​Leadership Research

The Bauer Leadership Center supports leadership research and scholarly activities by providing tools and resources that allow our faculty to remain at the forefront of research excellence.

Research and Case Work Seed Funding

The Bauer Leadership Center supports WashU Olin PhD students by providing them with funding and resources to enhance their leadership research. For more information about funding, contact bauerleadership@wustl.edu.

Jack Zhang

Jack Zhang, PhD ’22, Organizational Behavior
Dissertation: “Times of Uncertainty: The Psychological and Behavioral Impact of Employment Uncertainty on Furloughed Workers and the Moderating Effect of Work Orientation”

Check out Jack’s recent publication in the Academy of Management Journal:
Tang, P. M., Koopman, J., McClean, S., Zhang, J., Li, C. H., De Cremer, D., Lu, Y., Ng, S. When Conscientious Employees Meet Intelligent Machines: An Integrative Approach Inspired by Complementarity Theory and Role Theory. Academy of Management Journal (In press).

The paper challenges the traditional view of conscientiousness that sees it as the preeminent trait for predicting performance. Instead, with the fourth industrial revolution, the highly conscientious workers may benefit less from working with intelligent machines because these machines’ autonomous decision-making capabilities overlap with the nature of conscientious employees to take control and establish order, resulting in a mismatch.

Jasmine Huang

Jasmine Huang, PhD ’19, Organizational Behavior
“Examining the Drivers of Managers’ Blame and Credit Behaviors in the Workplace”
Listen to podcast: Vice Chancellor of International Affairs and Bank of America Professor of Leadership, Kurt Dirks, interviews Jasmine

Elizabeth Luckman Elizabeth Luckman, PhD ’18, Organizational Behavior
“The Influence of Images of God on our Implicit Leadership Theories”


Global Consortium of Leadership Centers

In an effort to advance the science and practice of leadership, the Bauer Leadership Center co-founded a global consortium of leadership center directors. The consortium includes representatives from INSEAD (France, Singapore), Goethe University (Frankfurt), University of Groningen (Netherlands), Aarhus University (Denmark), Leiden University (Netherlands), London Business School, Utrecht University (Netherlands), and Washington University Olin (USA). The inaugural summit was held in the Netherlands in November 2018 and the Bauer Center hosted a second gathering in November 2019. Sessions in 2020 and 2021 were held virtually. The next session of the Global Leadership Center Roundtable Conference will take place July 6-7, 2022 at the Crown Prince Frederik Center for Public Leadership at Aarhus University, Denmark. The Bauer Center will present some of our recent research and will join in discussing best practices in leadership with center directors from around the world.

Academic Conferences

When Work is a Calling | October 10-11, 2019

The “Calling Community Conversation” was a first-of-its-kind meeting of about 15 of the top scholars who study work as a calling. This is a field of research that has seen steady growth in recent years in terms of the quantity of studies produced. The objectives of the gathering are to foster dialogue among scholars who have conceptualized calling in slightly different ways, to explore new opportunities for collaboration, and to discuss how to position research on calling to be impactful in the future. Participants came from North America, Europe and Australia.

Organizational Higher Purpose Conference | November 8-9, 2019

Cohosted with Wells Fargo Advisors Center for Finance and Accounting Research (CFAR) and Barry-Wehmiller Cos, Inc., this conference considered the power of organizational purpose and how it relates to personal and organizational outcomes. Researchers who have investigated the topic and practitioners who have undertaken the journey provided insights and perspectives in a series of expert panels on different aspects of higher purpose. This conference was invitation-only and geared toward senior leaders seeking to learn more about higher purpose and how it can benefit their organizations.

Contributing Faculty

The Center highlights faculty members whose research is relevant to its mission of advancing the science and practice of values-based leadership.

Professor Stuart Bunderson co-authored an article with leadership center directors from institutions including Duke, Wake Forest, Rice, NYU, Rotterdam, INSEAD, and several others. The article, entitled “Walking Our Evidence-Based Talk: The Case of Leadership Development in Business Schools,” was recently published in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies. This paper examines the challenges leadership centers face in implementing evidence-based management practices in their programs. The authors interviewed directors of top leadership centers across 60 business schools in the United States and Europe and concluded there is still work to be done in order to fully “walk the talk” of evidence-based leadership development in business schools. Read the article “Walking Our Evidence-Based Talk: The Case of Leadership Development in Business Schools.”

The Bauer Leadership Center partnered with Professor Anjan Thakor and the Wells Fargo Center for Finance and Accounting Research to examine the role of organizational higher purpose in promoting banking performance and stability. Read “Higher purpose, banking and stability” in the Journal of Banking and Finance.

The Bauer Leadership Center partnered with Vrity, Inc. to study values and brand-related purchasing behaviors among consumers of different generations and how these were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our research shows that consumers care about brand values more than ever. It’s not enough to simply make a good product; today’s brands need to do right by the customer, their employees, and the community.” – Stuart Bunderson (Savat, 2021). Read the research summary on the Olin Blog and listen to the On Principle podcast interview of Olin alumnus Jason Wang, BSBA ’09, about using his business as a force to create positive change. It features research from this study as well as an interview with Professor Bunderson. Or read the full paper “Consumer Values and Brand Purchasing: Generational and COVID-19 Effect” (PDF).

Additional examples of our faculty’s recent contributions:

Campagna, R., Dirks, K. T., Knight, A. P., Crossley, C., & Robinson, S. L. (2020). On the relation between felt trust and actual trust: Examining pathways to and implications of leader trust meta-accuracy. Journal of Applied Psychology, 105, 994-1012.

Dirks, K.T., Sweeney, P.J., Dimotakis, N. et al. Understanding the Change and Development of Trust and the Implications for New Leaders. J Bus Ethics (2021).

Gray, S.M., Bunderson, J.S., Van der Vegt, G.S., Rink, F., & Gedik, Y. Forthcoming. Leveraging Knowledge Diversity in Hierarchically Differentiated Teams: The Critical Role of Hierarchy Stability. Academy of Management Journal.

Gray, S. M., Knight, A. P., & Baer, M. (2020). On the emergence of collective psychological ownership in new creative teams. Organization Science, 31, 141-164.

Moungt, M., & Baer, M. CEOs' Regulatory Focus and Risk-Taking When Firms Perform Below and Above the Bar. Journal of Management (forthcoming).

Tost, L. P., Hardin, A. E., Robertson, J. W., & Gino, F. (In-Press). Different roots, different fruits: Gender-based differences in cultural narratives about perceived discrimination produce divergent psychological consequences. Academy of Management Journal.

Ziegert, J. C., Knight, A. P., Resick, C. J., & Graham, K. A. (2022). Addressing performance tensions in multiteam systems: Balancing informal mechanisms of coordination within and between teams. Academy of Management Journal, 65, 158-185.


Professor Stuart Bunderson and Bret Sanner, assistant professor of management, Shenandoah University, challenged the prevailing view that hierarchies are perceived as an obstacle to innovation. Their research suggests that hierarchy, when used in the right way and at the right time, can be critical for team learning and innovation. “To ask when hierarchy is important to team learning and innovation is really the same as asking when it is useful to have informal leaders driving the process.”

Publication: The Truth about Hierarchy,” MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2018 issue. Olin Faculty: Stuart Bunderson, co-director of the Bauer Leadership Center and George and Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics and Governance