Amy C. Edmondson

Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management
Senior Associate Dean for Culture and Community

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, a chair established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society.

Edmondson, recognized in 2011, 2013 and 2015 by the biannual Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers, teaches and writers on leadership, teams and organizational learning.  Her articles have been published in Harvard Business Review and California Management Review, as well as in academic journals such as Administrative Science Quarterly and the Academy of Management Journal.  Her books, Teaming: How organizations learn, innovate and compete in the knowledge economy and Teaming to Innovate (Jossey-Bass, 2012, 2103) explore teamwork in dynamic, unpredictable work environments.  Her latest book, Building the future: Big teaming for audacious innovation (Berrett-Koehler, 2016), reveals the challenges and opportunities of teaming across industries. 

Before her academic career, she was Director of Research at Pecos River Learning Centers, where she worked on the design and implementation of transformational change in large companies. In the early 1980s, she worked as Chief Engineer for architect/inventor Buckminster Fuller, and her book A Fuller Explanation: The Synergetic Geometry of R. Buckminster Fuller (Birkauser Boston, 1987) clarifies Fuller's mathematical contributions for a non-technical audience. Edmondson received her PhD in organizational behavior, AM in psychology, and AB in engineering and design, all from Harvard University.

 

  1. Overview

    by Amy C. Edmondson

    My research focuses on cross-boundary teaming in and between organizations and on the ways leaders enable the kinds of complex collaborations that such teaming generates. I am particularly interested in collaborations focused on innovation in knowledge-intensive industries ranging from healthcare delivery to the built environment. In one stream of my research, I study collaboration among people with diverse expertise undertaking major innovation initiatives. I argue that teaming across industry boundaries is increasingly important in the production of crucial innovations upon which society’s future depends. I find that teaming and learning among diverse experts, while facing high uncertainty, involves significant interpersonal risk. My research explores how people manage these risks, and why it matters that they do, in contexts ranging from the emergency room, to the factory, to the built environment, to the executive suite. A second stream of my research examines how leaders successfully create organizational change and learning in fast-paced, challenging, uncertain industry contexts.