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W&L Professor Launches New Podcast, ‘Demystifying Organizations’ Jeff Schatten, assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University, said he launched the podcast in part because of student input.

Jeff Schatten, assistant professor of business administration at Washington and Lee University, recently launched a podcast, “Demystifying Organizations.” The new project was inspired by his love for podcasts, and by a student’s suggestion. We asked Professor Schatten a few questions about his work.

Jeff-Schatten W&L Professor Launches New Podcast, 'Demystifying Organizations'Jeff Schatten, assistant professor of business administration.

 Tell us more about your podcast.

This podcast features conversations with the world’s leading management thinkers and executives on a broad range of topics that are vital to organizations. I focus on diverse themes that are universal to understanding our place in 21st-century organizations, such as what motivates us to work (or be lazy), how technology is shaping our interactions and identity, and the ways in which leaders can more effectively enact change on a large scale.

Why organizations?

Fundamentally, our lives are deeply impacted by our interactions with a variety of organizations, such as W&L, the city council or your company/employer, or your experience walking the aisles at Lowe’s. While we intuitively know that organizations provide the building blocks of our society, most people have never really stopped to think about why some organizations are more effective than others in accomplishing their goals. By peeling back the layers of organizational management, listeners will hopefully be more informed about organizations, but also better equipped to make meaningful contributions to their workplaces. Ultimately, a deep dive into the relationship between individuals and organizations will give listeners a better understanding of their own identity in relation to the organizations that shape their lives, and, in turn, how they can shape their organizations.

 Who have you interviewed during the podcast?

Anyone and everyone who has a unique lens into management and organizations. I have interviewed top thought leaders, academics, bestselling authors, an artificial intelligence researcher—even the founder and CEO of the Ritz Carlton. I constantly seek out new thinkers who can fundamentally challenge the way in which we might think and rethink organizations.

 Who is your audience?

I hope to have as broad an audience as possible, but the core group consists of business students, managers, entrepreneurs and people interested in the management topics that I address.

Why did you decide to do your own podcast?

This idea, like many new paths at W&L, started with student complaints. I assign a podcast for every class of the semester and a few students argued (ever so politely) that the podcasts are too tangential to the core material that we cover. One student said “you should do your own podcast,” so the idea was born. It has been a lot of fun putting this together and having the chance to have deep discussions with such a diverse set of brilliant thinkers.