Academy of Management honors Tom Lee for lifetime achievement

Lee_Tom-13-MThomas W. Lee, the Hughes M. Blake Professor of Management at the University of Washington Foster School of Business, has received the Academy of Management’s (AOM) 2016 Award for Distinguished Service.

This lifetime career achievement award recognizes significant, long-term contributions to the field of management in one (or more) of three areas: enhancing a field of study; founding or creatively editing a scholarly journal; providing exceptionally effective service to a major professional institution.

Lee has done all three. Often simultaneously.

Among the highlights of his remarkably productive career, he has co-authored seminal research on employee turnover and served as editor of the Academy of Management Journal and as president of the Academy of Management.

The award committee wrote that Lee’s “exceptional service contributions span across all three areas of the award,” and noted that his leadership has been “at once strong and humble,” his service “kind and selfless.”

Influential scholar

Since joining the Foster School in 1983, Lee has been a publishing powerhouse. He has co-authored more than 90 papers that have appeared in his discipline’s top peer-reviewed journals, and profoundly shaped the way that academics and managers understand employee turnover and retention.

That scholarly work has earned a long list of accolades, most recently the AOM Human Resources Division’s 2015 Herbert Heneman Jr. Award for Career Achievement, the division’s most prestigious scholarly recognition.

Lee also won the HR Division’s 2013 Scholarly Achievement Award for his 2012 study, “When employees are out of step with coworkers: how job satisfaction trajectories and dispersion influence individual- and unit-level voluntary turnover.” The article—finding that job satisfaction over time and in context is the best predictor of voluntary turnover—is co-authored by Lee’s former students Dong Liu and Brooks Holtom, frequent collaborator Terence Mitchell, the Edward E. Carlson Distinguished Professor in Business Administration at Foster, and Timothy Hinkin.

Lee’s 2006 paper, “Increasing Human and Social Capital by Applying Job Embeddedness Theory” (with Holtom and Mitchell), was named the Outstanding Practitioner Oriented Publication in Organizational Behavior that year.

And he won the 2001 Outstanding Organizational Behavior Publication award from the OB Division of the Academy of Management for “The unfolding model of voluntary turnover and job embeddedness: foundations for a comprehensive theory of attachment” (with Mitchell).

Sage editor

While building his prolific track record of publication, Lee has also served as senior editor and editor of the Academy of Management Journal (the premier academic journal in the field of management), and on the editorial boards of seven other journals, including Personnel Psychology, the Journal of Management, the Journal of Management Issues, Human Resources Management Journal, the Journal of Vocational Behavior, Organizational Research Methods, and Human Resources Management Review. He’s currently an editorial board member of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Lee is a fellow of the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Indefatigable leader

Lee has never shied away from administrative duty, either at the Foster School or in his larger discipline. He recently completed a 12-year term as associate dean for academic and faculty affairs at Foster, and has contributed to scores of task forces, councils and committees. He has also advised countless doctoral students.

At the influential Academy of Management, he served in multiple leadership roles from 2004 to 2010, culminating in a year as president in 2007-08.

Gentle giant

This is not the first time that Lee has been recognized for the long-term impact of his unique combination of service and scholarship.

A recent Journal of Management Inquiry article offered Lee as an exemplar of what author Sarah Kovoor-Misra termed an “academic triathlete” who excels at research, teaching and service—often concurrently, in his case.

According to Irene Duhaime, chair of this year’s Academy of Management Career Achievement Award Committee, Lee’s latest and greatest recognition captures his personality as much as it does his performance.

“Tom has excelled in his service to the Academy and to the community at large,” wrote one committee member. “Besides his numerous commitments to task forces and committees and to editing journals, what shines through is the true community ethos of Tom. He has been exceptional in mentoring the next generation and staying in touch with colleagues. There could not be a more deserving recipient.”

Another added: “Tom personifies the best of the Academy: a gentle ‘scholar giant’ ever willing to help and serve.”

The Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Lee at the Academy of Management’s annual meeting in Anaheim, California, August 7.