'Daily Art' serves as resource for managerial know-how

August 29, 2008

Erie, Pa. -- "It's easier to get people to move a statue than to move a stone." That food for thought is the first sentence in "The Daily Art of Management: A Hands-On Guide to Effective Leadership and Communication" (Praeger, 2008) by Peg Thoms and James Fairbank, members of the management faculty at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College.

"Managers are often thrust into the roles of authority without having a concept of the fundamentals of management," said Thoms, professor of management. "There are more than seven habits that one must develop and they are not always common sense. Our goal is to help current and future managers develop and hone those skills."

The step-by-step manual is designed to be a manager’s go-to resource.

"Lots of managers have studied various theories of management without any idea of how to put them into practice," said Fairbank, associate professor of management. "Our book is aimed at helping them do just that through clear, concise and concrete guidance, specific day-to-day scenarios and real-world examples."

Chapter two, "Creating an organizational vision," sets the stage, providing readers with a concrete method of developing and communicating a vision for a small work department or an entire organization, a social club or a children's sports league, or a church or a regional professional association.

Subsequent chapters teach how to develop and write organizational, departmental and individual goals; create an ethical work environment; recruit and hire the right people; communicate effectively in various types of situations; and understand what motivates employees.

Chapter eight provides an overview of organizational change. Chapter nine offers a thorough summary of how to understand and deal with competition, and Chapter 10 focuses on the development of positive public relations.

The book's last two chapters first demonstrate the value of being a solid citizen on both the personal and professional level and, finally, encourage readers to utilize all of these strategies while creating more effective teams within a department or organization.

Thoms is a professor of management in the Sam and Irene Black School of Business at Penn State Behrend. She is the author of three books on leadership -- "Project Leadership from Theory to Practice" (Project Management Institute, 1998), "Driven by Time: Time Orientation and Leadership" (Praeger, 2003), and "Finding the Best and the Brightest: A Guide to Recruiting, Selecting and Retaining Effective Leaders" (Praeger, 2005) -- as well as numerous articles in academic journals. She also is co-editor of "Battleground: Business" (Praeger, 2008). Thoms has conducted extensive consulting, leadership development and training programs with organizations in both the public and private sectors.

Among her several research and teaching awards, she counts a Professor of the Year Award for best core course in Penn State Behrend’s Master of Business Administration program and the Walter F. Ulmer Jr. Award for applied research in leadership given by the Center for Creative Leadership.

Thoms earned a doctoral degree in organizational behavior from Ohio State. She also holds two master's degrees: one in labor and human resources from Ohio State and another in educational supervision from Texas Woman's University in Denton.

Fairbank is an associate professor of management at Penn State Behrend, with more than 30 years of experience in industry and academe. He is the author of numerous journal articles and has done extensive research, consulting and training.

Before his position at Penn State Behrend, Fairbank held managerial positions at several companies and academic appointments at Penn State's University Park campus and West Virginia University. He earned a number of teaching awards as an assistant professor of management at West Virginia and as a graduate instructor.

A Navy veteran, Fairbank is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned a master's degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and a doctoral degree from Penn State's University Park campus in business administration.

For more information, visit http://behrend.psu.edu online.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009