Research Draws International Award for CSU Management Prof

Phil Bryant, assistant professorCOLUMBUS, Ga. — Research into workplace turnover, co-authored by Columbus State University management professor Phil Bryant, has been recognized internationally.

“Retaining Talent: Replacing Misconceptions With Evidence-Based Strategies” has drawn the Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division’s 2011 Outstanding Practitioner Publication Award as best practitioner-oriented paper published in the previous year.

Bryant, an assistant professor in the Turner College of Business and Computer Science, collaborated with David G. Allen of the University of Memphis and James M. Vardaman of Mississippi State University on the piece published in the May 2010 issue of the Academy of Management Perspectives.

A committee of respected scholars selected the work, based on the authors’ intent to “bridge a gap between science and practice in this area” and replace “several misconceptions about turnover” with guidelines for retention strategies.

Conventionally, employee turnover is necessary and involuntary or undesirable and voluntary. Both results are costly. Bryant and his colleagues point to potentially overlooked benefits such as cost savings during vacancy and through a replacement with less seniority, infusion of new skills and-or creativity, an opportunity to promote or transfer in-house or an opportunity to restructure to the workplace.

The authors contend misconceptions lie with the notion of a standard approach to retaining employees and that voluntary turnover is unavoidable and caused by dissatisfaction with pay and-or the nature of the job. The authors describe pay level-satisfaction as a “weak predictor” and job dissatisfaction as causing less than half of departures.

The paper offers evidence that cause-effect relationships and human resource management practices can stem turnover. Bryant and his colleagues provide new tools such as an illustration of the relative strength of turnover predictors, a summary of evidence-based strategies for managing turnover and a new framework for implementing such strategies.

“Their attempt to encourage managers to think beyond naïve theories of turnover makes a contribution,” said one of the judges for the award. “Turnover is an important issue that is more complicated than most managers think.”

The academy, serving more than 18,000 members in about 100 countries, will present the award during its Aug. 15 annual meeting in San Antonio.

Bryant said he and Allen, his Memphis colleague, are now preparing a book, Managing Employee Turnover: Myths to Dispel and Strategies for Effective Management, that is scheduled for publication in the latter half of 2012 by Business Expert Press, a publisher that specializes in applied, concise business books written by experts for non-experts.

Bryant completed his doctorate at the University of Memphis and joined the Turner College of Business and Computer Science faculty in fall 2010 from Christian Brothers University in Memphis. His teaching includes courses in CSU’s Master of Organizational Leadership program.