Dr. Nancy Lam is a relative newcomer to the Graduate Business School faculty at Saint Mary's College. Growing up in California and educated at UC Berkeley, Lam left her familiar surroundings to pursue a doctorate degree in Organizational Behavior from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Now she is back in the Bay Area, at Saint Mary's College, as part of a successful recruitment effort that sought to add a number of new faculty members to the Graduate Business School program. And in just one year's time, Lam has already begun to distinguish herself as a rising star. Her recent honor came last month when she received the Best Paper Award in the management track at the 3rd Annual American Business Research Conference in New York. The paper was entitled "Pitching, Testing and Fishing: Managerial Voice Propagation Across Hierarchies."
"I learned a lot at the conference. There were a couple papers that analyzed the recent protest situation in Egypt from a social media and groups perspective. Another paper was a collaboration between a mathematician and pperations scholar. The international and interdisciplinary aspect of the conference enhanced the learning experience," said Lam.
Each year the conference hosts scholars from around the world to present their research in management, marketing, operations, finance and economics.
"It is common for people in the workplace to withhold voice from supervisors, or not speak up in situations where it would benefit the organization, " Lam explained. "We know that speaking up the hierarchy is fraught with fear and risk, and these two factors often stop employees from sharing input that is crucial to organizational success. But perhaps speaking up, down and across the hierarchy achieves different objectives for the employee." Lam's paper proposes that speaking up, across and down the hierarchy correlates with "pitching" ideas to management, "testing" ideas with peers and "fishing" for information from subordinates to substantiate ideas.
"We know quite a bit about speaking up the hierarchy, but there is still plenty to find out about speaking out in the workplace," she said. Lam will continue her work and plans to further investigate voice in the workplace. "I hope that through research I can help employees inject more input into the organization. Employee input is frequently the first ingredient in having creativity at the workplace."
About the Saint Mary's College Graduate Business Programs:
Founded in 1863, Saint Mary's College of California is a cornerstone institution of the San Francisco bay area. After nearly 150 years, with a network of more than 40,000 alumni worldwide, Saint Mary's tradition of educational excellence is stronger than ever. Saint Mary's Graduate Business Programs are grounded in this same rich history and tradition of excellence. With a focus on global perspective and responsible business, all of our five distinct graduate business degree programs are designed for working professionals who seek the knowledge and skills needed to accelerate their careers. The degree programs include Professional MBA, Executive and Hybrid Executive MBA, Trans-Global Executive MBA, and the Master of Science in Financial Analysis & Investment Management. Small class sizes facilitate collaboration, accessibility, and engaging discussions with our distinguished faculty, and an interactive learning environment focused on practical business knowledge, serves to provide our students with the maximum return on their investment.