Francesca Gino

Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration

Francesca Gino is the Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. She is also formally affiliated with the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, with the Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative at Harvard, and with the Behavioral Insight Group at Harvard Kennedy School. Professor Gino teaches Decision Making and Negotiation in the MBA elective curriculum and in Executive Education programs at the School. She co-chairs an HBS Executive Education program on applying behavioral economics to organizational problems. She also teaches a PhD course on Behavioral Approaches to Decision Making and a PhD course on Experimental Methods.

Professor Gino has won numerous awards for her teaching, including the HBS Faculty Award by Harvard Business School's MBA Class of 2015, and for her research, including the 2013 Cummings Scholarly Achievement Award, from the Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division. In 2015, Francesca was chosen by Poets & Quants to be among their "40 under 40", a listing of the world's best business school professors under the age of 40.

Professor Gino’s research focuses on judgment and decision-making, negotiation, ethics, motivation, productivity, and creativity. Her work has been published academic journals in both psychology and management, as well as in numerous book chapters and practitioner outlets. Her studies have also been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Newsweek, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and her work has been discussed on National Public Radio and CBS Radio.

In addition to teaching, Professor Gino advises firms and not-for-profit organizations in the areas of negotiation, decision-making, and organizational behavior.

Professor Gino is the author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and How We Can Stick to the Plan (HBR Press, 2013).

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  1. Current Research

    by Francesca Gino

    Why do we often fail to stick to our plans in our personal and professional decisions? How can we foster creativity in the workplace? What motivates employees? What's the secret to good group dynamics and high levels of team performance? In what ways are our judgments and evaluation of others inaccurate? Why are unethical practices so widespread in the workplace and in society more broadly? What weaknesses can in actuality be a point of strength in negotiation?

    These questions cover a wide range of problems and issues that both individuals and organizations commonly face. Although different, these questions share something in common: answering them requires a deep understanding of human behavior and judgment. In my research, I use theories from psychology and behavioral decision research to find answers to these and related questions.

    Judgment, Decision Making and Negotiation
    The human mind is capable of remarkable accomplishments, but it also can be swayed in the wrong direction, predictably and by seemingly irrelevant factors. My research probes imperfections of human judgment and decision-making and traces their consequences for individual, group, and organizational outcomes. My work in this area attempts to improve our understanding of the predictable failures of the human mind and fill the gaps in our knowledge of the ways in which human judgments, decisions, and behavior can be improved, or at least nudged in the right direction. One of the areas I explored is advice taking. Advice taking requires people to weigh their own opinions and judgments against those of others. Before making an important decision - such as choosing an investment, launching a product, or selecting members for a new team - people often consult others for their opinions. Once they receive the advice, do they use it wisely? Over the years, my research on this topic has identified when and why people overweight bad advice, and when and why they discount good recommendations (e.g., Gino, 2006, 2008; Gino & Moore, 2007; Gino & Schweitzer, 2008).

    Morality, Ethics and Prosocial Behavior
    My work on ethical decision making and the psychology of moral judgment illustrates how even small factors can turn us away from our moral self. When and why do ordinary people cross ethical boundaries? And how can they routinely engage in dishonest acts without feeling guilty about their behavior? Do people cross ethical boundaries only for their own benefit?  My research addresses these questions in various contexts, using both laboratory and field data. The basic premise of this line of work is that even good people regularly engage in behavior that violates their own ethical principles, either because they do not realize they are behaving dishonestly (e.g., Gino & Bazerman, 2009), because they can't resist the temptation to act unethically (e.g., Mead, Baumeister, Gino, Schweitzer, & Ariely, 2009; Gino, Schweitzer, Mead, & Ariely, 2011) or because they find effective ways to overlook or rationalize their choices (e.g., Shu, Gino, & Bazerman, 2011). Healthy work and social environments depend on the ability of leaders and employees alike to spread ethical norms and values, while reducing the attractiveness of unethical misconduct. Studying how managers and their organizations can best accomplish this goal is an important realm for my research in the years to come.

    Motivation, Productivity, and Creativity
    My work in this area investigates how motivation and performance at the individual and group level can be boosted, and how people often misjudge the beneficial effects of performance-enhancing factors. For instance, one of my projects in this area examines the effects of learning from different types of experience and mental models on creativity, at both the individual (Miron-Spektor, Gino, & Argote, 2009) and group level (Gino, Argote, Miron-Spektor, & Todorova, 2010; Gino, Todorova, Miron-Spektor, & Argote, 2009). Some of this research has distinguished between the influence of prior experience with the task and prior experience with other members, a distinction that seems to have important consequences not only for creativity but also for performance and learning (Garvin, Edmondson, & Gino, 2008).