Faculty & Staff Directory


Picture of Dr. Sean Hannah

Dr. Sean Hannah

J. Tylee Wilson Chair in Business Ethics; Professor of Management; Senior Research Associate, CLC

SEAN T. HANNAH
Tylee Wilson Chair of Business Ethics and Professor of Management
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, the building of high performing teams, strategic thinking, and crisis leadership.

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 after the attack was assigned as the Budget Director of Resource Services-Washington, the Army organization that sustained the highest casualty rate 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 Army's lowest tactical levels to its highest strategic levels, having served on the staffs of two Chiefs of Staff of the Army and an Assistant Secretary of the Army. Upon his retirement as a colonel he was awarded the Legion of Merit, his 44th military decoration, and was inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame 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 four journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology. In the last five years alone he has published over 30 papers on leadership including papers in the premier management journals such as the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, the Journal of Organizational Behavior; and many others.

He synthesizes his research and practical leadership experience to engage students and leaders and enhance their learning. Beyond university teaching he has conducted over 300 executive education programs with major corporations and other executive groups in the U.S. and internationally on leadership and strategy-related topics.

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 strategic thinking, building high performance teams, and 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 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

  • Waldman, D. ,  Wang, D. ,  Hannah, S. , &  Balthazard, P. (Forthcoming). A neurological and ideological perspective of ethical leadership. Academy of Management Journal.
  • Hannah, S. ,  Schaubroeck, J. M. , &  Peng, A. C. (Forthcoming). Transforming followers' value internalization and role self-efficacy: Dual processes promoting performance and peer norm-enforcement. Journal of Applied Psychology.
  • Cavarretta, F. L. ,  Trinchera, L. ,  Choi, D. O. , &  Hannah, S. (Forthcoming). When "It Depends" Amounts to More Than Simple Contingent Relationships: Three Canonical Forms of Inversions. . Journal of Organizational Behavior.
  • Schaubroeck, J. M. ,  Peng, A. C. , &  Hannah, S. (Forthcoming). The Role of Peer Respect in Linking Abusive Supervision to Follower Outcomes: Dual Moderation of Group Potency. Journal of Applied Psychology.
  • Demirtas, O. ,  Hannah, S. ,  Gok, K. ,  Arslan, A. , &  Capar, N. (2015). The Moderated Influence of Ethical Leadership, via Meaningful Work, on Followers' Engagement, Organizational Identification, and Envy. Journal of Business Ethics,
  • Sweeney, P. J. ,  Imboden, M. W. , &  Hannah, S. (2015). Building Moral Strength: Bridging the Moral Judgment-Action Gap. . New Directions for Student Leadership, 146, 17-33.
  • Jennings, P. L. ,  Mitchell, M. S. , &  Hannah, S. (2015). The moral self: A review and integration of the literature. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36, S104-S168.
  • Sumanth, J. , &  Hannah, S. (2014). Developing leadership capacity: An integration and exploration of ethical and authentic leadership antecedents . In Linda Neider & Chester Schriesheim (Ed.), Advances in Authentic and Ethical Leadership (pp. 25-74). Charlotte, NC: Research in Management. | more information
  • Hannah, S. ,  Sumanth, J. ,  Lester, P. , &  Cavarretta, F. (2014). Debunking the False Dichotomy of Leadership Idealism and Pragmatism: Critical Evaluation and Support of Newer Genre Leadership Theories. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35 (5), 598-621. | more information
  • Hannah, S. , &  Parry, K. W. (2014). Leadership in Extreme Contexts. In David Day (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Hannah, S. ,  Jennings, P. L. ,  Bluhm, D. ,  Peng, A. C. , &  Schaubroeck, J. M. (2014). Duty orientation: Theoretical development and preliminary construct testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. , 123 (2), 598-621.
  • 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,
  • 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. ,  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.
  • 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. (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. In Ronald E. Riggio and Sherylle J. Tan (Ed.), Leader Interpersonal and Influence Skills: The Soft Skills of Leadership (pp. 141-172). New York, NY: Taylor and Francis.
  • 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. In Michael Rumsey (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Leadership New York, NY: 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.
  • Palmer, N. F. ,  Hannah, S. , &  Sosnowski, D. E. (2011). Leader Development for Dangerous Contexts. Naval Institute Press.
  • 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.
  • 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. In C. Pury & S. Lopez (Ed.), The Psychology of Courage Modern Research on an Ancient Virtue (pp. 187-208). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association .
  • 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. In C. Pury & S. Lopez (Ed.), The Psychology of Courage Modern Research on an Ancient Virtue (pp. 125-148). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • 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. In R.H. Humphrey (Ed.), Affect and Emotion: New Directions in Management Theory and Research, Volume 7 of Research in Management (pp. 95-134). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Hannah, S. ,  Eggers, J. H. , &  Jennings, P. L. (2008). Complex adaptive leadership: Defining what constitutes effective leadership for complex organizational contexts. In G. B. Graen & J. A. Graen (Ed.), Knowledge driven corporation: Complex creative destruction. LMX Leadership: The Series (pp. 79-124). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • 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. In D. M. Snider and L. J. Matthews (Ed.), Forging the Warriors Character (pp. 65-90). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
  • Sweeney, P. J. , &  Hannah, S. (2008). High-impact leadership: The positive effects of authentic moral leadership on followers. In D. M. Snider and L. J. Matthews (Ed.), Forging the Warriors Character (pp. 91-116). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
  • 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. In D. M. Snider and L. J. Matthews (Ed.), Forging the Warriors Character (pp. 23-50). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.
  • Hannah, S. (2007). Authentic leadership: The heart of high impact leadership. In D. Crandall (Ed.), Leadership Lessons from West Point (pp. 88-106). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • 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. In W. B. Gardner & B. J. Avolio (Ed.), Authentic Leadership Theory and Practice: Origins, Effects, and Development (pp. 43-82). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
  • Chan, A. ,  Hannah, S. , &  Gardner, W. L. (2005). Veritable authentic leadership: Emergence, functioning, and impacts. In W. B. Gardner & B. J. Avolio (Ed.), Authentic Leadership Theory and Practice: Origins, Effects, and Development (pp. 3-42). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.
  • Hannah, S. ,  Avolio, B. J. , &  Luthans, F. (2004). Authentic Leadership Theory: A theory primer for students of leadership. In (Ed.), Special Readings in Military Leadership (pp. 1-23). Columbus, OH : McGraw Hill.

