Sara L. Rynes, the John F. Murray Professor of Management and Organizations in the Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa, has been awarded the 2011 Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
The $50,000 award honors Rynes’ contributions to human resource management, where her career work has established her as one of the field’s most respected researchers.
She is the first woman to receive the award, which was created in 2002 and is named for Michael R. Losey, a former president and CEO of SHRM. Eight of the nine Losey Award winners are members of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.
Previous recipients include Wayne Cascio (2010), Ben Schneider (2009), Herbert Heneman III (2008), Michael Beer (2007), Gary Latham (2006), Frank Schmidt (2005), and Edward Lawler in 2002.
Rynes, who earned her doctorate in industrial relations from the University of Wisconsin, has focused her research on job search and recruitment, compensation and human resource strategies, and knowledge transfer between academic researchers and the HR field.
She has been at Iowa for the past 21 years and during her career has established a clear record of research excellence that has impacted the science, teaching, and practice of human resource management. Her work has been published in top-tier journals and HR practitioners have sought her expertise.
She has consulted with several organizations including IBM, AT&T, Corning Glass Works, J. C. Penney, Dana Corp., Citigroup, 3M, and Kraft General Foods.
She was elected a SIOP Fellow in 1993 and is also a Fellow in both the American Psychological Association and the Academy of Management.
In 2003, she was presented the Ulrich & Lake Award for Excellence in HRM Scholarship (2003) for research she and colleagues conducted that showed a significant gap between what academic researchers were finding about HR practices and how HR practitioners were functioning.
In fact, they learned that many HR practitioners were not aware of I-O psychologists’ research findings. “There’s a lot of great research being done, which we need to get into the hands of HR people, managers, and leaders who can make good use of that research,” she said.
“There are boundaries between researchers and practitioners that need to be bridged,” she added. Rynes considers it crucial that academics and practitioners “spend more time together in the same room. Research has found that transferring knowledge occurs best between people with close ties.”
When she was editor of the Academy of Management Journal (2005-07) she emphasized greater flexibility in accepting articles that would show qualitative research and case studies that would be meaningful to practitioners.
She also likes to see younger people inspired by research. At Iowa she is working with colleague Ken Brown to investigate how subjects like organizational behavior, leadership, I-O psychology, and HR management are being taught. “Do the courses include research findings? Is research being introduced to the students? There needs to be a higher priority in seeing the value of research,” she said.
Rynes said she plans to use the money from the award to assist funding for other research projects and to support HR education and job search skills for the unemployed