Shon R. Hiatt

Assistant Professor of Business Administration (Leave of Absence)

Shon Hiatt is an assistant professor of business administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit. He teaches the Leadership and Organizational Behavior (LEAD) course in the MBA program required curriculum, and also teaches in the Agribusiness Seminar and Global Energy Seminar executive education programs. He is engaged in the HBS Business and Environment initiative and is a faculty affiliate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment.

Professor Hiatt’s research explores issues related to institutional change, innovation, and business strategy in a diverse set of economic contexts, ranging from the energy and agribusiness sectors to emerging economies. He received the Kauffman Foundation Entrepreneurship Dissertation Fellowship Award for his work on the U.S. biodiesel industry, was a finalist in the 2009 INFORMS/Organization Science Dissertation Proposal Competition, and was a Nominee for the Academy of Management's Louis Pondy Best Dissertation Paper Award. His research has been published in Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, and Strategic Management Journal.

Professor Hiatt received his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He graduated from Brigham Young University, where he also earned an MPA. Prior to his academic career, he was involved in international development, working with Latin American microfinance institutions and focusing on new-venture performance.

  1. Clear and Present Danger: Planning and New Venture Survival amid Political and Civil Violence

    Although entrepreneurs constitute a key economic driving force for many countries, they often face unstable environments due to violence and civil unrest. Yet, we know very little about how environments characterized by high levels of political and civil violence affect new venture processes and survival. Moreover, it is unclear whether standard theories about organizational strategy, such as planning, hold true in such environments. We explore these issues using a sample of 730 new ventures in Colombia from 1997 to 2001. We find that political and civil violence decreases firm survival, increases the benefits of incremental (operational) planning, and decreases the benefits of comprehensive (strategic) planning.

  2. HBS Faculty Comment on Environmental Issues

    Professor Shon Hiatt highlights the benefits of federalism in fostering state policy experimentation and explains the impact of these laws on innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S. geothermal power sector.
  3. Who Sways the USDA on GMO Approvals?

    Economists use the term "regulatory capture" to describe the phenomenon whereby regulatory agencies serving the public instead end up advancing the interests of the companies they regulate. Once those laws are passed, however, it's less clear how companies sway the regulatory agencies that enforce them, which are more isolated from the direct effects of money or persuasion. A recent study examines how regulated firms can influence regulatory agencies.