Q and A: IUPUC Business Professor Kevin Jones

IUPUC business professor Kevin Jones, a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University, Master of Arts from the University of Kansas and Doctor of Education from Northern Illinois University.

His areas of research include leadership and management competencies models, romantic relationships in the workplace and organizational change process enablers and dysfunctions.

IUPUC conducted a Q&A with him recently. Here’s what he had to say.

Q: How did you become interested in the field of business?

A: My interest in the field of business first started when I was in middle school. I collaborated with a friend to create a lawn services business. My job was to do the marketing and planning for the business. Interestingly, that same friend and I had the vision to create a business to market technology, including personal computers and solar panels.

As an undergraduate student at Western Michigan University, I majored in elementary education and communication. In addition to my majors, I minored in business. Among my favorite classes in business were management, marketing and business law. Soon after graduation from college, I launched a few small businesses, including a communication consulting company and a couple of multilevel marketing companies. This experience solidified my continuing interest in business.

Q: What is your favorite class to teach?

A: I enjoy all the classes that I teach in the Division of Business. The class that I believe is my most impactful class is the J404 Business and Society class where the focus is business ethics. It is a rich dialogue, debate and conversation class where all students are encouraged to express their point of view on a variety of ethical concerns. We engage in debates and conversations around various businesses and practices, and try to answer the question: “Is that ethical?” As I say to students J404, in your career I hope you hear my voice in the future asking you the question, “Is this business decision ethical?”

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring major?

A: An aspiring business major, or any major for that matter, must develop a range of career-ready capabilities.

These capabilities include communication, problem solving, team skills, emotional intelligence and technological literacy. Students should develop both specialist and generalist skills. In other words, a proficient business student should develop expertise in their concentration (e.g., management) and have strong general knowledge of other business areas.

Q: How did you become interested in your research topic?

A: My interest in researching the internal dynamics of organizations started early and emerged from an unusual source. Growing up in and participating in both the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Missionary Baptist Church (National Baptist Convention-affiliated), I learned at an early age how organizations with similar missions can be very different in the ways they pursue their goals. Further, I learned how organizational communication and relationships affect organizational outcomes. In the church, I observed and learned about the complexity of organizations which extends into my present research on various types of organizations.

Q: Some of your students may not know your hobbies or outside area of interest. What can you share about your interest?

A: Almost all my students know that I enjoy watching sports of all kinds, and especially American football. I also enjoy playing sports — basketball, flag football and volleyball — when I am not injured. In high school, I played football and dreamed of one day being in the NFL — although, unfortunately, I had a zero percent chance of achieving this dream. Few of my students are aware that I have worked in radio for approximately 39 years, including my current Sunday radio program entitled “Sonshine” on Spirit 95 (WVNI, 95.1 FM) in Bloomington, Indiana.