Shelly Groves Brandon, DBA ’22, was nominated for the Academy of Management’s William H. Newman Award, which recognizes the best paper based on a doctoral dissertation at the academy’s annual conference. Brandon developed her paper, “The Role of Perceived Organizational Support and Leader-Member Exchange in Developing the Intention to Engage in Scholarly Activities,” with the guidance of professor R. Greg Bell, PhD, Brandon’s dissertation chair, and professors Brian Murray, PhD, and Scott Wysong, PhD, who served as dissertation committee members.
What is your dissertation about?
My dissertation looks at the role of perceived organizational support and how that develops faculty members’ intention to engage in scholarly activities. So, in other words, how do we get faculty members to be more productive? It examines how the organization at large impacts that productivity and how faculty members’ relationship with their leader impacts that activity.
Specifically, I was interviewing faculty members who were part of a national cancer institute.
What did you find valuable about the dissertation process and the DBA program?
One of the things I loved about our program is that it is a scientist-practitioner model. You apply the research you have learned to real-life scenarios. When I thought of my dissertation, I asked, “How do I use the environment that I’m in?” I work with faculty in cancer research, so that’s where I started. I started thinking about innovation and how to make faculty members more innovative.
After several discussions with my committee, we started talking about the theory of planned behavior and productivity. So, my idea about innovation turned to the science of productivity, ultimately relating to lower morbidity and better quality of life in patients.
Whatever I was learning in the program, I was applying at work. One of the things I remember applying as a manager was goal-setting. I did a whole paper on goal-setting; there is actual science and research behind it that we take for granted. The idea of the program is to understand the research behind it, how it should be done, how the inventors envisioned it, how it’s been tweaked over time and how to apply it in a real-life setting.
How did your dissertation reach the Academy of Management?
Submission was encouraged by an email from Dr. Bell. He said the academy was accepting papers, and I asked, “Will my paper be appropriate?” and he said yes. So, the fact that professors are introducing the students to this environment is a plus. I had the opportunity to meet my collaborators and present my work on a national scale; so many things happened at that conference, and it is because, being a leader in the program, Dr. Bell opened up those opportunities to us. Kudos to Dr. Bell and the leaders at the school for showing us that those opportunities exist.
What advice would you give current DBA students?
Your dissertation is not the end. It is the beginning of new possibilities and opportunities, especially if you choose to go down that route of research and scientific activity.