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K-State Today

December 6, 2021

LaGree's business communication research earns outstanding article award

Submitted by Jana Thomas

Danielle LaGree, assistant professor of strategic communication in the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was recognized by the Association of Business Communication for earning the 2021 Outstanding Article award in the International Journal of Business Communication for her article, "The effect of respect: Respectful communication at work drives resiliency, engagement and job satisfaction among early-career employees." The research was conducted with three collaborators from the University of Missouri.

According to the association, the award recognizes an article that makes a significant contribution to business communication and scholarship, demonstrates originality of thought and careful investigation, and is well-written, lucid, and engaging. The work was also featured in a Fast Company article, which trended on LinkedIn News in July.

The purpose of LaGree's study was to learn how leaders can combat the unprecedented challenge of retaining and engaging young workers. Building on anecdotal evidence that young workers aren't as driven as previously thought by modern office perks such as ping-pong tables or beer on tap, the research addressed what aspects of workplace culture keep young workers engaged and loyal.

"Millennials have been called the 'entitled generation,' and this kind of gives young workers a bad rap because their often-publicized interests began with wanting to have fun in the workplace, but today's young workers have shifted toward interests in doing valuable work and finding meaning in their day-to-day job functions," LaGree said. "Leaders and managers are the ones who have the power to help foster that connection of meaningful work, determine what employee well-being means and how to communicate that meaning in a respectful way to their employees."

LaGree plans to continue this line of research by examining how organizations develop cultures that are supportive of the career development of young workers, especially as it relates to advancing women to leadership positions.