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.

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. In today's world, 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 business and charity. 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 charity. Commercial microfinance organizations are an example of such organizations. Professor Battilana's research aims to understand how hybrids can sustainably combine business and charity at their core and how they can achieve high levels of both social and commercial performance. 

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. 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.