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Fresh Faces

When Mark Kizilos graduated from the University of Southern California with a PhD in organizational behaviour and began looking for a job, the University of Alberta wasn't on the top of his list. It wasn't even on the list. Not until he came across an advertisement for a position in the Department of Organizational Analysis in the U of A Business Faculty and started asking around.

The more he learned the more interested he became. He heard good things about the Faculty and its commitment to research. At the same time he began noticing just how many articles in the journals he read were written by U of A researchers. Says the new organizational analysis prof: "When you suddenly become aware of the University of Alberta, all of a sudden you start seeing all of these names and they're from the University of Alberta."

The U of A started to look like a pretty good place to be, and when it came time to make a choice about where he would pursue his career Kizilos opted for Alberta. "The one thing that was the most important to me was the research reputation of the school, which is strong in my department. I also looked at what quality of life I would be able to have in the surrounding community and got favorable feelings about that as well," he says.

Kizilos is pleased with the spirit of collegiality he has found at the U of A since arriving a year ago. He says he was attracted by the fact his department had some younger professors with whom he could interact — "At some other places, the next youngest faculty member would have been 15 years older than me."

In his research, Kizilos investigates how various organizational practices and procedures affect the bottom-line performance of an organization, its productivity, and the satisfaction of its members. He also looks at organizational citizenship behavior — the extent to which organizational members are willing to go beyond what is required of them in forwarding the cause of their organization.

There's nothing counterintuitive about his findings, says Kizilos. "When you do things that involve people more in the workplace, it tends to get them more willing to do things for the organization that are not expected or required. And those behaviors translate into practical benefits for the organization."

Kizilos, who grew up in Minneapolis, became interested in organizational behavior as an undergraduate at Columbia University. He got truly hooked when he did an internship at Rockwell Industries as part of his master's program at Brigham Young University. "I got to see the actual impact of innovative, participative kinds of programs on people ... I saw that there was a lot of power to do good things."

Published Summer 1988.

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