If it's the excitement of the work itself that can take what you learn in your service, give you ideas about your teaching, and research can flow from it, then there's a tremendous value in doing that.
- Claudia C. Cogliser
My research interests center on three substantive themes: exploring (1) leadership, (2) entrepreneurship, and (3) organizational context, along with complementary foci on research methods and pedagogy. The majority of my scholarship has tried to integrate two or more of these themes, such as studying leadership within the context of a particular organizational form, like virtual teams or reviewing the overlap between the research domains of leadership and entrepreneurship.
Earlier in my career this question might be answered with the standard boilerplate expected in publications in management literature, explaining how my research “tests, extends, or builds management theory and contributes to management practice” (Academy of Management Journal, 2011). More recently, however, my research objectives are driven more from my motive of “doing well by doing good,” and addressing issues of corporate social responsibility, the triple bottom line (measuring organizational success through measures not only economic in nature, but also with environmental and social impact indicators), and sustainability. I started enacting this point of view with my personal service endeavors, expanded it to form the basis for my MBA organizational behavior classes, and am currently doing research on service learning. In particular, my students’ focus on “thinking globally and acting locally,” starts in a Lubbock classroom but continues as they move on in their jobs. At least, that is what I hear anecdotally from some; I’m proposing a longitudinal study to empirically explore this notion. The impact of local action is not restricted to local outcomes, but has a slow but steady trickle-out effect.
Again, my perspective has evolved. At first, I was inspired by reading good research and looking for gaps in the literature that fit my research stream. Now, I am still inspired by good research and strong theory, but my scholarly endeavors are enhanced by what I learn from the global, national, and local news, from students with whom I interact on a daily basis, from conversations with my colleagues in informal settings, and listening to and addressing the issues my teenage children face. The latter is probably the most challenging! The reciprocal nature of what I face in my daily environment along with what I learn as a scholar serves to ignite my passion, which moves me from merely starting projects but also completing them. TTU’S Service Learning mentor program also has provided inspiration, along with a supportive climate and resources to further my work. Finally, as I was thinking toward the tenure process a few years after I came to TTU, I reflected on how management faculty teach that all organizational behavior should be consistent with the broad organizational mission, as well as directed toward specific initiatives identified in the organization’s strategic plan. Toward that end, and with the realization that I had never seen TTU’s strategic plan (or frankly the strategic plan at any university where I had been employed), I read through TTU’s strategic plan. I recognized that the community engagement and diversity pillars of the plan were consistent with (1) what I was doing in the classroom, (2) what interested me in my scholarly work, and (3) offered gratification in terms of what I enjoyed in my community, university, and professional service efforts.
My syllabus suggests that student teams in my graduate class should pick a project that has as its local Lubbock audience, one of the following: environmental sustainability/green issues, child welfare, poverty, homelessness, senior well-being, or healthcare. I selected these because they (1) interested me the most, and (2) were issues that demonstrate ongoing need in Lubbock. Some of the projects students develop over the semester can be sustainable in the organization and subsequent semester teams continue with them or evolve them in some ways.
Other projects highlight needs where my own personal involvement can play a role (e.g., serving as a CASA advocate). The projects orchestrated by my students have ranged from organizing clothing, shoe, and food drives for the new Dream Center, holding a “field day” for 60 Guadalupe Parkway Neighborhood Center students (“Camp Reach”), to developing and recruiting participants for a new mentoring program for children at Women’s Protective Services of Lubbock. Another service project that is new and interesting for me, is working with the Texas Tech University Leadership Institute to offer a four-day/three-night leadership camp at TTU during the summer. Camp L.E.A.D. is a statewide initiative designed to educate and develop high-achieving, rising high school juniors, through innovative leadership training and executive-style programming. I am excited to be a part of this new program and look forward to seeing it executed this July.
I am currently working on three service learning pedagogical projects: (1) the relationship of emotional labor and service learning, (2) the effect of a strengths-based intervention on the relationship of diversity and conflict in student teams, and (3) the relationship of service learning activities in an MBA program to individual corporate social responsibility behavior. Another research activity includes looking at leadership relationships within the concept of diversity (deaf employees and cross-race supervisor/subordinate dyads). I have several studies looking at various leadership constructs and their relationships with outcomes in virtual teams (particularly when the team performance is assessed by deliverables addressing case analysis of an ethical dilemma in an organization).
I have research ongoing in authentic leadership relationships (a pattern of leader behavior that draws upon and promotes both positive psychological capacities and a positive ethical climate, to foster greater self-awareness, an internalized moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency on the part of leaders working with followers, fostering positive self-development) and projects exploring various aspects of entrepreneurial orientation and family business.
First, find things about which you can be passionate (regardless of whether they, on the surface, appear to fit in with your designated scholarly research plan) and clearly identify how and why they create passion for you. At that point, I truly believe the rest will follow. Find ways to integrate these components into your teaching, your research, and the service activities you choose. At first glance, it may not appear that easy, but as you truly think about what excites you, opportunities for integration will become clear. As an untenured assistant professor, a pragmatic point of view involves maximizing the outcome of your service time while minimizing your effort. Finding ways that your service hours inform your research interests and teaching components does just that – and yields a symbiotic outcome as they complement one another. A less pragmatic perspective but one that is more relevant for me, I find that when I am passionate about what I do, the time spent on the three activities (research, teaching, and service) is fun, exciting, and creates a positive work climate.
I am originally from Oradell, New Jersey (suburb of New York City). I have lived all over the country (New Jersey; South Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas, Texas; South Florida; Corvallis, Oregon; Norman, Oklahoma) before settling in Lubbock. My early career was spent in the telecom industry. I took a three-year hiatus from the corporate world, bought a boat, and sailed to England, then back through New England, South Florida, and the Caribbean. I also raced dinghies around the country during those years. My undergraduate degree in business administration (management) was from the University of Miami, and I obtained my Ph.D. in organizational behavior from the University of Miami, as well. I have taught at the University of Miami, Oregon State University, and the University of Oklahoma, in addition to Texas Tech. I am married to management professor Bill Gardner, and we have four children ages 13 to 24.