Research Proposals

The Forum: Business Results Through People (The Forum) is a coalition of practitioners and scholars interested in creating knowledge about how people drive organizational performance. The Forum funds academic research that contributes to the creation of knowledge about employee motivation, engagement and workplace performance, and how these factors relate to the financial performance of businesses and other organizations. Research topics such as the following may be supported:

  • The measurement and employee engagement and the relationship between engagement and organizational performance
  • The specification of models that link the performance of people in organizations to financial metrics
  • Leadership practices that engage and motivate employees
  • The role of incentives and recognition programs in engaging employees and driving performance
  • The impact that employees have on customer experiences, loyalty and buying behavior
  • Practices that organizations use to engage and motivate business partners such as franchisees, suppliers, or independent agents

Preference is for empirical studies that evaluate people in actual organizational settings. Researchers will be expected to provide an industry-oriented white paper that explains the relevance of the research and finding for managers. The white paper will be owned by and published by the Forum. Proposals should provide the following information:

  • Study objectives
  • Relevant theory of conceptual basis
  • Relevance of the research for business practice
  • Data sources and methods of empirical analysis
  • Time line for study completion
  • Budget requirements

Awards will range in size depending on the scope and importance of the research. Past projects have been funded in the $20,000 to $40,000 range.

Proposals should be sent to:

Frank Mulhern PHD 
The Forum: Business Results Through People
Department of Integrated Marketing Communications 
Medill School of Journalism 
Northwestern University 
Research Center 
1870 Campus Drive, 3rd Floor 
Evanston, IL 60208