Steven Zhou

Steven Zhou

Steven Zhou

Graduate Lecturer

Leadership, psychometrics, education, academic-practitioner gap

Hello! I am a PhD candidate in the industrial and organizational psychology program at George Mason University, studying under Dr. Stephen Zaccaro and Dr. Philseok Lee. I previously received a B.A. in Industrial & Organizational Psychology and M.A. in Religion from Pepperdine University. Prior to starting the PhD program, I worked in human resources and data analytics for a 250+ FTE sales strategy department at a $1.44 billion global food subscription company.

I am pursuing an academic career in research, teaching, and administration. My research centers around leadership, psychometrics, and the academic-practitioner gap. Recent publications include a data paper of 990 public real-world job advertisements, a meta-analysis of volunteer motivations, and an empirical study of faith at work in the context of teams and organizations. I am also working on projects in pattern-centered measurement of leadership behavior, multidimensional forced choice (MFC) methods of measuring personality, science communication, and the Chief of Staff role in organizations. The leader behavior profile paper, currently under R&R at a major journal, won the 2021 International Leadership Association's Kenneth Clark Student Research Award and was a Top 8 finalist in the 2022 American Psychological Association's Psych Science-in-3 competition. My dissertation, which I proposed in Summer 2022, investigates the negative "side effects" of shared leadership using a combination of randomized experiments with agent-based modeling. Finally, I am working on a book contract with Cambridge University Press as lead author for a manuscript on early careers and the job search process, and I was awarded and am now administering a $25k external research grant on journal publication bias.

My teaching experience is primarily in undergraduate statistics. I developed from scratch a complete redesign of the undergraduate intro psych stats curriculum, converting it from a textbook-and-tests (with SPSS) class to an open-source, project-based (with R) class, receiving excellent student ratings as a result. I also completed a partial redesign of the undergraduate advanced psych tests and measurements curriculum, and I was accepted as part of Mason's Course ReDesign cohort for my efforts in this initiative. Finally, I served as a graduate TA for several of Mason's online Master's in I-O courses, and I was the 2021 Outstanding Grad Student Instructor award winner.

Finally, in terms of administration, I currently serve as the full-time Survey and Measurement Methods Lead at Purdue University, working remotely from Fairfax, VA. In this role, I oversee the development, analysis, and interpretation of all institutional surveys to faculty, staff, and students. Previously, I served as the 2021-2022 President of Mason's Graduate and Professional Student Association (GAPSA). In this capacity, I represented all 10,000+ graduate students at Mason and advocated on their behalf in a variety of high-level university leadership capacities such as on the Board of Visitors, Strategic Steering Committee, and Grad Education Reimagined Task Force. I also served as the 2022-2023 Graduate Assistant in the newly formed Graduate Division, where I assisted with various data analysis & visualization, operations, and strategic project management initiatives within the Division. 

Outside of Mason, I actively serve in other areas to improve the field of higher education. I am the Director of Finance & Administration for Project SHORT, a non-profit designed to reduce the socioeconomic gap and improve diversity in PhD/medical programs by providing pro bono mentoring to graduate school applicants. In this role, I manage our non-profit's finances, serve as Secretary to the board, and led the initiative to apply for and receive 501(c)3 status from the IRS. I also assisted on data and programming with Heterodox Academy, a non-profit dedicated to promoting viewpoint diversity and courteous disagreement in higher education. Finally, I regularly write for popular press outlets and speak on podcasts in an effort to help bridge the gap between scientific research and public knowledge.

Selected Publications

Zhou, S., Aitken, J., McEachern, P. J., & McCauley, R. (2022). Data from 990 public real-world job advertisements organized by O*NET categories. Journal of Open Psychology Data, 10(1), 17.

Zhou, S., & Kodama Muscente, K. (2022). Meta-analysis of volunteer motives using the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) to explain volunteer satisfaction, commitment, and behavior. Nonprofit and Volunteer Sector Quarterly. 

Zhou, S., & Lee, P. (2022). Spirituality in the context of teams and organizations: An investigation of boundary conditions using The Integration Profile workplace spirituality measure. Journal of Management, Spirituality, and Religion.

Zhou, S. (2022). Science communication: Eight perils, but one pearl to make it all worth it [commentary]. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 15(2), 289-293. 

Campbell, L. N. P., Torres, E. M., Zaccaro, S. J., Zhou, S., Hedrick, K. N., Wallace, D. M., Luning, C. R., & Zakzewski, J. E. (2022). Examining multiteam systems across context and type: A historiometric analysis of failed MTS performance. Frontiers in Psychology, 13(813624), 1-22. 

