The Department of Management is pleased to have Dan Ganster return to the Management Department faculty after serving several years as the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Business. Dan came to Colorado State University in June 2009, after having spent 19 years on the faculty at the University of Arkansas and 12 years at the University of Nebraska. Originally Dan was hired on at CSU as the chair of the Management Department, a role he filled for three years until former College of Business Dean Ajay Menon asked him to serve as the associate dean. Ganster is also pleased to be back in the department in his role as the Partnership for Excellence Professor of Management, and he is anxious to get re-engaged with students in the classroom.
Ganster’s research broadly concerns the impact of work life experiences on the mental and physical well-being of organizational members. His goal is to help organizations become more productive as well as more supportive of worker health and well-being. Over the years he has studied groups from many occupations, including police and fire workers, construction workers at nuclear power plants, and welfare caseworkers, retail salespeople and nurses. His work has mostly focused on identifying aspects of workplaces that have both positive and negative effects on worker stress, health, and overall well-being. But he has also conducted evaluations of interventions designed to either reduce the stress-inducing aspects of workplaces or improving the resilience of workers who must cope with them. Although work stress has been the main focus of Dan’s research, he has also conducted studies in group decision making, job design, and personnel selection. If you’ve applied for a job as a sales associate at Dillard’s in recent years you probably took an application test designed by Ganster and his colleagues to assess your selling ability. His team studied more than 16,000 job applicants and more than 4,000 new hires at Dillard’s in order to determine what factors predicted sales success on the floor. Although he can’t disclose the “trade secret” of exactly what the test measures and how it is scored, he can report that those scoring in the 80th percentile sell 10% more than the average associate. Dillard’s selection ratio was such that they could choose those who scored that high. With sales of almost $7 billion a year, that difference is noticeable on the bottom line. Ganster has published more than 50 studies in top academic journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Applied Psychology, and the Journal of Management. He also serves on the editorial review boards of these journals, and his research has been funded by both government agencies (National Institute of Mental Health and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and companies such as Dillard’s and J.B. Hunt Transportation.
One of the most satisfying parts of Ganster’s long career has been working with students, especially doctoral students, many of whom have been mentored by him and have pursued their own successful academic careers at universities such as Florida State, University of Minnesota, and Oklahoma State. Although the College of Business at CSU does not have a doctoral program, Ganster continues to mentor doctoral students in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program across campus.
Ganster also enjoys working with younger faculty in the department. Chris Henle, an associate professor in Human Resources, has sought out his knowledge and expertise on several research projects. Henle states, “I appreciate that Dan is always available and willing to chat about research. I value his opinions and insights as well as his ability to explain complex concepts in understandable terms.” Samantha Conroy, a second-year assistant professor in Management, has also had the opportunity to work with Ganster on various occasions. When Conroy was interviewing for admission to the University of Arkansas doctoral Program, Ganster was one of the people she had a chance to meet with and be interviewed by. Unfortunately, by the time she arrived in the fall Ganster had decided to move to CSU. But as fate would have it, Conroy made the move to CSU when she finished her Ph.D. and had the opportunity to work with Ganster once again, “When I interviewed at CSU, Dan’s love for the department, the college, and the University was one of the things that attracted me to CSU. He’s also been a great mentor during my first two years here. Dan is one of the people who has made the transition to CSU a great one for me. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the halls of Management.”
Ganster will be teaching human resource management to MBA students and management and organizational behavior to undergraduate students in the coming academic year. Welcome back!