  • 2013 - Cowan Faculty Research Award , School of Business, Wake Forest University
  • 2012 - Army Achievement Medal (Awarded 4 Times), U.S. Army
  • 2012 - Army Commendation Medal (Awarded 5 times), U.S. Army
  • 2012 - Meritorious Service Medal (awarded 4 times), U.S. Army
  • 2012 - National Defense Service Medal (Awarded 2 Times), U.S. Army
  • 2012 - Legion of Merit, U.S. Army
  • 2011 - Inducted into the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, 2011, United Stated Army
  • 2010 - Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Department of Defense
  • 2005 - Army Service Ribbon, U.S. Army
  • 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
  • 2002 - American Society of Military Comptrollers award for education, training, and development, 2002, American Society of Military Comptrollers
  • 2001 - Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management andComptroller) award for outstanding educator, 2001, Secretary of the Army
  • 2001 - Superior Unit Award, U.S. Army
  • 2001 - Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) award for outstanding educator, 2001, Secretary of Defense
  • 1998 - Army Staff Identification Badge, U.S. Army
  • 1997 - Beta Gamma Sigma, Business Honors Society, Syracuse University MBA, Beta Gamma Sigma
  • 1995 - Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, U.S. Coast Guard
  • 1995 - Humanitarian Service Medal (Awarded 2 Times), U.S. Army
  • 1995 - Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Department of Defense
  • 1991 - Bronze Star Medal, U.S. Army
  • 1991 - Combat Infantryman Badge, U.S. Army
  • 1991 - Kuwait Liberation Medal, Government of Kuwait
  • 1991 - Kuwait Liberation Medal, U.S. Army
  • 1991 - Saudi Arabian Liberation Medal, Government of Saudi Arabia
  • 1991 - Saudi Arabian Liberation Medal, U.S. Army
  • 1991 - Southwest Asia Service Medal (with 3 bronze stars), U.S. Army
  • 1991 - Valorous Unit Award, U.S. Army
  • 1988 - Army Ranger Tab , U.S. Army
  • 1988 - Expert Infantryman Badge, U.S. Army
  • 1987 - Airborne Parachutist Badge, U.S. Army