Jeffery Apfel Talk - April 3, 2009

"The Role of the Chief Financial Officer in Stewarding Change"

Jeffrey Apfel is currently working on completing the doctoral degree that he left behind years ago. He is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Public Administration at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, focusing on issues in the management of higher education. His administrative experience in higher education include positions at Rhode Island School of Design, where he was Executive Vice President, and Rutgers, where he served as Senior Vice President for Administration in Finance. His experience outside higher education is extensive, including positions in government (the New York City Budget Office and the New York State Governor's Office), in investment banking, and at a national law firm, where he served as chief operating officer. He is the author of a number of published works in administration and finance.

Articles and Books cited during the presentation:

Bozeman, B., & Ponomariov, B. (2009). Sector Switching from a Business to a Government Job: Fast-Track Career or Fast Track to Nowhere? Public Administration Review, 69(1), 77-91.

This paper examines the career consequences for public managers of having had full-time private sector work experience. We find positive career outcomes for public managers with private sector experience: Individuals with such experience are more likely to have been recently promoted relative to peers and to supervise somewhat greater number of employees, especially if their most recent job was in the private sector. While experience in the private sector enhances such career outcomes, the length of such experience diminishes them. The authors conclude by identifying three career scenarios emerging from the models and discussing the managerial and theoretical implications of sector-switching careers.

Click here to read the full article (PDF)


Eisenberg, E. M. (1984). Ambiguity as Strategy in Organizational Communication. Communication Monographs, 51(3), 227-242.

Argues against overemphasizing clarity in the research and teaching of organizational communication because clarity and openness are neither the norm nor sensible standards to gauge communication competence or organizational effectiveness. Defines strategic ambiguity and explores its use in organizations to accomplish goals. Presents suggestions for research.

Click here read the full article (PDF)



Fairhurst, G. T. (2007). Discursive leadership : in conversation with leadership psychology. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Discursive Leadership: In Conversation with Leadership Psychology presents a new, groundbreaking way for scholars and graduate students to examine and explore leadership. Differing from a psychological approach to leadership which tries to get inside the heads of leaders and employees, author Gail Fairhurst focuses on the social or communicative aspects between them. A discursive approach to leadership introduces a host of relatively new ideas and concepts and helps us understand leadership's changing role in organizations.

Key Features:

* Compares and contrasts discursive leadership with leadership psychology: This comparison facilitates a clearer definition of discursive leadership.
* Presents new ways to study leadership: By treating each discourse concept as a heuristic device and supporting each concept with examples, new ways to study leadership are introduced by focusing on key concepts from the organizational discourse literature.
* Addresses some key challenges within leadership psychology: Each chapter begins with an ongoing debate in leadership psychology and illustrates how a discursive approach can join that debate. Charimatic leadership, leader-member exchange, authentic leadership are just a few of the examples.
* Offers reactions from leadership psychologists: Leadership psychologists and other discourse scholars respond to the author's proposed ‘conversation' between them broadening the debate and introducing new perspectives.
* Provides quick reviews and extended examples: The book includes critical summaries at the end of each chapter and easy-to-reference appendices.

Intended Audience:
This book helps scholars, researchers, and practitioners understand the complexities of leadership as it continues to evolve due to such influences as globalization, technology change, and democratization of the workplace. It is also an excellent text for graduate courses such as Leadership; Rhetoric of Leadership; Interpretive Studies of Organizational Communication; Organizational Communication; and Leadership & Communication in the departments of communication, business & management, psychology, and educational administration.

For more information on the book, go to:



Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide
Cass R. Sunstein
Oxford University Press

Why do people become extremists? What makes people become so dismissive of opposing views? Why is political and cultural polarization so pervasive in America? Why do groups of teenagers, investors, and corporations take unnecessary risks? What leads groups to engage in such destructive acts as terrorism and ethic cleansing?

In Going to Extremes , renowned legal scholar and best-selling author Cass Sunstein offers startling insights into why and when people gravitate toward extremism. Sunstein marshals an abundance of evidence that shows that when like-minded people talk to one another, they tend to become more extreme in their views than they were before. This point applies to such diverse groups as religious organizations, corporate boards, investment clubs, and White House officials. Sunstein introduces original research to show that when liberals are brought together to debate climate change, they end up more alarmed about climate change, while conservatives brought together to discuss same-sex unions become skeptical about same-sex unions. In courtrooms, radio stations, and chatrooms, enclaves of like-minded people are breeding ground for extreme movements.

Sunstein shows that a good way to create an extremist group, or a cult of any kind, is to separate members from the rest of society, either physically or psychologically. This disturbing finding casts new light on the dangers that arise whenever people self-select into niche groups of the like-minded. Sunstein's findings help to explain such diverse phenomena as political outrage on the Internet, unanticipated "blockbusters" in the film and music industry, the success of the disability rights movement, ethnic conflict in Iraq and former Yugoslavia, and Islamic terrorism.

Providing a wealth of real-world examples--sometimes entertaining, sometimes alarming-- Sunstein offers a fresh explanation of why partisanship has become so bitter and debate so rancorous in America and abroad--and of what concrete steps citizens and nations might take to halt the drift towards unjustified extremism.

For more information on the book, go to:


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