Ron Johnson

Senior Instructor of Management and Organization
Department: Management and Organization
Office: 418 Business Building
Phone: 814-863-6695
Fax: 814-863-7261
Member of Faculty Since: 1996


Ron Johnson is a Senior Instructor in the Management and Organization (M&O) Department in the Smeal College of Business. He has been teaching graduate and undergraduate classes at Penn State since 1993. Mr. Johnson’s focus is on leadership competencies such as ethics, social responsibility, sustainability, general management, communication, team and professional development. Over 1000 graduate students from 60 countries have taken his 1-year leadership & communication training sequence (MBA, MHA, MMM). He has consistently received the highest teaching rating from these groups for 20+ years. In addition, Ron has provided teaching and training for college faculty and doctoral students, taught in Penn State’s Executive Development Programs and consulted with leaders in Fortune 1000 companies. 


Ron’s undergraduate teaching currently focuses on two Smeal College of Business Core Courses taken by all 5000 Smeal students.  First, he has developed the content (and teaches) the new Smeal course (BA 342) focusing on sustainability, ethics, diversity and social responsibility (juniors/seniors). Second, he has developed a new version of Smeal’s Introduction to Management course and teaches that course to 2000+ freshman/sophomores each year.


Mr. Johnson’s work includes a broad spectrum of management development skills. His teaching on leadership competencies includes corporate social responsibility, ethical decision-making, sustainability, diversity, personality (Myers-Briggs certified), emotional intelligence, coaching, team building/training and career development for managers.  In communication he focuses on all aspects of professional communication including the use of visual communication and technology. A significant part if his work involves personal coaching to aspiring managers (over 1000 students and thousands more in corporate consulting). 


Prior to his appointment to Smeal’s Management and Organization Department he held a joint appointment in Penn State’s College of Engineering and Smeal College of Business working with Master of Manufacturing Management students on leadership.  As part of his work in preparing Manufacturing students for careers in large scale manufacturing Mr. Johnson has visited 300+ manufacturing sites around the country in the past 20 years. He is in contact monthly with individuals in many companies giving him a unique perspective into business trends and issues.  Some of those companies include Toyota Motors, Gulfstream Aerospace, Xerox, Proctor & Gamble, JLG Industries, Alcoa, Ford Motor Company, Eastman Kodak, Hewlett Packard, Carpenter Technology, Eaton Cutler-Hammer, Kraft Foods, Google and many more.  In addition, he has help host hundreds of mangers at bi-annual manufacturing conferences at Penn State focusing on leadership and sustainability.


Ron’s work in the sustainability space includes serving on the Smeal College of Business Sustainability Strategic Planning team, Smeal Sustainability Council and LEED-EB team. He teaches sustainability to thousands of business students and groups on and off campus. He is the founding advisor for the Smeal Net Impact Undergraduate Chapter comprised of a 40+ member leadership team. Most recently he has taken a large student group to the Net Impact Conference in San Jose, CA meeting with leaders (including visit to Google headquarters).  Ron’s BA 342 class engaged in a Net Impact project called Small Steps Big Wins (competition around personal sustainability practices) and recently won the Small Steps National Championship.


Mr. Johnson is a long time member of The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) and the Society for Human Resource Managers (SHRM). He has been a speaker at conferences such as the ASTD National Leadership Conference, the Total Quality Forum, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, and many regional business and academic gatherings. Recently, he spoke to Space Shuttle scientists and engineers for NASA on leadership.


He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from ORU, MBA and MHA degrees from Penn State and has done Ph.D. coursework in leadership also at Penn State.


Prior to his work in education and leadership/communication, Mr. Johnson was the Executive Vice President for a privately held construction company for ten years.  In that position he had profit/loss responsibility, generated millions of dollars in business, and supervised up to 75 direct reports (hiring and firing responsibilities). His family lives on a working farm in central Pennsylvania.


Ethics, Sustainability, Diversity, Social Responsibility, Leadership Competencies, General Management Communication, Team and Professional development


MHA, Penn State, 1997

MBA, Penn State, 1992

BS Mgmt., Oral Roberts,


BA 342, Social Responsible, Sustainable & Ethical Business Practices

MGMT 301, Introduction to Management