picture of Dr. Sean T Hannah

Dr. Sean T Hannah

Professor of Management and Tylee Wilson Chair in Business Ethics


Tylee Wilson Chair of Business Ethics and Professor of Management
Executive Director of the Center for Leadership and Character
Schools of Business, Wake Forest University
Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)

Sean Hannah is an experienced practicing senior leader and a scholar whose theoretical and empirical work is published in the top journals in the management field. He focuses on the study of character-based leader development, exemplary leadership and its positive effects, behavioral ethics, and the building of high performing teams.

Prior to his appointment to the Wilson Chair at Wake Forest he served for five years as the first Director of the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point – The United States Military Academy, in NY. CAPE is the Army’s overall proponent and subject matter experts for the profession, ethics, and character-based leader development. He previously served as the Director of Leadership and Management Programs at West Point. Dr. Hannah has served in command and staff positions in Infantry units in Europe, Cuba, Panama, Southwest Asia, and the United States. He served in combat with the lead unit of 3d Armored Division during Desert Storm, where his unit was awarded the Valorous Unit Award and he the Bronze Star; and also in other contingency operations such as Operation Sea Signal (Panama and Cuba), and Joint Task Force Los Angeles (LA Riots). He was in the Pentagon on 9/11 and the day after the attack was assigned as the Budget Director of Resource Services-Washington, the Army organization that sustained the highest casualty level in the attack, and led the reconstitution of that organization and its processes and systems to reestablish a $32 billion dollar budget. He has served from the lowest tactical levels to the highest strategic levels, having worked for two Chiefs of Staff of the Army and an Assistant Secretary of the Army. Upon his retirement he was awarded the Legion of Merit to honor his 26 years of service.

Dr. Hannah holds a PhD in Management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters of Business Administration from Syracuse University, a Masters of Arts in Public Administration from Syracuse University, a Masters in National Security Studies from the Marine Corps University, and a Bachelor in Political Science from California State University.

He sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Leadership Quarterly, and Business Ethics Quarterly. He has over 60 publications on leadership including papers in the premier management journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Organizational Behavior; the Leadership Quarterly; Business Ethics Quarterly; and many others.

An engaged and effective educator and trainer, he synthesizes his research and practical leadership experience to engage students and leaders and enhance their learning. Beyond university teaching he has conducted over 150 executive education programs with major corporations and other organizations on leadership, leader development and character development.


Professor Hannah's expertise is in leader development, character development and behavioral ethics, and the development of leadership capacity through bolstering leader's identity, courage, and confidence. He also has significant expertise in leadership in extreme contexts and crisis situations.


  • Ph D, University of Nebraska (Business Management) — 2006
  • MA, Syracuse University — 2002
  • MA, Marine Corps University (National Security Studies) — 2000
  • MBA, Syracuse University — 1997
  • BA, California State University (Political Science) — 1986

Research & Teaching

Research Interests

  • Leadership Development
  • Ethical and Authentic Leadership
  • Character Development
  • Ethical Culture
  • Leadership in Extreme Contexts
  • Leader Identity, Complexity, Self-Efficacy, and Courage

Teaching Interests

  • Leadership
  • Character Development
  • Business Ethics
  • Organizational Behavior


