Foundation Spotlight: Bray-Howard Research Grant
Supports Multifaceted Research
The Douglas W. Bray and Ann Howard Research Grant was created to support research on assessment centers and the development of leaders or managers. Established at the end of 2003, the fund has since grown into one of the largest endowed subfunds of the SIOP Foundation.
To date there have been two recipients of research grants from the fund. Both awardees demonstrated how seed money can set up projects that address a number of research questions. Data analyses from each of these projects have yielded multiple presentations and publications that advanced the profession.
The first Bray-Howard grant of $10,000 was awarded to a team led by Deborah Rupp of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.* The team included Alyssa M. Gibbons and Sang E. Woo of the University of Illinois, Myungjoon Kim of the Korean Psychological Testing Institute, and Lori A. Snyder of the University of Oklahoma. This team combined the Bray-Howard grant with other funds to set up a developmental assessment center program to study leadership development in managers. This research was the foundation for several journal articles that addressed topics such as constructing parallel simulation exercises and development engagement within and following developmental assessment centers. In addition, the Psychologist-Manager Journal sponsored a special issue on developmental assessment centers (Volume 9, Number 2, 2006) that comprised five more articles spun from research funded by the award. Deborah Rupp dedicated the issue to the legacy of Doug Bray. Several papers supported by this award were also presented at the SIOP conference, the Academy of Management, and the International Congress on Assessment Center Methods.
*Affiliations at the time the award was received. Current affiliations are as follows: Deborah Rupp, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Alyssa M. Gibbons, Colorado State University; Sang E. Woo, Purdue University; Myungjoon Kim, ASSESTA; and Lori A. Snyder, University of Oklahoma.
The second winner of the Bray-Howard award, Filip Lievens of Ghent University in Belgium, investigated how to apply trait-activation theory to improve assessment centers. Lievens used the $9,500 grant to develop role player prompts in assessment center exercises, train 19 role players to use them, videotape 223 candidates who underwent the exercises, and evaluate the use of the prompts in the assessment process. Several studies sprang from this foundation. The first, demonstrating that the role players could use the prompts with negligible ill effects on candidates’ reactions, was presented at the 2010 SIOP conference in Atlanta. Two additional papers are currently in preparation and will be submitted for the 2011 conference.
These initial award winners’ productive use of their research grants confirms that the Bray-Howard fund is achieving its intended purpose. The winners’ success should also be an inspiration to others who can take advantage of the grant for their own research. Although the first two awards supported research on assessment centers, proposals around leader or manager development that use other methods are also eligible for grants.
The Bray-Howard Research Grant is administered by the SIOP Awards Committee. Look for a formal request for proposals in the next issue of TIP. Seed money is awaiting your research ideas!