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Award Winning Research Shows Need for Better Communication between HR Research and Practice

When times are rough for businesses, they can be particularly hard for human resource (HR) professionals. Through the years, academic researchers have developed best practices for the HR profession that can assist with many of today's business challenges. However, recent research by several University of Iowa faculty members shows that it's hard for many HR professionals to keep up with the latest research in the field and that many are unaware that these best practices exist.

In their paper, "HR Professionals' Beliefs about Effective Human Resource Practices: Correspondence Between Research and Practice," authors Sara Rynes, Ken Brown, and Amy Colbert discover that there is a knowledge gap between academia and the profession. This research, published in the summer 2002 issue of the Human Resource Management Journal, has won the Ulrich & Lake Award for Excellence, which is presented to the best paper published in the 2002 volume of the Journal. Rynes, Brown, and Colbert are all members of the Management and Organizations Department of The University of Iowa's Henry B. Tippie College of Business.

"Many academics believe that the problem has been that implementation of best practices is difficult," states Brown. "But our research finds there is a more fundamental need for these practices to be communicated to HR professionals." This research was conducted in part through a research grant provided by the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation.

The Ulrich & Lake Award was created to provide recognition for Dave Ulrich and Gerry Lake's many contributions to the development of the Human Resource Management Journal. The selection process involved soliciting nominations from the associate editors. The editorial board reviewed the papers that received the most nominations and selected a winner. Although there were many outstanding papers in the 2002 volume, this article was judged to be the "best of the best."

The award carries with it a $1000 cash prize as well as a handsome plaque. The award will be presented at the Society for Human Resource Management annual conference in Orlando, Florida, in late June.

Sara Rynes is the department chair and John F. Murray Professor of Management and Organizations in the Tippie College. Her areas of expertise include job search and recruitment, compensation strategies and outcomes, human resource strategies, and knowledge transfer.

Ken Brown is an assistant professor and a Huneke Faculty Research Fellow in the Tippie College. His research covers such topics as motivation and self-regulation, e-learning, and training design and evaluation.

Amy Colbert is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Tippie College Department of Management and Organizations. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on values and transformational leadership and she plans to graduate in 2004.

The Human Resource Management Journal gathers management ideas and insights from the world's top HR experts--from the academic thought leaders to the professional managers who provide cutting-edge leadership. It highlights trends, organizational design ideas, and cultural changes affecting the workforce. The Journal is sponsored by the University of Michigan Business School, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

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