Johnathan K. Nelson

Associate Professor of Management

School of Business Administration

Morehead State University

313C Combs Bldg.

Morehead, KY  40351

E-mail: j.nelson (at)

    Johnathan Nelson is an Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business Administration at Morehead State University. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology (concentration in industrial / organizational psychology) at George Mason University. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Utah State University earning a BS in psychology with honors.

    He teaches courses on a variety of organizational behavior and human resource management topics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His program of research focuses on leadership and ethical issues in organizations. The purpose of his research is to identify organizational strategies that contribute to the development of effective and ethical leadership and to foster understanding of how ethical leadership and other factors influence ethical behavior. He is particularly interested in how the ethics-centered communication of leaders can promote ethical behavior in organizations.

    In addition to his research and teaching activities, Johnathan also has experience as a management consultant. Prior to his appointment at Morehead State University he was employed as a Human Capital Consultant at PDRI where he gained experience in the design, development, and implementation of a variety of customized human capital solutions. Specifically, he has expertise in the assessment and development of leadership talent, adaptability training design and evaluation, competency modeling, skills gap analysis, and situational judgment test development.


    Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, May 2012

    Dissertation:Talk isn't cheap: Moral messaging tactics used in content of ethics-centered communication

    M.A., I/O Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, May 2007

    B.S., Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, May 2005 (Summa cum Laude)   

    Research Interests

    • Leadership / Leadership Development
    • Ethical Leadership
    • Behavioral Ethics
    • Performance (adaptability, counterproductive behavior, citizenship behavior)

    Selected Publications

    Nelson, J. K. & Gebka, S. M. (2016). Identifying new organizational practices by considering different perspectives: An ethics management example. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 9(1), 152-157.

    Jones, K. P., King, E. B., Nelson, J. K., Geller, D. S. & Bowes-Sperry, L. (2013). Beyond the business case: An ethical perspective of diversity training. Human Resource Management 52(1), 55-74.

    Nelson, J. K., Poms, L. W., & Wolf, P. P. (2012). Developing efficacy beliefs for ethics and diversity management. In Press at Academy of Management Learning & Education (11)1, 49-68.

    Ely, K., Boyce, L., Nelson, J. K., Zaccaro, S. J., Hernez-Broome, G., & Whyman, W. (2010). Evaluating leadership coaching: A review and integrated framework. Leadership Quarterly, 21, 585-599.

    Nelson, J. K., Zaccaro, S. J., & Herman, J. L. (2010). Strategic information provision and experiential variety as tools for developing adaptive leadership skills. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62(2), 131-142.

    Yardley, J., Domenech-Rodriguez, M., Bates, S. C., & Nelson, J. K.  (2009). True confessions?: Alumni’s retrospective reports on undergraduate cheating behaviors. Ethics and Behavior, 19(1), 1-14.

    Zaccaro, S. J., Ely, K., & Nelson, J. K. (2008). Leadership processes and work motivation. In R. Kanfer, G. Chen & R. D. Pritchard (Eds.), Work motivation: Past, present, and future (pp. 319-360). New York: Routledge.

    Recent Professional Experience

    Morehead State University, Morehead, KY

    • Associate Professor of Management, Aug. 2017 - Present
    • Healthcare Leadership Certificate Program Director, Aug. 2017 - Present
    • Assistant Professor of Management, Aug. 2011 – July 2017

    Personnel Decisions Research Institutes, Inc. (PDRI), an SHL Company, Arlington, VA

    • Human Capital Consultant, January 2011 – July 2011
    • Senior Research Associate, May 2009 - December 2010
    • Research Associate, June 2006 – May 2009

    George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
    • Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, Aug. 2005 – Dec. 2008
    • Lab Instructor, School of Management, Department of Psychology, Aug. 2005 – Dec. 2008
    • Instructor, School of Management, Summer 2007; Summer 2008

    Selected Awards

    • Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Service Award, College of Business and Technology, Morehead State University, 2017
    • Nominated for 2017 Student Choice Award: Outstanding Faculty Member, Morehead State University
    • Dean’s Citation for Excellence in Teaching Award, College of Business and Public Affairs, Morehead State University, 2014
    • Summer Fellowship in Research Translation for Practice, The Center for Global Leadership, The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California, Irvine, 2011
    • Personnel Testing Council of Metropolitan Washington, DC Outstanding Student Contribution to the Science and Practice of I/O Psychology, 2009
    • Dean’s Challenge Award Fellowship for recognition of excellence while making academically challenging choices, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, George Mason University, 2008
    • Scholar of the Year Award for recognition of scholarly achievement, service, and student activity, College of Education and Human Services, Utah State University, 2005
    • Outstanding Student Award for recognition of significant contribution to the department, college, and fellow students, Department of Psychology, Utah State University, 2005
    • Peer Advisor Award for recognition of an outstanding example of an approachable, helpful, informative, knowledgeable, and friendly student advisor, Department of Psychology, Utah State University, 2005