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An Outstanding Contribution


by Stephany Below, Communications Manager

SIOP Fellow Honored with International Human Resource Management Award

Following a unanimous vote by the Board of Directors of the World Federation of People Management Associations, which represents 700,000 HR professionals in thousands of companies on six continents, SIOP Fellow and past president Wayne F. Cascio was honored with the organization’s lifetime achievement award, the World Federation of People Management Association (WFPMA) “George Petitpas” Award.

Presented every two years, the award recognizes “an individual, or a team of two or more individuals, whose work, in the opinion of the WFPMA Board, constitutes an outstanding contribution to the profession and practice of human resource management and development at an international level."

An “outstanding contribution” is defined by the group as “one that is readily recognized by HR professionals all over the world for its intrinsic excellence, and which can be shown to have had a significant impact on the fortunes of one or more employing organizations, to have advanced the international state of knowledge and understanding of people management and development and/or to have influenced the profession and its practice internationally.”

Cascio is the first SIOP member to be honored with this award since it was first presented in 1986. The award is named after George Petitpas, who was nominated as president of the WFPMA in 1983, but who passed away before taking up this office.

The WFPMA Board noted Cascio’s many achievements in teaching and speaking around the world, consulting with some of the highest-profile companies and public agencies on multiple continents, his scholarly research, his 28 books, his impact in the legal arena as an expert witness in employment-discrimination cases, and his “tireless service to the HR profession.”

“Dr Cascio’s career spans over four decades and he has been contributing as a scholar, consultant, teacher, and dedicated volunteer from the beginning,” the Board noted in their decision to honor him. “From a scholarship perspective, he has contributed to what is known about a number of important areas within HRM including HR metrics, restructuring, performance management, global HR, talent management, evidence-based management and so much more. He is well known for his scholarship and has published countless books, chapters and scholarly articles that have appeared in the top journals of his field. More importantly from our perspective is that he has published his work in a wide range of international outlets. This is important because it means that his work has been disseminated to both academics and practitioners and has been consumed around the world. More significant is that his work has been useful to the profession. His material was ground breaking and has been a valuable resource to both students and practitioners.”

Cascio said this honor reaffirms his long career in industrial-organizational psychology.

“It's the culmination of everything I've tried to accomplish throughout my career, with the goal of having an impact on the work lives of men and women everywhere,” he said. “It's why I chose I-O psychology as a profession, and why I am proud to be an I-O psychologist.”

During his acceptance speech at the award ceremony, which took place October 18 in London, Cascio thanked Hank Jackson, CEO of SHRM, for nominating him for the award and also thanked the Board members of the WFPMA for voting him as the winner.

“As I reflect back on my career, receiving an award like this was the farthest thing from my mind when I started out as a 26-year-old assistant professor,” Cascio noted during his speech. “I was just happy to have landed an academic job! At the same time, I had a burning desire to contribute to the betterment of the lives of men and women at work. I have tried to do that through speaking and consulting, through testifying as an expert witness in federal and state courts in dozens of employment-discrimination cases, and in my writing and research.”

During his speech, Cascio noted the role that hard work and perseverance have played in his career and emphasized his unique expertise as an I-O psychologist, working at the intersection of psychology and business.

“Many people believe that successful people have always been that way, and that they seem to succeed at everything they do. I assure you that that was not the case with me,” he explained.

Cascio shared a story about how he was able to get his book, Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management, published. 

“I began writing it in 1973, long before personal computers and word processors were available. I wrote in longhand on yellow, A-4 paper,” he said. “I had so little money at the time that I bought a second-hand couch and an ironing board at a thrift store, so I could spread out all of my journals and source materials around me as I wrote. As I completed each chapter, I sent it off to a prospective publisher for review and possible publication. Each time, I received the same response: ‘It’s solid technically, but where is it going to sell? Is it a business book or a psychology book?’ At the time, authors wrote for one market or the other.  I said, ‘I’m trying to bridge these two markets,’ and each time a different publisher said, ‘Write another chapter and send that in.’ I kept getting knocked down by one publisher after another, 17 times in all, for five years. Well the book has 18 chapters, because by the time I reached that last chapter I said to the publisher, ‘Here’s the whole thing. Take it or leave it.’”

A small subsidiary of Prentice-Hall decided to take a chance on a “young assistant professor with no track record and no reputation,” and published the book in 1978. The rest is history, so to speak. The book sold 40,000 copies in its first edition, and now Cascio is writing the 8th edition.

"It sold in business schools, in psychology departments, in schools of public administration, in schools of criminal justice, and in nursing schools,” he noted. “It has been translated into many languages as well.”

Cascio received his Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology in 1973.