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. Professor Hiatt’s research is aimed at discovering how institutional factors can affect sector growth and technology development and adoption by mediating and moderating uncertainty. His work encompasses two related research questions:

    1) How can institutional factors such as formal laws and informal rules of the game, including efforts by collective actors, adjudicate uncertainty regarding new technologies and business strategies and affect sector growth and technology adoption?

    2) How do institutional voids affect organizational processes and how can organizations strategically deal with them?


    Empirically, Professor Hiatt focuses on the Energy and Agribusiness sectors in domestic and emerging markets.

    Energy and Agribusiness

    * Effect of legal ambiguities on U.S. geothermal technology adoption and innovation

    * Impact of collective actors on innovation in the U.S. biodiesel industry

    * Identity counterframing as a strategic response to collective actor activism in the U.S. biomass sector

    * Third party signaling, social movement activism, regulatory approval of genetically modified organisms

    * Climate change policy threats and the development and adoption of enhanced oil recovery technologies in the U.S. oil and gas sector


    Emerging Economies

    * Biomass energy opportunities in Brazil

    * The impact of political and civil violence on new venture planning and survival

    * Military ties, new ventures, and political risk management in emerging economies

    * State failure and entrepreneurship: Impact of drug cartels on Mexican new ventures