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A Human Resources Honor


by Stephany Schings Below, Communications Manager

Eduardo Salas Awarded $50,000 Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award

SIOP Fellow and past president Eduardo Salas, a leading expert on teams and training and at the University of Central Florida’s Department of Psychology and Institute for Simulation & Training, has been announced the 2012 winner of the $50,000 Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award.

The award, jointly funded by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the HR Certification Institute, and the SHRM Foundation, recognizes human resource academics or experts whose research significantly advances the field of human resource management. This year’s award was presented at SHRM’s Strategy Conference October 3-5 in Palm Springs.

“Dr. Salas’ research on workplace teams and training provides the HR community with important insight during a time when related issues, like STEM skills gap training and managing virtual teams, impact HR professionals on a daily basis,” said Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, the president and CEO of SHRM.

The Losey Award recognizes the important work Salas has already accomplished as well as the future work expected of him, Jackson continued.

“I was shocked and surprised,” Salas said of finding out he had won the award. “And then I was humbled once SHRM notified me. I knew who the previous winners were—Gary Latham, Wayne Cascio, Sara Rynes, Ben Schneider, Ed Lawler—all giants in the field. I thought ‘Wow, this is an elite group, and I am blessed and humbled to be part of this group.”

Salas won the award for his “prolific research on effectiveness, productivity and training of workplace teams,” according to SHRM. During his 30-year career, he has produced more than 400 publications that have helped bridge scientific understanding of HR management, teams, and training to best practices businesses and HR professionals can implement in everyday use.

Salas said he believes teamwork is an increasingly relevant topic to organizations today.

“If you look at healthcare, aviation, nuclear power, manufacturing, the space program--these fields are all about collaboration, coordination, cooperation, all elements of teamwork,” Salas explained. “In general there is a lot of interest in government, industry, different agencies for understanding better and promoting teamwork, especially in healthcare.”

The award, established in 2000 and endowed with a $1-million gift, is named in honor of former SHRM President and CEO Michael R. Losey, SPHR. Given by the boards of SHRM, the HR Certification Institute, and the SHRM Foundation, the award acknowledges major research accomplishments and helps fund future individual contributions to the field.

Salas joins good company in receiving the award. SIOP members have seen great success in being granted this distinction in recent years, with a SIOP member winning the last five years in a row. SIOP Fellows Edward E. Lawler III (2002), Frank L. Schmidt (2005), Gary P. Latham (2006), Michael Beer (2007), Herbert G. Heneman III, (2008), Benjamin Schneider (2009), Wayne Cascio (2010), and Sara Rynes (2011) have all received the award. Rynes was also the first woman to receive the award. For more information about previous award recipients, visit the award page here.

“It’s an honor to be with this group,“ Salas said. “I am a true believer in the scientist-practitioner model, and in my career I have devoted the last thirty years to doing translations of what we know in teamwork for practice, to make sure that any science we use is to solve organizational problems. The award is an example of having an impact by doing good research that has impact in the field. “

Salas said he believes the large proportion of SIOP members who have won the Losey award is a testament to I-O's relevance to HR.

"The first thing I will tell you is the scientist-practitioner model is alive and well,” he explained. “The previous winners have been scientists who have done science and practice, and who better to do that in the field of HR than I-Os?”

Salas said he hopes to use the $50,000 award to help the future generation of I-O psychologists.

“I’m probably going to support the research activities of my students,” he said. “I don’t do anything without my students, and I in large part owe this award to my students, so as soon as the check clears I will begin to do something with my students to support their research.”

Salas is the Pegasus and Trustee Chair Professor of the psychology department at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and the program director of the school’s Institute for Simulation & Training. He is the president-elect of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, past-president and a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a fellow with the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.

Previously, Salas was a senior research psychologist and head of the training technology development branch of the Naval Air Warfare Center’s Training Systems Division. He held academic appointments at Aberdeen University, Rollins College, the University of South Florida, and Old Dominion University.

As a management consultant, his clients include British Petroleum, UBS, The World Bank and numerous healthcare providers and military agencies. Salas is the author and editor of numerous articles and books, such as Guiding Learning from Experience and Team Processes, Performance and Training in Organizations.

Salas holds a doctorate degree in industrial and organizational psychology from Old Dominion University, a master’s degree in industrial psychology from the University of Central Florida, and a bachelor’s degree in general psychology from Florida International University.

For more information, visit the Michael R. Losey Human Resource Research Award page or click here to read an award flyer.

Click below to watch a video about Salas' award from SHRM that includes interviews with Salas, Gary Latham, and Alex Alonso! (It is the second segment, beginning about a quarter of the way through the video.)