Assistant Professor of Management at Appalachian State University
I am a mixed methods researcher and
I seek to understand how human potential is realized and how difficult contexts
are overcome in the context of work. More specifically, I seek to understand
how career success is achieved through relationships and how individuals facing
the most difficult work situations are able to lead and show resilience. These
topics are demonstrative of POS and the achievement of both extraordinary and
The Social Capital of Career Success
I am fascinated by the dynamics and evolution of relationships to which individuals attribute their career success. I study the career and psychosocial support provided through these developmental network dyads and the relational means that help explicate how expectations shape the social capital that is both provided and received. I am also interested in the drivers and strategies of career success, and particularly, learning from those who have achieved career-long, consensually-conferred success.
Leadership and Resilience in Response to Deleterious Work Situations
In this research stream, I have focused specifically on: 1) how cascading leadership affects organizational commitment during scandal-exacerbated decline, and 2) how human resource leaders draw strength and show resilience as they fulfill their roles as chronic downsizing agents…a role that I’ve also done myself.
I’m grateful for my practitioner and scholarly experiences and aim to do work that is important both theoretically and in practice. I’ve been privileged to have worked with a variety of organizations, including: Accenture, Aetna, CitiBank, General Foods, General Electric, the Hay Group, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Sapient, United Technologies, and several Halls of Fame, and to have used research methods from surveys to interviews to Hierarchical Linear Modeling and social networks analysis.
Positive Relationships at Work Research StatementMy research interests include the study of developmental networks and the dynamics of developmental relationships at work and outside of work, in particular how these network relationships correlate to objective and subjective career success, in particular extraordinary career achievement.
Cotton, R. D., Yan, S., & Livne-Tarandach, R. 2011. On becoming extraordinary: The content and structure of the developmental networks of Major League Baseball hall of famers. Academy of Management Journal, 54(1): 15-46.
Cotton, R. D. 2010. The company you keep: Relational models and support expectations for key developer relationships. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 2010: 211-220.