Integrating Theory and Practice

Moore brings corporate experience to research, scholarship and teaching
Friday, October 31, 2014

Managing millions of dollars and hundreds of people at places such as Westinghouse, IBM, American Express and Pfizer, Ozias Moore M.S. '13, Ph.D. '16 was on a progressive career track that afforded him a sylvan lifestyle.

Life was good.

He started reconsidering the trajectory of his professional journey, though, after teaming with University of Pennsylvania faculty on a field study while completing his first master's degree.

Theory and research, Moore saw, could align with industry in meaningful ways.

He tested the prospect of doctoral study by taking a research methods doctoral course at Rutgers University and by attending the PhD Project Conference.

Moore left corporate America to bring his lens to a research university where he can drill down on what really makes workplace teams tick.

In the classroom, Moore shares workplace experience and research interests.

Moore is interested in understanding the processes that enhance team effectiveness. His research focuses on the unique features of project teams and how these features shape teams’ internal processes and performance.

Managing team conflict, team development and learning, the effect of personality in teams and team performance assessment are some of the topics covered in his course.

"There is often little understanding of what it takes to build a cohesive and effective work team," Moore said in an interview.

"Given organizations' reliance on team-based work arrangements, it is critical that we examine organizational theories to inform our understanding of team work effectiveness. As a result, my course is guided by theory, but it also very applied in nature."

"A good portion of class time involves in-class computer-based team simulations, individual and team experiential skill-building activities, reflection assignments and a mini-field study of an actual team," he said.

Student ratings and feedback affirms Moore's decision to transition from corporate life to an "ivory tower" that can be more like a town square, given the land grant philosophy of Cornell and ILR. Comments from the spring semester of "Work Groups and Teams" included:

-- "Ozias Moore is an amazing teacher for this course … Lectures were great. Ozias is so enthusiastic! I love coming to class and listening."

--"I thought the ability to work in a specific learning team while simultaneously learning the theories of effective teamwork was incredibly valuable."

--"Reading about work groups and teams then being able to apply them to our real life team within the course gave the theoretical concepts a practical application in a non-pressure environment."

-- "The most valued part of the course was the instructor. I really appreciate it when an instructor cares about the subject matter and helping the students learn. Ozias was fantastic."

Last April, Moore received Cornell's Toni Morrison Award for Outstanding Graduate Mentorship from the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives. The award recognizes his contribution to his students, his academic department and to the university community.

In May 2016, Moore hopes to be hooded for the degree that will help open the door to his next chapter.

"I plan to continue research that not only advances theory, but also impacts organizations in meaningful ways. I plan to go on the academic job market this August with the goal of starting a tenure-track assistant professor position in a business school in August 2016."