  • 2013: Cowan Faculty Research Award , School of Business, Wake Forest University
  • 2012: Army Achievement Medal (Awarded 4 Times), U.S. Army
    Army Achievement Medal (Awarded 4 Times)
  • 2012: Army Commendation Medal (Awarded 5 times), U.S. Army
    Army Commendation Medal
  • 2012: Meritorious Service Medal (awarded 4 times), U.S. Army
    For meritorious service to the US Army
  • 2012: National Defense Service Medal (Awarded 2 Times), U.S. Army
    For actions in defense of the nation
  • 2012: Legion of Merit, U.S. Army
    Awarded upon retirement from the Army for Exemplary Service to the Nation.
  • 2011: Inducted into the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, 2011, United Stated Army
    Honors a graduate for career contributions to US Army.
  • 2010: Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Department of Defense
    Service during GWOT
  • 2005: Army Service Ribbon, U.S. Army
    Army Service Ribbon
  • 2005: Inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honors society, 2005, Omicron Delta Kappa
  • 2005: Overseas Service Ribbon (Awarded 2 Times), U.S. Army
    For service in extended operational deployments outside of the US
  • 2002: American Society of Military Comptrollers award for education, training, and development, 2002, American Society of Military Comptrollers
    National annual award for contributions to education of military comptrollers
  • 2001: Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management andComptroller) award for outstanding educator, 2001, Secretary of the Army
    Army Commendation Medal
  • 2001: Superior Unit Award, U.S. Army
    Awarded for unit's exemplary actions in response to 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • 2001: Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) award for outstanding educator, 2001, Secretary of Defense
    Department of Defense award for contributions to the education of military comptrollers
  • 1998: Army Staff Identification Badge, U.S. Army
    Completion of certification and successful tour on the Army Staff, Pentagon
  • 1997: Beta Gamma Sigma, Business Honors Society, Syracuse University MBA, Beta Gamma Sigma
    Academic achievement in MBA
  • 1995: Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, U.S. Coast Guard
    For actions in Joint task Force Sea Signal, Cuba
  • 1995: Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Department of Defense
    For meritorious service in joint military operations, Cuba.
  • 1995: Humanitarian Service Medal (Awarded 2 Times), U.S. Army
    For military service in humanitarian operations in Cuba and Iraq
  • 1991: Bronze Star Medal, U.S. Army
    For actions in combat, Desert Storm
  • 1991: Combat Infantryman Badge, U.S. Army
    For engagement with the enemy
  • 1991: Kuwait Liberation Medal, Government of Kuwait
    Awarded by the government of Kuwait for combat operations in Desert Storm
  • 1991: Kuwait Liberation Medal, U.S. Army
    Army Award for liberation of Kuwait
  • 1991: Saudi Arabian Liberation Medal, Government of Saudi Arabia
    Awarded by the government of Saudia Arabia for combat operations in Desert Storm
  • 1991: Saudi Arabian Liberation Medal, U.S. Army
    U.S. medal for actions to liberate Saudi Arabia
  • 1991: Southwest Asia Service Medal (with 3 bronze stars), U.S. Army
    Combat operations during Desert Storm and the post-war operations in Iraq.
  • 1991: Valorous Unit Award, U.S. Army
    For unit's demonstrated valor against enemy forces in combat operations
  • 1988: Army Ranger Tab , U.S. Army
    US Army Ranger Qualification
  • 1988: Expert Infantryman Badge, U.S. Army
    awarded for passing a battery of expert infantryman qualification tests.
  • 1987: Airborne Parachutist Badge, U.S. Army
    Airborne Parachutist Badge


