May 12, 2020

Andrew Minster Wins 2020 Rafel Lucea Memorial Award

MIT Sloan doctoral student Andrew Minster

The Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative at MIT Sloan is pleased to announce that Andrew Minster, a doctoral student in MIT Sloan’s Institute for Work and Employment Research (IWER) PhD program, has won the 2020 Rafel Lucea Memorial Research Award. Minster, a second-year student in the IWER doctoral program, won the award for a proposal to study the experience of workers in the grocery industry during the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Rafel Lucea Memorial Research Award was established in 2016 in memory of the late Rafel Lucea. Lucea was a much-admired scholar who earned his PhD from MIT Sloan in 2007 and subsequently became an assistant professor of international business at The George Washington University. After Lucea died of brain cancer in 2015, his friends and colleagues established the annual award in his memory. The $2500 award, given annually, supports research projects by MIT Sloan doctoral students that align with Lucea’s interest in the compatibility between the interests of profit-seeking organizations and the overall long-term welfare of communities, societies, and the environment.

In 2020 the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative at MIT Sloan was invited to become the institutional home for this award. A selection committee consisting of MIT Sloan Professors Erin L. Kelly and Emilio J. Castilla, MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Barbara Dyer, University of Toronto Associate Professor Nicola Lacetera, and University of Toronto Assistant Professor Greg Distelhorst met via Zoom in April to review research proposals that had been submitted for consideration by MIT Sloan PhD students. Inez von Weitershausen, Research Associate at the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative, organized and facilitated the award application and selection process.

The selection committee unanimously chose Minster’s project from a group of very strong proposals. Minster, who has a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Economics from the New School for Social Research, is proposing to support grocery workers in completing repeated short surveys. Their responses can yield insights about how they manage novel challenges during the pandemic.

“Minster has proposed an extremely timely, ambitious, and relevant project to study in depth how frontline workers in the retail sector respond to our current unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19. Through his study of workers’ responses about their experiences working at grocery stores, he will bring their important voices and recommendations back to inform our public discourse and strategic decision making in the workplace,” said Castilla. “In this regard, his findings have the potential to help not only the public and practitioners, but also policymakers who truly care about maintaining the health of everyone, especially those facing the crisis for us every day.”

“Andrew Minster’s proposed project will enhance knowledge of work on the front lines of our food system.  As consumers, we have become acutely aware of the critical roles workers in the grocery industry play. Andrew’s research will help us move beyond awareness as we seek to understand the complex interplay of quality jobs and the health and well-being of the nation,” said Dyer, who is also Executive Director of the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative. She added that the committee was impressed by the quality of the proposals submitted.

Dyer pointed out that Minster’s project aligns well both with Lucea’s interests and the mission of the Good Companies, Good Jobs Initiative, which focuses on ways to make work work for everyone in the 21st century. The Initiative’s mission includes an emphasis on practice-oriented research that has wide relevance not only to scholars but also to managers and policymakers.

“This project is simply at the core of what Rafel Lucea cared about and what motivated his research and contributions to society,” said Castilla. “I had the pleasure to meet Rafel, a wonderful researcher and human being, and his legacy continues to be present in our community at Sloan, in projects like Minster’s aimed at promoting the long-term welfare of our societies.”



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