Doctoral Student

Patricia Satterstrom

I am a doctoral candidate in Management at Harvard Business School. I study how individuals in teams collaborate across professional and demographic boundaries. A major barrier to collaboration is power. To understand how team members can change the power structures in which they are embedded, I use longitudinal inductive methods to examine the micro-processes that unfold in organizational teams. In the lab, I study team members’ multicultural experience and teams’ interaction patterns to understand their relationship with performance. I also explore the factors that lead people outside the team to perceive the team as successful. I bridge field and lab methods in the tradition of full-cycle organizational research, which allows me to explore the multifaceted and complex underpinnings of teams, power, and collaboration.


My dissertation is based on a 31-month longitudinal inductive study of “change teams” in primary health care clinics. These teams were specifically charged with moving their organization from a hierarchical structure to a more team-based structure. Through close observation of their weekly team meetings, coupled with extensive interviews and examination of archival data, I identify the in situ moments in a team’s life when members provide information that could, over time, undermine taken-for-granted assumptions about power distribution. This dissertation extends and generates theory about power, empowerment, and heterarchy (power transitions) in teams. It also has practical implications for how team members experience and engage with power differences, how they alter power structures in their own teams, and how they can help their organizations engage more fluidly with power.

Committee: Jeff Polzer (chair), Leslie Perlow, Andrew Knight, Heidi Gardner, Sara Singer


I also have projects that focus on how to improve collaboration between people from diverse demographic or professional backgrounds. My lab studies test the factors that impact creativity and performance in cross-cultural groups. My field study looks at the processes and factors that help engage and integrate people from diverse professional roles so that they can successfully carry out change efforts.


Before entering the doctoral program at Harvard Business School, I was a Research Associate, assisting with research and cases on globally distributed teams. I have also worked as an Organizational Change consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and as an intern at Insight Partners, a conflict management firm. I have taught undergraduates, MBAs, and executives at Harvard and abroad and have been awarded a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching from Harvard.

I graduated cum laude in Psychology from Harvard College where I was a student fellow at the Center for International Development and an intern at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School of Government. I also studied and worked in South Korea for a year on the Yenching fellowship.

I have a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoy participating in a Masters Swim Club. 


Journal Articles

  1. Beyond Individual Creativity: The Superadditive Benefits of Multicultural Experience for Collective Creativity in Culturally Diverse Teams

    Carmit Tadmor, Patricia Satterstrom, Sujin Jang and Jeffrey Polzer

    Although recent research has consistently demonstrated the benefits of multicultural experience for individual-level creativity, its potential advantages for collective creativity in culturally diverse teams have yet to be explored. We predicted that multicultural experience among members of a collective would enhance joint creativity in a superadditive fashion. Using a two-step methodology that included both individual and dyadic brainstorming sessions, we found that even after controlling for individual creativity, multicultural experience had a superadditive effect on dyadic creativity. Specifically, dyads performed best on a creative task in terms of fluency, flexibility, and novelty—three classic dimensions of creativity—when both dyad partners had high levels of multicultural experience. These results show that when it comes to multicultural experience, the creative whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Implications for diversity research are discussed.

    Keywords: Creativity; Groups and Teams;


    Tadmor, Carmit, Patricia Satterstrom, Sujin Jang, and Jeffrey Polzer. "Beyond Individual Creativity: The Superadditive Benefits of Multicultural Experience for Collective Creativity in Culturally Diverse Teams." Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 43, no. 3 (April 2012): 384–392. View Details

Book Chapters

  1. Reframing Hierarchical Interactions as Negotiations to Promote Change in Health Care Systems

    Patricia Satterstrom, Jeff Polzer and Robert Wei


    Satterstrom, Patricia, Jeff Polzer, and Robert Wei. "Reframing Hierarchical Interactions as Negotiations to Promote Change in Health Care Systems." Chap. 18 in Handbook of Conflict Management Research, edited by Oluremi B. Ayoko, Neal M. Ashkansy, and Karen Jehn, 291–307. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014. View Details


  1. Thin Slices of Groups.

    Jeff Polzer, Patricia Satterstrom, Lisa Kwan, Wannawiruch Wiruchnipawan and Marina Miloslavsky


    Polzer, Jeff, Patricia Satterstrom, Lisa Kwan, Wannawiruch Wiruchnipawan, and Marina Miloslavsky. "Thin Slices of Groups." Paper presented at the Society of Personality and Social Psychology Conference, Long Beach, CA, USA, February 28, 2015. View Details
  2. Perceiving Collaborative Potential

    Patricia Satterstrom, Lisa Kwan, Wannawiruch Wiruchnipawan and Jeff Polzer


    Satterstrom, Patricia, Lisa Kwan, Wannawiruch Wiruchnipawan, and Jeff Polzer. "Perceiving Collaborative Potential." Paper presented at the International Association for Conflict Management Annual Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2011. View Details
  3. Thin Slices of Group Conflict

    Jeff Polzer, Patricia Hernandez, Lisa Kwan, Ben Waber and Sandy Pentland


    Polzer, Jeff, Patricia Hernandez, Lisa Kwan, Ben Waber, and Sandy Pentland. "Thin Slices of Group Conflict." Paper presented at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada, August 2010. View Details