A More Personal History
I am a North Carolinian by birth and upbringing. I grew up in the red earth of the rural and rolling Piedmont in the shadow of the Brushy Mountains. Thirteen children on my mother's side; six, on my father's side. No one had ever gone to college. An aunt read to me as a child and instilled a love of reading and learning. Wonderful teachers and Scouting adventures nurtured my desire to learn.
Between my junior and senior years in high school, I had the honor of attending the Governor's School of North Carolina on the campus of Salem College. My area was Natural Science but it was my exposure to Philosophy and Psychology that affected me most profoundly. The Governor's School was the pivotal learning experience of my adolescence.
Military service and education have often been means for people in our society to move across socioeconomic levels, and so it was to be for me. I accepted a Congressional appointment to the United States Air Force Academy where I jumped out of planes, learned to fly, competed in intercollegiate debate, founded an astronomy club, and failed in my attempt to capture Ralph, the University of Colorado buffalo.
I had expected to major in Physics but Calculus and an engaging Intro to Psych professor changed my mind. In my junior year I replicated an ESP study reported in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. That led to more research, opportunities, and much later, some very interesting adventures. By the end of my senior year at the Academy, I had three refereed papers abstracted in journal publications, a Summer Research Fellowship with the Foundation for Research on the Nature of Man, and the dubious distinction of having my research headlined on the cover of the "National Enquirer".
I began my years with the Air Force learning to fly high-performance aircraft, but I quickly realized that this person-job match wasn't going to work. I left pilot training, married my dearest friend, and began a career as an Air Force management engineer, conducting management and organizational studies. I began commuting once or twice a week after work from Biloxi, Mississippi, to the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, 110 miles each way, eventually earning a Master of Arts in General-Experimental Psychology.
After four years in Mississippi, we chose to see Europe. For the United States Air Forces in Europe, I conducted management studies throughout Europe. Living in Europe was a wonderful experience. We traveled much. History and art came alive.
I was offered an Air Force sponsored doctoral program in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I chose Purdue, at that time the largest psychology department in the United States. At Purdue I had superb role models. Statistics with B. J. Winer. Gender studies with Kay Deaux and Alice Eagly. Industrial and Organizational Psychology with Dan Ilgen and Howard Weiss. Consumer Behavior with Jack Jacoby. But most of all, I found a kindred spirit in Joseph F. Rychlak. (Image of four people dining: Joe Rychlak, Jim Lamiell, myself, and Brent Slife, APA, New York, 1987.) In April of 1983 I defended my dissertation.
At the Air Force Manpower and Personnel Center near San Antonio, I applied both my academic knowledge and that from my management and consulting experiences. I worked to open opportunities for women and minorities with some measure of success. But I was now ready to pursue my academic career. I looked at Air Force institutions of higher education, applied and was accepted for a position teaching management and organizational behavior at the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Air Force's graduate school.
It was a great person-job match. I loved teaching, enjoyed research, and resumed organizational consulting. Psychologists have long played important roles in many business disciplines such as human resources management, marketing, consumer behavior, organization development, organization theory, and management. Some of the best known names in management education are or were psychologists, e.g., Maslow.
The day after my commitment was fulfilled, I left the Air Force, having accepted a visiting position in Business Administration at Wittenberg University. The visiting position became tenure-track and then six weeks later was eliminated in a major cost-saving effort. I know the experience of being downsized.
A paper presentation at the Lilly Conference resulted in a visiting position at the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University, Oxford.
In 1994 I jointed the faculty at Mount St. Joseph to develop a Quality Management Program, and later, directed the program. During my career at the Mount I led development of graduate programs in Organizational Leadership and an MBA.
From 2008-2011 I served on the editorial board of the Academy of Management Learning and Education, the top journal in management education, where I was honored with an Outstanding Reviewer award.
In February of 2010 I survived a significant and rare medical event about which someday I may write. In 2012 I began my work on social media and starting learning more about writing. In 2013 Cincy Magazine honored me as an Outstanding Educator. In 2015 my first book was published, Decoding the Workplace: 50 Keys to Understanding People in Organizations.
It was named best Career book by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards for 2016.
Mount St. Joseph University honored me with the Distinguished Scholar Award 2016 for my work in trying to make scholarly management findings more accessible to practitioners.
In May 2016 I retired from the Mount and transitioned to emeritus professor of management. I look forward to having more time with my wife, my family, travel, and more time to write and consult.