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Broad alumni stand out for impactful management research

By Haley Tran, student writer
Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Each year, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology announces a variety of awards to recognize excellence across professional and student research and practice. One such award is the Distinguished Early Career Contribution, honoring young research professionals who have made an immediate impact in the field of management and organizational behavior.

For years, Broad Spartan alumni of the Ph.D. in Management program have been honored with this award, and last month, Fadel Matta (Ph.D. ’16) continued this legacy as the 2023 recipient.

“I have always hoped to win the SIOP award for early career contributions one day, ever since I started my scholar career. It was the award for early career — a recognition that many people in my field eye and talk about,” Matta said. “Past recipients are respectable people in academia that have all gone on to make huge impacts and drive revolutionary changes in their fields. They are internationally recognized for their research contributions and research productivity. I was incredibly honored to be named among these talented individuals.”

Since leaving the banks of the Red Cedar, Matta has been teaching at the University of Georgia and is now a Terry Dean’s Advisory Council Distinguished Professor and an associate professor in its Department of Management. He lectures on organizational behavior and research methodology to a wide range of students, including undergraduate, executive MBA and Ph.D. Beyond teaching, Matta also dedicates his time to research, which centers on illuminating supervisor–employee interactions, leader–member exchange and organizational justice and fairness.

Matta has published 27 peer-reviewed articles, 25 of which were in top-tier management journals and 11 in the Academy of Management Journal, one of the most influential business journals in the world. According to Google Scholar, his work has been cited over 2,100 times. Matta currently serves on five editorial boards for five top-tier journals, including Academy of Management Journal and Academy of Management Review.

As a proud Broad Spartan, Matta attributed his career success so far to his time at Michigan State.

“I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t go to Michigan State,” he said. “The Ph.D. in Management program had provided me with every opportunity to exercise my ability and motivation, and the amazing professors I worked with all taught me different things that made me more well-rounded as a researcher and educator.”

He noted the contributions of faculty members in the Department of Management, including the late Don Conlon, Gambrel Family Professor in Management; Linn Van Dyne, professor emeritus; John Hollenbeck, associate dean of research and Eli Broad University Professor of Business; Russell Johnson, MSU Foundation Professor of management and Brent Scott, Frederick S. Addy Distinguished Professor of management and director of the Ph.D. in Management program.

Scott, who won the same SIOP award in 2014, was Matta’s advisor at MSU, inspiring him to work hard for this high honor.

“On behalf of everyone in the department, I’d like to congratulate Fadel on this tremendous accomplishment,” Scott said. “He’s truly deserving of this award and is a model for our doctoral students to emulate. I’m just thankful that he chose Michigan State for his doctoral studies!”

I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t go to Michigan State. The Ph.D. in Management program had provided me with every opportunity to exercise my ability and motivation, and the amazing professors I worked with all taught me different things that made me more well-rounded as a researcher and educator.
Fadel Matta

Matta added, “I was lucky to be supported both personally and professionally, especially by Brent. In fact, my favorite class at MSU was his research method class, which inspired and spearheaded many of my interest areas in my research.”

Matta said some of his best memories as a Broad Spartan were get-togethers with faculty, whether it was a dinner with the Scotts or a holiday party at the Conlons’. Having graduated from MSU seven years ago, he still spoke fondly of people he had met at Broad.

“In addition to faculty, I was surrounded by people that were my peers, colleagues and mentors: Joel Koopman, Klodiana Lanaj, Stephanie Lee, Joanna Lin and Jo Oh. On top of that, Sue Polhamus, business manager in the Department of Management, was always one of my biggest cheerleaders. A big part of my accomplishment is thanks to these wonderful people.”

Matta extends MSU’s legacy of research excellence and joins five other Broad Spartan management doctoral alumni who have been recognized with SIOP’s Distinguished Early Career Contributions awards: Joel Koopman (Ph.D. ’14) won in 2022; Klodiana Lanaj (Ph.D. ’13) in 2019; Chris Barnes (Ph.D. ’09) in 2017; Jason Colquitt (Ph.D. ’99) in 2005 and Jeff LePine (Ph.D. ’98) in 2004.

Department Chairperson Kent Miller said, “Over the years, we have seen alumni from the management doctoral program recognized with renowned early career awards. Those awards attest to the efforts of our former students and the research skills that they acquired by working closely with our faculty.”

With each recognition earned by faculty and alumni, the Broad College’s status as a top-of-mind business school is reinforced with passionate Spartans leading the way.

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