Rewarding Research

February 13, 2014

By Sarah Marshall, '15

Dan Gullifor, a business management and administration graduate student, recently received The Best Graduate Paper Award after submitting his research paper on “The Inner Ring” in the workplace to The North American Management Society.

His paper—originally written for Dr. Aaron Buchko’s BMA 620 Management Theory —discusses how and why an inner circle develops in workplaces and how workers can be a part of the circle.

The inner ring is the group of people that a manager favors—the people a manager confides in. Gullifor previously learned about in-groups in BMA 615 Interpersonal Relationships. Buchko gave his students freedom to choose their topics, and Gullifor chose in-groups because of his past experience in BMA 615.

“Most of the research available about the inner ring simply says there are different quality relationships between the manager and each worker and that we shouldn’t form these relationships,” Gullifor said. “I wanted to approach the concept from a different point of view and figure out not only why these relationships persisted but also what workers could do about them.”

Gullifor has begun preparing for the presentation of his paper at The Midwest Business Administration Association meeting in mid-March. Because this was the first paper Gullifor has written for submission, the most challenging aspect of the process was his uncertainty and unfamiliarity with the writing process. For other students getting started on the submission’s process, he recommends seeking out advice. 

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” he said. “Every journal and conference is different. If you think someone might be able to help you, ask them. Everyone has been extremely helpful and welcoming to people like me coming into the new environment. People are going to be more than willing to help you.” 

Gullifor never seems to be idle. He has had an internship with the St. Louis Cardinals and a sales internship with ConAgra Foods, and he is currently pursuing an independent study with Dr. Larry Weinzimmer. These internships along with his experience at The Foster College of Business and this award should help him research another goal—continuing on to earn his PhD. 

“This is now the fourth year in a row that I’ve had a paper from my 620 class be accepted for the conference, and so far those have gone on to receive publication in an academic journal,” Buchko said. “This says a lot for the quality of student we get at Bradley and the quality of the MBA education that we provide.”