University Scholar Sandy Wayne

The University Scholars Program, now in its 35th 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.

Sandy Wayne
Sandy Wayne

Sandy Wayne
Professor of managerial studies
Associate dean for faculty affairs
Faculty director for Business Scholars
Co-Director of the Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development (iLEAD)

Years at UIC:  31 years

What are your research interests?
The majority of my research examines leadership in the workplace, with a focus on identifying leadership approaches that are associated with positive outcomes for employees (followers), leaders and teams. One of my research areas is servant leadership. Through programmatic research, I have developed the theoretical foundation for servant leadership, developed and validated a multi-dimensional measure, and conducted empirical studies in a diverse set of organizations, providing strong evidence for the efficacy of this approach for leading individuals and teams. Importantly, I have conducted studies that demonstrate the advantages of servant leadership in comparison to more traditional approaches. My recent studies in this area explore how to develop followers such that they become servant leaders.  A second research area is uncovering the barriers to women’s upward mobility in the workplace, providing an explanation for why women are under-represented in mid-and upper-level management. In one study in this area, I found that managers have an implicit family-work bias, such that they assume a woman’s performance will suffer due to family obligations, irrespective of whether that woman actually has work-family conflict. Interestingly, both male and female managers held this bias, resulting in fewer promotions for women. I’m currently expanding my interests in this area by investigating reasons why African Americans are under-represented in management in organizations.

How did you become interested in these topics?
I became interested in these topics based on my work experience prior to starting a Ph.D. program. While working in several different organizations, I often observed how critical the employee-leader relationship was in impacting employee attitudes and behaviors. Yet, I also observed that many leaders struggled with how to develop effective relationships with their employees. These experiences sparked my interest in leadership.

What do you teach?
I teach undergraduate courses in human resource management.  This area of management focuses on effectively managing an organization’s human capital (people!) through recruitment, selection, training and development, performance management, and compensation systems.

How do you balance teaching and research?
I balance teaching and research by devoting certain days each week to teaching responsibilities and other days to research. To make progress on research, I need long, uninterrupted periods of time.

What’s your advice to students who want to focus their careers on research?
Conducting impactful research is very rewarding; at the same time, it requires persistence and commitment over a long period of time.  Thus, it’s important to study topics that you find fascinating.

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