Getting to Know SoBA Faculty and Staff: Theresa Floyd

Theresa Floyd and her daughter

SoBA:  Could you tell us a little about yourself?

Prof. Theresa Floyd:  I came recently from the University of Kentucky, where I completed my PhD and did a year of post-doc working on a grant. I was very, very lucky and happy to get an assistant professor position here at the School of Business Administration.  I teach Management of Organizational Behavior. I also do research about social networks, people’s cognition about social networks and attitude contagion through social networks.  In the future, I hope to continue to build my career at UM and continue to work with my students to help them achieve their goals.

SoBA: Where does your passion for organizational behavior come from?

Prof. Theresa Floyd:  I think it came from my experience in industry. My bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in fashion and textile design.  I worked in the retail apparel industry for years for companies like PetSmart and Gap. I observed a lot of interesting behaviors when I was in the workplace.

When I decided to go back to school, I was interested in studying what makes people act the way they do at work. I was lucky enough to go to school at the University of Kentucky where some of the preeminent network researchers work, and I was able to join the program there and also join the LINKS Center for Research in Social Networks. I got passionate about social networks from being exposed to those terrific researchers.

SoBA:  How do you think students can benefit from all of this and apply the concepts that you teach later in the workplace?

Prof. Theresa Floyd:  I think that organizational behavior and understanding social networks in the workplace helps all of my students in such important ways. They are learning very practical skills in management class when they learn about what influences the way people act at work. They learn how to navigate their way through intersecting relationships, personalities, differing opinions, potential conflicts and political realities. I think that is what my class provides for my students:  Some really practical suggestions about how to these real-life things they are going to encounter when they begin their careers.

SoBA:  Do you have any book recommendation that is related to your work?

Prof. Theresa Floyd:  Give and Take by Adam M. Grant talks about people navigating the workplace and deciding how it is they are going to conduct themselves at work.  It does a terrific job summarizing academic research in a way that is easy to understand for everybody and it offers some really practical suggestions.