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Dr. Kayes' research on learning, leadership, and the destructive pursuit of goals received the first most significant contribution to the practice of management award by the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management. In addition, his analysis of the 1996 Mt. Everest climbing disaster won a best paper award from the journal Human Relations, and his extension of experiential learning theory was nominated for the first best paper award in the Academy of Management Learning and Education journal. His research has appeared in numerous academic papers, as well as on the Wall Street Journal, NPR, BloombergTV, The Sunday Times of London, Psychologies, and other news outlets. Focusing on how leaders learn in the face of complex and novel situations, he has studied learning, leadership, and teamwork in a variety of settings as he seeks to uncover hidden sources of vulnerability in organizations and identify ways that leaders build continuity in times of change and turmoil. His unique approach to goals and goal setting was featured in Oliver Burkeman's book The Antidote: Happiness for people who can't stand positive thinking.
Dr. Kayes is the recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Teaching Award for a core course in the Executive MBA program at The George Washington University, and he has served as the lead faculty for the Global (full-time) MBA program since 2007. In addition to teaching in the MBA and undergraduate business programs, he has taught in the Professional Service Firm Degree Program, Human Resource Development Program, Senior Executive Service Development Program, Executive MBA Program, and World Executive MBA Program. He has taught at universities around the world, including Singapore Institute of Management; Zagreb School of Economics and Management in Croatia; the Helsinki School of Economics in Finland; the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia; the University of Hull in the United Kingdom; and Holy Spirit University in Beirut, Lebanon. He frequently conducts intensive multiday seminars to develop leaders and delivers keynote addresses on various leadership and learning topics.
Dr. Kayes has consulted with a variety of organizations, including the WMS Gaming, Human Capital Singapore, National Institutes of Health, Fannie Mae, Oracle, Ericsson, Bank of New York Mellon, Pension Benefits Guarantee Corporation, Singapore Workforce Development Agency, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Judiciary, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy.
He was born and raised in Northwest Indiana and worked as a stockbroker and a corporate trainer prior to joining academia. He lives with his two sons, wife, and a dog whose name is 'Indy' in the suburbs between Washington, DC, and Baltimore.