September 2012-September 2017
Todd J. Maurer
Associate Dean for Research Strategy
Professor of Managerial Sciences
U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences Basic Research Unit
Significant learning and development can occur when individuals reflect upon challenging experiences. How this process of reflection actually works is of interest to organizations that seek to improve capability to select, train and develop employees and leaders via experience. The purpose of this research, conducted in broad U.S. civilian samples, was to discover the underlying nature of reflection on challenging experiences, to create a way to measure it, and to test whether a tool or guide for increasing reflection can be developed. The study used input from respondents and their supervisors or co-workers in live or real-world business/work settings to conduct a longitudinal field study and experiment; it was first-of-its-kind scientific research on reflection and leader development. Results of the study showed that individual differences in people’s reflection behavior can be identified, described and measured. Such differences affect individual leadership development in specific ways. Differences in how people engage in reflection behavior predict important outcomes, such as differences in performance, development and success. The tools developed for measuring and increasing reflection could be used as predictors of and possible influences on performance, motivation, development and adaptability in training and field settings as well as in everyday work settings.