2016 University Scholar Robert Liden

Robert Liden; University Scholars

Managerial studies professor Robert Liden has had a significant impact on the leadership literature in organizational behavior. Photo: Jenny Fontaine

The University Scholars Program, now in its 32nd year, honors faculty members for superior research and teaching, along with great promise for future achievements. The award provides $15,000 a year for three years.

When Robert Liden arrived at UIC, it was already a quality university. But it improved in multiple ways. Perhaps the biggest change is international visibility.

“When I went to professional meetings, people were very unfamiliar with UIC,” Liden said. “But now, they tell me how impressed they are with our university and its accomplishments.”

Liden is a distinguished researcher who has had a significant impact on the leadership literature in organizational behavior.

“Most significant are the findings clearly demonstrating the value of leaders taking the time and effort to build quality relationships with followers…providing resources, support, and encouragement to bring out the full potential in followers,” he said.

As a freshman undergraduate at Arizona State University, Liden’s favorite classes were business and psychology. So he transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a degree in industrial/organizational psychology.

“My mentor at UIUC encouraged me to join the doctoral program in I/O psychology,” Liden said. “He convinced me that being a research professor would be a good career for me. I am thankful for his advice and encouragement.”

Liden joined the UIC faculty in 1991 as an associate professor. In 1996, he was promoted to professor of management, where he also serves as associate dean for the College of Business Administration’s doctoral programs.

Liden’s research has been extremely influential. He has more than 100 research publications, the vast majority in high impact journals. His citation count on Google Scholar is currently in excess of 27,000 (citation count is an indication of the impact that one’s research is having on the field).

“I am happy to know that a number of other researchers have found my research to be useful in developing their ideas and studies,” he said.

The quality of Liden’s research program is widely recognized among his peers. It includes the study of organizational and national culture as it affects work relationships.

“I would like to think that our research (nearly all of his work has been co-authored) has helped to advance theory that improves our understanding phenomena in organizational behavior and interpersonal interactions,” said Liden, who is a fellow of both the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Liden plans to continue studying relationships between leaders and followers in organizational settings, extending his previous work. He’s thankful for the great research environment at UIC.

“Not only has this helped me in contributing towards advancements in the field, but has made me a better teacher by making me more aware of current developments,” he said.

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