Michael I. Norton

Professor of Business Administration

Michael I. Norton is a Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at the Harvard Business School.

He is the co-author - with Elizabeth Dunn - of the new book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending (Simon & Schuster).

Michael I. Norton is a Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at the Harvard Business School. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and English from Williams College and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Princeton University. Prior to joining HBS, Professor Norton was a Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

He is the co-author - with Elizabeth Dunn - of the new book, Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending (Simon & Schuster).

His work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Consumer Research, and has been covered in media outlets such as the Economist, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS, Fox, and MSNBC, and written op-eds for the New York Times, Forbes, and the Los Angeles Times.

His research has twice been featured in the New York Times Magazine Year in Ideas issue, in 2007 (Ambiguity Promotes Liking) and 2009 (The Counterfeit Self). His "The IKEA Effect: When Labor Leads to Love" was featured in Harvard Business Review's Breakthrough Ideas for 2009. In 2010, he won the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology; in 2011, he won the SAGE Young Scholars Award from the Foundation for Social and Personality Psychology; in 2012, he was selected for Wired Magazine’s Smart List as one of “50 People Who Will Change the World.”

At HBS, he teaches the first-year MBA course, FIELD, and heads the Strategic Marketing Management executive program.

  1. by Michael I. Norton

    Professor Norton's research can be grouped into two broad areas. First, he explores the effects of social norms on people’s attitudes and behavior, addressing the key role that social factors play in shaping the preferences of individuals. This work has a particular focus on the norm of political correctness, demonstrating the impact of this norm in domains ranging from social interaction to personnel selection to the effectiveness of marketing appeals.

    In the domain of behavioral economics, Professor Norton's research investigates the psychology of investment: How investing time, labor, and money impacts how people come to value things, from products to people. One project, for example, demonstrates that people value products far beyond their market price when they assemble those products themselves, the “IKEA effect.”