  • Jennings, P. L., Mitchell, M. S. & Hannah, S. (2014). The moral self: A review and integration of the literature. Journal of Organizational Behavior.
  • Cianci, A., Hannah, S., Roberts, R. & Tsakumis, G. T. (2014). The effects of authentic leadership on followers' ethical decision-making in the face of temptation: An experimental study. The Leadership Quarterly.
  • Herbst, K. C., Hannah, S. & Allan, D. (2013). Advertisement disclaimer speed and corporate social responsibility: "Costs" to consumer comprehension and effects on brand trust and purchase intention. Journal of Business Ethics, 117, 297-311. More Information
  • Hannah, S., Jennings, P. L., Bluhm, D., Peng, A. C. & Schaubroeck, J. M. (2013). Duty orientation: Theoretical development and preliminary construct testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. .
  • Hannah, S. (2013). Transparent thoughts on invisible leadership: Review essay. Public Administration Review, 73 (5), 760-765.
  • Hannah, S. & Jennings, P. L. (2013). Leader Ethos and Big-C Character. Organizational Dynamics, 42, 8-16.
  • Jennings, P. L. & Hannah, S. (2013). Leader Ethos: How Character Contributes to the Social Influence of the Leader. Taylor and Francis, , 141-172.
  • Hannah, S., Schaubroeck, J. M., Peng, A. C., Lord, R. G., Trevino, L. K., Kozlowski, S. W., Avolio, B. J., Dimotakis, N. & Doty, J. (2013). Joint Influences of Individual and Work Unit Abusive Supervision on Ethical Intentions and Behaviors: A Moderated Mediation Model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98 (4), 579-592.
  • Hannah, S. & Parry, K. W. (2013). Leadership in Extreme Contexts. Oxford University Press.
  • Hannah, S., Balthazard, P. A., Waldman, D. A., Jennings, P. L. & Thatcher, R. W. (2013). The Psychological and Neurological Bases of Leader Self-Complexity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98 (3), 393-411.
  • Leavitt, K., Reynolds, S. J., Barnes, C., Schilpzand, P. & Hannah, S. (2012). Different Hats, Different Obligations: Plural Occupational Identities and Situated Moral Judgments. Academy of Management Journal, 55 (6), 1316-1333.
  • Hannah, S. & Sowden, W. J. (2012). Leadership in the Profession of Arms. Oxford University Press.
  • Schaubroeck, J., Hannah, S., Avolio, B. J., Kozlowski, S. W., Lord, R. L., Trevino, L. K., Peng, A. C. & Dimotakas, N. (2012). Embedding ethical leadership within and across organization levels. Academy of Management Journal, 50 (5), 1053-1078.
  • Schaubroeck, J., Peng, A. C. & Hannah, S. (2012). Developing trust in leaders and peers, relational identity, and the acceleration of organizational identification during entry. Academy of Management Journal, 56 (4), 1148-1168.
  • Hannah, S., Avolio, B. J., Chan, A. & Walumbwa, F. (2012). Leader self and means efficacy: A multi-component approach. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 118, 143-161.
  • Balthazard, P. A., Waldman, D. A., Thatcher, R. W. & Hannah, S. (2012). Differentiating transformational and non-transformational leaders on the basis of neurological imaging. Leadership Quarterly, 23 (2), 244-258.
  • Avey, J., Luthans, F., Hannah, S., Sweetman, D. & Petersen, C. (2012). Wisdom: A strength of character to reduce stress and facilitate creativity. Human Resource Management Journal, 22 (2), 165-181.
  • Lord, R. L., Hannah, S. & Jennings, P. L. (2011). A framework for understanding leadership and individual requisite complexity. Organizational Psychology Review , 1 (2), 104-127.
  • Hannah, S. & Avolio, B. J. (2011). Leader character, ethos, and virtue: Individual and collective considerations. Leadership Quarterly, 22, 989-994.
  • Harms, P. D., Spain, S. M. & Hannah, S. (2011). Leader development and the dark side of personality. Leadership Quarterly, 22, 495-509.
  • Hannah, S., Lord, R. L. & Pearce, C. L. (2011). Leadership and collective requisite complexity. Organizational Psychology Review , 1 (3), 104-127.
  • Hannah, S., Walumbwa, F. O. & Fry, J. (2011). Leadership in action teams: Team leader and members’ authenticity, authenticity strength, and performance outcomes. Personnel Psychology, 64, 771-801.
  • Lester, P., Hannah, S., Harms, P., Vogelgesang, G. & Avolio, B. J. (2011). Mentoring impact on leader efficacy development: A field experiment. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 10, 409-429.
  • Hannah, S., Avolio, B. J. & May, D. R. (2011). Moral Maturation and moral conation: A capacity approach to explaining moral thought and action. Academy of Management Review, 36 (4), 663-685.
  • Hannah, S. & Avolio, B. J. (2011). The locus of leader character. Leadership Quarterly, 22, 979-983.
  • Jennings, P. L. & Hannah, S. (2011). The moralities of obligation and aspiration: Towards a concept of exemplary military ethics and leadership. Military Psychology, 23, 1-22.
