Qi Zhang

Qi Zhang, Ph.D. student, Management and Entrepreneurship

Improves workplace belonging


• Hometown: Jiexiu, Shanxi, China
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Rong Su, Assistant Professor, Management and Entrepreneurship
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Ph.D., Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, May 2021
• Please describe your research: I use a longitudinal research design and a statistical modeling method to track patterns of work relationships that employees build and develop with their teammates and other coworkers. I then use this information to explain and predict who will fit in with their teams and who will feel like misfits, and in the long run, who will perform well, who will underperform, who will be satisfied with and committed to their teams, and who will want to quit.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Organizations typically “hire for fit” and expect employees to quickly get on board and fit in with their work teams. My research challenges this prevailing practice by studying employees’ adaptation to their teams through the lens of social relations. Through tracking the co-evolvement of employees’ social networks and perceptions of fit, this work will explore how relationship patterns and dynamics impact employees’ fit into their work teams, and help organizations better socialize, manage, and retain their talents.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I have been actively involved in research ever since I started my first semester here.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Research drives me to learn and grow. In order to better propose and answer research questions, I have been constantly learning from coursework, from management literature and practice, from teaching, and more importantly, from the best people in the field by collaborating with professors and other students in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. Research also satisfies my curiosity and simultaneously inspires more of it, makes me find meaning in my work, and gives me a sense of purpose when I wake up every morning.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I aspire to continue my path of being a researcher in organizational behavior and human resource management and to hopefully pursue an academic career.



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