McCarron, G. P., Zhou, S., Campbell, A., Kodama Muscente, K., & Schierbeek, E. (2022). We’re not working with a blank slate: Students’ pre-college leadership activities and perceived parenting behavior as predictors of college-based leader emergence and leader self-efficacy. Journal of Leadership Education, 21(1), 33-47. 

Lee, P., Joo, S.-H., Zhou, S., & Son, M. (2022). Investigating the impact of negatively keyed statements on multidimensional forced-choice personality measures: A comparison of partially ipsative and IRT scoring methods. Personality and Individual Differences, 191(111555), 1-15. 

Maskell, S., McCarron, G. P., Cannon, J. A., Zhou, S., Zaccaro, S. J., & Goldstein, T. (2021). The leadership stories our children are told: An examination of the characteristics of leadership behaviors and orientations in popular youth TV shows. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 

Courses Taught

PSYC 300: Statistics in Psychology
PSYC 320: Psychological Tests and Measurements
PSYC 379: Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology 
MGMT 313: Organizational Behavior (Writing TA)
PSYC 601: Applied Data Analytics I (Online GTA)
PSYC 603: Research Methods (Online GTA)
PSYC 616: Selection (Online GTA)
PSYC 792: Practicum (Online GTA)


B.A. Industrial & Organizational Psychology, summa cum laude | Pepperdine University
M.A. Religion | Pepperdine University

Recent Presentations

Zhou, S. (2023, February 23-25). Faculty perceptions on science communication: Reactions to academic articles cited in popular press outlets [Poster]. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, United States.

Zhou, S. (2023, February 23-25). Using Tableau for data visualization in the psychological sciences [Professional development workshop]. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, United States.

Zhou, S. (2022, October 20-22). Writing an op-ed: A workshop on teaching psychology students to write for public audiences, not for researchers [Conference presentation]. Society for the Teaching of Psychology Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.

McCarron, G. P. & Zhou, S. (2022, October 13-16). The seeds of wisdom: An examination of the major pre-college influences on leader self-efficacy. In Nelson, K. (Chair) & Bartlett, J. (Commenter), Wisdom and leadership development: Intersections and transformation over the life cycle [Symposium]. International Leadership Association Annual Conference, Washington, DC, United States.

Zhou, S., Aitken, J. A., Montaño, L., & Kuykendall, L. (2022, April 28-30). Complexifying calling: Exploring the multifaceted nature of calling [Research Incubator]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, United States.

Zhou, S., McEachern, P. J., Aitken, J. A., & Lee, P. (2022, April 28-30). Are we attracting the right candidates? A text analysis approach to understanding the applicability of O*NET in job advertising. In Zhou, S. (Co-Chair), McChesney, J. E. (Co-Chair), & Hoff, K. A. (Co-Chair), Putting the O*NET into good use: A critical evaluation of the use and misuse of O*NET [Symposium]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, United States.

Zhou, S. (2022, February 16-19). Pursuing diversity in an inclusive manner: The impact of taboo topics on expression of diverse perspectives [Poster session]. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA.

Zhou, S. (2021, October 20-25). Patterns of leadership behavior: A person-centered approach to assessing leadership styles across gender and level [Award Winner Spotlight Session]. International Leadership Association Annual Conference, Geneva, Switzerland.

Zhou, S., & Kuykendall, L. (2021, April 15-17). When infrastructure and ethics collide: A panel on ethical policy-making in higher ed [Panel discussion]. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Annual Convention, Online. [Presenters: Chen, G., Pierce, C. A., McAbee, S. T., & Thornton-Lugo, M. A.]

Zhou, S., & Lee, P. (2020, August 6-9). Not much more than PsyCap? A new psychometric investigation using bi-factor exploratory SEM [Poster session]. American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Washington, DC.

In the Media

Zhou, S. (2022, August 11). Three roadblocks in academia that limit science communication. Heterodox: The Blog. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2022, February 25). The academic bait-and-switch: Do professors make good administrators? The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, November 17). Are students learning the right skills? Why academia needs to go back to the "basics". The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, November 16). Failure isn't really failure: What academia can learn from start-up culture. Heterodox: The Blog. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, June 7). 3 warning signs to consider before using a personality test. Fast Company. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2021, May 12). The shift from liberal arts to STEM comes at a cost. RealClearEducation. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2020, August 10). Permanent work from home can be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Washington Examiner. Retrieved from

Zhou, S. (2019, June 24). What psychology offers Christians amid political polarization. Christianity Today. Retrieved from