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FACULTY PROFILE
Name: Melissa Carsten
Position: Associate Professor of Management


Melissa Carsten

There are plenty of business articles and research on leadership.

But what about the majority of people, the followers?

Melissa Carsten, associate professor of management, said she found the omission of followers in leadership literature to be problematic, and began studying followers’ roles in the leadership process during her Ph.D. dissertation.

“Call them what you like - followers, partners, associates – the fact is that they have not been studied as part of the leadership process,” Carsten said. “Yet we know that followers add valuable ideas, insight and solutions to problems.”

She has developed measurement scales to assess individual beliefs about the follower role, and how followership beliefs affect behavior with leaders. Her goal is to explain how followers can work with leaders to advance organizational initiatives.

This active engagement takes the form of sharing ideas and suggestions, offering solutions to important problems, and even constructively challenging the leader when necessary. Her findings support the idea that changing business contexts require changing conceptualizations of followership, and the role that followers play in making leaders and organizations successful.

Carsten’s prolific research and her reputation as a good teacher were two of the reasons she was selected as the 2016 recipient of the Jane LaRoche Graduate Faculty Award. It honors teaching at the graduate level and significant contributions to graduate education.

She joined the Winthrop faculty in 2008 as an assistant professor of management and then was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2013. Carsten earned the College of Business Administration’s 2015 Wells Fargo Outstanding Teaching Award.

Her colleagues have praised her dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm in enhancing the M.B.A. curriculum through course innovations and service learning activities, involvement in college and university committees, and individual mentoring of graduate students in the College of Business Administration. She is the current chair of the Graduate Faculty Assembly.

Carsten received her Ph.D. in organizational psychology in 2006 from Claremont Graduate University, an M.S. in industrial-organizational psychology in 2002 from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology with honors in 2000 from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Last updated 3/14/17

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