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Learning Center Experience
By Rebecca Herman, PhD, Professor,
School of Business and Information Technology
When I tell people about my chosen academic
focus on leadership and organizational behavior, sometimes their eyes start to
glaze over. Then I begin to explain my recent field research and those same
eyes light up as they begin to realize that what I teach can be applied
anywhere—even the baseball field.
In this research, I have been able to
incorporate two of my passions—leadership and baseball—in a quest to gain
practical insight about leadership and organizational behavior through a better
understanding of what it takes to be a great leader in baseball.
Prof. Herman and Indians' Manager Manny Acta
Baseball provides an interesting microcosm for
studying the essentials of leadership. Strategy, persuasion, discipline, analysis
and crisis management—these qualities are on exhibit at every playing field. After
reviewing the literature and reading former managers’ stories and biographies,
my research colleague Dr. Howard Fero and I set out to do some real-time field research.
We met with players and interviewed major league managers, including Don
Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Davey Johnson of the Washington
Nationals, who led the New York Mets to a world championship in 1986.
Prof. Herman and Royals' Yost
We are working to discover how managers gain
trust from players: what it takes to motivate a diverse team, when to lead by
the numbers, and when to lead from the heart. We believe our findings will
benefit not just baseball enthusiasts, but industry leaders and anyone who
wants a practical approach to increasing leadership effectiveness. Ultimately,
we plan to publish our research in an engaging book that breaks new ground in
the field of leadership practices
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