Headshot of Dr. George  R. Goethals

Dr. George R. Goethals

Professor, E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor in Leadership Studies

Curriculum Vitae

  • Profile

    Social psychologist George R. (Al) Goethals joined the Jepson School faculty in 2006 as the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor in Leadership Studies. Previously 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 Department of Psychology, 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. He also introduced Goethals to the Jepson School, which Burns helped shape during its formative years.

    In addition to his collegiate appointments, Goethals 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.

    His recent research has focused on heroism and presidential leadership. His courses explore theories of leadership, presidential leadership, and Civil War leadership. 

    Goethals has published numerous textbooks, scholarly books, chapters, and refereed articles in scholarly journals and has received four research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health for his work on the studies of attribution theory, social comparison theory, and responses to social support. He has also received support from the Mellon Foundation for his research on the economics of higher education. 

    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 and the International Leadership Association.  

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    • Awards

      Distinguished Scholarship Award, University of Richmond, 2020

      Distinguished Educator Award, University of Richmond, 2008

      APA Fellow, American Psychological Association, 1990

  • Selected Publications

    Allison, Scott T., and George R. Goethals. (2020). The Heroic Leadership Imperative: How Leaders Inspire and Mobilize Change. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

    Bezio, Kristin M. S., and George R. Goethals, eds. (2020). Leadership, Populism, and Resistance. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. 

    Goethals, G.R. & Allison, S.T. (2019). The Romance of Heroes and Heroic Leadership. Bingley: UK. Emerald.

    Goethals, G. R. (2018).  Realignment, Region, and Race:  Presidential Leadership and Social Identity.  Bingley, UK:  Emerald. 

    Goethals, G. R. & Bradburn, D. (Eds.) (2016). Politics, Ethics and Change: The Legacy of James MacGregor Burns. London: Edward Elgar.  

    Allison, S. T., Kocher, C. T. & Goethals, G. R. (Eds.) (2016). Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership: Discovering the Better Angels of Our Nature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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

    Journal Articles

    Goethals, G. R. (2021). The 2020 election and its aftermath: Love, lies, and ensorceling leadership. Leadership, 17(2), 240-250.

    Allison, S. T., & Goethals, G. R. (2016). Hero worship: The elevation of the human spirit. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour46, 187-210.

    Goethals, G.R. (2005). Theories of presidential leadership. Annual Review of Psychology, 56, 545-570.

    Book Chapters

    Goethals, G.R., & Allison, S.T. (2012). Making Heroes: The Construction of Courage, Competence, and Virtue.  In J.M. Olson & M.P. Zanna (eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 46.  San Diego:  Elsevier/Academic Press. Pp. 183-235.

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