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Esworthy Malcolm S. Knowles Dissertation of the Year Award

The AHRD Esworthy Malcolm S. Knowles Dissertation of the Year Award is given to commend an outstanding doctoral dissertation that exemplifies scholarly work and contributes to the HRD field.

Submission for this award is not considered submission for the 2021 AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas proceedings, and the winning dissertation is not published in the conference proceedings.

If you are interested in getting your dissertation published in the conference proceedings, you are encouraged to submit a version your paper conforming to the Call for Submissions guidelines for the 2021 Conference.

Co-Chairs: Tomika Greer and Sehoon Kim

Submission Due Date: Wednesday, November 11 at 5:00pm Central time. There will be no extensions on the submission deadline this year.

Award Decisions to the Office: All awards winners are due back to by Monday – January 13, 2021 at 5:00pm Central time.


To be eligible for the award, candidates must have completed a doctoral dissertation in human resource development or a related field between September 1, 2018, and August 31, 2020. Candidates must have successfully defended their dissertations and received the final approval and all required sign-offs on their dissertation document by the August 31, 2020 date. Past applicants are not eligible to apply.

Award Criteria and Process

The AHRD Esworthy Malcolm S. Knowles Dissertation of the Year Award Committee evaluates each submission against five criteria:

  • The evident theoretical and practical importance of the problem
  • The appropriateness of methods used
  • The extent to which the results justify the conclusions
  • The contribution to new knowledge on research and practice in the HRD profession
  • The quality of the writing and reporting

Based on the committee’s initial evaluation, the top finalists then submit their full dissertation for review. The committee identifies the single winner based on review of each finalist’s full dissertation using the same five evaluation criteria. These top finalists are expected to register for the AHRD International Research Conference in the Americas and attend the award ceremony.

Nomination Package

The submission should:

  • An ABSTRACT that meets the following formatting requirements:
    • Have 1” margins on all sides (left, right, top, bottom); Use 12-point font; Follow formatting as defined by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) (6th ed.).; Be no more than 21 pages, including all front and end matter (e.g., cover page, references, appendices); and MS Word document only or it will not be reviewed.
  • A COVER PAGE that includes:
    • Dissertation title; Author; Author’s current affiliation; Author’s current email address; Author’s current telephone number; Degree granting institution; Academic year granted; Dissertation advisor; Dissertation advisor’s current affiliation; Dissertation advisor’s current email address; Dissertation advisor’s current telephone number; and Dissertation committee members.
  • A RECOMMENDATION from a dissertation committee chair
    • The recommendation letter must be sent in a separate email from the committee chair to

An abstract and cover page should be attached in the application form. Submissions not following the above guidelines may not be considered.

Award Winners


Winner: Silvana Chambers, The University of Texas at Tyler

First Runner-Up: Jeremy Bohonos, University of Illinois

Second Runner-Up: Tracy Richardson, University of Louisville


Winner:  Malikah Abdullah Alturki, The George Washington University

  • Dissertation Title: The Entrepreneurial Learning Processes of Saudi Women Entrepreneurs: A Grounded Theory Study"
  • Dissertation Advisor: Maria Cseh

First Runner-Up:  William S. Carrell, University of Texas at Tyler

  • Dissertation Title:  Examining the Mediating Influence of Occupational Self-Efficacy and Perceived Organizational Support on the Relationship Between Perceived Managerial Coaching Behaviors and Employee Engagement Among Higher Education Enrollment Management Professionals     
  • Dissertation Advisor: Andrea Ellinger

Second Runner-Up:  Moonju Sung, University of Georgia

  • Dissertation Title:  Antecedents of Job Engagement: The Mediating Role of Psychological States
  • Dissertation Advisor: Wendy Ruona  


Examining the Relationships between Performance Appraisal Reactions and Employee Engagement

  • Ben LeVan, Ph.D., The University of Texas at Tyler


Understanding Learning Transfer as a Journey of Individual Behavior Change: Stages, Transitions, and Influences

  • Deidre H. Carmichael, Ph.D. University of Georgia


Development and Validation of the Employee Expertise Development Scale (EEDS)

  • Yujin Kim, University of Connecticut


The Meaning and Measurement of Employee Engagement: Exploring Different Operationalizations of Employee Engagement and Their Relationships with Workplace Stress and Burnout Among IT Professionals in Community Hospitals

  • Paula E. Anthony-McMann, University of Texas at Tyler


Scale Development and Validation to Measure the Dimensions of Contemporary Career Development Organizational Culture

  • Nisha Manikoth, The George Washington University


Voluntary Career Transition of Managers in China: A Grounded Theory Study

  • Judy Yi Sun The University of Texas at Tyler


Understanding creativity in organizations: The relationship among cross-level variables and creativity in research and development organizations

  • Laird D McLean, University of Minnesota


Managerial Coaching Behavior and Employee Outcomes: A Structural Equation Modeling Analysis

  • Sewon Kim, Texas A&M University


The Development of an Improved Human Capital Index for Assessing and Forecasting National Capacity and Development

  • Olha Verkhohlyad Texas A&M University


Organizational Learning, Entrepreneurial Opportunity Recognition, and Innovation Performance in High Technology Firms in Taiwan

  • Yu-Lin Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


A path analysis of relationships among job stress, job satisfaction, motivation to transfer, and transfer of learning: Perceptions of Occupational Safety and Health Administration outreach trainers

  • Prakash K. Nair, Texas A&M University


Development and Preliminary Validation of a Psychometric Measure of Expertise: The Generalized Expertise Measure

  • Marie-Line Germain, Barry University


White Males in Transition: Describing the Experience of a Stalled Career

  • Martin B. Kormanik, George Washington University


The Relationships Among Adult Attachment, General Self-Disclosure, and Perceived Organizational Trust

  • Samuel Adams, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Toward a Theory of Continuous Socialization for Organizational Renewal

  • Monica M. Tuttle, University of Minnesota


Beyond Skill Development The Effects of Training and Development on the Attitudes And Retention of Employees

  • George S. Benson University of Southern California, Los Angeles


The Journey of Becoming A Diversity Practitioner: The Connection Between Experience, Learning and Competence

  • Terrence E. Maltbia Columbia University


Perception of learning culture, concerns about the innovation, and their influence on use of an on-going innovation in the Malaysian public sector

  • Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria University of Georgia


The Relationship Between Human Resource Development and Business Strategy in Fortune 500 Companies

  • Erica D. Kalata University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign


Strategies in Organizing Work-Related Learning

  • Rob F. Poell, University of Nijmege


Managers as Facilitators of Learning in Learning Organizations

  • Andrea Ellinger University of Georgia


The Effect of a Perceived Leadership Style on Subordinates Information Seeking Behavior: A Transformational and Transaction Leadership Theories Perspective

  • Svjetlana Madzar University of Minnesota

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