Using the Mysterious Forces within a Company

You are smart, successful, ambitious, and getting caught in the things you hate most -- office politics and culture -- the “mysterious forces” that can confuse you and derail your career. But there is hope -- when you understand the most powerful human and organizational dynamics flowing around you, you can navigate more effectively. Debbie will present a model to help you observe and decode your enterprise atmosphere at micro and macro levels. The model can guide you to tune into subtle details and put them into a comprehensive, yet nuanced picture so you understand what is really going on. You will start putting your sociological detective work to use right in the workshop. Bring a brief description of one or two of your most challenging organizational conundrums so you can start untangling them and moving forward immediately.

This session will be in workshop form – part presentation, part small group work, part individual planning.


Deborah Ferro Burke MBA, PhD, created and delivered the Corporate Entry Leadership Program for early-career high-potentials at Crotonville, GE’s John F. Welch Global Leadership Center. She innovated broad-scale qualitative organization assessments throughout GE, and was a thought leader, manager, and later a consultant for Work-Out, the Change Acceleration Program, and Six-Sigma. She has consulted at the corporate and business levels in auto, chemical and insurance companies, growing tech companies, and at Simmons Graduate School of Business and Harvard University. She is a mentor/instructor at MIT’s Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP) and was associate professor at Rensselaer’s Lally School of Management and Technology. Debbie is currently coaching sales executives at a large technology company and fast track millennials facing quarter-life realignments. She has explored how people learn and organizations change in the recent publications below. She has an MBA and a PhD in Human and Organization Systems.

Our interview with Debbie



“Big Companies and Big Gurus...Can They Still Make Big Impact?” in Social Change in the Modern Workplace: New Research and Scholarly Reflections, Fielding Graduate University Monograph Series, Volume I, 2014. 

The GE Work-Out: How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy & Attacking Organizational Problems...Fast! (Ulrich, Kerr and Ashkenas, McGraw-Hill, 2002), contributing author 


Date and Time:  
June 10, 2015
6:00 - 8:30 PM


5:50-6:10pm: Registration and light dinner
6:10-6:30pm: Facilitated networking
6:30-8:00pm: Training/workshop
8:00-8:30pm: Optional networking


The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, 415 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02142



Members: $35; Non-Members: $55, Workshop and Annual Membership: $120

This is part of the summer series and you can register for multiple events at a discounted rate.

** We are offering a special rate for postdocs who register on or before May 16th to attend all four events for only $90.  Please email [email protected] for the discount code.

A light dinner will be served.

To Register






If you are a student looking for financial assistance to attend this event, please visit