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Olenda E. Johnson, Ph.D.

Olenda E. Johnson, Ph.D.

Strategic Leadership and Leader Development
College of Operational and Strategic Leadership
(401) 841-2511
(401) 841-7375


Dr. Olenda E. Johnson is Professor of Strategic Leadership and Leader Development at the U.S. Naval War College (USNWC), in the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership. Prior to her USNWC appointment, Dr. Johnson was a tenured professor at North Carolina A&T State University in the School of Business & Economics. She also held previous appointments at the U.S. Army War College and the U.S. Air Force Academy, where she served as the Visiting Professor of Organizational Behavior and the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Management, respectively. Dr. Johnson received both a B. S. and MBA from Florida A&M University’s School of Business & Industry. She earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was awarded the Provost Fellowship for doctoral studies and the Mitsubishi Fellowship for International Studies.  

At the Naval War College, Dr. Johnson is a lead contributor to Navy-wide efforts related to leader development and ethics for naval personnel, to include strategy development, organizational development, directed research, team management, and engagement with senior military leadership. She also teaches a well-received Critical Thinking course utilizing the Harvard Case Method, to enhance officers’ and their civilian counterparts’ leader effectiveness and decision making in complex and uncertain security environments. Additionally, for several years Dr. Johnson co-led the Stockdale Advanced Research Group, which examined leader development for operational-level leaders (3-star admirals) in the U.S. Navy.

Dr. Johnson is a multiple recipient of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) Research Fellowship, where she studied racial and religious diversity issues in the military. Her published research covers a range of topics to include organizational identity, leadership effectiveness and work group diversity. Her research (with Dr. Marcus Stewart, Bentley University) on leadership and work teams, conducted at a senior service military college, was published as the lead article in Group and Organization Management. She has presented scholarly papers at conferences such as the Academy of Management, the International Leadership Association, and the Eastern Academy of Management (global) . Dr. Johnson has been an invited speaker at professional, corporate, and military conferences to include the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Kingston Conference on International Security, National League for Nursing, DiversityInc CEO Forum, American University’s Women in National Security Conference, West Point Global Leadership Conference, and Air Force Equal Opportunity Conference. In addition, Dr. Johnson has jointly facilitated leadership training sessions for U.S. Coast Guard Flag Officers and Senior Executive Service Leaders, U.S. Senate Leaders, and U.S. State Department Deputy Secretaries.

Dr. Johnson has received numerous awards including the prestigious Army Commander’s Medal for Public Service and the University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors’ Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor bestowed upon faculty in the UNC 16-campus system. Additionally, while at the Air Force Academy, Dr. Johnson was nominated for the Holly H. Coors Endowed Chair and most recently was nominated for the American Council of Education’s (ACE) Donna Shavlik Award, which recognizes continuing commitment to women’s advancement in higher education. Finally, Dr. Johnson has served as a mentor to numerous doctoral students in business disciplines through the PhD Project organization.

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