Julie Battilana

Associate Professor of Business Administration

Julie Battilana is an Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School. She currently teaches the second-year Power and Influence course and in previous years has taught the first-year Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) course in the MBA program.  She also teaches in executive education offerings, including the Colloquium on Participant-Centered Learning and the High Potentials Leadership Program.

Professor Battilana's research examines the process by which organizations or individuals initiate and implement changes that diverge from the taken-for-granted practices in a field of activity. In times like these, when the question of how to reform deeply rooted systems such as healthcare and financial systems has taken on great urgency, understanding how actors can break with the status quo is crucial. Aiming to do so, Professor Battilana first studied the implementation of healthcare reforms in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. Her work examines (1) the conditions that enable actors to initiate organizational change that diverges from the institutional status quo, and (2) the key factors of success in implementing such change.

Continuing to explore how actors can break with taken-for-granted norms, Professor Battilana's most recent research focuses on hybrid organizations that combine aspects of both corporations and not-for-profits. These hybrids, which pursue a social mission while engaging in commercial activities in order to generate revenues that sustain their operations, diverge from the model of both the typical corporation and the typical not-for-profit. Commercial microfinance organizations are an example of such organizations. Professor Battilana's research aims to understand how hybrids can sustainably combine the social welfare and commercial logics. She has articles published or forthcoming in Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Management Science, Strategic Organization, Leadership Quarterly, Organization, Research in Organizational Behavior and The Academy of Management Annals, as well as in handbooks of organizational behavior and strategy. Her research has been featured in publications like BusinessWeek, the Huffington Post, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. She is also a regular contributor to the French newspaper Le Monde.

A native of France, Professor Battilana earned a B.A. in sociology and economics, an M.A. in political sociology and an M.Sc. in organizational sociology and public policy from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan.  She also holds a degree from HEC Business School, and a joint Ph.D. in organizational behavior from INSEAD and in management and economics from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan.

  1. 'Hybrid’ Organizations a Difficult Bet for Entrepreneurs

    Hybrid organizations combine the social logic of a nonprofit with the commercial logic of a for-profit business, but are very difficult to finance. So why would anyone want to form one? Julie Battilana and Matthew Lee investigate.

  2. The Network Secrets of Great Change Agents

    Large organizations—and the people working in them—tend to resist change. Yet some people are remarkably successful at leading transformation efforts. What makes them so effective?

  3. OrganJet and GuardianWings

    The case about OrganJet is featured on CasePlace.org. CasePlace.org is a curated site for business school faculty and other educators.  It features teaching cases, articles, syllabi and other materials that help faculty introduce social, environmental, and ethical issues into their classes.  It is hosted by the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program.
  4. Research Finds Rising Numbers of 'Hybrid Organizations' Across Sectors

    Devex Impact spoke with Battlilana about the key findings of her research, and the challenges hybrid organizations face as they grow.
  5. How Institutional Theorists Can Help Solve Big Business Problems

    Institutional theorists gathered at Harvard Business School to discuss how to make their work more broadly understood and useful.  Their insights are highlighted in this article.
  6. Opportunities & Challenges Facing Hybrid Organizations

    In partnership with the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Central Coast, Spiranomics™ presents featured guest speaker, Julie Batillana, Associate Professor of Business Administration and Martin Bower Fellow at Harvard Business School.  Along with Matthew Lee, doctoral candidate in management at HBS, and John Walker, Finance Director at Echoing Green, Julie will discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by hybrid organizations.
  7. Want to Use Business to Make a Difference? Get Experience (But Not Too Much)

  8. In Search of the Hybrid Ideal

    In the first large-scale, quantitative study of nascent social entrepreneurs, researchers from Harvard Business School and Echoing Green examine the rise of hybrid organizations that combine aspects of nonprofits and for-profits and the challenges hybrids face as they attempt to integrate traditionally separate organizational models.

  9. Using Business Tools To Combat The World's Big Problems

    Julie Battilana is interviewed by radio host Kara Miller as an expert on the rising tide of social entrepreneurship.
  10. Beyond Heroic Entrepreneurs

    Research in progress by Harvard Business School's Julie Battilana and Matthew Lee reveals that a large number of social entrepreneurs are focused on local rather than global change, and on sustainable funding.
  11. How 'Hybrid' Nonprofits Can Stay on Mission

    Carmen Noble, Senior Editor of HBS Working Knowledge, highlights Julie Battilana's research on hybrid organizations.

  12. Julie Battilana & Coauthors on Institutional Entrepreneurship

    Julie Battilana, Bernard Leca, & Eva Boxenbaum talk with ScienceWatch.com and answer a few questions about August 2011's Fast Breaking Paper paper in the field of Economics & Business.