Doctoral Student

Michele Rigolizzo

Michele is interested in the individual experience of learning in organizational settings and how employees learn to learn.  She works with her advisor, Teresa Amabile, to explore the impact of reflection on learning at work.  She is also interested in discretionary learning, intrinsic motivation, and how self-perceptions impact response to and efficacy of learning interventions.  

Michele works with the Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to bring an academic mindset to the real-world challenges of Chief Learning Officers from all over the world.  

Michele is in her third year in the DBA Management program.  Prior to her studies as a doctoral student, she received and Masters of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  Before returning to school, she worked for eight years in the Research & Development division of Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Most recently, she developed fully integrated learning solutions for both scientific and management audiences in this highly regulated environment.  She has also held roles in strategic management, resourcing, and database development. She supplements her passion for extending the joy of learning with a passion (though only a mediocre skill) for poker.


  1. Overview

    I am interested in the individual experience of learning in organizational settings, particularly how employees learn to learn from the challenging work they do. I am currently researching the role of reflection for raising awareness of learning opportunities that occur when performing complex work tasks. This work on reflection at work serves a larger research agenda to improve the working life of adults through leveraging and enhancing the joy of learning through work. By examining the power of reflection and gaining insight into how workers conceptualize learning in the context of their jobs, I hope to make theoretical and practical impact on understanding the individual differences and socio-environmental influences of dynamic learning environments. In addition, I am beginning field research on the impact of parallel learning, which grants autonomy to the employee in what, how, and when to learn, on performance and innovation.

    Keywords: learning; learning and development; Learning Organizations; intrinsic motivation; reflection; Goal setting; performance measurement; innovation; job design; Biotechnology Industry; Consulting Industry; Pharmaceutical Industry;

  2. Reflection & Learning at Work

    Learning is described as a cycle of action and reflection. Today’s dynamic and complex work environments may provide ample opportunities for learning, but the in the haste of action the potential for informal learning may be overlooked.

    Reflection for only 10-20 minutes a week may bring this rich source of learning to employees’ attention.

    Keywords: reflection; learning; organizational behavior; Learning; Human Needs; Human Capital; Experience and Expertise; Talent and Talent Management; Attitudes; Organizational Culture; Motivation and Incentives;

  3. Parallel Learning

    How far can you go?

    Learning in organizations is typically only supported if the topic is directly related to work role.  However, learning is an associative process that may benefit from topics that are more far afield.  This research will examine how learning outside your primary work role impact performance in your primary work role. Does the chemist who studies neuroscience become a better chemist? what is the effect on innovation and making novel connections? In addition, it will explore how far afield these effects can go. What if that chemist studied Shakespear?

    Keywords: organizational learning; learning and development; Learning to learn; performance measures; motivating professionals; motivation; Micro organizational behavior; innovation; Innovation and Invention; Organizations;