M. Eric Johnson, Dean of the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management, announced today that Professors Jessica Kennedy and Tae-Youn ‘Ty’ Park are the inaugural recipients of the Brownlee O. Currey Jr. Dean’s Faculty Fellowships. The new fellowships recognize young assistant professors whose research has a significant impact. Recipients hold the fellowship for a two-year term, which carries support for research activities.

“I can’t think of two better young scholars to be recognized as inaugural fellows,” said Johnson. “I am certain that the fellowships will further propel their great work. We are especially grateful for support from Brownlee O. Currey, Jr. in endowing the awards. These fellowships help develop our most promising young faculty.”

Professor Kennedy’s research seeks to understand how hierarchy and ethics are fundamentally linked, and the implications of that relationship for gender dynamics. She attends in particular to how hierarchical rank and gender shape identity. Her most important theoretical contribution to date is the integration of these concepts by showing how ethics can serve to generate inequality between social groups. Recent studies by Kennedy have found that holding higher-ranking positions blinds people to unethical practices they are responsible for stopping by leading them to internalize the group’s values, and that gender differences in identity can help to explain why women and men negotiate differently.

“I am grateful that Vanderbilt has been so supportive of my research,” said Kennedy. “It was a great surprise to receive the call on Labor Day.”

The Assistant Professor of Management has multiple projects she may apply to earlier-stage projects. “In particular, one set of data challenges the idea that incivility leads to the attainment of power and status in groups,” she says. “Another paper examines how people’s relative social status impacts their decisions about accountability. Both projects will benefit from these resources, so I am excited to get to work!”

Professor Park researches important policies and practices in Human Resource Management, such as compensation, turnover/retention, and employment relations. His recent work has explored the consequences of large pay differences among employees within teams or across levels of an organization. In a recent study, Park revealed that large pay differences affect not only employee fairness perceptions and work incentives, but also employee emotions such as envy. He is currently researching pay secrecy issues.

“I feel very honored to receive this fellowship,” Park, who plans to use the fellowship to fund data collection, said. “I think this shows Owen’s strong commitment to support junior faculty members and our research. I am grateful to be part of the Owen community.”