Blake Ashforth is the winner of the AOM 2023 Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Management Award for his major impact in the field of management through his work advancing research on social identity constructions, stigmatized jobs, and dysfunctions of organizational life.
“Winning the award has been both a huge surprise and very humbling. Pretty much everything I do is with terrific coauthors—especially my doctoral students—and this recognition is really for the great teams we've had. I can't imagine having done any of this without them.”
With over 100,000 citations on Google Scholar, Blake’s research has had a pivotal role introducing ideas, models, and empirical tests around the topics of individual and organizational identity. According to the awards committee, his work transcends traditional boundaries between micro and macro-management research. His research focus includes identity and identification (how we define ourselves in part through our work), socialization of newcomers, stigmatized jobs or “dirty work,” and the dysfunctions of organizational life, like corruption, burnout, and petty tyranny.
“People are fascinated with those who do the jobs that most of us try to avoid, like being a sewer worker or custodial officer. I hope that my research on dirty work, all coauthored with Glen Kreiner, has helped show the dignity and importance of such work and how unfair our negative perceptions are to the courageous people who perform it.”
Blake is currently a Regents Professor and the Horace Steele Arizona Heritage Chair at the W. P. Carey School of Management and Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University. He started his career as a banker but found it too bureaucratic. While taking an evening MBA course on organizational behavior, Blake was inspired by his professor, and went on to get his PhD in Management from the University of Toronto. It was during his doctoral program that Blake joined AOM and attended his first Annual Meeting in 1983.
“By my count, I've attended 38 AOM conferences over the years, along with various regional AOM conferences. There's a reason I keep showing up like a bad penny: it's home! I've met countless awesome people through AOM, many of whom I consider good friends, and I've learned a ton both about my research areas and the art of scholarship and being a professor. I believe deeply in the Academy's mission, and, hey, its journals are simply terrific.”
Blake found his home at AOM within the Managerial and Organizational Cognition (MOC) and Organizational Behavior (OB) Divisions. He has served as a member of the Editorial Review Board for Academy of Management Discoveries, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, and Academy of Management Collections. He is an Academy of Management Fellow. In 2016, he was the recipient of OB’s Lifetime Achievement Award; in 2018, he received MOC’s Distinguished Scholar Award; and in 2023, he won OB’s Mentorship Award.
For up-and-coming scholars looking to get more involved in AOM, Blake suggests “volunteering to review, attending professional development workshops, perhaps organizing a symposium (with your mentor) to meet other scholars in your area, and really pushing yourself to meet people who share your research interests.”
The Award for Scholarly Contributions to Management is granted on an annual basis for significant contributions that have advanced the field of management and organizational knowledge and practice. Significant scholarly contributions may take the form of conceptual, theoretical, or empirical developments having significant impact upon management knowledge and practice. Learn more.