U of M Center Addressing Problems of Area Businesses University News
By: Ann Brock

Members of the industrial/organizational and management faculty have established the University of Memphis Center for Organizational Research and Effectiveness (UMCORE) to address management problems in Mid-South businesses and organizations.

Some of the issues UMCORE deals with are employee retention, performance appraisal, harassment, leadership, training, motivation and organizational change. Team members design a study, collect and analyze data and then identify potential solutions regarding the problem the business is facing.

Dr. Ron Landis, director of the Center, said that all projects are research driven.

Dr. Ron Landis
Dr. Ron Landis
“When we help an organization with a specific issue, not only are we helping them solve the problem, but we also see the academic value in conducting the research required to solve the problem. We turn the experience into something of a scholarly nature.”

UMCORE provides students opportunities to apply research skills, methodologies and theoretical concepts learned in the class-room in real workplace labs.

Graduate students working in businesses and organizations will gather data for theses and dissertations, publish journal articles and make presentations at conferences.

UMCORE members are currently involved in a project with the U.S. Navy to study how individual characteristics of team members ultimately influence team performance in uncertain or changing environments.

“The Navy is interested in selecting and developing individuals who can effectively work in team-based situations and respond with adaptability and flexibility to 21st century challenges,” Landis said.

Graduate students David Earnest, Chanda Murphy and Sarah Petschonek are serving as research assistants on the project.

UMCORE has three missions: to provide an inter-disciplinary foundation for people to share common research interests; to be a visible entity for the local business community which might have problems that need to be solved; and to provide graduate students workplace locations in which to apply their knowledge.

Landis said, “Modern organizations need assistance solving serious issues related to their human capital. UMCORE has the expertise and training to assist them in successfully addressing these issues while at the same time providing a rich learning environment for students.”

Landis is associate professor and director of the industrial/organizational research area in psychology.He is a member of the editorial boards of Organizational Research Methods, Journal of Management, Personnel Psychology and Journal of Applied Psychology.

Dr. David Allen, associate director of the Center, is associate professor of management and director of the management PhD program in Fogelman. He does organizational research and consulting on topics such as recruitment, retention and organizational effectiveness, and has worked with several regional organizations.

Another member of the group is Dr. Charles Pierce, professor of management and coordinator of the management PhD program in Fogelman. He teaches courses in human resources management and employee staffing and development.

Dr. John Amis, associate professor of management in Fogelman, is also a member of the research team. Issues of organizational and institutional change are his predominant research interests.

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Last Updated: 12/21/12