Jindal School Team Furthers Cuba Connection with Conference Trip
From left: Drs. David Ford, Magaly Spector, Carliss Miller and Orlando Richard traveled to the University of Havana for the 2nd Annual International Conference on Economics, Accounting and Management, which brought together leading business and economics faculty from across the Western Hemisphere.
As Cuba makes initial steps toward a free market in the wake of recent political reforms, could a nascent profit-driven economy that is emerging have anything to teach the United States?
UT Dallas faculty stopped by Cuba recently to find out.
Researchers from the Naveen Jindal School of Management visited the University of Havana last month to participate in the 2nd Annual International Conference on Economics, Accounting and Management, which brought together leading business and economics faculty from across the Western Hemisphere.
Dr. Mariana Mazzucato, an economics professor from University of Sussex, opened the conference by challenging the notion that technological innovation is the product of private and self-funded interests, saying instead that it's actually the result of large government investment in research that has spawned the innovations from which these companies profit.
Jindal School faculty shared insights on current economic policies in socialist and capitalist countries, and presented new strategies of executive leadership for both.
The UT Dallas team, led by Dr. Magaly Spector, professor in practice and assistant to the provost, delivered presentations on both days of the conference. The visit was part of a continuing effort by UT Dallas to forge stronger academic ties with Cuba and the second trip to the nation by JSOM faculty in as many years.
UT Dallas management professor Dr. Orlando Richard presented findings on employee satisfaction in clan and hierarchical organizations. Together with faculty collaborator Dr. Carliss Miller, a professor at Sam Houston State University and a UT Dallas alumna, Richard showed that employees who prefer to operate with less collaboration among teammates — and more individual control over their agendas — report higher levels of job satisfaction when they are part of an organization that is characterized by the opposite.
“This was surprising because we expected to find that people with a more individualistic style would prefer to be part of an organization that matched their own traits of high autonomy and desire for less cohesion,” Richard said. “This might bode well for Cuban organizations which by and large have adopted a more clannish organizational culture due to the national cultural emphasis on collectivism at large.”
“There is a lack of knowledge about business and management in non-Western and developing countries, which means we know very little about business from a global perspective.”
The findings were based on surveys of nearly 200 working professionals from across a range of industries and companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Using a formula of polynomial regression to interpret the surveys of workplace duties and attitudes, Richard also assessed the cultural values that each employee displayed, and how each employee liked working for a highly supportive or less supportive supervisor, in relation to their own preferences.
On the second day of the conference, Dr. David Ford, professor of organizations, strategy and international management, was part of a panel on economic equality, which examined the differences in effective leadership styles in different countries.
“There is a lack of knowledge about business and management in non-Western and developing countries, which means we know very little about business from a global perspective,” Ford said.
He closed the panel by welcoming Cuban collaborators from the University of Havana to participate in future surveys of workplace culture — surveys that one day could be compared with data already collected in his and his colleagues’ Leadership Effectiveness in Africa and the Diaspora project in which there is a big gap for Cuba, mainly because it had been off-limits for so long.
“There’s a new opportunity here to collect data from Cuban businesses, entrepreneurs, and managers regarding perceptions of leadership behavior” that might help us identify some specific leadership behaviors found to be universally accepted in many societies around the world, as well as leadership behaviors that are unique to Cuban culture and contribute to success in Cuban organizations, he said.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].