Originally published here, in the Journal of Dental Education, this demonstration project investigates a method for effecting change through a Small Group Initiative (SGI).
The work of faculty, staff, and students is driven by their alignment with an institution’s vision and purpose, as set forth in its strategic plan. Any plan that calls for innovative growth must address certain aspects of organizational culture as roadblocks to success and should foster relationship building to achieve long-standing progress. This demonstration project investigates a method for effecting change through a Small Group Initiative (SGI).
Representatives from faculty and staff were selected by purposive sampling, placed into eight groups of six, and one member of each group was made a facilitator to participate in or facilitate monthly structured discussion-based meetings for a 1-year time period. Participants read one chapter a month of 12: The Elements of Great Managing, which corresponds to the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement survey that each participant completed at the beginning and end of the program.
Findings indicate an overall increase in participant levels of employee engagement and increased levels of personal ownership in regard to the strategic plan after participating in the SGI.
Many other institutional efforts aimed at the advancement of school-wide vision and employee engagement can be cumbersome to implement and require a substantial allocation of resources. The SGI, however, requires minimal resources, limited infringement on regular activity, and minimal direct cost to implement. These factors suggest that the SGI could be tailored to meet specific needs of leadership and may have broad-based applicability across various academic settings.