Shannon Huddy


Vulnerability is the ability to risk emotional exposure, chance making a mistake, or disclose personal information because the outcome is viewed as favorable. Vulnerability is a highly effective way to build trust with others. Trust is a valued leadership trait within corporate business because it encourages employees to take risks, share information, and ultimately become more effective and productive (Robbins & Judge, 2013). This paper explores the practicing of vulnerability in college-level business classrooms to appropriately prepare business students to become leaders who are able to build trust within the workplace. To further understand vulnerability in the classroom and develop a preliminary operational definition of the complex construct of vulnerability, a mixed methods research study was conducted at Sierra Nevada College that included a two-stage factor analysis followed by short interviews with instructors to gain further insight into the data collected. First, students from four randomly selected business classrooms were asked to participate in a study by completing a survey with 18 variables that describe vulnerable, productive teaching techniques. Then, the same survey was distributed to the five classrooms of instructors who were nominated for the 2014 or 2015 Nazir and Mary Ansari Excellence in Teaching Gold Medal award or Teacher of the Year award. The four Nazir and Mary Ansari Excellence in Teaching Gold Metal award candidates and the Teacher of the Year were interviewed for 30-minutes to provide insight and commentary on the findings from the first round of surveys. The goal of this study is to create a preliminary operational definition of the construct of “vulnerable teaching techniques” and to have an assessment tool to further understand vulnerability in a classroom setting.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Vulnerability (Personality trait) -- Case studies; Business students -- Undergraduates; College teaching -- Case studies; Effective teaching -- Case studies

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Hamilton, Eric R.;