Dr. Jenna Pieper, assistant professor of management, joined the faculty at the UNL College of Business Administration last fall on the heels of winning the Ralph Alexander Dissertation Award presented by the Academy of Management. The award is only presented when a dissertation is deemed to have comprehensively addressed a significant problem in the human resources field.
Pieper’s dissertation looked at characteristics of the job referrer when trying to predict referral hire performances and the likelihood of the hire leaving the organization.
“I looked at characteristics such as if the referrer was a high performing employee, were they more likely to refer someone who was also a high performer,” Pieper said.
She also looked at tenure of the referrer to see the implications that had with the referral. Ultimately, she believes the overall rigorousness of her dissertation helped win the award.
“My dissertation looks at the whole story of referrals,” she said. “What happens to the referral hires as well as the one who refers. No one has ever looked at refers so that was new.”
One of the main overarching aspects of the dissertation was to examine if a referral hire leaves an organization whether that might create a snowball effect. Likewise, if the employee is retained does that increase retention and performance.
Pieper, who grew up in Harvard, Neb., before receiving her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, employed multiple outcomes in the dissertation and new methods that are unique to management research.
“I’m currently preparing two papers for publication based on my dissertation,” she said. “One is a collaborative paper with Dr. Dennis Duchon from CBA and Dr. Ingo Weller at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany.”