Joshua D. Margolis

James Dinan and Elizabeth Miller Professor of Business Administration

Joshua Margolis is Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit and the Faculty Chair of the Christensen Center for Teaching and Learning. His research and teaching revolve around leadership and ethics. He has taught courses on Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Leadership and Corporate Accountability, Authentic Leadership Development, and the new required first-year course, Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD).

Professor Margolis’ research focuses on leading in complex situations involving tradeoffs. In particular, he focuses on the distinctive ethical challenges that arise in organizations and how managers can navigate these challenges with practical effectiveness and moral integrity, especially in perform-or-else settings. Professor Margolis has published his work in Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Business Ethics Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Applied PsychologyJournal of Management, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes; and along with James P. Walsh, he authored the book, People and Profits: the Search for a Link between a Company’s Social and Financial Performance.

Professor Margolis is currently engaged in research on how companies and individuals defy countervailing forces to make a significant impact and how professionals in a variety of settings navigate moral adversity and address ethical challenges with a combination of ingenuity and integrity.

Professor Margolis received his B.A. from Yale University and his A.M. (Sociology) and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Harvard University, where he was also a Fellow in the Program in Ethics and the Professions. Joshua joined the HBS faculty in 2000 after spending three years on the faculty at the University of Michigan as a Fellow in the Society of Scholars.

He has received the Robert F. Greenhill Award, the Student Association Faculty Award for teaching excellence, the Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching, and the Academy of Management award for Outstanding Publication in Organizational Behavior.

  1. Business Ethics

    Joshua Margolis is interested in how individuals can exercise leadership in the face of competing ethical and economic responsibilities, and how organizations can enable them to do that. In particular, how can managers and companies simultaneously advance outstanding instrumental performance and a range of values people hold dear. He focuses on the distinctive ethical challenges that individuals must address within organizations, especially in perform-or-else settings. His research has examined corporate social performance, global business standards, and professionals who must perform "necessary evils," tasks that entail doing harm in order to advance a perceived greater good. He has recently co-authored a meta-analysis examining 35 years of research on the link between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance, and he is working with colleagues on a systematic survey of 6,000 managers to understand global business standards, investigating the extent to which they are accepted and adhered to in practice.