Academics, Staff News

Professor wins Dissertation of the Year Award

By CSU Media | March 28, 2018
Ben Levan

Ben LeVan, a professor in CSU’s College of Business, is the winner of the Academy of Human Resource Development’s Esworthy Malcolm S. Knowles Dissertation of the Year Award. 

LeVan knew he was a finalist when the announcement came during a ceremony in Richmond, Virginia, but he did not know he was the winner.  “We all want to know how we stack up against our peers,” said LeVan. “This indicates what I did was noteworthy.”

With an extensive background in corporate human resources, LeVan sought to reveal the relationship between a performance appraisal and how that affects an employee’s engagement.  After collecting data from nearly 500 surveys, LeVan believes there is a definite correlation between the two – and it’s mostly negative.

It’s entirely possible the common job evaluation process should be totally blown-up.  “We put leaders in an impossible situation, serving as both a cheerleader and judge.  We need to move away from a management type of process to a coaching process,” LeVan’s research reveals.

This award is given to commend an outstanding doctoral dissertation that exemplifies scholarly work and contributes to the HRD field.  LeVan’s dissertation was also published in a separate version at the 2018 Conference in the Americas.  In order to be eligible, a dissertation must have been completed no more than 24 months prior to the submission deadline.

The past four winners have come from University of Georgia, University of Connecticut, University of Texas at Tyler and George Washington University.

The data collected and assessed by Professor LeVan reveals that while goal setting and feedback can be valuable to an employee, it’s best if the feedback is frequent along with continual coaching.

The award is presented each year by the Academy of Human Resource Development to promote scholarly activity.


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