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A plainspoken Midwesterner, management instructor Ken Crangle knows how to boil down concepts and communicate them succinctly.
Raised in Kansas and educated in Iowa and Illinois, Crangle spent 28 years at Hewlett-Packard before joining the College of Business in 2013. He teaches Organizational Leadership and Management (BA 550) and Managing Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility (BA 559).
“I mix the academic stuff with practical business experience,” said Crangle, whose final role at Hewlett-Packard was building the Halo videoconferencing operation. “It helps me connect to the material and helps the students connect to the material.”
Crangle shares a recent story he told his students regarding ethics:
He and a colleague faced a situation where millions of dollars in product was delayed in port in a foreign country by officials wanting a bribe, a relatively small one compared to the value of the shipment.
“We had a lot of discussions about what was the right thing to do,” Crangle said. “Ultimately we talked about, do we want to live in a world where companies engage in bribery? The answer was no – we let it sit on the dock.”
When Crangle and his students discuss ethical dilemmas, he talks in terms of having “two good angels on your shoulders. One of them is telling you what the right thing to do is, and the other is telling you what the best thing to do is, and oftentimes the best thing and the right thing aren’t the same.”
Crangle earned a bachelor’s degree from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, majoring in economics and mathematics, and he has an MBA from the University of Chicago. After graduate school, he taught at Graceland for a year before starting at Hewlett-Packard, rising to the rank of Inkjet Supplies controller by age 29.
Later, Crangle was general manager for HP Digital Publishing Solutions and also had executive responsibilities as supply chain manager and marketing manager for Inkjet Supplies.
While working for HP in the San Francisco Bay Area, he taught night classes at San Jose State, and when he retired, he sought out the College of Business for a similar opportunity.
Some of his key teaching themes:
-- Leadership is creating a better future and choosing to take care of a group.
-- Make development of leadership skills a lifelong practice – think about how to develop them and how to measure them.
-- To be an effective cross-cultural leader, you have to immerse yourself in the other culture and have allies who serve as guides.
-- Always remember that every person wants to be listened to and wants to make a contribution.
Crangle said that as a young man he hadn’t dreamed of a business career or any specific pursuit, knowing only that he wanted to be “challenged, interested, learning and making a contribution.”
“Now that I’m a teacher, my kids know what I do,” joked Crangle, who is married with three grown daughters. “During my business career, they never knew what I actually did. Now they know.”