Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Another conference presentation...

This time, I'm collaborating with my husband. I have been his un-official research assistant for the past 13 years, writing many articles together. It felt good when he said that in this collaboration, he could see the difference in my writing and analysis after one year in the PhD program.

We're presenting this paper at the Academy of Management today--in Hawaii. I know what you are thinking--Hawaii, how nice, but the truth is that the last few annual conference of management professors have been August in Dallas, August in Las Vegas and August in New Orleans, so this is a nice change.

Our paper examines the effect of trust on turnover in an organization. We have been studying a family-owned firm and our preliminary results show that the amount of trust that staff have in management is important in reducing the amount of voluntary turnover that occurs among those staff level employees. This is an important finding because so often in service-sector industries, there is high turnover due to employee's desires for ever increasing pay, without regard to firm loyalty. Our research demonstrates that building trust and empowerment within staff ranks can be important in retaining those excellent employees, thus reducing employment costs.

This is important to understand as well because it is getting difficult just to find staff for service-sector jobs. We met an entrepreneur just this week who is opening a new shipping store in our neighborhood and mentioned that he is having a hard time finding good people to hire, let alone keep.

We love when our research is helpful to practicing managers. It is what keeps us going.

I have to say that it is fun to work with my husband, as well. When we got married 20 years ago, we both worked at General Motors. We had no idea then that we would continue to work so closely together throughout our marriage.


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