The U.S. Army is looking for a few good ideas, and USD Associate Professor of Management Jennifer Mueller wants to help find them.
Armed with a $452,000 grant, Mueller will study how military leaders can overcome a bias against novelty, as evidence suggests that the leadership skills taught today are not adequately preparing leaders to lead in the current volatile world.
According to Mueller, IBM recently conducted a study interviewing more than 1,500 C-suite executives who identified the ability to recognize value in new ideas that disrupt the status quo as the most important leadership competency today, but also noted that more than 50 percent of leaders said they felt unprepared to embrace the new.
Mueller, whose research on biases against creativity has been published in top management journals including the Academy of Management Journal and the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and Psychological Science, hope to further uncover the practices leaders enact to help them see value in new ideas rather than rejecting them, during the two and one-half year study contract.
“Ironically, rising evidence from the industry, science and education suggests that leaders with decision-making authority are more likely than ever to desire new ideas and approaches but also more likely than ever to reject these new approaches in favor of status quo solutions,” she said.
The ultimate goal of the project “is to develop the next generation of education for Army leaders and leaders in general to help them learn this critical leadership competency around embracing new ideas so they can effectively compete in today’s fast-paced environment,” Mueller added.
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