Professor Alexander joins Management Department

Professor Alexander joins Management Department

Assistant Professor Katie Alexander’s research focuses on leadership and interpersonal treatment, which is how we treat and mistreat each other in the workplace.

When Assistant Professor Katie Alexander joined the management faculty in fall 2021, she fulfilled her nearly lifelong dream of becoming a professor. 

“I knew that I wanted to get a PhD and pursue a research career when I was 16 years old,” said Alexander. “I have a notebook where I wrote it down. I went on my first college tour with my older sister when I was ten-years-old, and I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, this is amazing. People sit around and read all day. This must be the best job in the world.’” 

Below she shares her journey from corporate America to teaching and researching leadership styles.

Why did you pick management?  

After I studied economics as an undergraduate student, I decided to work for a few years before pursuing a PhD in management because I knew I wanted to study leadership. Very quickly, I realized that  I was more interested in how leaders and followers interact than I was in econometrics.

What is your research area?

I'm an organizational behavior scholar, which is what we consider “the psychology of the workplace.” I’m researching leadership and interpersonal treatment, which is how we treat and mistreat each other in the workplace.

I have quite a bit of research on destructive leadership, which considers the dark side of leadership, such as abusive supervision, evil leadership, and despotic leadership. I also research how destructive leadership differs across cultures, or how these phenomena differ around the world. More specifically, I am exploring how cultural values impact the relationship quality between leaders and their followers. I also have some research related to survey research methodology. So, I'm exploring how we can improve the quality of survey data by considering social desirability bias more effectively.   

I also have joined some projects as the more psychology-based theorist, helping write things related to entrepreneur well-being. We have a paper that looks at entrepreneurship and marathon running and how that's a signal of persistence to potential investors.

How does your corporate experience shape your teaching?  

In my corporate experience, I saw both great leadership and not so great leadership. That's the reality of the workplace. This experience informs the kind of corporate citizens I want to build within my students.   

I care deeply about ethical leadership and servant leadership and making sure that students are developed and educated in a way that they can embody these principles in the real world. I want them to be able to execute on the ideas and theories we discuss in class to improve how they treat their peers, as well as their followers with a deep respect and support.

What will students learn from you? 

I hope to help my students develop as leaders and develop as people so that they can be better humans, managers, and employees. They will learn the theories of management, including how to manage a company, a team, and themselves. This goes beyond business and into how they interact with their families, their partners, their future children, etc.

What drew you to Quinlan? 

I fell in love with Chicago when I was in town for a conference and started exploring teaching opportunities in the city. When I stumbled on Loyola, I just felt that the school really aligned with how I envision my purpose. The idea of educating the whole person is so in tune with how I view higher education, and I felt an immediate a kinship with the faculty at Loyola. It was just a perfect fit. Things just fell into place from there, and I am thrilled to be here.

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