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College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Askew School Ph.D. Candidate Wins Award For Nonprofit Research

Askew School Doctoral Candidate Sungdae Lim recently received the Emerging Scholars Award from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). The award is given annually to a handful of young scholars who show great potential for the next generation of nonprofit scholarship and practice.

Sungdae was recognized for his groundbreaking research on nonprofit leadership, which is based on his June 2019 doctoral dissertation, entitled “Interpretive leadership skill in the meaning-making nature of nonprofit leadership: A constructive-developmental model of leadership development.” In his research he has created an elaborate model of various leadership skill sets and introduces an interesting new examination of the role of interpretive skills in the leader’s repertoire.

His data come from nonprofit executives in more than 800 organizations nationally, across all nonprofit mission areas. Most important, the model he tested draws together constructs from the literatures on leadership, sense-making, cognitive psychology, identity science, sociology, social-psychology and nonprofit studies.

“To the best of our knowledge, Sungdae’s work is the first research of its type to survey nonprofit leaders nationwide,” said Askew School Professor Ralph Brower, who supervised the research along with Askew Professor David Berlan. “We anticipate that his research will be widely cited and will form a basic foundation for thinking about leadership in nonprofit organizations. We also believe many of the ideas have utility for examining leadership in business and government.”

Sungdae’s Emerging Scholars Award follows his selection in 2017 for ARNOVA’s Diversity Professional Development Workshop and his selection in 2018 for ARNOVA’s Doctoral Fellows Scholarship. In 2017 he won the Global Young Alumni Scholarship, worth $10,000, from his undergraduate alma mater, Soongsil University in Korea.

In August, Sungdae will assume a position as an assistant professor of public administration at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

“Sungdae is sincere and passionate in his scholarship,” Brower said. “And the data he has generated will produce publications in multiple theoretical trajectories and contribute to his success in his new position.”