Research & Evaluation

At Leadership in Action at Wagner, we believe the best research on leadership is equal parts rigorous and relevant. We use current issues to spur revelatory research and innovative action through individual and organizational partnerships.

Our research looks to shift the discourse from one focused on heroic leaders to one understanding leadership as a collective achievement. This inclusive and relational view emphasizes how all kinds of people and organizations can take up leadership for the public good.

Leadership work at NYU Wagner moves beyond questions of merely identifying leaders and what they do to get deeper into how leadership is practiced to make change. We conduct our research with leaders rather than on them to understand leadership with an authentic voice.

Hallmarks of Research

Leadership in Action at Wagner looks to understand leadership as practiced in the public and nonprofit contexts and generate theory. This organizing principle demands that researchers work with practitioners to together identify key issues in leadership theory and practice. 

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Our scholars and researchers are interested in developing programs to equip individuals with knowledge and skills and enhance leadership practices in the organizations and fields in which they work. These projects are a representation of our ongoing efforts in the research and evaluation of leadership. 

Research Methods

Leadership researchers use different methods to engage with leaders who are both consumers of leadership research and a key source of new knowledge. Beyond facilitating a more equal exchange between practitioners and researchers, collaborative learning approaches enable participants to gain new insights into their own leadership practices and better inform the broader field of public service. 

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Tackling issues of public concern requires the engagement of actors across sectors. Our work on leadership development has focused on convening private, government and nonprofit organizations to engage in dialogue about social issues. This archive represents our past projects in research and evaluation.