by Brad Hunter
Maryène Gagné is the first recipient of the Distinguished
Junior Researcher Award, a new honour established by the John Molson School
of Business (JMSB) to recognize and retain promising junior faculty.
I look at this award as a nice pat on the back, said Gagné,
an assistant professor in the JMSBs Department of Management. In
the type of work we do as academics, you dont often get positive
feedback like this, so its very satisfying to be recognized with
this award, especially so early in my career.
Danielle Morin, associate dean at the JMSB and organizer of the Distinguished
Junior Researcher Award, said several aspects of Gagnés work
in organizational behaviour caught the attention of the selection committee.
Along with Gagnés publication record, the committee was impressed
by her research accomplishments, particularly since she only finished
her PhD in social psychology three years ago.
The work she is doing in organizational behaviour and motivation
is becoming an increasingly important area of study in management,
Morin said. As well, she has shown a great deal of initiative. Shes
already been quite successful in obtaining external funding, and she is
very active in the department with things like supervising students.
Organizational behaviour concerns how people function in the workplace,
both individually and in teams; researchers study such factors as motivation,
attitudes, and group dynamics.
Basically, what I do is look at how an organization manages its
people, how this management affects motivation, and how motivation affects
performance, Gagné said.
A particular area of interest for her is the difference between intrinsic
motivation (performing a task because you enjoy doing it) and extrinsic
motivation, where tasks are performed solely to receive a reward or avoid
She is currently examining how organizations can use intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation to encourage employees to go beyond their job descriptions
and perform extra tasks voluntarily.
Gagné joined the John Molson School of Business in June 2001 after
leaving the University at Albany, State University of New York, where
she was an assistant professor in industrial/organizational psychology.
It was an easy decision to return to Quebec.
The extensive contacts the business school has give me much better
access to organizations to do my research, which is something I was really
looking forward to when I came here, she said.
I also benefit from the experience of my more senior colleagues
with in-depth knowledge in areas like finance, marketing and other fields,
which gives me a much better understanding of what goes on in the business
world. Im learning a lot.
She has also discovered that working in a business school gives her instant
credibility with organizations she approaches regarding research opportunities.
Being in Montreal presents endless research possibilities
because of the sheer number of companies located in the region.
Although Gagné has not made a final decision on how she will use
the $5,000 grant that comes with the research award, she said its
likely the money will be used to continue an ongoing study into whats
known as social loafing.
Social loafing is when people work in a group and put in less effort
than they would have if they were working alone, she explained.
Right now, Im looking at the role intrinsic and extrinsic
motivation plays in this.The Distinguished Junior Researcher Award
will be presented to Gagné at convocation on June 13.
The selection committee has given honourable mention to Khaled Soufani,
an assistant professor in the Department of Finance.