Faculty feature: Meet Jeanne Enders

Jeanne Enders
MBA Assistant Professor Jeanne Enders

Please give us a brief overview of your academic and professional background.

I’m a social and organizational psychologist. My early research specialized in human interaction structure and strategy (e.g. how do humans learn to interact, and can we predict aspects of human interaction such as the development of a group over time?).  

I also studied German literature, and I regularly teach innovation and design thinking at a German university.  

I currently research the relationships between leadership narratives (life stories and how people talk about their life stories) and business ethics.  

I also enjoy collaborating with my colleagues on their research because I have an interdisciplinary background and approach. 

What do you enjoy most about teaching at The School of Business at Portland State?

I enjoy bringing scientific findings on human behavior to the classroom where it meets the deep experience of our students. They teach me so much about the psychological rewards and costs of the workplace.

I also enjoy learning about how our students wish to contribute to society through their careers. I like to think I can be more useful to them once I’m familiar with their purpose. Holding a container for space where they can grow during and after the MBA is quite a privilege. All of the MBA faculty and staff hold such containers.  

What classes do you teach in the MBA program?

I teach a two-credit course called “Building Effective Teams” every fall for the incoming cohorts. I also teach Organizational Management, and I’ve taught the leadership portion of International Strategy with Dave Garten as part of the Business Development international experience. I also help lead Leadership Immersion, and I co-teach Design Thinking and Innovation with my husband, Albrecht Enders. 

What are you most passionate about in your work?

Transformation and kindness.

For you, what does it mean to redefine business and transform lives?

In my opinion, when shareholder value and incessant growth are the two sole drivers of the system, we all lose. Redefining business means redefining capitalism. I’m a fan of using markets to drive behavior, we just have to be so much more intentional about which behavior we wish to motivate. There’s no time left to lose on this since business is the most powerful lever in society for improving social and environmental conditions.

Transformation means to exploit the fact that everything is impermanent. Things will always change; we have the opportunity to embrace and sometimes direct the change. I love that we also get to help one another — and the student more specifically — during the many transformations they make while earning a graduate degree. I feel so much support from my colleagues for my own growth.

When you are not teaching, what do you spend your time doing?

I am a high-affiliative person which means I value relationships and experiences over material wealth or even high achievement. I love spending time with family, friends, animals and nature. 

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