Meet UBC Sauder’s New Faculty – Rebecca Paluch
At UBC Sauder, faculty members are more than just ‘professors.’ They conduct impactful research that is changing how society views the world while also inspiring students to pursue their academic passions and become the thoughtful, values-driven leaders the business world needs.
This year, UBC Sauder welcomed nine new full-time lecturers, tenured and tenure-track faculty to the school. In the first of this series, we introduce you to Rebecca (Becky) Paluch, Assistant Professor, Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Division, UBC Sauder School of Business.
What brought you to UBC Sauder?
When I was going through the job search, I prioritized three qualities that I was looking for in a job. First, I wanted a university that had a reputation for advancing knowledge and leading research. Next, I looked for a division that provided a collegial and supportive environment. Finally, I was hoping to be in a city location that offered interesting opportunities to help pull me away from my research and workload. UBC Sauder met and exceeded my expectations on all three criteria.
What are your areas of research and how did you get into this field?
Broadly speaking, I am interested in evolving relationships between organizations and individuals in light of changing employment trends such as rising employee mobility and increasing diversity in the workforce. This interest has led me to pursue two main streams of research. My first area of research focuses on what I call “post-employment relationships” or continued exchanges between an organization and its former employees even after the formal employment relationship has ended. In this stream of research, I look at how organizational initiatives that support continuing relationships with former employees, known as corporate alumni programs, can advance individual and company goals. In my second stream of research, I study organizational policies and practices that support the management of diversity and inclusion (D&I). In this research, I have examined multi-level processes that enable or hinder diversity practice effectiveness as well as unintended negative consequences associated with work-life policies and practices.
What fuels your research – what prompted you to research this area?
Prior to starting my career in academia, I had the opportunity to work in different jobs in organizations around the world. Regarding my research on post-employment relationships, these experiences provided me with first-hand knowledge of the ways I stayed in contact with my former employers and colleagues after leaving. My experiences as an organizational alum ultimately sparked my curiosity about how different organizations might be managing these relationships and what this experience looks like for others. My experiences working in different organizational and cultural contexts also prompted my interest in D&I as I learned how important different organizational practices were in fostering diversity in organizations and in generating inclusive environments.
What inspires you to teach?
My philosophy on teaching is that the classroom should be a multi-path learning environment where students not only learn from me, but I learn from them and they learn from each other. I find creating those types of connections and developing knowledge in that manner to be an exciting and fulfilling aspect of this profession!
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve discovered through your research?
It’s hard to pick just one thing, but questions about how and why organizations and former employees continue relationships after formal employment have been largely ignored in scholarly research making any knowledge development on this topic interesting to me. In my current research, I’m finding that there is considerable variance in how organizations implement corporate alumni programs. It has been fascinating to learn that the choices corporate alumni managers make in implementing these programs are quite influential in determining what their alumni are ultimately willing to contribute back to their former employers.
What do you believe is the future of your industry?
Workplaces are becoming increasingly complex and interconnected due to factors such as advancements in technology, increasing diversity, and continued globalization. For example, it’s almost hard to imagine a time when Facebook or LinkedIn didn’t exist, but from their emergence in the early 2000’s, they have drastically changed the way organizations manage their workforce and the ways individuals pursue and structure their careers.
As the world of work evolves and adapts, I believe researchers studying the management of people and human resources are uniquely situated to be at the forefront of providing expert knowledge that will help organizations effectively structure their human resources policies and practices in ways that encourage employees to feel respected, included, and satisfied in their jobs.
What are you most looking forward to in Vancouver?
I’m really looking forward to just exploring! Whether that means trying out restaurant recommendations (please send any my way!), visiting famous landmarks around the city, trying out new activities on the water or the local hiking trails, I’m excited to explore the wealth of options Vancouver has to offer.