Julie Battilana

Professor of Business Administration

Julie Battilana is a Professor of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior unit at Harvard Business School and the Alan L. Gleitsman Professor of Social Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy 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 the doctoral program and in executive education offerings.

Professor Battilana's research examines the process by which organizations or individuals initiate and implement changes that diverge from the taken-for-granted norms in a field of activity. Such divergent changes are particularly challenging to implement because they require not only breaking with existing norms, but also convincing others to rally behind the change. Professor Battilana’s research aims to elucidate what it takes to initiate divergent change, and how to succeed in its implementation. To do so, she has developed two streams of research that address divergent change at different levels of analysis. The first focuses on understanding the conditions that enable individuals to initiate and implement divergent change within their organizations. The second examines how organizations themselves can diverge from deeply-seated organizational forms, which, as they become taken-for-granted over time, prescribe the structures and management systems that organizations in a given sector ought to adopt. Studies in this stream reveal the role of hybrid organizing in this process—defined as the activities, structures, processes and meanings by which organizations make sense of and combine multiple organizational forms. Professor Battilana's research focuses on a specific instance of hybrid organizing by examining social enterprises that diverge from the established organizational forms of both typical corporations and typical not-for-profits by combining aspects of both at their core. Her work aims to understand how these hybrids can sustainably combine aspects of corporations and not-for-profits at their core and how they can achieve high levels of both social and commercial performance. 

She has articles published or forthcoming in the Academy of Management Annals, Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Business Ethics, Leadership QuarterlyManagement Science, Organization, Organization ScienceOrganization Studies, Research in Organizational Behavior and Strategic Organization. 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. Won the 2014 Wyss Doctoral Award for Excellence in Mentoring from Harvard Business School.

  2. Received the 2013 Apgar Award for Innovation in Teaching from Harvard Business School.

  3. Nominated for the 2013 Wyss Doctoral Award for Excellence in Mentoring from Harvard Business School.

  4. “How Actors Change Institutions: Towards a Theory of Institutional Entrepreneurship” with Bernard Leca and Eva Boxenbaum (Academy of Management Annals, 2009) was named by Science Watch as the August 2011 “Fast Breaking Paper” in Economics and Business. A Fast Breaking Paper is “a very recent scientific contribution that is just beginning to attract the attention of the scientific community.”

  5. Selected by the French-American Foundation as one of 20 participants (10 French and 10 American) in the 2009 Young Leader program. The French-American Foundation is the principal non-governmental organization linking France and the United States at leadership levels and across the full range of the French-American relationship.