New Mendoza lecture series honors professor Mike Crant for his research career
Published: December 21, 2023 / Author: Carol Elliott
The University Chair Public Lecture Series’ inaugural event recognized the career achievements of Mendoza College of Business professor J. Michael Crant, one of the top-cited researchers at the University of Notre Dame.
Crant, the Notre Dame Professor of Management & Organization, presented “My Mendoza Journey: A Memoir,” a reflection on his personal and professional experiences since joining Notre Dame in 1990 – his first academic job after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earlier that year. The talk held November 28 in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium included an overview of his body of research, the changes he’s observed in his field of organizational behavior and his contributions to the growth of the College and his field.
In his welcoming remarks, Martijn Cremers, Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, explained that the College launched the new lecture series to support one of Mendoza’s key strategic priorities to elevate research culture.
“An important part of our research culture is getting together as a College to learn from and celebrate one another’s scholarship,” Cremers said. “I’m glad to announce this new initiative where we hope to gather faculty from across all departments at Mendoza – together with staff as well as graduate and undergraduate students – to hear from the most accomplished scholars in the College who will share an overview of their research targeted to a broad audience. “
Crant researches workplace dynamics, focusing primarily on proactive personality and behavior at work. He is one of the creators of the proactive personality scale, the most frequently used measure of proactivity in the organizational literature. With nearly 23,000 citations to his research, he is one of the most highly cited scholars at Mendoza and among the top 30 current faculty researchers at Notre Dame. His more recent work examines the frequency and impact of proactivity in Asian cultures, including exploring how proactivity helped Chinese hospitals deal with the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.
Ann Tenbrunsel, David E. Gallo Professor of Business Ethics and chair of the Department of Management & Organization, recalled Crant’s record of service to the University and the College in her introductory remarks. “Those of you that have been in administrative roles know what it means to have a few givers in your department,” she said. “In the two-and-a-half years that I’ve been department chair, Mike has never turned down an assignment. That includes some pretty onerous ones, and yet every time, he doesn’t just do it. He doesn’t just show up. His reviews of his colleagues, his research and his teaching are always reflective of a tremendous amount of preparation and great spirit of service.”
Tom Bateman, the Bank of America Eminent Scholar of Commerce Emeritus from the University of Virginia and who served as Crant’s dissertation chair, was also on hand to recall Crant’s early career as a research assistant at the University of North Carolina, the significance of his research and to perform a long overdue hooding ceremony.
“I’ve had it said to me that ‘proactive’ is a buzzword. It’s a cliché, it’s trivial. People say it all the time,” said Bateman in commenting about Crant’s seminal research into proactivity. “… The fact is, proactivity is profound. It is about changing the future when most human behaviors are driven by past experiences and current circumstances. Proactivity is about looking forward and trying to create futures that are better than would be without them.”