One of the most prestigious faculty honors at Michigan State University is the William J. Beal Outstanding Faculty Award. Each year, 10 recipients are honored for exceptional service to the university based on their comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and creative activities, instruction and outreach.

Don Conlon

Don Conlon, Gambrel Family Endowed Professor of Management

This year, a Broad Spartan was among the best: Don Conlon, Gambrel Family Endowed Professor of Management. Conlon, a renowned scholar who has been with the Broad College since 1998, said this is truly a highlight of his career.

“It is the most pleasant surprise I have ever received in my career,” he said. “The reason I say that is because I know, after being here for 22 years, how difficult it is to receive such an award. MSU is a huge institution with great faculty all over the place, and they only give out a maximum of 10 of these awards in any given year.”

Conlon is recognized internationally for his scholarship in organizational justice, managerial decision making, negotiation and dispute resolution and creative team research, which helps leaders understand how abstract concepts such as voice, transparency and fairness can be translated into effective organizational practices.

He has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals, many of which include doctoral students as co-authors because of his commitment to providing students with solid research and publishing experiences.

In the classroom, Conlon has taught in every Broad program: undergraduate, master’s, MBA, Executive MBA and Ph.D. He has been an innovator, using experiential, hands-on exercises and interactions. He even devised a process for behavioral examinations to provide feedback about what students do, not just what they know.

A high note

With the Beal Award in hand, this month Conlon closes his second term as chairperson of the Department of Management on a high note. While at the helm for a total of 12 years, he made significant strides to keep the department at the forefront of research productivity.

“The MSU management department has been in the top five in annual research productivity in the top management and applied psychology journals for most of my tenure as chairperson,” he said. “We rank second in total top-tier publications over the most recent five-year period, trailing only the Wharton School of Business, which has a far larger set of management faculty. I am proud to not only have contributed to those numbers but to have helped our faculty be their most productive.”

As chair from 2005 to 2011, he led the creation of two endowments with support from faculty and alumni for research and the management Ph.D. program. In addition, he oversaw the development and launch of the department’s online M.S. in Management, Strategy and Leadership, which has become the largest graduate degree program in the college with more than 300 students.

“In the eight years the program has been in existence, it has graduated hundreds of new Spartan alumni and provided valuable resources to the university, college and department,” he said. “As we would say in the negotiation literature, this program has been a ‘win-win’ benefiting the students and MSU.”

Most recently, as chair from 2015 to 2021, Conlon was selected for the Gambrel Family Endowed Professorship in Management and co-hosted the Broad College podcast for two seasons, elevating impactful research from the college’s six departments.

As a Beal Award recipient, Conlon joins three Broad Spartans who were honored in the past: Vallabh Sambamurthy in 2014, Brian Pentland in 2015 and Shawnee Vickery in 2018. And with each recognition, the Broad College’s status as a top-of-mind business school is reinforced with passionate faculty leading the way.

Due to the pandemic, MSU will be recognizing the 2021 recipients at the 2022 all-university awards convocation.