Center Presents Annual Ulmer Research Award

Outstanding research on team leadership received first place honors in the Center for Creative Leadership’s annual Walter F. Ulmer Applied Research Award. The award, established in honor of a former Center president, is given for outstanding field research and its creative application to the practice of leadership.

Vanessa Urch Druskat and Jane V. Wheeler, both of the Department of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, received the award for their paper “Effective Leadership of Self-Managing Work Teams: Behaviors that Make a Difference.”

The authors conducted a study designed to provide insight into how to effectively lead self-managing work teams. Their findings revealed 30 leadership behaviors that fall into four areas: supporting team self-management, relationship building, performance focus and external boundary management. Thirteen of those behaviors (including building trust, sharing big-picture information, delegating authority, flexibility and political awareness) were found to support superior leadership performance.

Kim-Yin Chan, a Singaporean military officer in the Singapore Ministry of Defense and a psychology student at the University of Illinois at Urbana was awarded second place honors.

Chan’s research paper, “A Theoretical and Empirical Solution to Understanding the Motivation to Lead,” presents a framework for understanding individual differences and various leader behaviors. Chan proposes a new individual differences construct called the Motivation to Lead (MTL) and discusses findings from a large-scale.


The Walter F. Ulmer, Jr. Applied Research Award is named in honor of Walter F. Ulmer, Jr., retired president, for his contributions to CCL and the leadership field, to demonstrate CCL’s commitment to applied research, and to build connections with other professionals whose work and commitments are congruent with CCL’s. An internal committee (Dave Altman and John Ryan) determines the winner. He or she receives $1,500 and a trip to the Center to attend the Research Awards Event.