Professor of Organizational Behavior
M. Keith Weikel Distinguished Chair in Leadership
Department of Management
Wisconsin School of Business
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Alex conducts research on leadership, self-efficacy, confidence, primed goals, and incentive motivators. He teaches courses on leadership and organizational behavior. Alex gave over 80 talks at professional events, and has consulted globally (Australia, Canada, China, Chile, Denmark, Germany, South Korea, Vietnam, South Africa, and U.S.). Alex holds the M. Keith Weikel Distinguished Chair in Leadership.
My current research examines instances in which self-regulation by conscious goals can be sabotaged by a nonconscious goal. The implications of this research are relevant to both theory and practice.
Conscious goals partly derive their theory standing from an absence of an automated response. In this sense, primed goals are arguably a more basic form of goals, for a goal that is overlearned to the point of being automated, is vital to a person. Practically, if two conscious goals are conflicted, one can ask for help. If conscious and nonconscious goals are conflicted, we are only aware of the former.
The key downstream consequence of undetected goal conflict is our inability to deliberately address it. Yet, the mind is still grinding behind the scenes to allocate cognitive resources to the two conflicted goals. Because this process goes unnoticed, it leads to compromised behaviors inexplicable to oneself.