Winthrop Management Professor Partners with Copenhagen Business School Colleagues on New Research Project

Staff Report From York County CEO

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

When Winthrop University faculty members say they maintain networking relationships with former students, they’re not joking.

And if they can combine it with research? Even better!

Professor of Management Melissa Carsten recently traveled to the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark to work with professors there on a joint study. She and Winthrop College of Business Administration faculty received a grant from Denmark’s State Health Department to conduct an evaluation study of middle managers who had participated in a six-month leadership development program. They surveyed managers, who were employed by a large regional hospital system in Denmark, and their subordinates before and after the leadership program to measure its effects on work attitude and commitment.

“Our results actually showed an effect counter to what the organization wanted,” Carsten explained. “We found that the managers’ commitment to the work unit went down, and subordinates’ commitment to the manager went down from Time 1 to Time 2. We’re explaining this as an outcome of the training that aligned managers away from their work unit and more toward the strategy of the organization.

“In essence, subordinates felt like their leader abandoned them and the wellbeing of the work unit and instead began focusing more on organization level strategic objectives.”

She and her CBS colleagues are working on showcasing their results and hope to submit the paper to the Academy of Management Learning & Education. The idea came about two years ago when they met at a National Academy of Management Conference.

While in Denmark, she met with four College of Business Administration alumni: Marco Gatzke '17; Louise Jeppesen '18; Magnus Thorsson '15; and Andrea Vestmann '16.They all work in Denmark, Sweden and Germany, respectively.

“Copenhagen is an amazing harbor city with great food and shopping,” Carsten said. “We visited the palace of the queen, historic churches and old artillery/army bunkers from World War II.”