Robert Yawson

School of Business, Quinnipiac University United States


Robert M. Yawson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Management and Chair of the Entrepreneurship, International Business and Strategy Department at the School of Business, Quinnipiac University, CT. For six years ( 2014 - 2020), he was the Graduate Programs Assessment Coordinator. Robert serves on the Faculty Senate and is a member of the Senate Executive Committee. He is the Chair of the University Education Committee, a member of the Curriculum Review Committee, a member of the University Learning Assessment Council, and a member of the Board of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Service to Students. Robert is the recipient of the prestigious Center for Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018. He was named the 2018 Faculty Scholar of the Year, and the recipient of the 2020 James Marshall Award for Service. Robert is also an adjunct Associate Professor of Leadership and Organizational Studies at the University of Southern Maine.

Robert has a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development from the University of Minnesota, and an MS in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy, from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. He also has BS in Chemistry, and an MPhil in Biochemistry from the University of Ghana, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Food Management from, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Prior to joining Quinnipiac University, he worked as Quality Control Officer of S. C. Johnson Wax (Ghana) Ltd.; General Manager of Animens Industries Limited, Ghana; Scientific Secretary and later as Head of Administration (HR) of the Food Research Institute (FRI), Ghana; a Research Analyst for the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota; Instructor at the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development, University of Minnesota; and a Senior Research Fellow with the International Consulting firm, Partners for Change. Robert has consulted for the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and has worked on several multilateral and bilateral projects in Africa. As a Research Analyst for the BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota, Robert worked with a team of Consultants from Deloitte, LLC on the Destination 2025 project: a state-wide 20-year visioning initiative and roadmap to help give clarity to the nature and timing of investments that are needed for Minnesota to sustain a long-term competitive position in the biosciences industry. 

Robert is Co-Editor-In-Chief of the Organization Management Journal, Section Editor, of SAGE Open, Associate Editor of the Human Resource Development Quarterly, Associate Editor of the International Journal of Business and Systems Research, Editorial Board Member of the Human Resource Development Review, Editorial Board Member of the Advances in Developing Human Resources, Editorial Board Member of the Human Resource Development Review, and Editorial Board Member of the Industrial and Commercial Training. He has served as the Track Chair Editor of the Organization Development and Change Track of the 2015 Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) International Research Conference in the Americas, the Associate Proceedings Editor of the 2016 Conference, the Proceedings Editor of the 2017 Conference, and the Program Chair of the 2018 Conference. Robert was the Track Chair Editor of the Business Strategy Track of the 54th Annual Eastern Academy of Management 2017 Conference and the Track Chair Editor for the Leadership Track of the 56th Annual Conference in 2019. Robert also serves as an Associate Editor for the Social Issues in Management Division of the Annual Academy of Management Conferences. 

Robert is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences and several other professional bodies. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Human Resource Development; member of the Board of Governors of the Eastern Academy of Management; and served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Public and Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management as the Chair of the 2019 Best Book Award Committee. He has also served on the Wayne R. Pace Book of the Year Committee of the AHRD since 2014. In 2015, Robert served as Grant Applications Reviewer for the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology, and Space. 

Robert has over 90 publications including peer review papers in leading academic journals such as the Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Human Resource Development Quarterly, R & D Management Journal, Human Resource Development Review, Journal of Vocation Education Training, Human Resource Development International, among several others. His current research is on using the "wicked problem construct" for leading organizational development and change, and using a systems approach to human resource development for emerging technologies.

Subject Areas
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Valence–Instrumentality–Expectancy Model of Motivation as an Alternative Model for Examining Ethical Leadership Behaviors

Incessant occurrences of character failure of people in leadership positions that have characterized organizations in recent years call for critical examination of leadership behaviors. The Social Learning Theory and Trickle-Down Model are some of the common approaches previously used to analyze ethical leadership behaviors. However, the challenges with how these models inspire ethical behaviors call for further examination of the issue. Using a multidisciplinary integrative literature review, we present Vroom’s Valence–Instrumentality–Expectancy (VIE) Model of Motivation as an alternative model for examining ethical leadership behaviors. The VIE Model provides clarity regarding how leaders are motivated to behave ethically. We utilize ideas from the VIE model in conjunction with Starratt’s Three-Step Approach to develop a unique framework for examining ethical leadership behaviors. Our model highlights the importance of a leader’s values in creating organizational ethical values that eventually translate into professional ethical values. Using the motivational approach to inspire ethical leadership will drive organizational members to internalize ethical behavior as a conviction rather than complying with a set rule.

The Dead Goat Syndrome in Organisations

The use of metaphors to explore the connection between theory and practice in organization and leadership studies has proven to be highly effective. This paper discusses the dead goat syndrome (DGS) as a benchmark in discussing the importance of metaphor in organization life and to identify the various leadership types that conform to the DGS metaphor. The dead goat syndrome emanates from a popular Ghanaian metaphor literary meaning a goat that is already dead does not fear to be thrust with a knife. Using this metaphor, we present a new lens for looking at leadership effectiveness and identify the basis for certain leadership behaviors in organizations. We illuminate some definitions of metaphor by briefly reviewing the literature on the classical views on metaphors, metaphors in organizational theory development, and how the DGS metaphor can be utilized to identify certain leadership behaviors in organizations.

Collective impact: dialogue at the interface of the colliding systems of philanthropy

Collective impact as a collaborative effort arose from the acknowledgment that existing methods and development approaches were incapable of addressing large-scale and long-term societal problems, the so-called wicked problems. By creating a model of the ecosystem of organizations around a particular issue, a funder can understand who else is working in the same space, identify potential allies, and anticipate political or economic challenges that might arise. In a case study to assess the developmental impacts of foreign aid and developmental programs on women and children in one of the poorest districts in Ghana, we developed an approach through which collective impact can be initiated and evaluated. Through the life of Lamisi Seidu, a typical, poor, rural Ghanaian woman, we tell the symbolic story of poor women living in rural, peri-urban, and urban areas all over the world. We examine what defines collective impact, how such initiatives are structured, and the challenges in creating collective impact initiatives that achieve successes that are both long-lasting and large scale. We also discuss the landscape mapping approach we developed

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