  • Hannah, S., Avolio, B. J. & Fred, W. O. (2011). The relationships between authentic leadership, moral courage, and ethical and pro-social behaviors. Business Ethics Quarterly, 21 (4), 555-578.
  • Palmer, N. F., Hannah, S. & Sosnowski, D. E. (2011). Leader Development for Dangerous Contexts. Naval Institute Press, , 350-372.
  • Hannah, S., Campbell, D. J. & Matthews, M. D. (2010). Advancing a research agenda for leadership in dangerous contexts. Military Psychology, 22, 157-189.
  • Lester, P. B., Vogelgesang, G. R., Hannah, S. & Kimmey, T. (2010). Developing courage in followers: Theoretical and applied perspectives. American Psychological Association , , 187-208.
  • Campbell, D. J., Hannah, S. & Matthews, M. D. (2010). Leadership In Military And Other Dangerous Contexts: Introduction to the Special Topic Issue . Military Psychology, 22, 1-14.
  • Hannah, S. & Avolio, B. J. (2010). Moral potency: Building the capacity for character-based leadership. Consulting Psychology Journal, 62, 291-310.
  • Case, C., Underwood, R. & Hannah, S. (2010). Owning our Army Ethic. Military Review, Nov-Dec, 2-9.
  • Hannah, S. & Avolio, B. J. (2010). Ready or not: How do we accelerate the developmental readiness of leaders? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31, 1181-1187.
  • Nobel, O. B., Campbell, D. J., Hannah, S. & Wortinger, B. (2010). Soldiers’ negotiations in combat areas: The effects of role clarity and concern for members of the local population. International Journal of Conflict Management, 21, 202-227.
  • Hannah, S., Jennings, P. L. & Nobel, O. B. (2010). Tactical military leader requisite complexity: Toward a referent structure. Military Psychology, 22, 412-449.
  • Hannah, S., Sweeney, P. J. & Lester, P. B. (2010). The courageous mindset: A dynamic personality system approach to courage. American Psychological Association, , 125-148.
  • Avolio, B. J., Reichard, R. J., Hannah, S., Walumbwa, F. O. & Chan, A. (2009). 100 years of leadership intervention studies: A meta-analysis. Leadership Quarterly, 20, 764-784.
  • Hannah, S., Uhl-Bien, M., Avolio, B. J. & Cavarretta, F. L. (2009). A framework for examining leadership in extreme contexts. Leadership Quarterly, 20, 897-919.
  • Hannah, S. & Lester, P. (2009). A multilevel approach to building and leading learning organizations. Leadership Quarterly, 20, 34-48.
  • Avolio, B. J. & Hannah, S. (2009). Developmental readiness: Accelerating leader development. Consulting Psychology Journal, 60, 331-347.
  • Avolio, B. J. & Hannah, S. (2009). Leader developmental readiness. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 2, 284-287.
  • Hannah, S., Woolfolk, R. L. & Lord, R. L. (2009). Leader self-structure: A framework for positive leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30, 269-290.
  • Hannah, S. & Luthans, F. (2008). A cognitive affective processing explanation of positive leadership: Toward theoretical understanding of the role of psychological capital. Information Age Publishing, , 95-134.
  • Hannah, S., Eggers, J. H. & Jennings, P. L. (2008). Complex adaptive leadership: Defining what constitutes effective leadership for complex organizational contexts. Information Age Publishing, 6, 79-124.
  • Hannah, S. & Sweeney, P. J. (2008). Frameworks of moral development and the West Point experience: Building leaders of character for our Army and the Nation. McGraw Hill, , 65-90.
  • Sweeney, P. J. & Hannah, S. (2008). High-impact leadership: The positive effects of authentic moral leadership on followers. McGraw Hill, , 91-116.
  • Hannah, S., Avolio, B. J., Luthans, F. & Harms, P. (2008). Leadership efficacy: Review and future directions. Leadership Quarterly, 19, 669-692.
  • Sweeney, P. J., Hannah, S. & Snider, D. M. (2008). The domain of the human spirit. McGraw Hill, , 23-50.
  • Hannah, S. (2007). Authentic leadership: The heart of high impact leadership. Jossey-Bass, , 88-106.
  • Hannah, S., Sweeney, P. & Lester, P. (2007). Toward a courageous mindset: The subjective act and experience of courage. Journal of Positive Psychology, 2, 129-135.
  • Avolio, B. J., Reichard, R. J., Hannah, S., Walumbwa, F. O. & Chan, A. (2005). Executive summary: 100 year review of leadership interventions. Leadership Review, 5, 7-13.
  • Hannah, S., Lester, P. B. & Vogelgesang, G. R. (2005). Moral leadership: Explicating the moral component of authentic leadership. Elsevier, , 43-82.
  • Chan, A., Hannah, S. & Gardner, W. L. (2005). Veritable authentic leadership: Emergence, functioning, and impacts. Elsevier, , 3-42.
  • Hannah, S., Avolio, B. J. & Luthans, F. (2004). Authentic Leadership Theory: A theory primer for students of leadership. McGraw Hill, (2nd Edition), 1-23.