Dr. Fred Luthans, George Holmes Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Management, recently received the prestigious Doc Elliott Award from the Nebraska Alumni Association on Sept. 23. Named to the top 1% of citations for researchers of all fields in the world and ranked first in organizational behavior textbooks, Luthans' Google Scholar citations exceed 104,000 his H=114 (114 publications with 114 or more citations).
“Fred and Doc Elliott were at Nebraska at the same time and both of their work was groundbreaking and far reaching, so it seems only fitting that Fred receive this award,” said Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business. “Fred’s work has impacted business and management research and countless students during his more than 50-year career. Many of our alumni consider Fred as one of their most impactful and memorable faculty members.”
Established in 1986, the Doc Elliott Award honors a retired University of Nebraska–Lincoln faculty member who has exhibited a record of exemplary service, whose caring attitude has made a difference in the lives of students and alumni, and who has gone beyond traditional expectations.
The author of one of the first textbooks in the field of organizational behavior, now in its 14th edition, and international management, in its 10th edition, Luthans also published more than 275 academic articles and chapters. He also served as editor of three journals and played a significant role in determining how organizational behavior and management research translates into practice.
“I wrote books with Bruce Avolio (Mark Pigott Chair in Business Strategic Leadership and professor of management at University of Washington in Seattle) about authentic leadership and him and Carolyn Youssef-Morgan (professor and Redding Chair of Business at Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska) on ‘psychological capital’ or PsyCap. It consists of the positive psychological resources of hope, efficacy, resilience and optimism or the HERO within. Initially aimed at attitudes and performance in the workplace, PsyCap is increasingly being used to understand and develop well-being and help combat mental health problems,” said Luthans.
Hired at the university in 1967 after serving as a captain in the U.S. Army, he taught psychology and leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He became the first director of the master’s program offered by the College of Business at Offutt Air Force Base and played an integral role in creating the MBA program during his stint as associate dean. He also mentored about 65 doctoral students as a faculty advisor.
“Spending my entire 50-year academic career here at Nebraska, teaching required courses at the undergraduate, MBA and Ph.D. levels, being totally immersed in the Big Red culture by attending football, men’s and women’s basketball, and volleyball games, and having our four children and their spouses earn all their 14 degrees from Nebraska with three grandchildren currently enrolled, this well-known Doc Elliott Award is frosting on my Husker cake,” Luthans said. “It is especially meaningful at the twilight of my career and because I knew and admired Doc Elliott. His office in the former College of Business building was always full of students – so much so that author Bob Knoll noted in his book, ‘Prairie University: A History of the University of Nebraska’ how Elliott’s office was as well-known as the Student Union.”
Luthans earned multiple honors and awards during his career, including the University of Nebraska Outstanding Research and Creative Activity (ORCA) Award, the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award, an honorary doctorate from DePaul University and the Harvard Medical School Global Health Catalyst Distinguished Leader Award. Luthans served as president of the Midwest and National Academy of Management. He received the Academy of Management’s Distinguished Educator Award, OB Lifetime Achievement Award and was an inaugural member of the Academy of Management’s Publications Hall of Fame, as well as a Fellow in the Academy and the Decision Sciences Institute.
In addition, he very recently earned the prestigious 2021 Career Distinguished Award for Scholarly Contributions to Management from the Academy. Presented for significantly advancing the field of management and organizational knowledge and practice, the honor includes all fields of management for conceptual, theoretical and empirical contributions.
With more than 615,000 downloads of his copyright eligible academic articles in the Nebraska research system formerly known as Digital Commons, Luthans and his work continues to impact scholars and professionals in all domains around the world.