PULLMAN, Wash. — A $300,000, three-year National Science Foundation grant to examine success in the field of information technology has been awarded to two Washington State University faculty members: Kristine M. Kuhn, assistant professor of management, and K.D. Joshi, assistant professor of management information systems.

Their NSF project is entitled, “What Does It Take to Succeed in Information Technology? A Multi-Level Analysis of Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Critical Attributes and the Effects of Stereotype Fit.”

“Whether the demand for information technology workers is up or down, we see that ‘the best’ people are always in demand,” Joshi said. “Our study will investigate what it takes to be considered ‘the best,’ and how do perceptions of the necessary skills and attributes differ across organizational stakeholders?”

By conducting focus groups, interviews, and administering Web-based surveys to employees in IT-oriented companies in Seattle, the two hope to uncover answers that will help companies improve recruiting, retention, training and evaluation of IT workers, said Kuhn. The research could also help to redefine appropriate academic curricula for IT students, Joshi said.

This is Joshi’s and Kuhn’s second NSF grant award. A previous study, funded at $65,000, investigated students’ attitudes toward IT careers. The research was presented at two conferences and journal articles on their findings are in progress.

Kuhn’s area of expertise is behavioral decision making. Joshi’s is information technology workforce-related issues and knowledge management.