“As a leadership researcher, I am very interested in the development of relationships between leaders and followers,” explains Porter. “The hospital setting provides the unique opportunity to see that relationship emerge over the course of a residency. I’m particularly interested in looking at that dynamic.”
Within management, Porter’s focus is on organizational behavior and human resource management. With an undergraduate degree in psychology, Porter has also studied criminal justice, working with both federal and local police to examine the management of law enforcement personnel.
“What I think is a real challenge for folks working in law enforcement is the question: How do you get police officers to perform the way that you want them to perform?” asks Porter. “It’s such an ambiguous job in terms of what we want from our officers and that police performance is multi-faceted. Officers are always being asked to do different things, and some of those things don’t correlate with one another as positively as you might think. I think the management of police is especially interesting.”
Porter has recently published research on employee’s and team's achievement goals. In the past, he's studied the role race plays in assisting members within a team, team adaptability in response to workload imbalance, team resource allocation and backing up behavior. In the classroom, Porter is teaching management lessons.
“Teaching students how to lead starts with some self-reflection,” says Porter. “Then it involves putting students in situations where their leadership has to emerge, followed by a discussion of the challenges they face and how they would resolve those problems.”