Dr. George R. Goethals
Professor, E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies

Social psychologist George R. (Al) Goethals joined the Jepson School faculty in 2006. Before joining the Jepson faculty as holder of the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies, he held academic and administrative appointments at Williams College, and visiting appointments at the University of Virginia, Princeton University, and Amherst College, among others. At Williams College he served as the chair of the Psychology Department for eight years, acting dean of the faculty, provost, and finally founder and chair of the program in leadership studies.

Starting in 1970, Goethals began a collaborative relationship with Dr. James MacGregor Burns, whose book Leadership became a seminal text in leadership studies. Burns provided encouragement for Goethals to initiate the program in leadership studies at Williams.

In addition to his collegiate appointments, he has served as an editor or on the editorial board of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, The Leadership Quarterly, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.

Dr. Goethal's research has focused on social comparison processes, psychological approaches to understanding the economics of higher education, presidential leadership, peer interaction and performance, and heroes.

He has published numerous textbooks, chapters, and refereed articles in scholarly journals and received four research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health for his work on the studies of attribution theory and responses to social support and the role of similarity in social influence processes.

Dr. Goethals is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Association for Psychological Science. He is also a member of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology.

University of Richmond Distinguished Educator Award, 2008.
Selected Publications
Goethals, G. R. (2015). Presidential leadership and African Americans: An American dilemma from slavery to the White House. New York: Routledge.
Goethals, G. R., Allison, S. T., Kramer, R. M., & Messick, D. M. (2014). Conceptions of leadership: Enduring ideas and emerging insights. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Allison, S. T., & Goethals, G. R. (2013). Heroic leadership: A taxonomy of 100 exceptional individuals. New York: Routledge.
Allison, S. T., & Goethals, G. R. (2011). Heroes: What they do and why we need them. New York: Oxford University Press.

Goethals, G. R., & McDowell, G. L. (Eds.). (2009). Lincoln's legacy of leadership. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Goethals, G. R., & Wren, J. T. (Eds.). (2009). Leadership and discovery. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Goethals, G.R., & Sorenson, G.L.J. (Eds.). (2006). The quest for a general theory of leadership. London: Edward Elgar.

Goethals, G. R., Sorenson, G. J., & Burns, J. M. (Eds.). (2004). Encyclopedia of leadership, vols. 1-4. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kugler, M.B., & Goethals, G.R. (2008). Trait-focused spin in presidential debates: Surviving the kisses of death. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 30, 219-229.
Kim, J., Allison, S.T, Eylon, D, Goethals, G.R., Markus, M., Hindle, S., & McGuire, H. (2008). Rooting for (and then abandoning) the underdog. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 38, 2550-2573.
Goethals, G.R. (2008) Imaging Ulysses S. Grant: Sifting through the shifting sands of conventional wisdom. The Leadership Quarterly, 19, 488-500.
Fein, S., Goethals, G.R., & Kugler, M.B. (2007). Social influence on political judgments: The case of presidential debates. Political Psychology, 28,
Goethals, G.R. (2005). Theories of presidential leadership. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 545-570.
Kugler, M.B., & Goethals, G.R. (2008). The unbearable lightness of debating: Performance ambiguity and social influence. In C.L. Hoyt, G.R. Goethals, & D.R. Forsyth (Eds.), Leadership at the crossroads: Volume 1, leadership and psychology. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Allison, S.T. & Goethals, G.R. (2008). Deifying the dead and downtrodden: Sympathetic figures as inspirational leaders. In C.L. Hoyt, G.R. Goethals, & D.R. Forsyth (Eds.), Leadership at the crossroads: Volume 1, leadership and psychology. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Goethals, G.R., & Kugler, M.B. (2007). Grant blinked: Appraising presidential leadership. In T. L. Price & J. T. Wren (Eds.), The values of presidential leadership. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goethals, G.R. (2005). Nonverbal behavior and political leadership. In R. E. Riggio & R.S. Feldman (Eds.), Applications of nonverbal communication. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ph.D., Duke University 1970
A.B., Harvard College 1966
Social Relations
Contact Information
(804) 287-6354
(804) 287-6062 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Presidential Leadership
Peer Interaction and Performance