Sue Ashford, UM Ross

Making Everyday Leadership a Reality: Lessons from a 15-year Research Journey
Sue Ashford


Winter 2023
Lecture Time: 
Friday, April 7, 2023 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 

R0220, Ross building

Introduced By: 
Hailey Shangin


People often want to lead more from wherever they “sit” in organizations. Companies also often say that they want more leadership from more places in their organization, but we’ve historically done little research to understand what might prompt more people to engage in such leadership, what deterrents they might face in doing so, and what processes are involved in bringing it about. This talk describes a 15-year journey into exploring these questions. In the talk I will pause to consider notable “sights” along the journey’s path (e.g., critical constructs and several studies). I will also identify lessons learned and possibilities for future research as I (and hopefully others) continue a journey of discovery regarding this important topic.

Recording & Additional Notes

SUSAN (SUE) ASHFORD is the Michael and Susan Jandernoa Professor in the Management and Organizations group at the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business. She was previously on the faculty of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and received her MS and Ph.D. degrees from Northwestern University.
Sue’s passion is using her teaching and research work to help people to be maximally effective in their work lives, with an emphasis on self-leadership, proactivity, change from below, and leadership and its development. She teaches across several programs at the Ross School, in the Leading Women Executives program of the Corporate Leadership Center, and for various companies.
Sue has held several leadership positions throughout her career. She served as the Ross school’s Senior Associate Dean from 1998 – 2002, the Associate Dean for Leadership Development Programming from 2007 – 2010, the faculty director of the Executive MBA program from 2002 – 2012, and the Area Chair for the Management and Organizations department from 2013 - 2020.
Sue is an award-winning scholar, having published papers in the fields’ best journals in the areas of leadership development and leader effectiveness, middle management voice and issue selling, job insecurity, and individual proactivity (e.g., self-management and feedback seeking). Her research has been published in a variety of outlets, including the: Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Strategic Management Journal, and the Journal of Applied Psychology. Her research has been summarized as advice for managers in the Harvard Business Review, the Harvard Business Review blog, the Washington Post, and New York Magazine.
In 2002, Sue was named a Fellow of the Academy of Management, recognizing the top 1% of scholars in a world-wide professional association of nearly 20,000 professors and practitioners interested in improving management scholarship, education, and practice. The Academy of Management also awarded her the prestigious Career Achievement Award for Distinguished Scholarly Contributions to Management in 2017 and the OB Division Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.
Sue is a native Californian and the daughter of two native Californians. Sue lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with her husband, also a University of Michigan faculty member, with whom she raised three daughters.

Reading List

DeRue, D. S. & Ashford, S. J. 2010. “Who will lead and who will follow? A social process of leadership identity construction in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 35 (4), 627-647.
Klein, K., Zeigert, J., Knight, A., & Yan, X 2006. Dynamic delegation: Shared, hierarchical and deindividualized leadership in extreme action on. Administrative Science Quarterly, 51(4, 590-621.
Meindl, J. R., & Ehrlich, S. B (1987). The romance of leadership and the evaluation of organizational performance. Academy of Management Journal, 30(1), 91-109.