Angelo Kinicki has bridged the gap between academics and business.
Kinicki’s was honored recently with an appointment to the Weatherup/Overby Chair at the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU, the second person to receive the title since 1998.
The chair, established by former PepsiCo CEO Craig Weatherup, recognizes those who work to promote a greater understanding of business leadership.
Kinicki, 51, will begin research into how leaders influence their corporate environments — findings he will share with his ASU students as well as businesses nationally and internationally.
Kinicki’s grew up in what he described as a “blue-collar family” in an economically-modest suburb of Cleveland—Parma, Ohio.
“My parents didn’t have much money so they couldn’t afford to send me to college,” Kinicki recalled. “I had to make some hard decisions.”
One of those was to devote himself full-time to earning enough money for tuition to begin freshman classes at Kent State University.
As a student at the former Benedictine High School, Kinicki he quit one of his favorite sports — wrestling.
“I loved to wrestle,” said Kinicki. “It taught me how to focus my energy and my goals. It was a form of discipline. But, at the time, there were no college scholarships available, so I had to quit wrestling and go to work in order to go college.”
Kinicki paid his own way through four years at Kent State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. He went on to get a master’s and, subsequently, a doctorate degree in organizational behavior and industrial psychology.
He and his wife left the Cleveland area and moved to Arizona in 1982. He had applied and received a job as an assistant professor at ASU and subsequently was promoted to associate and, finally, full professor.
“We wanted to move to a place where there was no snow,” said Kinicki. “And a place where I could golf. There were no golf courses in Parma.”
Since 1982, Kinicki has been teaching business as well as writing books. He has published more than 80 articles about various aspects of business. He has published six books, including “Organizational Behavior,” which has been translated into five languages worldwide.
His wife, meanwhile, is president of Kinicki and Associates, a consulting firm operated out of their home at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club, which is walking distance from the first hole.
Some of their clients include Fortune 500 companies that are looking for ways to improve operations, working environments and how to deal with employee feedback as well as local firms.
Mary Gray, president of Communications Services of Tempe, was vice president of the telecommunications engineering and construction company when she attended Kinicki’s classes at ASU.
“He’s not only very knowledgeable but very challenging,” said Gray. “He makes you think.”
Gray said she has since used some of the lessons learned from Kinicki to handle issues facing her company and its 40 employees.
Among some of Kinicki’s published articles include “How to cope with stress at work” and “How to cope with job loss,” the latter is significant with the growing number of job cuts in major corporations, including those in the auto industry.
He primarily designs surveys for companies to help them form plans for improvement and development of management training programs.
“Like a medical doctor, I diagnose what’s going on in the business world and offer suggestions on how to deal with the problems,” he said.
“My wife suggested the consulting service,” Kinicki said. “She said I had all this knowledge and I ought to use it to help people. I’ve since discovered that helping others is a great source of satisfaction.
“I would not be where I am without my wife. Not only is she my best friend and spouse, but she has helped me to develop a variety of skills that have contributed to my success.”
At ASU, he also participates in corporate training programs through the W. P. Carey School of Business executive education program.
Asked his opinions about the latest news events involving questionable ethical behavior in the business world, Kinicki said:
“Our core values in our society have shifted, but I don’t think all of society is greedy. The bulk of Americans are ethical people. I don’t think things like Enron are a trend. But, in the long run, its a good thing because it forces us look at how things are run.”
He cited, for an example, the new laws aimed at regulating businesses and their financial reports.
Angelo J. Kinicki
Family:Wife, Joyce; Golden Retriever, Nala
Resides in: Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club
Business: Professor of Business Administration at W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University; with his wife is a business consultant for several Fortune 500 companies
Key achievement:Author of several books about business and hundreds of articles; recently honored as the second appointed chair of the Weatherup/Overby Chair at Arizona State University and the East Valley in 2005. Profits totaled more than $2.3 million.