In the Loop: The HDO Blog

The Downside of Hyper-Positivity at Work

September 21, 2021
John W. Traphagan, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Department of Anthropology; Professor, HDO

Amidst all the happy face emojis and exclamation points punctuating mundane sentences with false familiarity, how often do people ask if all that positivity is, well, positive?

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This is When Goal-Setting Gets in the Way of Happiness

September 7, 2021
John W. Traphagan, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Department of Anthropology; Professor, HDO

We live in an age of anxiety driven by an economic model of life where much of what we do is based on a contrast between where we are and where we think we want to be. We set goals that assume the goal of life itself is to attain, acquire, and become, whether that which we gain comes in the form of money, achievement, or recognition. Teachers, relatives, and others tell children to set goals about which college to attend or what career they plan to develop. What do you want to be when you grow up? Aim high!

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On The Value of Jerks

July 29, 2021
John W. Traphagan, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Department of Anthropology; Professor, HDO

There is a great deal of conversation these days about the importance of mentorship. We need to mentor new hires in companies or junior faculty at universities. It’s essential to help them find ways to be successful. We need to be there for them. That’s part of having an empathetic and supportive workplace. And we all want that, right?

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Brain Power: Dr. Art Markman

July 21, 2021
Dr. Amy Ware

In our very first episode, Amy Ware interviews HDO’s founding Director, Dr. Art Markman about how the program has had a profound impact on his teaching and scholarship since its creation in 2011.

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Love, Freedom, and Leadership: A Source of Pride

July 7, 2021
Dr. Paul Woodruff
Darrell K. Royal Professor in Ethics and American Society, HDO Professor

In ancient times the people of Athens were proud of their freedom, which gave them the confidence to whip a much larger army of the Persians at Marathon. They were especially proud of the way they believed they had won their freedom—through the assassination of a tyrant by a pair of lovers.

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Art as Expression & Understanding

June 28, 2021
Dr. Elizabeth Richmond-Garza
Director and Graduate Adviser, Comparative Literature | UT Regents’ Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor, English | Affiliate Faculty, Middle Eastern Studies & Human Dimensions of Organizations

When Oscar Wilde, a gay Irishman living as a straight writer and personality in London, was sentenced to serve two years of hard labor in prison on 25 May 1895 for violating an anti-sodomy law that was only repealed in 1967, his trial began not with evidence of acts he had committed but instead with an accusation of “posing,” of seeming to be the sort of person who could break the law. We might imagine in Pride Month 2021 that defining someone based upon our impression of their appearance would be part of a history lesson rather than our daily lived experiences. However, whether in relationship to gender and sexuality or the many other intersectional issues which define each of us, how we appear to others often determines how we are permitted to live.

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Juneteenth and Pride Month: An HDO Perspective

June 22, 201
Amy Ware, PhD
Director, Human Dimensions of Organizations
Amy Nathan Wright, PhD
Assistant Professor of Instruction, Human Dimensions of Organizations

One central tenet of Human Dimensions of Organizations is to use analogic, or comparative, thinking so that we may apply one situation to another when considering organizational challenges. Without an accurate picture of events, however, we cannot effectively employ this analogical thinking. Both Juneteenth and Pride Month reveal that often broad transformations begin from within communities pushing for change and recognition. We must recognize the limits of our knowledge, and dig deeper, to recognize the complexity of these events and the ways in which these celebrations can teach us about the organizational worlds from which they sprung.

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Managing Commitments and Expectations

April 27, 2021
Dr. Clay Spinuzzi

In our most recent webinar, HDO and Rhetoric & Writing Professor, Dr. Clay Spinuzzi, covered basic self-management strategies such as being deliberate about taking on commitments, scheduling tasks appropriately, retaining flexibility, pruning low-yield commitments, managing failure, and avoiding decision fatigue.

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You’re probably not planning enough for unlikely events

February 26, 2021
Art Markman, Ph.D.
Founding Director, HDO Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor, Departments of Psychology and Marketing

In the wee hours of the morning on Monday, February 15, my house, like many others across the state of Texas, lost power during a winter storm. For the next 48 hours, we wore layers of clothes and huddled under blankets as temperatures indoors dropped to about 40 degrees. Even after the power came on, water supplies were low, and the city of Austin was under a boil-water order.

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