behavior training as performed by B.F. Skinner [3] (Figure 1.). Associationists like E. Thorndike believed in biological processes which construe memory in the form of neuronal connections in the brain [1]. … Continue reading

Learning from and For Life Transitions

It remains a challenge to explain how individuals transition from one goal cycle to the other [1]. But this is a relevant question in lifespan development. Life course theory conceptualizes series of events respectively transitions in life [2]. While there are many terms to describe life transitions (e.g., turning points, momentous events, etc.), there seems to be agreement that transitions are about major life changes [3]. Life changes can be … Continue reading

Circular Causality of Global and State Self-Esteem

The traditional self-esteem paradigm does not take into account sufficiently the idea of bottom-up causality from state self-esteem (e.g., contextual academic achievement, social status, and appearance) to trait self-esteem (i.e., global self-esteem; e.g., a relatively stable personality characteristic, such as narcissism). This is problematic as it cannot explain, and is contradicted by, many studies showing that development throughout the lifespan is influenced by state self-esteem and self-experiences.

Culture Blindness and Academic Capitalism

Summary. The advancement of a genuinely global science beyond Euro-American mainstream, the reduction of international research inequalities, and the mitigation of adverse effects of academic capitalism are important to make progress in understanding and helping humanity worldwide.