Doctoral Student

Patricia Satterstrom

Patricia Satterstrom is a doctoral candidate in Management at Harvard Business School. Her dissertation proposes a model of dynamic hierarchy and explores the role multi-disciplinary groups can play in creating a more flexible power structure in organizations. In addition to her field work in health care, Pat’s lab projects explore people's perceptions of teams, communication in multilingual groups, and creativity in diverse groups. Pat is very interested in understanding how to improve collaboration, in particular collaboration that includes the contribution of those in traditionally low-power roles, in complex, diverse, and under-resourced settings.

Pat received her A.B. cum laude in Psychology from Harvard College in 2004. As an undergraduate, she was a student fellow at the Center for International Development and at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School of Government. After graduating, Pat studied and worked in South Korea on the Yenching fellowship. She was a Teaching Fellow for the Psychology of Leadership course at Harvard College, for which she received a Distinction in Teaching award. She has worked as a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and as an intern at Insight Partners, a conflict management firm. Prior to starting the Management program at HBS, Pat was a Research Associate, assisting with research and cases on globally distributed teams.


  1. Satterstrom, P. Conflict as an Antecedent to Changes to the Hierarchy. [Dissertation, extended abstract available; data analysis and writing]

    by Patricia Satterstrom

    I propose that engaging with and learning from power conflict may be an important antecedent for changes to a team and organization’s hierarchy.  I will further suggest that for low-power people to gain power from the changes, they need to engage in integrative power negotiations with their high-power counterparts.

  2. Polzer, J., Satterstrom, P., Kwan, L., Wiruchnipawan, W., & Miloslavsky. Thin Slices of Groups. [Working paper available]

    by Patricia Satterstrom

    Researchers have documented the speed and accuracy with which perceivers can judge other individuals after observing mere “thin slices” of behavior. We extend this research by testing whether perceivers are able to accurately judge the effectiveness of small, task-performing groups based on short observations of group interaction. We discuss implications for social perception and group functioning.

  3. Kerrissey, M., Satterstrom, P., Singer, S., & Leydon, N. Integrators vs. Isolators: Actions that enable improvement in primary care. [Working paper available]

    by Patricia Satterstrom

    How some primary care groups improve while others remain stagnant is a key question in healthcare management research. Our embedded case study follows sixteen primary care groups implementing process improvements over 15 months in order to identify key factors that enable changes to work routines and the related interactions between employees, patients, and external partners.

  4. Satterstrom, P., Neeley, T.B., & Norton, M. When Communicating Less is More: Decreasing Communication in the Face of Language Barriers Improves Team Performance. [Working Paper]

    by Patricia Satterstrom

    We show that people believe that increased communication improves team performance. We suggest, however, that increasing communication can lead to performance decrements when language barriers are high, such as when people with different levels of fluency work together. We used a novel simulation that assigned 320 participants to be “native” or “nonnative” speakers to suggest that communicating less in the face of language barriers leads to better performance.