Saying no: Examining executives’ refusal of corporate directives
Dr. Gerardo Okhuysen, Professor, Organization and Management, Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine
Friday, April 16, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
In this early stage project I am examining data from a divisional executive team. Through detailed observations of quarterly off-site meetings over the course of a 36-month period, I am able to identify a number of instances where the executives were asked to take a particular action by the corporation and they refused. Through my analysis I argue that their routine acquiescence to directives and requests is essential in creating a space where the occasional refusals can occur with minimal consequences. The creation of this permissive space happens through choice activity primarily focused on the present and short term future. By contrast, refusals can involve the active reconstruction and recollection of the past and anticipation of longer term futures.
In his research, Professor Okhuysen works with groups in different decision situations, focusing on the management of task and environmental uncertainty. His work has examined negotiation settings, groups working on ambiguous or uncertain tasks, as well as small organizations working in contexts of high uncertainty. His current projects attempt to bring in dimensions of American Pragmatism to the study of interpersonal situations in organizations. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management.