In the past, operations management research has treated people as static, invariable or exogenous entities. However, this perspective is increasingly inadequate, particularly due to the upsurge of service and knowledge-intensive industries where workers profoundly influence operational performance. My research discovers key levers to improve learning and productivity by unpacking the topic of people-centric operations — the study of how people affect the performance of operational processes. Although the topic has received little attention in the field, until recently, it is actually a return to our roots, as Frederick Taylor noted back in 1911 that, “In the past the man has been first; in the future the system must be first. This in no sense, however, implies that great men are not needed. On the contrary, the first object of any good system must be that of developing first-class men” (Taylor 1911: 2).
Thus, understanding people-centric operations and the development of first-class men and women means investigating processes and performance not only at the organizational level, but also at the level that the work gets done — individuals and teams. In my journal articles, practitioner-focused articles, book and working papers, I identify factors that permit individuals, teams and organizations to deliver successful operational outcomes. My work examines the understudied role of human behavior in learning and operational improvement, which requires not only grounding my work in operations, but also building on organizational behavior research. Therefore, my research empirically analyzes archival data and field experiments, for an interdisciplinary perspective that contributes to operations. I work across many industries, but focus my attention primarily in technology and healthcare services.