Standing at the forefront of Human Resource Management
January 20, 2016
Isenberg Welcomes David Lepak
“People are critical resources for organizations. But compared with other 'assets,' people have opinions and emotions; they can walk out the door and never return. They can also withhold effort, be lazy or excel when they choose to. Yet, all companies need employees.” It is this dance between business and the people who fuel it that makes the field of Human Resource Management so intriguing to Isenberg's newest Professor, David Lepak, the internationally renowned scholar whom the school has proposed for its Berthiaume Chair in Business Leadership.
According to Lepak, the way companies solve issues of ‘personal’ vs. ‘personnel’ can have a tremendous impact, from the smallest local business to global corporations. “It’s taking HR Management, which has historically been more psychological, and bringing in economic logic. Putting them together raises really interesting questions.” Above all, one thing is clear. “Companies that manage people well thrive, and companies that manage employees poorly struggle. To me, this is a fascinating aspect of organizational life. I’m passionate about trying to understand the innovations that companies are introducing – what works and what doesn’t.”
“I’m passionate about trying to understand…what works, what doesn’t.”Lepak’s colleagues can vouch for his passion, his record of collaboration and willingness to take on leadership roles. He has been Associate Dean and Chairperson of the HR department at Rutgers University’s School of Management and Labor Relations and he chairs the HR Division of the Academy of Management. He has served as Associate Editor of the Academy of Management Review, is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Human Resource Management, and helped found the Strategic Human Capital Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society.
When asked what inspired him to come to Isenberg, Lepak’s answer was decisive: “It’s being able to work extensively with the junior faculty and the doctoral students and energizing the department’s focus on its strong research tradition.”
“What was really most attractive was…continuing the focus on the strong research tradition.”
The Berthiaume Chair in Business Leadership is an endowed position made possible by the generosity of Doug Berthiaume, whose gifts to the University also helped create the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. Private support allows Isenberg to attract scholars of Professor Lepak’s world-class caliber and reputation. Lepak has coauthored several books on Human Resource Management and has authored articles in top journals, including Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Management.
Isenberg is excited about the leadership that Professor Lepak will bring to his department and to the school. Lepak hopes that his innovative thinking and research will amplify Isenberg’s leadership as a gathering place of ideas. “I hope to be a catalyst in hosting conferences and events that showcase Isenberg and bring people to Amherst to see what a great place it is.”