Violet Ho, PhD is eager to teach Organizational Behavior (Management 530) for the first time this semester in the MBA program.

In the MBA program, Violet’s teaching philosophy is centered around engaging students in dialogue instead of lecturing to students. “I see my role as a facilitator and not really a lecturer especially at this level,” Violet said.

In order to keep her students’ attention during her course, she integrates interactive, team-based discussions and activities.  During the first day of her Management 530 class, Violet breaks the students into groups in which they will work for the duration of the semester.

“Organizational Behavior is easy to sit down and talk about, but it’s a different ball game when you try to implement team-based discussions,” she said.  Violet ensures diversity in the groups by separating students with similar professional or academic backgrounds. 

Violet then presents three goals in her Organizational Behavior class to her students.  First, she aims to highlight evidence-based findings and sort the “fluff from substance,” as she calls it. “Part of my role is actually to do research in my other life and bring those findings [to my students] and see how they might be applicable,” according to Violet.

Second, Violet views her classroom as a platform to apply Organizational Behavior principles.  Organizational Behavior is ultimately an applied topic, she explained.

Violet’s third classroom goal is to provide a forum in which students can learn from one another.  The Richmond MBA program is unique in that working students bring real-world perspectives from their respective companies into class every day.  This affords students the opportunity to learn about what other organizations are doing. 

Ultimately, Violet sees Organizational Behavior as a course about influencing others.  “[It is] the reason why I deliberately make this a team-based class that has students from diverse backgrounds with different and rich experiences,” she said.

It is the interdependence of relationships, much like the ones Violet’s students are navigating within their teams in her class that initially attracted her to concentrate on Organizational Behavior. “The fact is that working with, relying on, and being interdependent with other people is a constant in most of our organizational lives, and oftentimes, our work gets accomplished by relying on the help, advice, support, and or sponsorship of people in our networks,” she said.