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Faculty Profile

Rob McKenna

​Robert B. McKenna

Chair and Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Email: rmckenna@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2629
Office: Marston 118


Education: BA, Seattle Pacific University, 1990; MBA, Seattle Pacific University, 1992; PhD, Claremont Graduate University, 1998. At SPU since 2000.

Dr. Rob McKenna has worked as an organizational development consultant to a variety of large and small organizations in the areas of leadership development, executive coaching, and organizational change. His clients have included both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations such as The Boeing Company, Microsoft, Foster Farms, the United Way, and a variety of church denominations and universities.

Dr. McKenna’s most recent publications include a chapter on e-executive effectiveness that highlights the priorities for executive leaders in the high-tech economy in a book titled The 21st Century Executive: Innovative Practices for Building Leaders at the Top, and a publication in Organizational Dynamics titled “The Differentiated Leader: Specific Strategies for Handling Today’s Adverse Situations.” His book Dying to Lead: Sacrificial Leadership in a Self-Centered World is a personal challenge to leaders to consider not only how they lead, but also why they lead.

Dr. McKenna is a founding partner of Project Aduro, a research and consulting firm dedicated to building research, resources, and tools that leaders can use to fully leverage experience to maximize their own development and build organizational systems to strategically leverage on-the-job experience for all leaders in their organization. Since 1999, he has served as a senior consultant and team member to the Waypoint Project, a 10-year longitudinal study of 120 leaders and over 8,000 engineers at The Boeing Company. This revolutionary project has generated a wealth of tools and publications to help The Boeing Company and other organizations gain greater understanding of the ways leaders develop throughout their careers, the realities of leadership in today’s economy, and the strategies that leaders can draw upon that will allow them to take themselves and their businesses into new and uncharted territories.

Dr. McKenna has presented his experience and research in these areas to managers and executives at all levels of responsibility. He is an effective and energetic communicator who is especially energized by the idea that the most dynamic and critical thing we bring to our jobs as leaders is our willingness to be an authentic and genuine presence to all those who follow us. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons.


​Selected publications

McKenna, R.B., Haney, D., Ecker, D., Matson, J., Becker, O., Boyd, T., & Hickory, M. (in press). Calling, the Caller, and Being Called: A Qualitative Study of Transcendent Calling. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 34, 294–303.

McKenna, R.B, & Kirce, R. (2014). Performance management and leadership development: Paradox or potential. In C.D. McCauley, D.S. DeRue, P.R. Yost, P.R., & S. Taylor (Eds.). Experience-driven leader development: Models, tools, best practices, and advice for on-the-job development. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

McKenna, R.B., Plunkett, M., & Adeuja, K. (2014) My needs, their needs: Designing high value development tools. In C.D. McCauley, D.S. DeRue, P.R. Yost, P.R., & S. Taylor (eds.). Experience-driven leader development: Models, tools, best practices, and advice for on-the-job development. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

McKenna, R.B., Campbell, G.V. (2011). The character X Factor in selecting leaders: Beyond ethics, virtues, and values. Journal of Values Based Leadership. 4 (2), 39–48.

McKenna, R.B., Brown, T. (2011). Does sacrificial leadership have to hurt? The realities of putting others first. Organization Development Journal.

Please view Dr. McKenna’s CV (PDF) for additional publications.

Rob McKenna

Why I Teach at SPU

Robert McKenna, Associate Professor of Industrial-Organizational Psychology

“I teach at SPU because every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. I have always found that SPU is a place where both sinners and saints can wrestle with the most challenging questions of life, faith, education, and work, and be seen for who they are as beloved children of God.”

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