Cameron School of Business at UNCW

Time for an Organizational Check-Up?

Posted by Swain Center on Nov 10, 2017 8:00:00 AM


This Insights article was contributed by Laura Gail Lunsford, PhD, Director of the UNCW Swain Center.

Flu season started early this year and looks to be a bad one[1]. My drug store is even paying me to get a flu shot!

Feeling Sick?

When you have a sore throat and a fever you go to the physician.  Physicians (and nurses) may ask a lot of questions but none of us think “Gee, this doctor doesn’t work in my field so she can’t possibly help me.”

Want to Get Healthier?

If we are feeling good but want to get in better shape we join a gym or take a fitness class. As we fill out that intake form we don’t think “Wow, I really hope to have a trainer who knows about my field.” We don’t expect these folks to be in our same ‘industry’ because there is expertise about medicine and health that applies across people and organizations.

Organizational Physicians

The same is true for organizations. University executive education centers are full of “Doctors”, who know a lot about employee engagement, communication, leadership, operations, etc. In fact, the primary meaning of the word doctor refers to people with PhDs. Physicians take your ‘health history’ before making recommendations about what you need to do - - just like our doctors will want to understand your organizational context.

University executive education centers draw from expert faculty members to facilitate courses. These faculty members know content and how to teach it to others. At the Cameron School of Business our faculty members have studied many organizations, which increases their knowledge of the problem and of possible solutions. They know about strategy, leadership, project management, and more, in a lot of industries. Take Dr. Magnus in our management department – she has worked with teams in for-profit and governmental agencies. Yet, her well-known work with NASA teams has applications for teams in other organizational types.

In other words – our faculty members have an extensive set of tools in their ‘medicine’ bag to diagnose problems and recommend options to increase health and wellness. In fact, lately I have come to think of university executive education centers as providing ‘Organizational Physicians’.

Organizational Physicians: Top Five Benefits

  1. Fix what ails you. Executive and professional education will help reduce ‘ailments’ by providing an objective perspective on performance and can increase employee knowledge and skills.
  2. Increase organizational ‘health’. Executive education provides learning spaces for highly performing employees to learn and try out new skills on communication, strategic thinking, and change management.
  3. Find out what the best ‘medicine’ is. Professional education focuses on providing employees technical skills to improve organizational health through process improvement and increased productivity. Project management, for example, helps employees manage complex projects faster, more efficiently, and on or under budget. Data Analytics might help employees reduce time in analyzing data and creating easy to understand visuals of that data.
  4. Obtain objective, knowledgeable advice. Faculty members may consult, but it is not their main gig. As a result, they are objective and not interested in ‘up selling’ their product. In fact, I have found that many of our faculty members teach in executive education because they want to help people be better at work.
  5. Learn from an expert teacher. Faculty members teach… a lot. You may have experts in your organization but they may be too busy to mentor or coach everyone who needs it. Further, they may not be able to articulate a framework for leadership outside of their experience that can be taught to others.

Next time you need an organizational physician consider the Swain Center for executive and professional education at UNCW. Check out upcoming courses at


Topics: business development, professional development

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all

Cameron School of Business at UNCW

UNCW was established as Wilmington College in 1947. The Department of Business and Economics became the Cameron School of Business in 1979. Focused on the transformation of today’s business world from the industrial age into the information age, business education at the Cameron School of Business is focused on the technical, analytical and interpersonal skills students will need to lead this fundamental change in the business world through the 21st century.

On our blog, you will find:

  • Stories of our students, both past and present
  • Highlights of our impressive faculty and staff members
  • Exciting ties to the community
  • Business tips and insights on both a local and international scale
For more information, visit our site or reach out to us!