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Questrom Prof Inducted into Academy of Management

Karen Golden-Biddle honored for mentorship, lifetime contribution to her field

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Karen Golden-Biddle

Karen Golden-Biddle, a Questrom Professor in Management and an organizational behavior professor, is one of nine fellows inducted into the Academy of Management this year. Photo by Dan Watkins

Karen Golden-Biddle’s first job—working on an assembly line inspecting O-rings in high school—left her feeling that there were ways the factory could be better run and its workers better treated. It was a watershed experience. Today, she is a well-known expert on how businesses can achieve both those goals.

A Questrom School of Business professor of organizational behavior, Golden-Biddle is a leading authority on organizational change (often as it relates to the healthcare industry) and qualitative methodology. She describes her work as “looking at how can we create change in a way that fosters the best individuals can bring forward and who they are, as well as contribute to matters of concern, addressing real issues in work environments and beyond.”

She is also a Questrom Professor in Management and the author of 2 books and more than 60 book chapters and articles in management journals such as Organization Science and the Academy of Management Journal. In recognition of her lifetime contributions to the science and practice of management, Golden-Biddle was inducted into the Academy of Management at its 78th annual meeting earlier this month.

Speaking with BU Today a few days after receiving the honor, Golden-Biddle says the significance of her induction hit her while sitting in the crowd at the reception for winners. She learned that only 1.4 percent of the organization’s 20,000 members worldwide are fellows. This year, nine fellows were selected by the organization, which is the major professional association for management and organization scholars. Golden-Biddle joins Tim Hall, a Questrom professor emeritus of organizational behavior, as BU’s only faculty member to earn this distinction. (Howard Thomas, Questrom’s Ahmass Fakahany Visiting Professor in Management, is also a fellow.)

Golden-Biddle was recognized for her teaching and mentorship, which includes serving on 18 dissertation committees, 6 as chair. She was nominated for the honor by Michael Pratt, a Boston College Carroll School of Management professor.

“Perhaps some of you have had the experience of reaching out to someone early in your career who you didn’t know, who wasn’t at your school or on your committee, but nonetheless took an interest in your work,” his nomination letter reads. “Someone who served as a mentor, but without any institutional or obligatory reason for doing so. Karen was that for me and for so many others…. She is so effective in this role at least in part because she has devoted her career to making the important but often implicit parts of what we do—like writing, coding, and theorizing—and has taken the time and energy to make them explicit. In doing so, she is a mentor to generations of scholars, especially qualitative scholars.”

The Academy of Management induction is the latest in a string of honors Golden-Biddle has earned over her career. She won the 2013 Douglas McGregor Award from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science for her paper on organizational change and the Academy of Management’s Robert McDonald Award for the Advancement of Organizational Research Methodology for her study on writing qualitative research.

Golden-Biddle joined the BU faculty in 2007 and was Questrom’s senior associate dean from 2011 to 2015. Prior to joining the University, she taught at the University of Alberta and Emory University, and was a visiting professor at several other universities. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Denison University and an MBA and a PhD at Case Western Reserve University.

Describing her field of research, she says: “Organizational behavior more generally says, how can we create work environments that help people grow, foster their potential, and contribute to work? Half of people are unhappy at work right now, and that’s a lot…. People want change and good leadership, and organizational behavior is about that.”

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Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

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