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John W. Boudreau Wins 2013 Losey Award for Research

By Aliah D. Wright  10/2/2013
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SAN DIEGO—John W. Boudreau, Ph.D., director of research at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California (USC), received the 2013 Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award for his contributions in helping the HR profession make a strategic impact in the business world.

“The award reflects my good fortune to have had such amazing students and colleagues in industry and academia, including Michael Losey himself, and the privilege of collaborating with so many of my fellow Losey Award winners,” Boudreau said in accepting a plaque and the accompanying $50,000 prize Oct. 1 during the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2013 Strategy Conference.

The prestigious award recognizes significant contributions to the HR field through empirical research and its application to practice. Recent recipients have included Eduardo Salas, Ph.D., Sara L. Rynes, Ph.D., and Wayne F. Cascio, Ph.D.

Henry G. "Hank" Jackson, president and CEO of SHRM, said, “Business practices and the HR profession are more effective because of [Boudreau’s] work. Through his years of research, writing and education, John Boudreau has helped organizations of all types understand the value of HR.” 

Shortly after accepting the award, Boudreau spoke of his father, who worked on computers “that took up the whole room.” One day, after his father had spent long hours at work, Boudreau asked him how he felt about his job. His dad said his supervisor, whom he admired, had taken the sales staff out for dinner.

“I’m fine with this organization,” his father said, “but if that supervisor knew how much it would mean to take [the tech staff] out for dinner … it would have such an effect,” Boudreau recalled.

“That supervisor needed somebody—I think he needed someone in HR” to encourage recognition of all workers’ contributions.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people like my dad, and you are making their work lives better when you can help change the lives of people by helping them understand principles like motivation, engagement, and turnover,” Boudreau told the HR executives in the room.

Boudreau is a previous SHRM Foundation grant recipient recognized for breakthrough research on the link between strong talent practices, pivotal human capital and a competitive edge in business. An advocate of corporate-academic partnerships, Boudreau has spent more than 30 years helping organizations worldwide improve talent management decisions.

He is professor of management and organization in the Marshall School of Business at USC.

The award, established in 2000, is named in honor of former SHRM President and CEO Michael R. Losey, SPHR. Given by the boards of SHRM, the HR Certification Institute and the SHRM Foundation, the award recognizes HR academics or experts whose research significantly advances the field of HR management. The award helps fund future individual contributions to the field.

Boudreau has written 100 books and articles, including Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage (Jossey-Bass, 2011); Retooling HR: Using Proven Business Tools to Make Better Decisions About Talent (Harvard Business Review Press, 2010); and Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital (Harvard Business Review Press, 2007).

Formerly a professor of human resource studies at Cornell University, he served as director of the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies. He was the founding academic adviser of Sun Microsystems Human Resources R&D Laboratory and director of the Central Europe Human Resource Education Initiative.

Boudreau holds a doctorate and a master of science degree in industrial administration from Purdue University and a bachelor of business degree from New Mexico State University.

Aliah D. Wright, author of A Necessary Evil: Managing Employee Activity on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn … and the Hundreds of Other Social Media Sites (SHRM, 2013), is editor/manager for the business leadership and technology disciplines for SHRM Online.

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