Ryan Merlin

Ryan Merlin

PhD, Positive Organizational Psychology
AREA OF RESEARCH: Leadership, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Organizational Development, Talent Management, Workforce Analytics and Behavioral Economics

What draws you to this area of research?

I started my work career working in commercial real estate and had the fortune to work with very effective and influential leaders that changed my life trajectory.  I became very interested in how organizations and leaders are able to create an environment that is conducive to employee engagement, excellence, and innovation. I am interested in researching organizations with a consistent track record of innovation that have been able to focus on innovation and maintain that culture throughout stages of growth and environmental change.  Globalization and technology are just two of several factors that are creating a revolutionary shift in the way organizations and people operate.  It’s crucial to better understand what is necessary for companies to build sustainable success.

My interests and research focus on the individuals, teams, and environments responsible for innovation and organizational effectiveness.  I combine rigorous experience in quantitative analytics and qualitative field research with a creative background in marketing, branding, and business development. Currently, I focus on more individual factors such as personality, social & emotional skills, and biological factors in predicting successful entrepreneurship.  I am also working to explore how organizations can better use advances in technology and the science of human behavior for data-driven problem solving and decision-making.  This emerging area of science and practice has significant implications for the selection of key individuals, learning and development, and organizational design.

Would you like to collaborate?


Areas for collaboration (research studies, publishing, conference presentations, etc.)

Research and applied application in the areas of:

  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Employee engagement, Flow, and quality of life
  • Leadership, training, and development
  • Organizational development
  • Personnel analytics, talent management, selection, and assessment
  • Social Network Analysis

Would you say your research is Transdisciplinary?


My research spans to multiple areas of psychology (social, industrial & organizational, and positive psychology), as well as other disciplines of business management, information technology systems, and adult education and learning.

Publications / Presentations


  • Merlin, R. (2010). Attributes and Social Skills of Successful Entrepreneurs (Presented at WPA 2010)
  • Merlin, R., Glassburn, S., & Gaker, W. (2010). Enduring Crisis with Values-Based Leadership: A Critical Case Healthcare Investigation (Presented at WPA 2010)

Future goals as a scholar

  • Advance techniques of leadership development, assessment, and advanced computer analytics.
  • Applied organizational development for enhanced innovation and workforce quality of life.
  • Must-read books or articles in your field

    • Flow - Mihaly Chickszentmihalyi
    • Creativity - Mihaly Chickszentmihalyi
    • Transformational Leadership – Bass & Riggio
    • The Psychology of Entrepreneurship - J. Robert Baum, Michael Frese, Robert A. Baron
    • Science & Sanity - Alfred Korzybski
    • Good to Great, Built to Last – Jim Collins
    • Many more…


    Helpful resources at CGU

  • Alumni Network
  • Center for Neuroeconomics Studies
  • Graduate Student Council & SBOS Student Advocacy Association
  • SBOS Student Peer Mentoring Program
  • Professional Speaker series (several)
  • Helpful resources outside of CGU (blogs, websites, social networking sites, etc. that connect with your areas of research)