Management Prof Heather Vough Awarded 2021 Dean’s Scholar Award

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Heather Vough, associate professor of management, is one of four faculty at George Mason University School of Business to be named a recipient of the 2021 School of Business Dean’s Scholar Award.

Heather Vough
Heather Vough

To be selected for the award, applicants demonstrated sustained contributions to research, teaching, and leadership/engagement. Other faculty recipients include Brad Greenwood, associate professor of information systems and operations management, Jessica Hoppner, associate professor of marketing and Shun Ye, associate professor of information systems and operations management.

“These faculty members represent the best of the best—faculty who are terrific researchers, great teachers, and are engaged with our academic communities locally, nationally, and internationally,” says Dean Maury Peiperl.

Vough, currently in her third year at the School of Business, says the dominant themes in her research are identity and sensemaking at work, specifically researching how individuals understand who they are in the context of their professions, organizations, and careers, as well as how they make sense of and respond to workplace transitions. She says she seeks answers to questions such as “Who are we relative to our organizations and professions and why does that matter at work?” And “How do we make sense of and respond to what happens to us at work?”

“I think the issue of role-based image discrepancies is really interesting,” says Vough. “Role-based image discrepancies occur when a role member sees their role differently than individuals outside the role.” In her research, Vough and her colleagues spoke with architects, lawyers, advanced practice nurses, and accountants. “They each said that their clients did not understand the work that they did and that lack of understanding hindered their ability to serve their clients.” She is currently researching how such discrepancies impact entrepreneurs and their willingness to use the entrepreneur label.

Vough has published 16 peer reviewed articles, eight of which have appeared in premier management journals. She is an associate editor at Academy of Management Journal. Vough has served as a member of five research journal editorial boards: Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Management Communications Quarterly. She serves as the chair of the Curriculum Subcommittee for the School of Business Diversity, Inclusion, and Belongingness Task Force. Vough received her PhD in organizational behavior from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Business.

In addition to her research and teaching, Vough is also the PhD coordinator for the management area. “Selecting and developing PhD students is something that is really important to me and something that I greatly enjoy,” says Vough. Despite the limitations of in-person relationships with students due to COVID-19 during her time at Mason, Vough says she has still established strong connections with students. “I have had the good fortune to teach many really bright students, some of whom I have counseled to continue on to grad school.”

Vough says her colleagues at Mason have had a great impact on her. “We are a really tight knit group. We meet up weekly (in-person or virtually) to catch up and share research updates,” says Vough. “We are a unique and quirky set of people, which makes it a lot of fun to come to work.”