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Darla Moore School of Business


Robert Ployhart

Title: Professor
Bank of America Professor of Business Administration
Department: Department of Management, Master of Human Resources
Darla Moore School of Business
Phone: 803-777-5903
Office: Darla Moore School of Business 405J
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


Robert E. Ployhart is the Bank of America Professor of Business Administration in the Department of Management at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University and M.A. from Bowling Green State University, both in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and his B.S. from North Dakota State University in psychology. His research focuses on human capital resources, staffing, personnel selection, recruitment, staffing-related legal issues and applied statistical models such as structural equation modeling, multilevel modeling (HLM/RCM), and longitudinal modeling.

Ployhart has published numerous articles in outlets such as the Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Personnel Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and International Journal of Selection and Assessment. He has also co-authored multiple books. Ployhart has served as associate editor for the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes and as a guest editor for Organizational Research Methods. He has received many scholarly, practitioner and teaching awards. Ployhart is a fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Association for Psychological Science and the American Psychological Association. His research has been funded by a wide variety of private and public organizations. 

What courses do you teach?
Why should a student take your class? How does your class help students become employable? 

I work hard to blend consulting and experiential projects into every class. Students get a mix of theory and application, so they not only learn what to do, but also how to do it in the real world. The goal is to ensure students can effectively apply the knowledge and skills they learn in my class on day one of a new job.

What do you research?

My research attempts to identify how to recruit and retain talent in a manner that drives business performance, enhances diversity and is cost-effective. Therefore, most of my research is in human resources and organizational behavior with a strong quantitative focus.

How do your research projects make a difference?

My research projects often have direct benefits for the sponsoring organization because they show the accounting, market and financial consequences of better attracting and managing talent. This research makes firms more profitable and employees more appreciated and respected.

Briefly describe a few of your current projects.

I am working with a number of firms on large-scale staffing, performance management and leadership development projects. I have two large-scale projects examining the impact of employee talent and engagement on business unit-level customer satisfaction and financial outcomes over many years. I am also working on projects focused on reducing turnover rates over time, as well as how to better recruit a diverse and high-achieving workforce. Finally, I have a few projects that examine how to best develop and prepare leaders for difficult transitions. All of these projects involve students.

How do you involve students in your projects?

My research involves a lot of doctoral students taking various leadership roles. However, I also try to involve undergraduate and sometimes masters students to assist in these projects. Even if you do not plan to be a professor, you will learn a lot of practical skills by helping conduct research.

What inspires you about your work?

Every day, I have an opportunity to make the world better through working with students and developing science-based solutions for challenging business problems.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Hang out with the family or play with anything that has an engine or amp. I also enjoy being on the road or water.