Faculty Spotlight: Kenneth Harris

18th September 2015
Kenneth HarrisKenneth Harris
School of Business
Associate Professor of Management


Kenneth Harris is associate professor of management in the IU Southeast School of Business. On Sept. 16 he was honored with a Distinguished Research and Creativity Senior Award prior to the Chancellor’s annual State of the Campus address. Dr. Harris has developed a national and international reputation for his groundbreaking research in the areas of leadership and abusive supervisory behaviors, and he is shaping the course and development of research in these areas. His work focuses on the effect that abusive supervisory relationships have on job performance, coworkers and the workplace as a whole. His research is published in major journals of his field such as Leadership Quarterly and The Journal of Social Psychology, and his work has been cited not only in scholarly publications but also in popular media such as Forbes. He spoke with academic information officer Steven Krolak earlier this week.

How did you become interested in management?

Most everyone has experienced good and bad managers, and I wanted to investigate some of the specifics involved with management.

Why are these aspects of management so relevant today?

Everyone has a manager. So management is always relevant. There’s a saying that “people join organizations and leave managers.” Granted, this depends on the company, pay, industry, etc., but there’s a lot of truth to this statement. Also, I like investigating negative managerial behaviors as they are prevalent, but less is known about how they impact employees.

How does your work contribute to the position of IU Southeast in the community and region?

I help educate students so they can be good employees and future leaders in the area. I stay in touch with numerous former students, and it’s always great to see them being successful. In many ways, helping to produce responsive, caring employees and citizens is one fo the best ways I can help my community. I also have had the opportunity to help a number of companies in training, leadership development and team-building. My research has also been featured in a number of prominent national and regional outlets, which helps to show that IU Southeast is making an impact on the local community and our greater region.

How would you describe your approach to teaching?

I want to involve and engage students to learn and critically think about management. I accomplish this by using an active teaching approach, where students are involve din class every day. They answer questions, engage in activities and discuss issues, cases and situations. I also want them to see management in the real world, so I begin class with an article or two from the day’s news and utilize web links and short videos every class to show that management is everywhere. These teaching techniques help them to see that what we are discussing in class is applicable in the real world, and not just textbook material.

What makes the management program at IU Southeast unique?

It’s broad-based, and allows students to excel in numerous ways in their post-IU Southeast lives. Students take classes in general management, human resource management, leadership and ethics, organizational change, and strategic management. This exposure helps them develop skills and tools that they can take to their organizational lives and be better able to benefit the community, their employees and themselves.

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